• Wole Soyinka’s Play Brought Me into the Limelight
• Nobody Can Stop Clarence Peters, My Son
• Marriage is Not Repulsive –When I Find the Right Person I Will Think About Its Good Sides
• God Gave Me a Son Just to Console Me and Wipe Away My Tears...
In anything you do give thanks to God; for he is good and his mercies endure for ever. God raised him up, not me. Clarence is a child of destiny; so nobody can stop him. He is a special gift. If it wasn’t like that then the purpose of God for his life wouldn’t have been actualised. His life would have been cut short somewhere along the line during the days of my struggle but God delivered me. My son is a blessing to me and everybody can testify to that. In fact, he is a blessing to the world. I don’t want to go into details because it is a long story.
Are you saying he is not close to his father and his family?
That is not true. My son is very close to his father; they are always together. He is not in any way fighting his dad or any member of his father’s family. He relates with them like a brother and that is the best he can do for now. Anyone who says he is not close to them is a very big liar. Take that from me. I am his mother and we relate very well. There is no three days that Clarence and his father don’t talk on phone. They are always in talking terms. Remember, time heals wounds and everybody has moved on from the past. So, I always advise him to forgive anyone that offends him. If you are a progressive person you will not dwell on the past. He is not dwelling in the past and that is why things are working out for him greatly. Today, he is successful and everybody is testifying to that. I believe God is in control. And I praise him for that.
How come he is so talented?
What do you expect from a child of a musician and an actress? A goat cannot give birth to a cat. It is not possible. Everything in me, as an actress, diverted into him and the best of his father also went into him. He believes he took these talents from the better of two worlds, me and his father, and that is why he is so successful. He is not made to be what he is. He is born to do it. It is just like the saying of the famous foreign star, Craig David, ‘I am born to do it.’ My son was born to make it. I am not surprised about him because at age five, he has started playing with different musicians that used to perform at my restaurants at Adeniyi Jones – Ikeja, Lagos.
How did you venture into Nollywood?
I started with both the stage and television in Ibadan, Oyo State. I actually kicked off with all the three tiers that are relevant today which includes: the Yoruba and English theatre and then, the television. My first time on stage was fun. I didn’t experience any stage fright. What I had in mind was excitement. And I didn’t see the audience. I started at the stage of Department of Theatre Arts, University of Ibadan. In 1979, I cannot remember the name of the play now but I played the role they gave me properly. The same year, I was shuttling between the stage and the television. I would leave Bode Sowande’s play to join Victor Ashaolu’s theatre and then Jumoke Payne’s rehearsals at NTV Ibadan. With all, I was getting my training and experience on the three platforms at the same time. And within two years of my acting career, I made much rapid progress.
So what movie or play brought you to limelight?
I will say the play, ‘Camwood on the Leaves’. It was directed by Professor Wole Soyinka in the 70s. I acted the role properly before I was invited by another of his friends, Ola Balogun and his wife who watched me perform in in that play, to feature me in their upcoming film called ‘Money Power’; that was how I got a major role in the film. From that, so many producers started getting my contacts till date.
You are one of the people who came to Nollywood in the 80s. Can you share some of your experiences in the industry and what is the way forward?
It’s a slow and steady process and we are getting there. I see a recession right now and there is a change that is coming to Nollywood. It’s obvious. We had a great attention from our past president, Goodluck Jonathan. I pray our present President (Muhammadu Buhari) also supports us. We are improving greatly. The change will come, (but) not everybody might be part of it but a new industry is building and it has to be one that would only carry along people who are passionate about the craft and not people who are there for the fame and the money but basically true talents.
What is it with marriage that you find repulsive?
No, I don’t find marriage repulsive; but, every day I learn from people who live with their husbands about what not to do when it comes to marriage. I think I’ve just learnt the bad things about marriage before the good ones. There is constant discouragement but I just know for a fact that when I find the right person I will definitely not think about it. Marriage should be about finding the right person, finding your soul mate, not necessarily in receiving love.
You have experienced many failed marriages, what is your view about marriage, will you still settle down with a man someday?
Marriage is a very good thing I am telling you. For the fact that I am not living with a man today, does not mean I will not advise anybody not to get married. If you have tasted good marriage you will encourage people to go into it. But one thing I always know is that it’s only in Nigeria that when you get married and it doesn’t work it is held against you that something is wrong. And people lay all sorts of blames on the woman. Nobody cares whether what the man is doing is something wrong or good – even when they know that the man has got a very big problem. People still castigate the woman most especially if she is an actress or famous. The clash of my marriages cannot be blamed on stardom. I only wanted peace and that is why I am on my own. But I always advise people to get married. If it doesn’t work for them let them remain single.