Samuel Ajibola is a Nollywood actor, model and events compere. His journey into acting started as a child and he became more popular for his role as ‘Spiff’ in the Africa Magic TV comedy series, The Johnsons, where he featured for 10 years before exiting. Ajibola is also famous for being the first Nigerian child-actor to win the award for Best Kid Actor for three years in a row. In this interview with MUTIAT LAWORE, Ajibola shared his passion for acting among other issues. Excerpts:
To start with how is fatherhood?
It has not really taken so much from me but one fact is that it has made me more responsible because I don’t want to appear as a bad father to my son. I want to live for him at all times. Being a father has really helped me in cutting off so many excesses.
How will you say your role in the popular TV series ‘The Johnson’ affected your life?
It has affected my life very positively. I will like to tell you that because ‘The country is going through some really difficult times, every time Nigeria has always gone through difficult times, people are always stressed – there is no money, no jobs, people are going through problems. When I meet people on a daily basis they say you are the only reason I watch movies, they say any time they go through the day stressed, they just want to sit down and when they watch me they sit down and relax, laugh and it takes away the stress of a whole day. My TV series is a daily TV series and because people watch it every day for me it takes away the stress that people have. I meet different people and they tell me I love watching you because you are the reason my family is happy, I feel some sort of happiness, satisfaction, fulfillment that on daily basis I make people happy.
Do people actually think you are really an imbecile?
Well, that’s why I am making effort to come to the media so that people can know that my character is different from who I am in real life. I am definitely not an imbecile in real life, I am actually a brilliant person because it takes a lot of brilliance to become such a character that will be so stupid and make people laugh. I meet people and I don’t really say things to them and they are already laughing. With my conversation with you, you will see that I am okay and am a very brilliant person.
How did you get the role?
I went for an audition in 2010, and when I got there I did what I was supposed to do and I forgot about it. Later on they called me; they were in need of young people for this TV series, a teenager in school. And I went for it since I fit that role and it was not based on who they knew, because nobody knew me then but it was based on what they could see, the talent they could find in people. And when they interviewed me they loved me, a lot of people never knew I started acting from my childhood.
Why did it take you so long to become famous?
As a child I was very popular in Nigeria, but at a point in time it began to disturb school and my dad asked me to take a break. In 2003 I went to Abuja to represent Federal Government at the polio programme with Benita Okojie , two of us were the people they took to represent Nigeria. I got the privilege to meet with the then Vice President Atiku Abubakar as a very young boy. Because I was so in demand, it was clashing with school and my parents asked me to stop and face my education. From 2003 to 2009 I was just my normal self, so people didn’t really know me. I had to start again but because I know if something is in you nobody can take it away from you. I got back and I gave my best and my best is what has got me to where I am today.
What have been the challenges?
Generally, the industry has developed; we have the bad side and the good side. One of the challenges we have is that the industry is built on the premises of known faces, when someone is not popular he cannot get there because there are people more popular than him. And also piracy, it cripples the industry. Hollywood is striving for the best and we are making partnership with them.
How are you able to blend with the new Nollywood?
The only way I have been able to blend with them is hard work, personally I am a very ambitious person, I don’t like a situation of being the second or third. I want to do something that nobody has ever done before.
Asides acting, modeling and compering at events, you have done a few skits. One of them is Dele Issues. What influenced it and should we look up to more skits?
Dele Issues came at a time when I needed to test the waters of being a producer as well as building a brand outside what people had known me for. Thankfully, it got me an episode with a former Nigerian President as well as a unique recognition in the African entertainment space. As it is right now, people should look forward to bigger things coming from Dele Issues.
For a $1m will you act nude?
I will never act nude, because am a much disciplined person, I will not do that for any amount, never!
What was growing up like?
I grew up in Surulere, have been in Surulere since 1994 up till now. I am glad am there and am still there. I have all my friends there, I also stayed on the Island but Surulere is always my home.
Were there any children you acted together, and what was your relationship with them?
In my time, when I started acting as a young boy, we had people like Peter Bolo Jr, Uscar
Do you have any project you want to do for young ones?
I have a lot of projects I want to do for children, but I don’t want to talk about it now. I want to invest in children not because they love me or they can relate with me, but because it’s good to discover your potential as a young kid so before they grow up they will amaze people.
What is the craziest thing a fan has ever done to you?
A fan called me around 10pm and said ‘I am going to call you around 5am and you must pick my call.’ And I have fans that are now my friends; we met on social media and we’re really good friends.
If you are to anticipate a kiss with any female actress who will that person be and why?
To be honest nobody, but if I was told to pick I will pick Genevieve Nnaji.
What advice do you have for young people looking up to you?
Draw closer to God every day and keep your heart pure without letting this immoral world influence who you become. Lastly, avoid being intimidated by money from thieves/robbers around you.