ON Sunday, February 18, 2012, star actor and film maker, Alhaji Olayinka Akanni Quadri, simply called Yinka Quadri was honoured with a chieftaincy title, Agbaakin of Oro land, in his hometown, Oke Ola, Oro, Irepodun local government, Kwara State.
ENCOMIUM Weekly had an interview with the hunky role interpreter on Thursday, February 16, 2012, on this good development. He also spoke on other issues including his relationship with his ex-lover, Bisi Komolafe.
How would you assess your career in 2011?
I thank God for my life and career, everything went well. And things are also constantly improving. I recorded a lot of achievements last year and wonderful things have not stopped happening in my life. There was also a lot of progress in my family. It was about five months ago that I moved into my multi-million naira bungalow in Ikorodu town, and so many beautiful things like that. So, I need to be very grateful to Almighty God.
For the benefit of those who will be reading about you for the first time, can you share some of your bitter experiences since you started out in the 70s?
A lot. Was it the time we used to carry drums on our heads from Obalende to Ajefunle and from there to Ita Salawe and so on? Or the time we used to sleep in schools after we finished performing because we might not be able to go home that night?
We had a lot of bitter experience. I can still remember vividly in 1981 when Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS) was established. I risked my life that day. My dad was in industrialist. He had a towel manufacturing company, I was working in his company. My father now sent me to Apapa, Lagos, from there I picked one of our motorcycles, it was Suzuki then. And I went to Ibadan without the knowledge of my father. I was still very young, I didn’t see it as a big deal. It was God that actually protected me.
My theatre group went for a rehearsal at BCOS and I had to rush back to Lagos so that my father won’t know I took the bike to Ibadan. I was almost crushed by a fast moving vehicle on Eric Moore bridge because I just crossed the bridge with full speed and suddenly the vehicle came from nowhere. I couldn’t just imagine it until I heard people shouting Ha! Ha! Anytime I remember that incident, I always thank God that I am still alive.
When was your happiest moment since you started out as an actor?
Just as everybody who got to know my parents would attest to the fact that my parents were actually blessed by God. They were rich enough in their own way but before my dad passed on, he was always hammering it that I should be in charge of his business. But my first love is acting.
Although, before he died, he had blessed me after he discovered that I loved to be an actor rather than staying in his business. However, despite this, when my father died, all the family members met and concluded that I should be in charge but I refused. I told them point blank that I can’t manage the business and abandon acting. I now told them to be managing the business. But funny enough, all our business partners didn’t recognize all the family representatives, they insisted they wanted me. Until I signed as a guarantor that these people were the representatives of our family, they were not allowed to have any transaction with them.
Just imagine, if God had not blessed my career, people would have given me a lot of names. They would have called me a prodigal son. You know how we Yoruba reason at times when luck runs against you in a trade you chose yourself, apart from the one your parents chose for you? But thank God, I have been honoured by God because acting has really dealt me good hands.
So, every time I remember taking that decision has always been my happiest moment because I believe God has also used me to raise the flag of my family through acting.
What are you putting together for your fans at the moment?
I just released a movie, Baba Kamimowon and very soon, Ona Lojin, Eru ni Baba will be out. But now, I am working on a Yoruba soap which is quite different from home video. It’s not going to be a 13-episode TV series, it’s going to be very big. At least, it will be up to 114 episodes.
What other things do you intend doing before 2012 runs out?
We are all aware that Yoruba movie is assuming another level, very high one. And I wish to be part of those who will take it to that level. That’s one of the reasons I decided to produce a Yoruba TV soap in a new dimension and with highly sophisticated equipment. Also, it will parade first class actors and actresses to make it unique.
We learnt you’re warming up for a chieftaincy title in Oro, Kwara State. How does it feel to be honoured in one’s home town?
First, it feels great to be honoured in my hometown. Also, it’s a challenge for one to live up to expectation. One thing is that a good name comes before chieftaincy title. My father happened to be the Asaoye of Oro kingdom, the title stands as third in command to the Oba. Then after the death of my father, another person from the family took after him. But for the fact that the monarch really liked me and the interest he has in the whole Quadri family, he also felt the impact of the name in the town, in Nigeria as a whole, especially in Yorubaland. He now deemed it fit to honour me with a chieftaincy title, Agbaakin of Oroland.
Although, it’s a honourary title, the traditional ruler didn’t want to categorise it as that. He decided to also put it on the same level with other chieftaincy titles.
Won’t this have a negative effect on your career?
No, it can’t be disturbing me. Let me tell you the truth, you must first love your town very much. Let the love of where you come from be at the bottom of your heart always. For instance, as we are Nigerians now, our country should be our priority whether home or abroad. Then, those who took the decision to honour me actually understood the fact that I love my town and with my name, they believe the town will witness some level of development which I believe we would all witness by the special grace of God.
Also, following Kabiyesi around will also make the town realize its dream in Kwara State. Of course, the Oba and his subjects understand the nature of our job. They know I can only be chanced once in a while but I pledge, anytime they need my assistance, I will always be there for them.
What else do you intend doing with the title?
It’s just to develop the place for the people to know that I am from Oke Ola, Oro, Irepodun local government, Kwara State. I am proud to be one of the illustrious sons of Oroland. It’s only when you’re into shady deals that you won’t want the people to know who you are and where you’re from. That was why I accepted the title.
- This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, February 21, 2012