Do you have any regrets since then?
If you were not acting, what would you be doing?
I would be speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves. I would have been a lawyer/activist or actor/activist.
What has been your driving force so far?
It is called creative contentment. A lot of time there has been this temptation to quit, but when I think of what people tell me on a daily basis on the streets, that they enjoy what I am doing and even if there may not be money in it, I should keep up the good work. This keeps me going. So I expect that there will be light at the end of the tunnel.
Are you saying you have not gotten enough financial reward from acting?
There cannot be enough. Though our industry is a billionaire industry, we are not reaping enough from it because of piracy and other things.
Is there anything you are doing to check this as a group?
It is not a fight for only those in the industry but everyone because it is a global crime. So it behooves on the Judiciary, the Customary, the police, everyone who is a security agent must fight piracy.
What are your highpoints in acting so far?
When I won the best actor in 2006 at the AMAA awards; that was a highpoint.
Then another is when you are on the street and people tell you, ‘because of you I watch home video, because of you Nigeria is on the international scene.’ These are highpoints that may not be financially rewarding but creatively you are building the nation.
How do you see Nollywood in the next five years?
If professionally handled, we will be the pride of Africa.
Are you married?
Yes, I am happily married and I have three boys and a girl.
Are any of them showing interest in acting?
I don’t know yet. But if any of them wants to act, they are free; but under my advice. I will give them professional advice.
Do you have role models in the industry?
I will keep that to my heart because, there are a lot of people in our local enterprise here who inspire me. From nothing we have created something. We have evolved an institution from which we must operate.
What do you see in Hollywood and Bollywood you think should be imbibed in Nollywood.
Quality, professional quality. We have told domestic stories in Nollywood let us begin to go international, that way we can create a larger playing field.
Also, I am one of those who believe we should drive Nollywood as a tool for nation building. And government must not sponsor it but must give us access as filmmakers, to remain in the business. That is the only way we can become Africa’s pride. Access in the sense that, they give us permission to go anywhere. For instance, if there is a role that needs to be played in the Aso Rock we should be given such access.
People see you as a strict person on the screen, are you strict in real life?
Yes, I am a very strict person. Life is not about being too cool in everything, but you have to be strict, firm and focused. So naturally I am a firm person.
Which is your favorite movie that you acted in?
Lost Kingdom is. It was described as my best.
When you watch yourself in your movies how do you feel?
It is like my normal everyday life. It is like contributing my quota to national economy.