VETERAN actor, Olumide Bakare, who has been battling heart-related ailment for quite long is now back on his feet. And he is very grateful to God about that.
The Ibadan, Oyo-based film maker spoke exclusively on this and much more when ENCOMIUM Weekly cornered him at an event in Lagos on Friday, May 1, 2015. He, however, admitted not doing away with smoking, drinking and womanizing totally but has only slowed down, even at 63.
What’s happening to your career at the moment?
Actually, for sometime I have been on the sick side. In fact, as at 2013/2014, I was very sick and that was published by many newspapers, magazines and even the social media. But as God would have it, I was taken to United States of America by my children and brother, a surgeon gynecologist. I went for medical treatment in the US where I stayed for a while. I came back to Nigeria in May 2014. But since then, I have not been very active. I am still on medication. I have low blood flow into the heart, which is a very terrible disease. So, I just take things easy. And most times, my doctor would tell me, ‘Just rest, sir.’
What actually was the cause of this heart-related disease?
If I may tell you, I have been a very strong person right from my secondary school days to my days in the university. Even when I was at the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), as the landlord of Oluwalambe Lodge, Koko Close, I drank, smoked and womanized. And you know when you do all these things, the result can be negative sometimes. But I just want to tell you, God has been so good and merciful to me. As it is right now, I am enjoying the grace of God. I still keep my normal life but most of the time, I am in the church. I go for vigil, day and night. I pray to God all the time and He has always answered my prayers. And I am very grateful to Him for that. I also want to thank all my friends that surrounded me, including Alhaji Lateef, Kunle Akinyele and others. These people have been so fantastic in my life and God is the greatest.
Now, how would you assess your health situation? Are you much better?
Yes, I am better. And I am healthy but not too healthy. But I relate with people very well because when you’re sick, you don’t stay indoor too much so that you don’t worsen your situation. So, it’s better to go out, relate and talk to people, feel cheerful and make yourself happy. Although, I have not worked for almost two years, I have not gone on location. I have only been resting, taking my medication and all that.
Without working all this while, how do you survive?
God has been so marvelous, with the assistance of my friends, my family and all the people that surround me. They have all been there for me. I pray Almighty God will continue to be with them in all their endeavours.
But the tale was that you contacted HIV/AIDS…
(Cuts in) Nothing like that at all. I believe you can assess my health situation. Do I look like someone who has HIV/AIDS? Nothing like that. You can see that I have bounced back.
Have you stopped drinking, smoking and womanizing on account of the fact that all these may still worsen your health condition?
I have not stopped out-rightly but I have slowed down. I don’t know how to tell lies, I still smoke and drink. I still find time to sleep with women. But the truth is that I am not doing all these things as before. And the fact still remains that I’m not properly married.
But we learnt you have about 10 children but you’re not married?
No, I only have four children and they are: Olabode, who is a pastor in the United States; Oluwamayowa, a businessman in Lagos here; Oluwatofunmi who is now in 300 level at the Ado Ekiti State University and my lovely princess, Halimat. I love her so much. So, I have two boys, two girls.
So, how old is your first child?
My first born is going to be 40 this year.
That means you should be around 70 now?
No, I am 63. I had my first child at 23 when I was in the University of Ibadan, Oyo State.
We thank God for your life. What other extra cautions are you taking, especially concerning your habit, to ensure your health improves?
Let me tell you one thing about life, God doesn’t care about habit but your heart. How clean is your heart to God and people around you? How do you sail across the ocean of your life and all that? All these are what God cares about. It’s not about whether you smoke and drink. Even those who don’t smoke and drink, worse things happen to them. I am a very straight forward person. I have been in all these habits for about 45 years, and I want to tell you, no shaking.
What lessons would you say the trying period has taught you?
I just believe as a human being, don’t do anything to the extreme. Try as much as possible to be moderate. If you drink, minimize it. If you smoke, minimize it and if you womanise, minimize it also.
How much have you spent so far on the ailment?
Do you believe that I don’t even know? I can’t say exactly the amount I have spent on the ailment because people who assisted me footed the bill. They never showed me the bill. But up till today, there is a hospital in Ibadan that I still owe N90,000. I don’t know when to pay that. So, I am looking for somebody that will say, ‘Olumide, you’re owing these people N90,000. This is the money.’
Let’s talk about the industry, what’s your comment about the situation of things right now, especially in the Yoruba sector where many associations have cropped up?
They have so much bastardised the industry with all these associations but I am going to tell you something. One day the right owners of the industry will take back the industry and everything will be adjusted.
What’s your take on piracy?
Piracy is something you cannot beat all over the world, even in the United States of America. There is no way you will release a job and they won’t pirate it. Even late Michael Jackson’s jobs are being pirated. So, what are we talking about?
Does that mean piracy can’t be eradicated or even checkmated?
It’s a menace we can’t overcome. The rogues are there, they can’t stop.
What of if the government intervenes strongly?
Which government? The government that cannot give you light, government that cannot give you water, good roads and you expect that kind of government to fight piracy. Forget it, my brother.
What do you expect from the incoming government of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, retd?
The worst that has never happened to Nigeria.
What do you expect from a man that has told Nigerians not to expect miracles from him after winning an election? So, Nigerians should expect the worst from his government.
– TADE ASIFAT