VETERAN actor cum film maker, Alhaji Olayinka Akanni Quadri, simply addressed as Yinka Quadri, is now a bonafide Diploma student of Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago Iwoye, Ogun State, studying Theatre Arts.
In this interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly on Sunday, August 2, 2015, when we cornered him at an event in Ikeja, Lagos, the successful role interpreter spoke excitedly on his experience so far in school and much more…
Yes, right now I am in OOU studying Theatre Arts. And of course, a Diploma course which lasts only six months. To say the truth, the experience has been wonderful and I am very happy about it.
How many of you benefitted from the scheme?
We’re about 10, including myself, Prince Jide Kosoko, Toyosi Adesanya, Fathia Balogun, Sola Kosoko and others.
There was a time we learnt they said they wanted to initiate you people into Theatre practice which almost caused a kind of crisis between you and the Theatre Arts department of the institution. What’s the truth about it?
There was no argument on that. What we’re thinking when the Head of Department (HOD) called on us and said they wanted to do initiation for us was quite different from what they meant. So, we now thought of who was actually going to initiate who? Who will do that for us? Is it the students that we believe are under us or who? There was no crisis about it. No argument at all. We’re trying to sort things out now with the authorities, and very soon we’re going to do it but in another form, not initiation they initially tagged it.
Do you think that will in anyway improve your acting performance?
I must confess I am part of the team. I now believe in what people rightly say that there is no experience that’s wasted. No knowledge that’s wasted because within the very short period I have been in the school, I have gained a lot. Even in this theatre practice which we believe we are among the pioneers, I have been able to learn more, especially English. I have improved myself. Going back to school has really helped me. And by the time I graduate, I believe I should have learnt more and become better. So, I can as well tell our people and every other person that there is no knowledge that’s wasted, it will only shape your career the more.
You’re now an advocate of value for education, especially among your colleagues who may not value it…
Yes, of course. Education is most essential. And I believe everybody should embrace that.
Would you like to go further than that?
I will, God willing. I may not tell people about that but very soon it will happen. You will see me in a higher form.
Taking out time to be in the classroom, receiving lectures while you’re supposed to be on location might have denied you some things since you started as a student in OOU. What do you have to say about that?
You should understand one thing, you must make some sacrifices to achieve certain things. Not that I am being denied anything but I thought I need to pay adequate attention to what I am doing in school now. I still go to locations to shoot anytime I have job. So, it doesn’t really disturb me but there are some jobs that I don’t accept if they have to disturb my class.
There was a tale weeks back that you’re down with an undisclosed ailment which informed your absence from locations, how true is it?
There was nothing like that. I was never down with any ailment. I am hale and hearty. What happened was that just like I said, one thing at a time. I only took time for my studies in OOU because one has to leave one thing for the other.
So, you were not sick?
Yes, I feel fine at all time. It’s just a rumour.
What could have informed the rumour then?
I wouldn’t know. Maybe because I was away from location for sometime and people didn’t have the opportunity to see me. So, they now thought I was sick. Nothing like that. I am hale and hearty. I am very much okay and strong. And I thank God for everything.
How would you assess the industry now?
The industry is moving. Take it or leave it, with this new regime of President Muhammadu Buhari and our new association, Theatre and Motion Pictures Practitioners of Nigeria (TAMPPAN), there is going to be a tremendous change in our industry.
What do you expect President Buhari to do for the industry?
First, I wish the President success in his administration. And I will enjoin all Nigerians to exercise patience with the man called Buhari because the way I see him, he means well for this country. And by the special grace of God, everything is going to move forward and it will be better for us all. And in our industry, he has pronounced it that he would do something serious about piracy which is killing the industry. So, with that alone, I am okay. And I believe he is going to do it as promised because he is a man of integrity.
A lot of people are saying Yinka Quadri is the richest right now in the Yoruba movie sector. Can you tell us your financial worth now?
Who are the people saying that? I am not even rich let alone being the richest in the industry, but I am happy and contented with what God has done for me. I will forever be grateful to Almighty Allah on that.
On Friday, July 31, 2015, the entertainment industry, especially the Yoruba movie genre where you belong lost a veteran actor, Mufutau Sanni, a.k.a Ajigijaga. How d you feel about his sudden death?
It’s a very sad incident. I feel very sad about it. May his soul rest in perfect peace. Ajigijaga happened to be a very nice and dedicated person. He was a very good actor. Then, don’t compare his real person to his character in movies. He was a completely different human being. His persona was exceptional. He was a very religious and humble man. But just as Yoruba says, Igi toto ki n pe ni gbo. That’s how I can describe what has just happened, very painful.
How would you describe his exit from the industry?
The industry has lost a rare gem. Personally, I know him as a very good actor. And I believe all of us in TAMPPAN will miss him a lot.
What are you people doing concerning his final funeral holding on Friday, August 7, 2015?
I can’t tell you that categorically because I am not the only one that will decide on that. But I am assuring you and every Nigerian out there that we’re going to give Ajigijaga a befitting burial.
The impression is that there is a lot of poverty in the Yoruba sector of Nigerian movie industry. What’s the major cause of that?
The major cause of poverty in the industry is nothing but piracy. Piracy is really killing the industry. But the hope that we have now is President Muhammadu Buhari’s stance on piracy. Once that’s achieved, I am sure things will be better for us in the industry and we will all move forward. We don’t have any other business than doing movies and we shall remain in the industry until things get better, which I think is very near.