ON Saturday, September 6, 2014, veteran actor cum film maker, Alhaji Olayinka Akanni Quadri, simply addressed as Yinka Quadri clocked 55. And he was very grateful to God about it. He spoke on this exclusively on Friday, October 31, 2014, when ENCOMIUM Weekly visited him at his Odunfa, Ebute Metta, Lagos office. The Oro, Kwara born entertainer also opened up on other issues, including his new poultry project.
What’s the latest from your stable right now?
I am working on another blockbuster, The Moon (Osupa). And just as I have promised my fans that I won’t disappoint them, Osupa is going to be better than all the movies I have produced so far. Also, I want to use this medium to appreciate all my fans for their support from inception till date. If not them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Then, another project I just embarked upon has to do with poultry.
What informed going into poultry?
I just felt I should also support my country with what I have, and I thought going into poultry farming will serve that purpose. It has also been on my mind to use what I am and what I have to benefit mankind and support Nigeria. So, with that project, I believe if I commit the little I am able to get from my career as a theatre practitioner into poultry, I will be able to generate employment for some or few of the unemployed youths. Even beyond that, it’s also going to benefit a lot of people in different ways.
It’s along Shagamu Road, Ikorodu, Lagos. There is a place designated as poultry farm. The farm was allocated by the state government for that purpose. And as we all know, commercial and large scale poultry can’t be practiced in the main town, it has to be at the outskirts, where you will have spacious land. That’s why I established it at that place. I am also using this medium to solicit government support so that it can be bigger than what I really planned.
How much have you spent so far on the project?
I have spent about N7m, and I am still spending. That’s why I am in need of more funds to ensure the project is completed to my satisfaction.
Recently, you went to United States of America. What was the purpose of the trip?
Glory be to God, a group of people organized awards night, and they deemed it fit that I should be among the awardees. Those in the group included Olusola Alfa, Dele Ogundipe and other responsible people in the US. So, I had to be there and I was awarded Best Yoruba Actor of the Year. And on my return from the US, I was also informed that I was nominated for Best of Nollywood (BON) Awards. The awards ceremony was held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. I was not just nominated, I also won the award as Best Yoruba Actor, 2014. I was now wondering why everything was just happening almost at the same time. I even thought people like me are too old for such awards, not knowing that they have nothing to do with age but your performance. I now discovered that it was just God’s favour because I am not the only one in the industry but it only pleased God to have bestowed on me such a great honour. Also, come Saturday, November 8, 2014, I will be travelling to UK for another award. They just told me on phone few days ago about it. So, everything is a surprise to me. I don’t know what I have done in the sight of Allah to have deserved all these recognitions. But I think all I need do is to continue giving Him all the glory.
How does winning all these awards make you feel now?
It makes me feel so good and excited. I just keep thanking God all the time for everything because it’s one thing to be nominated for an award, it’s another thing to win it. I was not just nominated for the awards, I also won them, home and abroad. It’s a sign of favour from Almighty God. That’s why I can’t thank Him enough.
On Saturday, September 6, 2014, you clocked 55. How does that make you feel also?
I feel so good and joyous. It’s just the grace of God for one to attain 55, especially with the kind of situation we’re going through nowadays. It’s not a joke for one to clock 55, and to be honest, it calls for celebration. When you multiply 365 days with 55, you can imagine the number of days I have lived on the surface of the earth. But one thing is that it’s the grace of God that I am enjoying. A lot of my age mates have gone to the great beyond. Even many others that I am older than are no more. So, keeping me alive till date is a special favour and grace of Allah. And I will continue to say Alhamdullilah. I have a lot of reasons to be thankful to God. I am not only alive, but God has also protected all that He had given me. So, I owe Him a lot of thanks about that.
At 55, what are the things you feel you can’t do again going by the fact that you’re getting old now?
What I think I know how to do best is my job, which is acting. I am still very agile and intelligent as usual. If they invite me for roles in different locations, without writing them anywhere, I won’t forget the dates of my appointments with all the producers. I still have a very sound memory. And I don’t report late at any movie location. So, the fact that I have clocked 55 has not changed anything in me. I am still the same Yinka Quadri. Even, if I am invited to a location in Ilorin, Kwara State, I will get there before the person that invites me. It’s not by my power, it’s God’s grace.
What would you say has been working for you?
Nothing but prayer. You can ask anybody, I don’t have any hidden place. Anybody that visits me is free to have access to my bedroom or anywhere in my house. I have no skeleton in my cupboard. I believe in prayer, and that has been working for me. Almighty Allah that I worship has not disappointed me.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
God has done a lot for me, not just one thing. First, for keeping me alive is beyond human knowledge. And all what God has been doing for me since I was born till when I became an actor in 1978 have been wonderful and marvelous. I have been rising from glory to glory. Also, all my children are doing well. I can’t just finish listing all my achievements, and I must tell you all of them are great. That’s why I will forever be grateful to God.
It’s true that God has blessed me abundantly, but there is no how great or blessed a man is that he won’t still have what he wants from God. As for me, it’s my poultry project that’s very paramount in my agenda right now. I want God to help me complete it. Initially, I thought it was a small thing but I discovered there was nothing small. Everything is money, especially now that the economy itself doesn’t help matters. I know God won’t disappoint me, for He has always been with me.
You said you have spent about N7m on the poultry, how much are you really looking at to complete it?
I am looking at about N20m. And I believe God will do it. I won’t relent on my efforts as well.
At 55, would you say you have taken any decision in the past that you regretted?
No, nothing like that has happened. If I take any decision, I will try and observe the situation for a while, and if the decision doesn’t bring any progress I will make u-turn before anybody tells me to.
When was your happiest moment?
That’s whenever I see myself in my personal house which I built in Ikorodu, I always feel very happy. I feel happy and grateful to God because I am no longer paying rent. Each time I even think of it, I say a big thank you to Almighty Allah.
When was your saddest moment?
That was when I lost my dad in 1994. We just celebrated 20th years of his death. And it was a memorable moment in my life. A lot of dignitaries including the Oloro of Oro, Oba Raphael Ajiboye, Kwara first lady, some of the state commissioners and others were at the event.
As an elder in the industry, what’s your comment on the situation of things in the Yoruba genre of the industry?
We’re making a serious move to address the situation because it’s our own thing and we can’t allow it to derail. I hope between January and February 2015, everything will be alright. That’s the time the executive members of the association will be voted and sworn in. As for me, I don’t entertain any fear at all.
– TADE ASIFAT