Mustapha Sholagbade is one of the young actors currently rocking the movie industry. There is nothing stopping him at all, as he is set to premiere a new movie, “Liam” He is an award-winning actor and filmmaker, recognised for his great professional interpretation of his roles in Yoruba movies. He is well known for his action and romantic roles in movies. He is handsome and well-focused.
He joined the movie world in 2005. He graduated from the famous Odunfa Caucus in 2010 and has produced many movies.
Mustapha was recently our guest at our Head office at Gbagada area in Lagos and he spoke to City People’s Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE and Assistant Editor/Head of City People T.V., SUNDAY ADIGUN, where he revealed many things people don’t know about him. How he joined Odunfa caucus through Ogogo, how he met his wife and got married to her 3 years ago. Excerpt.
What have you been up to in the last 9 months or so?
I have been working so hard here and there, going from one location to the other back to back. It has not been easy but I’m giving God thanks for being there for me, because without Him I won’t be where I am today. He has been so faithful.
Let’s talk about the relevance you’ve maintained over the years, what are your secrets?
When you know what you are doing, you understand what you are doing and most especially, you learn it from the gurus, definitely, by the time you graduate, you would also be busy as well, as long as you understand what you are doing and know how to do it best, while your fans out there would be more than willing to appreciate you, of course, market would always request for you. In all, I will say Grace of God too, because we have so many actors who are better than me and they are doing well, but I think the grace of God found me and I’m so happy about that, jogging from one location to another, signing endorsement and lots more. It can only be God
Who are the gurus you are referring to?
Of course, my bosses; Yinka Quadri, Taiwo Hassan (Ogogo) and Abbey Lanre. These are the gurus who made us who we are today. They were the founders of the popular caucus called Odunfa.
How did you join Odunfa Caucus?
I joined through Taiwo Hassan (Ogogo). I was in S.S.S.2 when I had my ‘A’ level. I was supposed to go for Jamb, but according to school policy, you still have to complete the S.S.S.3 programme. But while still in S.S.S.2, my mum took me to a tailor to learn how to sew. Once I left school by 4 pm, I will go to tailoring shop, and later to the Arabic School. So, I have knowledge of tailoring as well. I can sew and do fashion designing. Later, I got tired, but she still insisted that I must learn something and she took me to a Nursing School. My mum is a very discipline mother, who always wants you to be busy.
What was her motive for sending you to Nursing School?
Till today, I don’t know. Probably she wanted me to be a doctor. During that period, I go for football training too. Whenever I slept I would dream of playing ball, shouting goal in my dream and that made my mother to stop me from going to football training. Though, I still sneaked out many times to go and play football with my friends. But one day, I just woke up and I told her that I wanted to start acting. She asked about the one I was doing in school then because we had a drama group in my school then. I told her I wanted to be a professional actor. She said she would discuss it with my dad, who is a brother to Taiwo Hassan (Ogogo). Ogogo and my dad are relations. So, when my daddy got back, she told her and on the same day I was taken to Odunfa. Got the form, though they didn’t collect money from me, they only asked me to buy wine and put something on the form for the elders. And since then, 3 of them have been there for me as fathers. It was very smooth when I started, but later on, everything changed. I started facing all kinds of challenges.
What were the challenges you faced?
These people started changing towards me, I mean all my bosses. All the caring suddenly stopped and I was like what is going on? Did I offend anybody? Though, I later agreed that if truly I wanted to learn, then they needed to be strict.
I was about to ask, what were your findings. What really made them change towards you?
My guesses were actually right. I realised that they actually wanted the best for me, and the best way to make it possible was to be strict with me. But all these didn’t stop them from playing their roles as my fathers, bosses and leaders, but they cancelled every other thing I was enjoying. It was strictly business and they started using me for many productions. Playing the roles of their son individually was very constant until other young actors came in and the whole thing became a competition. Though I didn’t see it as competition at first, but when it was becoming too much, I wasn’t happy and Sunny Alli said: “that was how they shifted focus from some people because of you too”. He, however, told me something, that “your ability is what will make you more relevant”. He gave me words of advice and its working for me till date. He said that I had to be extraordinarily good on what I do. So, I started working hard to be the best. When the whole thing was becoming rough again, I started praying to God and made necessary enquiries. Later, I graduated and started making money on my own.
Making money on your own, how do you mean?
Whenever anybody calls me for a job, they always pay directly to Odunfa’s account, not that they will still not give me something, but the main money must paid to Odunfa’s account before I leave for a location. I would say I was the only student Odunfa made money on his head. In fact, Sunny Alli confirmed it, but I enjoyed it all through until I graduated and started making money on my own. Immediately after my graduation, I did my first production “Ebun Mi”, which was 100% sponsored by my mum. She tagged the fund as my capital (laugh), that she had established me. When we are on the job, the fund wasn’t enough, it was 200k less than the requirement and Sunny Alli advised me to meet with Corporate Picture, he gave me the money and that was how our relationship started and became close till date.
How many movies have you produced so far?
Like 6 or 7; Ebun Mi, Emi Lomo Baba Olowo, Single Mother, Gold and treasure, Iyo Aiye Mi then Liam that hasn’t come out.
You seem to be very close to your mum, what kind of woman is she?
She’s is a very supportive mother. She’s very strict. She doesn’t take nonsense. She always yelled at me whenever she hears any unpalatable stories about me. I would have to start explaining to her that I didn’t do the thing I was accused of.
Let’s talk about your love, how did you meet your wife?
My wife did something that made me fell in love with her. I never promised any lady marriage in my life. But what my wife did on that fateful day made me go for her. In fact, my instinct told me that if I should let her go, I would regret it. We used to be friends before we lost contact and reconnected again when she came back to Nigeria. She was so eager to know my house, but because I was living in a room self-contain then at Surulere, I did not want her to come to my house. Why, because she just returned from abroad and she might not feel comfortable in the room. I even suggested she lodge in a Hotel, so we could meet there, but she refused, and she eventually came to my house. Thank God, there was light, the Ac was on, everywhere was cool and I was praying within me that NEPA should not take light till she leaves, but the light was eventually taken and the problem I was scared of started?
Heat (laugh), the heat in that area was something else. Even if you put on an electric generator it won’t work. My wife was sweating like a Xmas goat. I was so embarrassed. Meanwhile, I have a shooting job at Alagomeji. I hurried my wife to let us go there together, but she said no, she wanted to cook for me. Another problem, because even my kitchen I don’t go there to cook. But she insisted. She went to the market, came back and cooked. While I was where we were shooting, my instinct told me to go home, I rushed home and lo and behold my wife was lifeless on the floor. She fainted because of heat. I had to remove her hair, loosened her clothes, sprinkled water on her before she came back to life. It was while I was bathing that my instinct told me “this is your woman, don’t let her go”. I still wasn’t too sure, but I started praying, then, I later proposed to her and we got married in Aug, 2017.And God has blessed us with a bouncing baby boy.
Summing up your success as a young and vibrant actor, what would you say graduating from Odunfa caucus has done to your career and what has life taught you so far?
I will always be proud of Odunfa Caucus because the industry is not easy. Odunfa caucus is another life entirely. If you successfully come out of Odunfa Caucus, trust me, you are going to conquer the industry that is if you know what you are doing. I learnt a lot from Ogogo, who always advised me to be careful of women, though people always see me as a corrupt guy, a bad guy, which I’m not. I’m very innocent. And getting married earlier too was a great success for me too. It makes me to be more disciplined. There is no how you would pass through Odunfa caucus and you would not be disciplined because all the bosses there are disciplinarians. You can’t be rude to them. And talking about what life has taught me; life has taught me so many things, life has taught me to be humble to the core. If you are in any position and you are not been humble and careful, you would mess up. Humbleness has opened a lot of doors for me and still opening. Being humble will take you to higher level, but don’t be stupid about it, else people would rubbish you. I don’t accept rubbish. Yinka Quadri, Ogogo and Abey Lanre none of them also accept rubbish from anybody, yet they are very humble to the core.
So what is new for Mustapha Sholagbade?
“Liam” is coming soon.
What is the meaning of Liam?
It’s just an Irish name. These days, our title speaks a lot about our movies and we are trying to go far a bit away from what people are used to, so they won’t predict the storyline. By the grace of God, we are going to premiere it in UK, Nigeria, USA and Dubai.