Wale Adepoju, son of veteran actor Karimu Adepoju (Baba Wande), is at the centre of a programme marking his 50 years on stage, Punch writes.
Unlike some children Nigeria’s celebrity entertainers, Wale Adepoju is not taking after his father. While his dad, Karimu Adepoju, the veteran Yoruba actor popularly known as Baba Wande, is one of the finest the country has produced, he (Wale) is a chartered accountant who works with a Lagos-based bank. Apart from the fact that he has, however, participated in some of Baba Wande’s stage and movie productions, even if in the background, he and some other people are currently poised to celebrate the thespian, whose Ti Oluwa ni Ile, a film produced by Tunde Kelani, is widely regarded as an evergreen masterpiece.
Adepoju (Wale) is at the centre of the feast that will mark Baba Wande’s 50 years on stage. According to him, the event starting on November 20 entails a colloquium, musical performances and the presentation of Agbabiaka, a new film by Baba Wande, who broke into the limelight as a star actor in many of the lab Oyin Adejobi’s drama series, Kootu Asipa. “Baba is a fulfilled man career-wise,” Adepoju says on the essence of his father’s sojourn in the art and culture industry. “His stardom has not fluctuated over the years, which signifies that the profession is one chosen for him by God. He is also a veteran actor that has carefully guided his ways so as not to throw away values and morals. All his work has been about preaching the right values and morals that are unfortunately gradually fading away.”
But the accountant who read Economics at the University of Ado Ekiti and did his master’s programme at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife stresses that none of the actor’s children specialises in theatre or film. He concedes that piracy and other issues affect the fortunes that a committed star like his father should command by now. Yet he maintains that Baba Wande has no cause for regret as he is a fulfilled man. The children, he adds, did not run away from acting. Rather, they join hands with him during productions, while also trying to make the best of their different careers.
Adepoju explains, “A lot of people show respect, and love for us whenever they discover that we are Baba Wande’s children. In fact, at times we feel like stars in our own way. But we never let this enter our heads. In fact, I don’t disclose who I am to anyone except some folk does that or I when I must do so in extreme cases.
“Yes, I have acted in a number of his works, especially during my school days. Most times, I am always involved with pre and post-production activities. Though I am a shy person, I still have passion for acting because I was born into the profession. Baba has not objected to anyone of us taking after him, he has only left clear instructions that we should discover ourselves by looking at our own potential and chosen careers. Particularly, he insists that we must go to school, after which we can venture into the acting if we are interested.”
On which of his father’s plays/films/roles he likes best, Adepoju says Ti Oluwa ni Ile remains a classic. But he says he he is always moved by the ‘tenacity’ with which Baba Wande acts in all his plays. But who is Baba Wande behind the scene? Adepoju notes, “ Baba Wande is a very religious man. When he is not acting, he is always reading the Quran – all the time.”