Veteran broadcaster, Sadiq Daba, hit his biggest spotlight when he featured in Kunle Afolayan’s ‘October 1’. The movie won him many awards and recognition. In this interview with OLUSHOLA RICKETTS, he speaks on why he hardly features in movies, the state of Nigeria Television Authority and his desire for a girl child.
When was the last time you went to location?
I am a television man, so I am always on my job. But if you are talking about movies, that is different. The last job was a series on M-Net, ‘Hotel Majestic,’ which ran for almost a year. I took the job immediately after ‘October 1’ and I was engaged for a year. While I was engaged, I signed a contract that stopped me from doing other jobs.
Didn’t other jobs come your way?
Of course, jobs were coming, but I was already committed to something else. You do not jump from one job to another just because you are greedy. When you sign a contract to be on a set, you must keep to it.
I am getting scripts now, but it depends on how good the scripts are for me to take the job. The latest script came two weeks ago and I have gone through it. The script is so nice. When they are ready, I am ready.
Does it mean you would not settle for a ‘poor’ script if the money is right?
If I was a prostitute, I would have been doing that. I do not put my face in everything that appears on television. If not that, you would see me on screen every day. I pick and choose what I do and it depends on where it comes from.
Money is not the reason for me to act. First, I must like the script and the person bringing me in must know what he or she wants. So, we could only discuss money after I must have agreed to work on the project.
Was it true that you rejected appointments from M-Net and Africa Independent Television to stay with NTA at a time?
When people hear stories, they should confirm them. I do not know about this.
Why didn’t you leave NTA to experience other challenges?
Leave to where? What other challenges?Where were the other stations? I am a professional and NTA gave me all I wanted. So, why would I want to jump from one place to another?
What were the other stations doing that NTA was not doing?
There are no fresh challenges anywhere. What are your unfulfilled desires? There is nothing I had set out mind to do that I did not achieve. I worked for NTA for over 35 years; I am retired and I am satisfied. This is my house. When you knocked at my door, didn’t it open? I enjoyed every single moment I worked for television and I still enjoy being part of it. I worked with some of the best bosses ever. I still have friends there who l relate with regularly. As far as I am concerned, NTA is like a mini Nigeria. If Nigeria was like NTA, it would have been better. Nobody cares about where you come from. If you are good, you stay and you leave if you are not. I retired from NTA, but it does not mean I have retired from television. I still consult, I still work for television.
Don’t you feel NTA has lost its followership?
Yes, the NTA I was used to is not the NTA of today. I am a programmer but programmes are no longer there. How I wish the present administration could revisit programming and return it to whatever we used to have in the past.
What moves have you made to bring back the glorious days to NTA?
When I had the chance to meet with those in charge now, I spoke with them. Recently, I gave my services to the present Director General, who I absolutely believe has a beautiful agenda for NTA if only they allow him to work. NTA is not doing badly; it is the question of getting them to do the right thing.
There are retired NTA staff members, who are willing at no extra cost, to give their services to NTA. The present generation of NTA administration should go after those people.
Between TV and movies, which do you find more fulfilling?
I am a broadcaster through and through; I am not really an actor. If I act, it is just something I love to do.
How much money have you been able to make from acting?
How much money has The Point being paying you? Do not forget I am a journalist too. But, is acting lucrative? I do not know really.
What are your major concerns for the movie industry?
First, let’s talk about the television. Suddenly, Nollywood became an allcomers affair. We now have painters, plumbers and market women in the industry. They are in for the money and fame, not passion.
I agree we still have fanatic filmmakers out there who know their onions. ‘October 1’ and ’93 Days’ are good movies. But don’t tell me about Onitsha and Enugu-based filmmakers.
Which particular award or recognition means so much to you?
Every award has it uniqueness and no two programmes are the same. It took the industry a very long time to recognise me and it was Kunle Afolayan that opened the opportunity with his film, ‘October 1’.
‘October 1’ won many awards, and in the process too, I won some. I won the best actor at the 2015 Africa Movie Academy Awards and best actor at the 2015 Africa Interntional Film Festival. But I think the one I enjoyed mostly was the ‘Industry Merit Award’ at the 2016 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards. The late Bukky Ajayi and I were recognised.
Another one was being honoured as one of the 121 media icons in Nigeria by Red Media. I really treasured this too because it does not come easy. I was taken aback when I heard I was part of those unique 121 in the industry.
What do awards mean to you?
It is nice. It tells you that people like and respect what you do. It goes a long way in motivating you to do more for your country.
Most people see me as a role model. When I was doing ‘Cock Crow at Dawn,’ most Nigerian kids saw me as their mates. Whatever I did on screen was seen as alright and that made me to behave myself in the public. Because of the role, I could not just go to the bar.
Also, as you grow as a result of roles you play, there are certain things people expect from you and you must not fail them.
How did you feel when you became a father?
When you get married, I will ask you. How does everyone feel? You get married, you expect a child and you get it.
It also means you are no longer catering for yourself alone; you are working for yourself and others. So, if you were stupid before, you must get sensible. I have six kids and seven grandchildren. I have five boys and a girl.
Would you have wished to have more girls?
My last try was to have a girl, but God thought otherwise and gave me a boy. I am happy, to God be the glory. But I wish I had a little girl as my last child to be able to cuddle and be around with.
Do you still get advances from young ladies?
I am over 60. If you make yourself stupid, that is fine. You cannot stop people from appreciating you, but it depends on how responsible you are. If you want to be irresponsible, good luck to you. There is no fault in being appreciated and no harm in saying thank you.
How do you cope with ladies who want more from you?
Do you know the word discipline? If you know it, you should apply it. That is why I said it depends on how responsible you are.
What is the craziest thing a fan has done to you?
I get angry when serious ones misplaced their appreciation. They expect so much from you that they do not respect your privacy. Being a public person, they forget that you are first a human and you like to be treated as one. There are moments you just want to be yourself. I feel the craziest thing or appreciation of my art is when I was having a beer and a small boy came to knock me on my head. It was during the days of ‘Cock Crow at Dawn’ and I would never forget that till I die. As far as he was concerned, we were mates. He asked me what I was doing with the beer and I had to lie to him. I told him the beer was not mine and it was not sweet when I tasted it. God knows I made an impression in him. If I had told him it tasted well, the boy would have probably ended up as a drunk.