IT was exactly one year on Wednesday, September 1, 2010, that comic actress, Monsurat Omidina, popularly known and addressed as Omoladun Kenkelewu, wife of popular comic actor, Nurudeen Babatunde Omidina, a.k.a Baba Suwe passed on. Prayer in remembrance of the late actress was held at her Ewu Elepe, Ikorodu, Lagos residence that day. The event witnessed scores of Muslim clerics, Omoladun’s prayer group, family members, actors and actress and sympathizers.
ENCOMIUM Weekly later had an exclusive interview with Baba Suwe on many issues, most especially on life without Omoladun.
It is exactly a year now that your lovely wife, Monsurat passed on, how do you feel about the incident?
Ha! You are still asking me that? How else do you expect me to be feeling? Moladun is one person I can never forget. It is still a deep cut in my heart. If she were to be someone I could easily forget, I wouldn’t have remembered her today. I didn’t intend making it elaborate but you can see the number of people here today, I am surprised. I would have recorded it but I wouldn’t like watching it again because I still see it as a sad event. She died so soon. I remember her every minute, especially when I see her grave. Imagine somebody we used to sleep, wake, chat together and she just left me like that? It can’t be that easy to forget her.
How has her death affected you especially acting wise?
It has actually affected my career, I still feel her because most of the films I acted, she always played the role of my wife or my younger sister. But since her death, the story lines have to change so that her roles would not be felt again. But one thing I noticed is that, whatever the change in the storyline, each time I am acting and I realize that it is another person playing the role of my wife or any other role Moladun used to play, my mind would pause and it will go directly to her, then I would just pause for at least five minutes before I get myself together. I am yet to come out of the shock because Moladun was my lost rib, acting apart. For instance, there was a day I visited her family in Ibadan after her death, I asked them if there was a time Omoladun came to them alone without me accompanying her. Even when she was sick and she was admitted in the hospital, we were there together all through. I so much loved her and I would forever love her.
That means all the controversies that trailed her death including the allegation that you killed her were baseless…
(Cuts in) Not only baseless but out-rightly senseless. How I wish such people lived with us and witnessed how we related as husband and wife. I knew a lot of people that married just because of the fact that Moladun and I were an exemplary couple. When my wife was alive, no one could convince her to leave me, it wasn’t possible, even when she travelled to London, some people thought she would divorce me but I told them she can’t leave me for a month. She couldn’t stay up to a week there before she started calling me on phone. So, you can imagine the extent of our love for each other. That’s why she would be on my mind forever.
That means Omoladun still lives forever in your heart?
Exactly, you can see how large this house is, when she was the only one with me, it was as if there were many people living with us. But since she died, everything appears to me as if I don’t have any family again, as if I am completely alone. Whereas, I have a mother, siblings and others but still my life is empty without her. She was like a crowd. I f anybody said anything bad behind me, the way she would take up the fight before my arrival, I wouldn’t take it to that length just because of the love she had for me.
What are the things that you can’t forget about her?
A lot, especially when I think of the way we used to make love. It is not everything I can tell you. We always had a wonderful moment. At times, you will think we were little children. The Saturday prior to the day she died, we had a plan to make love. There are lots of things about her that I will continue to remember. Even at times the way she would talk to me as if she was talking to our last born, where are you coming from now? Who did you visit? If she sees any strange person with me, she would challenge the person. That alone gave me a lot of respect in our area. When people discover that your wife is a no nonsense woman, they won’t monkey around you.
We learnt that you won’t remarry, why?
Yes, it is possible. The reason is that if she was still alive, we would still be husband and wife, but we may not bear any child again because of her ailment. We have been advised by our doctor to stop bearing children. As God would have it, we had two kids, a boy and a girl. So, what else do we still want? Omoladun was not just a wife to me, she was also my mother. Each time we had a quarrel, I would appeal to her, ‘Don’t you know you’re my mother, anything I do please just accept me as I am and take it easy with me.’ Anything anybody might tell Moladun about me, she would tell me but she would not bother about it. So, I don’t see remarrying in my agenda, at least for now.
What lesson would you say her death has taught you?
I have learnt a lot about this life that I can’t tell it all on the pages of newspapers. Her death is still very heavy in my heart because it was an incident that was full of so many lessons.
How are you coping with the children?
It couldn’t have been that easy for me if I were to be a lazy and non-caring father before she died. When she was alive, I used to bath our children especially the male and at times, the girl too. But one thing that is certain is that no matter how we see it, the situation can’t be the same again. Before, I can come home anytime I like but now, the latest I come back home is 8p.m. But in every situation, one still needs to thank God and I pray all her efforts on the children would not go in vain.
Let’s talk about her role in your latest movie, entitled Baba Jayejaye 1, each time you watch it, how do you feel?
I feel sad because I miss her a lot. Moladun was Funke Akindele’s mother in that Part 1 and as you know she was a fantastic role interpreter. She played the role well but now that she is no more, the Part 2 of the movie is like mourning her. It was just as if it was Funke that killed her mother because of her many troubles. As a story writer, if such a thing happens you have to change the storyline to reflect the situation on ground. We feel her absence in the Part 2 but it’s not that it is not a fantastic project.
We learnt you and Funke Akindele are currently at war over Baba Jayejaye because you couldn’t afford her fee for Part 2, that was why you gave the role to Toyin Aimakhu, how true is it?
Let me tell you, the kind of money I pay anybody featuring in my movies, not many people can afford to pay it. There is no way you will work with me and regret it. Apart from Baba Jayejaye Part 2, I am also shooting another movie now, entitled Aye Temi Ni Mon Je and many people are working with me on the project just because of the way I treat my artists. Funke Akinele is my daughter and she can never insult me. When I wanted to shoot the Part 1, she called me that she would love to act with me in that film and when I called her back, I told her the story, she was so excited about it. She never discussed any fee with me. I was the one who gave her what I had and she didn’t complain. Even, she was the one who advised me to shoot Part 2. But we changed the story to reflect on our lifestyle on earth, especially on marriage. At times, a lot of legal marriages will break unexpectedly but that does not mean the man won’t remarry. So, if we want the story to reflect true life experience, I have to marry another wife in Baba Jayejaye and not Funke Akindele again, that is why we used Toyin Aimakhu to replace her. Not that Funke and I have any quarrel at all. So, the kind of life, I experienced with Toyin in Part 2 is a different experience entirely.
On a final note, now that Omoladun is no more, many women would have been making passes at you, how have you been coping?
Even when she was alive, women were chasing me let alone now that she is late. But one thing in life is that one has to be very careful in whatever one does. If you like to drink later a lot, you need to be very careful about it. But left to me, no one can take Moladun’s place in my life because we had a lot of things in common that nobody can do for me, she left a vacuum no woman can fill.
- THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN ENCOMIUM WEEKLY ON TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2010