I Like Marriage, It’s Just That The First One Didn’t Work - Rose Odika

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Rose Odika is the vice president of the Association of Nigeria Theatre Practitioners (ANTP), Oyo State chapter. In this interview with GBENGA OLUMIDE, she speaks about her sojourn in the entertainment industry and other issues affecting theatre industry in Nigeria. Excerpts:

YOU have been quiet for some time, what exactly has been happening to you ?
A lot has been happening. It is just that I don’t do it the way some of my colleagues go about it. I am a very quiet person.

Is it the quietness that makes you scandal-free?
Well, if you think so. But the truth is that if you are not scandalous, you are going to be scandal-free. I don’t bite more than what I can chew. It is just my way of life. I think it is just God’s grace and I thank Him for that.

Some call you Rose Osanaye while others call you Rose Odika. What’s the reason behind this?
Well, Rose Osanaye was married to Mr. Joseph Osanaye, but unfortunately, the marriage did not work, so I went back to my father’s name, which is Odika. That’s why I now bear Rose Odika.

How many children did you have before you parted ways with your husband?
I have a daughter from the first marriage.

Tell us about your background and what growing up was like?
I had a humble beginning. My father used to be a police officer, though he retired before he died in 1993. My mother is a petty trader and I’m from a family of seven. I’m the second child. We are five boys and two girls and I’m the first girl. I went to St. Richard’s Catholics Primary School, Jericho, Eleyele, Ibadan. I went to the then Ahmadiya Grammar School, which is now Anwar-ul-Islam Secondary School, also in Eleyele. I was briefly at the University of Ibadan, in the Theatre Arts Department before I left for Alvan Ikoku College of Education, Owerri, in 1993 and finished in 1997 and I have a B.Sc in Health Education.

How old are you?
I’m close to 40. I won’t say more than that.

What brought you into acting?
Those who know me well in my secondary school days at Ahmadiya know that from my primary school days, I have been in the entertainment group, the cultural group. You know at the end of the academic year in every school, there used to be parties. I used to be a member of the entertainment group then — I either danced or took part in drama. When I got to the secondary school, Dr. (Mrs.) Eroh was then the vice-principal of that school.

She was leading the French Club and I was in the club. She saw the talent in me and called me one day and said, ‘look, I think you will do well in the entertainment world.’ So, I started building the interest from my secondary school days and I developed it. It’s very important to use your talent. Since I knew that one of my greatest points is in performing arts, I made up my mind from the outset to go into entertainment. Well, neither is easier, because the one that would have been easier is my dialect. I was taught to speak English, I was taught to speak Yoruba. So to me, speaking in English and Yoruba is challenging.

How long have you been acting?
Many of my colleagues, when you ask them this question, they would just say 30 years, 20 years, but I would rather answer you based on the number of years I’ve been acting professionally, else, I would take you back to my primary school days. Professionally, I started acting in 1992.

Which film earned you your first pay?
Express Ladies in 1992. It was produced by Wemimo Films.

How many films have you featured in and which of these shot you into limelight?
I have lost count but I know they are not up to 100. The one that brought me into limelight was Ododo Eye which came out in 1993. That’s why some people call me Rose Ododo Eye.

How many films have you produced?
I’ve just produced the second one. The first one is Alaparutu. The second one is Enu Eje.

An actor once said that there is no professionalism in the movie industry, how do you react to this?
Yes I agree with him. And it is due to the structure laid by the pioneers of Yoruba film, like the late Hubert Ogunde. Then, it was a group thing, and that was why they had many wives and children. But now, things should change, artistes should be graded. And you know that if you don’t pay these Igbo artistes particular amount, no artiste in his or her category will accept less. But in Yoruba film industry, you can’t do that, because if you say no, others will jump at it.

What position is Nollywood compared to other film industries in the world?
I won’t talk about Nollywood. I don’t recognise Nollywood. But if you say what is the rating of the film industry in Nigeria, I can talk on that because Nollywood does not encompass every actor. Nollywood was just formed by some set of people in the Igbo genre. They only came up with Nollywood to brand their products in English. We, the Yoruba artistes, don’t call it Nollywood, we call ourselves film-makers, we are actors under ANTP. Why can’t actors and actresses be under one umbrella? When you talk about rating the film industry in Nigeria, I will say we are getting there. We are improving technically and in terms of the actors, they are all improving day-in-day-out.

As a beautiful woman, how do you cope with male admirers?
As a beautiful, matured woman, I don’t have any problem with men, they are all my friends. I place them where they belong.

Do you see yourself re-marrying?
Of course by God’s grace, very soon. Or don’t you want me to get married? I like marriage a lot, it’s just that the first one didn’t work and I pray that very soon, I will settle down again.

I Like Marriage, It
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