His name is synonymous with the golden era of NTA. Sadiq Daba indeed is a consummate actor and broadcaster per excellence having worked and grown into a brand working for thirty five years in NTA. He was one of the 121 professionals honoured recently at the Red Summit. In this interview with SAMUEL ABULUDE he shares on his success secrets, his career and other titbits.
How did it feel winning AMAA’s Best Actor Award?
It felt great. I was not expecting it! It came as a surprise. After all these years someone comes along and recognises that you’ve done well; of course you’ll be happy. Indeed I was happy. So, that sums my feelings.
How has acting and broadcasting been for you as someone who is based in the north?
I was never based in the north; yes I’m from the north and sometimes I have to travel to the north for work, but half of the time, I was here in Lagos, just down the road at NTA, Ahmadu Bello Way. Yes, I did ‘Cock Crow At Dawn’, in Jos because I was on location. I started my broadcasting career at Radio and Television Kaduna (RKTV). From there, I went over to NTA Sokoto and then to Lagos, where I have been ever since.
Were you in South Africa for the AMAA awards?
Yes I was at the awards two weeks ago. I invited Kunle Afolayan to come on stage because he was the producer and it was only fair to recognise him. He’s like a younger brother to me.
How was it like playing a role in ‘October 1’?
Very very challenging because it is a story about a problem in Yorubaland, caused by an Igbo man; to be solved by a Hausa man. It was incredible. The story of ‘October 1’ is the story of Nigeria right from before independence and during independence. It’s about what the white man did and all the rubbish inherited from the white man. They caused confusion without solving it and they later ran away. All these are the little, little problems that make up Nigeria. But gradually we are solving them by ourselves. We’re cleaning up the problems of the white man.
Some people voiced some dissatisfaction with the scenes where the Oba’s son was killing people, what’s your take?
Have you really watched the film? The Oba’s son made a statement that for each suffering meted out to him by the Reverend, the people of Akute will suffer for it.
The question is, if you were the Oba’s son, would you react in that manner? You are not the Oba’s son; that is for the man to decide.
Why did you get so emotional after receiving your award?
Look, everybody in that hall, not one person was sitting down. They all recognised the fact that I deserved the award and stood up for me; won’t you get emotional? I want to thank the organisers of RED Summit & Gala Night for recognising me.
If I’m correct, you’ve spent like four decades in the movie industry, what is the secret behind your staying power?
You want to know my age ehn (laughs)? I’m over sixty. I have six kids. I have six grandchildren. It’s the grace of God. That is the staying power. Believe in yourself. Do unto others as you want them to do unto you. You do not hate people. Put a smile on their faces and believe positively that tomorrow will be better.
Tell us about the production you were involved in before ‘Cock Crow At Dawn’?
You mean ‘Moment Of Truth’? That was the best production on NTA. That was a movie NTA asked us to do and broadcast on all NTA stations. I was in NTA Sokoto and the producer/director of the program is Peter Igho. He produced and directed ‘Cock Crow At Dawn’ as well. In fact it was as a result of the success of ‘Moment of Truth’ that he was commissioned to do ‘Cock Crow At Dawn’.
What’s your take on the entertainment industry presently?
The entertainment industry is vast. I don’t know which area you mean? Is it TV, radio or motion picture? For TV, I don’t know what to say, whether it is good or bad. It’s like we don’t have programs that people can run home to watch. We lack content now. If our people going to concentrate on content, where are the personnel and training systems? If we move into radio, half of the English we speak is nothing we can take home. It’s horrible and terrible. I won’t want my children to listen. Then Nollywood- first I don’t even like the name Nollywood, where did they get the ‘nolly’ from? Some of them are good but when it comes to the bad ones, they are very bad! We need to restructure and get things right.
What are three things people don’t know about you?
What is it that people don’t know about me? I’ve been retired after 35 years of NTA. I don’t think there is anybody in Nigeria who does not know me. I’m a Hausa man married to a Yoruba woman. Her name is Bolaji. I schooled in Sierra Leone.
What is your advice as someone that has seen it all in the industry?
It’s a very simple advice. What you want to do, do it well. If you can’t do it well, don’t try it. Broadcast is not a stop gap for drop-outs. It has gone beyond that. May be that’s why they call themselves Nollywood. Many view acting, broadcast as a stop gap until something better comes. It is not like that. For those of us that watch trends, there is no other alternative in professionalism. You have to be good in what you do and keep on learning.