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Interview: We Film Makers Expect Stiffer Measures From Govt To Fight Piracy & Other Scourge In Make-Belief Industry– Abdulrasak Sokoti

Abdulrasak Adewale Sokoti is a seasoned movie producer and actor of note in the Yoruba genre of Nollywood. In this interview with PEARL, he discusses his early life, how acting is his preferred choice and also discloses his expectations from government and other stakeholders on how to fight piracy and other challenges bedeviling the glory and prosperity of the industry.
1. Who is Abdulrasaki Adewale Sokoti?

Sokoti is one Mr Adewale Abdulrasak, he was born over sixty years ago, to the family of Mr  Adeyemo Adewale, who was a farmer. Sokoti was number five and also the last born of the family. He a primary six school leaving certificate holder, who went to school then in the villages call, Belewu, Elese Erin, Onisango village and finally completed his primary six in one village called Lamini village, all in old Oyo state and now state of Osun. He was at some point forced to play prominent roles in a theatre group back then in his school days by his uncle who was a teacher, late Alagba Supo Koseemani, whom he lived with back then and doubled as the school cultural teacher and a professional theatre practitioner. He taught Sokoti inside and outside school, and made him to realize why he must know how to act having being in a custody of a teacher. Sokoti enjoyed his experience on stage as a child actor and can not live outside acting again even in adulthood. That is an overview of who I am. Thank you.

2. For how long have you been in the movie industry?

To the glory of God I have been in acting since the early stage of my life, and I think my response to this question had been earlier captured.
3. What are the challenges faced so far since your inception into the make-belief  business?

My main problem back then was my father who wouldn’t want me to go into acting as a profession. My father did all he could to stop me from acting and that made me to look like a prodigal son, who was defiant to his father’s advise. At some point he took me where I would learn battery charging as an apprentice. When I eventually left there after two years, I can no longer get Money from my father to eat because he doesn’t want to see me anymore, but I knew acting is all I wanted to do, all those years I used to run away from work for acting, and later joined my late brother Mr Oduola from another father, who was a professional driver, I went to him not because I wanted to learn driving but because I would be able to eat daily. Although I actually told the man I wanted to learn driving in disguise and he accepted me, I lived with him for some years, he taught me how to drive with tipper lorry, and later dropped one of the malam who was loading his motor then and that I should join the remaining two to load the lorry, whether sound, gravel or stone as the case may be, such that I would have the opportunity of sharing money realized from loading with them. With that I started getting money on daily bases, I had the grace of not eating from what I was getting from loading, I became somebody who was having money on my own from my daily savings, I later got money for my drivers license, and became a professional driver, but my love for acting was still there, I never wanted to leave acting. I later traveled with another brother, Mr Rahmon Omole to Kaduna, where I could be able to do what I really wanted to do at my own will. That was the moment when I started my career with my first theatre group with the name Ifepade. Then I was driving and also practicing as a professional theatre practitioner and up till today the story hasn’t changed. I went through many difficult times that a reasonable person has to pass through, well that should be another topic for another day.

4. You are one of the Nollywood stakeholders who consistently fought against piracy. How will you describe the experience?

Yes, I did all I could to fight piracy, but piracy fighting is like you fighting corruption, which will surely fight back as it is fighting Buhari back now, there is no much difference between what happened to me then and what is happening to Buhari in this country now. It is so pathetic to note that those in the business of piracy will get five hundred percent of their total investment on each of our released films, which make it difficult for the copyright owner to get seventy percent of his or her total investment, so they have money to face the owners of the films, like there are some cases of corruption in some court in this country since 1999 till date that are still on, because the indicted corrupt leaders have lots of money to play around with, and the legal process which the Government will use in prosecuting them had been bought with their ill-gotten wealth, even when we had one of us in the House of Representatives, I think he was bought totally, he spent four years without canvassing for any law to reduce it to a minimal level, and we all supported his ambition, followed him throughout his campaign, in Osun, but later we decided not to support him again for the second term and he failed because he doesn’t have electoral value. We thank God today someone who is not part of us is fighting our course now, that is Hon. Oladipupo Olatunde Adebutu. The content of the bill expressly takes care of the concerns of movie producers, marketers, and other key stakeholders in the movie industry. The National Assembly has done the second reading, may God in his infinity Mercy continue to be with Hon. Adebutu. By God’s grace he will have our supports whatever he wants to do. However, let me say this now, some of us Yoruba actors, Asiwaju Bola  Ahmed Tinubu is our political party; what actually meant is that  wherever he goes we go with him, if tomorrow he is no more in APC, his new party will be where we will be by God grace, because he did a lot for us as actors especially in the Yoruba genre of movie production. I will want him and Aregbe to please forgive some of us when he sees us throwing our weights behind Hon. Ladi in spite of his political affiliation, there must be time of payback for every good things.
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5. Would you encourage any of your children to pick a career in movie production?

If a medical doctor or a lawyer could allow their children to be doctors or lawyers, what stops me from allowing my own children to be actors, producers, directors as the case may be? But my candid advice is that they must finish their education first, so that they will be able to do it well.

6. What is your advise for young Nigerians who might be willing to come into the industry?

They can come but let them be well read, education allowed a football player to be President today in Liberia, nothing can be achieved meritoriously without sound education. Acting is like a free world, but you must be well read.

7. How lucrative is the business of movie production in Nigeria and is it a venture an investor could put his money?

Yes, I pray the investors see it as one, most of the movies now make well over the total cost of the entire production in cinema alone, it depends on what you are really looking at.

8. What do you think government should be doing for the industry that they have not done ? And in what area have they fared well which you still think needs improvement?

They should help us in the area of piracy by making sure there are potent laws to fight and penalize those who are reaping where they never sowed. Without sounding immodest, I think it is not the government of this nation that has been sustaining our industry even till now, we are sustainers of our industry, we never cried to government to give us money for production, but all we urge them do was to provide enabling environment for us such that our business can blossom. The truth is how many professionals can the government continue to give money? Nigerians are not used to making a good law that will provide enabling ground for people to strive, but exigencies often force them to do some things when situations start getting worst, like they are trying to offer colonies to herdsmen at the expense of farmers which is purely a private business, but because they are killing people now, government is trying to do what they never did for other professionals and business men and women. I only want to beg government not to allow our own situation to degenerate to where there will be records killings, because those in this vicious piracy business had killed many of us silently, but because they do not carry guns, people may not know, but by the time we choose to retaliate by confronting them, that is when tension will now rise, but we are law abiding, we don’t take laws into our hands, we do everything within the ambit of the law. The truth is that we know them, and it is a particular tribe that is committing this crime, and we never prayed for a tribal war. Government needs to protect us, so that investors can bring their money and grow the business for us.
9. An average Nigerian youths would want to be like those in US and UK in terms of way of life, what impact or role do you think Nollywood has played in the preservation and promotion of Nigeria’s culture and tradition particularly the language?

Nollywood is a name I never supported for once, but since that is how government can refer to us as professionals in the make-belief industry I think we could just let that pass. Now let me just answer your questions, we have done many things to preserve the industry, culture, tradition and languages, for us to still remain there doing it without protection from government alone had prove us worthy of emulation. Many producers can not get back their total production cost from the produced films, but they are still there putting in their best, this is enough to praise film producers in Nigeria. My reason about not accepting the name Nollywood is another topic for another day, if Nollywood was founded about 22 years ago, and I have produce some video films between 1990 -1994. And it was released to the market throughout Nigeria, and it was sold like food then, the first 15th to 20th optical films (commercial films) had been shot and commercialized, between 1972 and year 1986 or1987 that  Muyideen Aromire short the first video films in Nigeria, (Ekun). Have u forgotten about Ija Ominira, Ajani Ogun, Aye ,Jayesinmi, IJA Orogun, Kadara, Ajakuakata, Orunmooru, Taxi Driver, Eyin Oku, Mosebolatan, Omo Orukan, Eri Okan, Fopomoyo and a host of others that had been taken to every where in Nigeria and overseas, between 1973 – 1987. And some of them will still sell more than any cinema films of nowadays even today. Therefore you can see that many things were wrong with the name Nollywood and it formation.

10. What should your fans expect from you this year? Any movies or surprise in the works?

 Yes, they should be expecting my new film to be shot this year, 2018 by the grace of God, presently the working title is “OGBE”. I must also express my gratitude to them all for their supports and will never disappoint them and may the good Lord continue to bless you.

The post Interview: We Film Makers Expect Stiffer Measures From Govt To Fight Piracy & Other Scourge In Make-Belief Industry– Abdulrasak Sokoti appeared first on Pearl News.

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Interview: We Film Makers Expect Stiffer Measures From Govt To Fight Piracy & Other Scourge In Make-Belief Industry– Abdulrasak Sokoti


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