Recently, CEO of Ebony Films Production International Limited, Alhaji Kazeem Oluwaseun Olasunkanmi, famously known as Egbegbe, celebrated 40 lavishly, and his gig was attended by Yoruba movie stars and other industry stakeholders. The event which held at Jabita International Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, still remains an item on several lips.
However, contrary to earlier claim, Egbegbe confessed to ENCOMIUM Weekly that he actually celebrated 40. He spoke on the reason for not disclosing his real age, including his multimillion naira equipment when we met him in Ikeja, Lagos, on Friday, June 24, 2016.
What’s going on now at Ebony Films Production International Limited?
We thank God, everything is working fine at Ebony Production. We’re putting new things together. Now, we have acquired new ultra modern equipment for both music and movie. That’s what I went for after my birthday celebration. Now, we have our location bus, generator and everything needed to make a good movie and music video shoot. We even have them in excess, not when one set is busy the others will wait. Everything is on point now. We give thanks to Almighty Allah for His support.
How much did the whole thing cost you?
We’re talking of about N20 million equipment. They’re ultra modern equipment and they’re meant for both music and movie. We can’t afford to disappoint people. Our cameras are also ultra modern. We really mean business this time around and we’re set to take the entertainment industry to the next level.
When are you planning to unveil the equipment?
That will be July ending. We have started working towards that. We also have our new office at Balogun area, Ikeja, Lagos. Everything will be opened at the same time.
Recently, you celebrated 35, how do you feel about that?
I give thanks to Almighty Allah for everything. To me and as it’s rightly said, not age, but what one has achieved that matters. I thank God for what I have been able to achieve so far. I am also using this medium to appreciate those that have been praying for me, especially my Alfas (Islamic clerics) who have been praying for me day and night.
But one thing people keep doubting is the age you claimed, and you have been in this business for about 20 years. Does that mean you started at 15?
Just like I said, it’s not about the age but achievement. If you’re still talking of age, how old was Wizkid when he started making waves in the industry?
Does that mean you didn’t celebrate 35 as you made us to believe?
(Laughs) Not 35, we’re talking about Seun Egbegbe at 40. The video of the event will soon be out. A lot of people might have been saying “Seun Egbegbe is a young boy.” Fine, I am the one who knows my actual age. All is not about when I started but what I have made of the journey so far. That’s why I will continue to be grateful to my parents. I could remember how I started my business about 20 years ago, how everything started and all that.
How much did you start with and who gave you the money?
It was my mother who motivated me. She was the one who gave me the money with which I started my entertainment outfit. There was a friend of mine, Akin Olaiya (actor). We were very close and he was already an established actor. He’s the one who encouraged me to join the industry. He advised that I should be sponsoring movies that I will be making a lot of money from it. Then, I used to follow him to movie locations, and I gradually developed interest in what he told me. I now asked him how much will I need to start, he said if I can get at least N150,000. He followed me to my mother. My mother now asked him if the business was profitable, he said yes. He said I should just start with any amount and later I can add more to it as the business progressed. That was how my mom gave me N50,000. She made us realize that it was a loan, not dash. And she would collect it back after six months. I told her no problem. That’s how we started. That’s how everything started and Ebony Film Production came into being. But my mother didn’t collect the money again. She just told me that so that I can take the business serious. And I thank God I have never for once disappointed her since I started out. The first movie I produced was Ebony Alhaji marketed by Romoke Adunbarin. I thank God I made a lot of profit from it. It’s unlike now that the business is on the low side. Later, I also produced Igbayi Lola and it was also a sellout. And I made a lot of profit as well. Since then, I have not looked back. I believe that’s what God has destined me to do.
When exactly was that?
That’s between 1996 and 1997. And as we continued with movie production, I now thought of Alhaji Sule Alao Malaika, who’s my brother. He’s my elder brother because we’re from Abeokuta, Ogun State, and a fuji musician. I now thought of sponsoring his shows because I was sure I will still be making money from that also. Movies can’t be weekly thing and I didn’t want to be redundant, I had to venture into music. And I thank God, the first time I brought Alao Malaika to Ikeja here, I didn’t regret it. One thing about me is that if I spend N1 on a business and I can make 5 kobo as profit, I am satisfied. And when I weighed both movie and music, I realized I was on a right path, Alhamdulillai. Since, I have not regretted being in the industry.
What are you now working on at Ebony Production?
We just finished a movie, Street Boy. It will be out soon. It will be released with the video of my birthday, Seun Egbegbe @ 40. And it will be marketed by Al-Maroof Standard Investment.
Okay, now that you’re 40, what are the things you can’t do again?
I thank God for everything. There’s no one that’s perfect except Almighty Allah. And as you grow in age, you realize you’re above certain things. And you can never go back to those things. And above all, if God has blessed your effort, you must be very careful. You mustn’t do anything that will make you offend Him. He’s God, and He saw a lot of people out there before He chose you. So, one needs to be very careful and be mindful of the legacy he or she leaves for posterity. Whatever I am weak at, I try to adjust. But one thing is that Seun Egbegbe of about three years ago is not the same as the one talking to you now.
That means, you’re now more matured?
Yes, of course.
At 40, what’s life greatest lesson you have learnt?
I believe whatever happens to you as a human, God only wants you to learn one or two things from it. But I thank God, whatever might have happened to me has not pulled me down. If I passed a road and I fell, I won’t pass it again. I believe God has made me to learn one or two lessons from passing it in the first instance, that’s why I passed it.
What’s your relationship with actresses because most of them are too found of you?
There’s nothing special about our relationship. It’s the same way they like others in the industry, not only me. We’re all one big family. As they all love me, I love them as well. And it’s the same thing to everybody in the industry.
So, it’s not about you dating them?
Yes, one thing I want you to believe is that most times, all these things are rumours. Not everything you heard people say about someone in the industry you should believe. There’s always addition or subtraction in whatever people say. If you rely on hear say, one will be misled. I am not trying to shy away from the fact that if I see a lady I admire in the industry, I can make advances at her, if she likes me she may honour it and it she doesn’t, there’s no compulsion in that. And I don’t think anybody can arrest you for doing that. If I do anything, I stand by it, and if I don’t do it, I will tell you I don’t. So, I have no reason for hiding anything from you on that.
At 40, you have been very successful in your chosen trade. What advice do you have for the youth out there who are also aspiring to greater heights?
I will advice that they just have to put God first and be focused. No doubt, I must be grateful to God for where He had placed me. As I am now, I have a personal assistant, public relations officer, driver and all that. It’s not by my making but by the grace of Almighty Allah and by the dint of hard-work. All these movie stars, including Saidi Balogun, Fathia, Mercy Johnson and all, they didn’t become stars over night, they believed in what they’re doing and constantly working towards pursuing it to greater heights. That’s why they are where they are today. If I want to do anything, I always plan it and work towards it until I accomplish it. So, the youth should learn from this. They should be hard-working and shouldn’t give up if they are yet to achieve their goal. It’s not because musicians have been praise singing me that gave me fame. For instance, Alhaji Wasiu Alabi Pasuma said, it’s not because he’s singing my praise that actually gave me fame. He said God has destined that Seun Egbegbe will be famous. He added that he had done similar things for so many other people yet they are not famous. I believe its God and my hard-work that made me what I am today. Even, Pasuma had been hearing of me before we eventually met.
Let’s talk about your wives and children, how many of them now?
I have one wife abroad, a nurse and another one in Nigeria, she is a businesswoman.
How many children?
I have two children.
Do you still intend to marry more wives because you’re still young?
No, I am okay with the two. May God bless these ones.
What’s the relationship between you and Toyin Aimakhu now?
At the moment, we’re very good friends. I swear, there’s nothing romantic between us again. No issues again.