On Friday, 29th November, 2019, the Anchor Event Centre Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos was filled to the brim as Actress, Foluke Daramola Salako gathered many Nollywood stars to honour veterans in the movie industry and also to unveil Para Africa Foundation, which she is the founder. Star actress, Foluke Daramola Salako and husband, Kayode Salako spends millions to celebrate the veterans who has helped to contribute to the survival of the industry and in one way or the other contribute to the evolution, growth, progress and development of the filmmaking industry in Nigeria.
Foluke Daramola can be described as a virtous woman with a heart of gold because the event was one of its kind. Hardly will you see a Nollywood star that will spend that much on her fellow colleague but according to her, she said she organised that event when she discovered that many of the generational veterans in the movie industry are being neglected from the activities of acting on our TV screens and are down with one form of health, emotional and economic issue.
We can categorically tell you that the event was a great success because she made sure many of the veterans went home with a smile on their faces. She reached out to many veterans who has been off the seen for years due to one ailment or financial issue.
The event started with prayers which was led by Foluke Daramola’s mum. Let us also add that the event was anchored by Nollywood stars, Gbenga Adeyinka and Lolo 1 who is also known as Adaku.
City People Society Reporter, TOYIN OGUNDIYA and Senior Reporter, BIODUN ALAO brings you exclusive details of the event.
FOLUKE DARAMOLA’S WELCOME ADDRESS
I welcome you all to this great event, I want to appreciate God for this opportunity and a time like this. I am the President of Para Africa Foundation, (Passion against rape and abuse in Africa), a Non-Governmental Organisation registered to operate as a Non-Profit Humanitarian Organisation in Nigeria.
This event is about building a social platform to start celebrating and honouring the old age and generational veterans in the Theatre Practition and Nollywood Industry in Nigeria. It is an initiative I thought about and came up with, when I discovered that many of the generational veteran in my industry are cut off from the activities of acting on our TV screens and are down with one form of health, emotional and economic issues or another, but without any existing concrete social or government platform(s) to help come in to intervene or address this situation.
We can not continue to watch some of our aged veterans live in pains. We must not continue to abandon them to their fates. They need all of us now for support and care to live happily again.
This is why Para Africa, the NGO which I am the founder and African Operational President, is hosting this event today, for the first and being about the first time of its kind anywhere around Nigeria to draw the attention of humanitarian and kind hearted Nigerians and global concerns to the plight of these people, who have contributed to the evolution, growth, progress, development and continuous survival of the film making industry in Nigeria.
We are all gathered here to host them to a gala celebration event to thank them for their immense contributions to the survival of the industry, where I have also survived; learnt the art of film making and have lived and operated since I was age 13.
The core objective for deciding to float and run this initiative, therefore, is to identify with some of my “Ogas” in the industry in whatever situation they are going through right now and to now begin to host an annual event that will continue to celebrate, honour and appreciate their contributions to the good health of our industry in Nigeria.
My passion is to see that our old age and generational Nollywood veteran actors now have mutual trust funds and social welfare pension benefits scheme, which will now start running and working to identify with their life care and economic hardship issues. Because some of them are very old now and if they don’t have the opportunity to do what we are doing, it can cause depression to many of them. Although, the support has been very low, it’s been a very stressful and challenging journey.
I have had to do this with the support of my husband and few friends and family who have deem it fit to support me in their own little ways which I do not take for granted. So far, there has not been any support from the government. We all know that Nollywood represent Nigeria and our roles can never be taken for granted.
This is my passion and I am doing this because of the fact that I will also grow old some day. I want to look back and say, I have fought a good fight. I appreicate all my colleagues and my older colleagues. I called on you people and you showed up to help me celebrate this old veterans. Thank you so much for honouring my invitations, God will celebrate us all. I must also say that I am really impressed with the support I have been getting from TAMPAN. I say well done and I see the change in Nollywood with TAMPAN and so because of that I declare that I am going to be a more active member of TAMPAN.
I am going to bring ideas and ways that Nollywood can move forward. Thank you all and to all my veterans mothers and fathers, thank you for honouring me. You people have once impacted in my life, I appreciate you all and that is why I am celebrating you all.
FOLUKE DARAMOLA’S HUSBAND, KAYODE SALAKO AS THE CHIEF HOST
Foluke Daramola got married to Kayode Salako in 2013, after her first marriage packed up on the ground of domestic violence. Ever since she got married to Kayode lots of people have witnessed a new and reformed Foluke Daramola. He supports her with everything and always encourages her to follow her dreams, this he also proved at the just concluded Para African Foundation initiated by Foluke Daramola.
Kayode was up and doing, coordinating things and making sure, there are no lapses and also see that the event goes as planned. He contributed immensely to the success of the event, and he also quickly covered up in some areas, that were neglected unconsciously by the actress due to many events at hand.
YOMI FABIYI SPEAKS ON THE TRUE RELIGION IN THE MOVIE INDUSTRY
He started his speech by appreciating everyone who honoured Foluke Daramola. He said the movie industry is one of the pillars in this country, and this goes down to the effort of all the veterans in the industry. He urged every young producer and actors not to forget these veterans who has worked so hard to make sure we all enjoy our childhood. He also emphasized that everyone should understand that movie industry is not pensionable. So, young producers should make sure they feature 2 or 3 veterans in their movies.
OGA BELLO GAVE A COMMENDATION SPEECH
He started by greeting everyone present at the event, especially the old veterans who are his senior colleagues and every Nollywood stars that graced the occasion. He said, “I won’t be saying much but I would like us to applaud Foluke Daramola and her husband for coming up with such a great idea, because what she did is one of its kind. And I pray she won’t regret it by the grace of God. I want you all to know that all Nollywood stars that are present here gave her full support and that is why we are here”.
He also spoke on reason why the Nollywood industry isn’t growing and he pleaded with everyone to work together and support each other, he advised young actors to stop envying each other. He concluded by saying that the Nollywood movie industry can only move forward when everybody support each other.
NOLLYWOOD STARS SHED TEARS SEEING THE CONDITION OF THEIR SENIOR COLLEAGUES
The idea of the initiative or foundation is to celebrate and honour the old age and generational veterans in the Nollywood industry but many broke down in tears when they saw some of these veterans’ health conditions. Especially when Kayode Odumosu popularly known as P. A. Kasumu was brought into the event hall. He was practically carried into the hall because he could not walk by himself and this made many Nollywood stars shed tears. Some were asking if that was really Pa. Kasumu because they couldn’t recognised him as he was looking so lean and old. Of course, he wasn’t the only sick veteran that came for the event but his condition made many wept uncontrollably.
VETERANS LAMENT ON BEING ABANDONED
In the course of the event, there was a documentary film show of how Foluke Daramola reached out to all these veterans, especially those that we haven’t seen on the screen for years due to one illness or the other. In the process of doing this, many of these veterans talked on being forgotten. And their focus was more of government, they pleaded that the government should come to their aid and help them. Veteran actress, Obiageli said a lot of things when she was interviewed but what caught our attention is when she said “we are like damaged goods”, we make people happy but now we are being abandoned because we are old and sick, maybe if we are rich and based abroad, we might not be forgotten.
Popular actor, Sadiq Daba also mentioned that Nollywood made Nigeria more popular and this is done by the effort of we veterans and now we are forgotten. Likewise, Kudirat Eluyemi Odukanmi popularly known as Iyabo Oko, also pleaded that the government should please remember them and help them. And many others like Lere Paimo, Baba Olafa Ina, Chief Peter Fatomilola, Pa Lari Williams, Ayo Mogaji, Idowu Phillips, Chief Rafiu Balogun, Pa. Ken Odurukwe to mention but few. They also mentioned that marketers now tell producers not to give them movie roles, even those that are not ill.
VETERAN ACTRESS, IYABO OKO NEW LOOK
Many call her Iyabo Oko but her real name is Kudirat Eluyemi Odukanmi. The actress lost half her body weight to a life-threatening ailment sometimes last year and ever since she has not been able to get that big and sexy body back, but despite losing so much weight, she is still her usual self, very jovial and full of life. She made many laugh with her dancing steps while popular Fuji artiste, Alabi Pasuma was thrilling the guest. This is to tell you that, she is still very active and beautiful.
MANY NOLLYWOOD STARS HONOURED HER
It’s no more news that lots of Nollywood stars don’t support each other in their event, but this was not the case with Foluke Daramola’s event. These movie stars turned out in good numbers to support the star actress, and the actresses also all looked gorgeous in their baby pink lace Aso-Ebi picked for the event. It was a well-coordinated event with stars like Toyosi Ileyemi and Bisola Badmus at the helms of affairs. It was a star-studded event and it was witnessed by stars such as Adebayo Salami, Yinka Quadri, Baba Jinadu, Idowu Philip, Pa. Kasumu, Sadiq Daba, Larry Williams, Chief Peter Fatomilola, Alhaji Kareem Adepoju, Chief Jimoh Aliu, Pa. Ken Odurukwe, Barbara Soky, Chief Lere Paimo, Niyi Johnson, Toyosi Ileyemi, Bisola Badmus, Lola Magaret Laide Bakare, Toyin Adegbola and a host of others.
VETERANS THAT WERE UNAVOIDABLY ABSENT FOR THE EVENT
We noted close to 50 veterans were supposed to be honoured at the event but we also couldn’t help but notice other popular Nollywood veterans who couldn’t make it to the event. Some were due to the fact that they are still very sick while some couldn’t come because of other important things they needed to attend to. The likes of Ojo Arowosafe, Moses Egunleti, Bashiru Ishola, Chika Okpala, Samanja Mazan Fama, Olu Jacobs, Zark Orji, Jide Kosoko, Paul Obazele, Akin Lewis, Joke Silva, Antar Laniyan, Binta Ayo Mogaji, Dele Odule, Ebun Oloyede, Toyin Afolayan, Yemi Solade, Jumoke George, Sir Chris Akwarandu, Tunji Bamishingbin, were absent at the event. Did we tell you that Foluke Daramola did award for all these veterans that were mentioned above?
PA KASUMU’S DETERIORATING HEALTH CONDITION
In 2013, the veteran actor, Pa. Kasumu came out publicly to plead to Nigerians to help his poor health condition. The actor suffered stroke which affected his vision and memory, a few years later his health improved and people concluded he was perfectly fine, though he was not featuring in movies, the way it used to be. It came as a rude shock to people when this veteran actor stepped out at the just concluded Foluke Daramola’s event for veteran, he could not walk or speak properly. He was accompanied by his family in other for him to even take a step. Sighting him alone brought tears to many actors present at the event, his condition was so bad and this really broke people’s hearts. Veteran actor Yinka Quadri cried endlessly and most of them said, they didn’t know his health condition was that bad. If you are not too familiar with him, you might find it difficult to recognise him.
POPULAR FUJI ARTISTE, ALABI PASUMA WAS THE GUEST ARTISTE
Another reason why the event will remain memorable is that Alhaji Alabi Pasuma was the guest artiste. He needs no introduction when it comes to top Fuji artistes in Nigeria. After the recognition and presentation of the award. He thrilled all the guests and Nollywood stars to a memorable experience.
VETERAN ACTOR, YEMI MY LOVER BROUGHT BACK OLD MEMORIES
Veteran actor, Yemi Ayebo popularly known as Yemi My Lover is known for his exceptional love movies and lovely soundtracks. He brought back these memories by entertaining guests with some of his old soundtrack.
Samson Eluwole (Baba Jinadu), Bimbo Samuel, Rev. Dr. Daramola, Mrs. Bisi Omojare, Chief Olofa Ina, Iyabo Oko, Pa Kasumu, Bashiru Ishola, Evang. Idowu Phillips, Alhaji Yinka Quadri, Bola Dolapo, Chief Rafiu Balogun, Chief Lere Paimo, Pa Ken Odurukwe, Chief Jimoh Aliu, Baba Wande, Chief Peter Fatomilola, Funmilola Omikunle, Charles Olumo, Ade Ajiboye, Sadiq Daba, Ayorinde Fabiya, Adeniyi Johnson, Yomi Fabiyi, Shola Shonekan, Yetunde Wunmi, Toyosi Ilesanmi, Seun Oloketuyi, Yomi Fash-Lanso, Toyin Adegbola, Yemi My Lover, Saheed Balogun, Alhaji Azeez Ajobiewe, Barbara Soky, Adebayo Salami, Rafiu Olawale Eti, Major-Ibrahim Alakoso, Alhaja Fausat Balogun, Laide Bakare, Lola Magaret, Obiageli Molube, Iya Awero, Chief Sunday Akinola (Baba Feyikogbon), Ogun Majek.