Soji Taiwo, popularly known as Omo Banke, is a Nollywood Yoruba actor. Renowned for his unique and funny ways of interpreting roles, Taiwo spoke with OLUSHOLA RICKETTS about his life and career.
Was it true that you left your wife in Nigeria for another woman in Canada?
This issue came up like five years ago. It is in the past, but as a celebrity, people would say whatever they like about you. If you are not close to that fellow, you cannot know the truth. The children they said I left are all in America now schooling.
Why didn’t you debunk the story at that point?
I didn’t need to talk much. The English people say silence is golden. Before I came back three weeks ago, there were rumours that I couldn’t come back. But if I don’t have my complete papers, can I come back home.
What were you doing in America for almost two years?
I was just sleeping and eating. When God has blessed you, all you need to do is to sleep and wake up. I had peace of mind over there; I did not need to run around to survive. I equally worked as a compere on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. I always attended wedding and naming ceremonies. Since I travelled, my roles in movie reduced. But when I came back, people welcomed me and work continued.
Why did you leave your job ? Were roles not coming in for you?
Well, it is my life and I can decide to take a break. At this point, it is not all the time we run after money. One has to run after his or her future as the same time. We are all aware that the Nigerian economy is in a mess. It was during the period I took a break that my children came to London.
Has this not affected your career?
It has not, nobody can take my place. That is why people call me Baba Igboro, Omo Igboro, Omo Street. I am a street boy. Most ‘slangs’ I say, I brought them to the industry. The new ones who are using my style are even promoting me in a way because people would always say they are behaving like Omo Banke. So, no one can take my place, I don’t even see it like that.
But don’t you think Odunlade is bigger than you in the industry at the moment?
We do not play the same roles. Before I made name, I was not playing lead roles. You would just see me in three or four scenes, unlike Odunlade who has always played lead roles. The sky is big for everyone to fly and our fingers are not the same. Life is not a competition, I am not in a competition with anyone provided I am doing well also.
Many ladies like married men, especially famous ones; how do you cope with them?
They see ring on my finger, I do not need to tell them that I am married. It is normal for them to meet you and like to take pictures. The truth is you cannot sleep with everyone. My upbringing will not let me do that. If I start having sex with everyone, I do not know when I would meet with the one that could destroy me.
You seem talented in music too; are there plans to go into that professionally?
People say that, but I have never thought about it. My late father, Yomi Taiwo, was a musician. I could wake up tomorrow and decide to go into music. Most musicians know that I am the son of a singer, which explains why I am close to some of them like Pasuma. But I do not have plans for now.
What keeps you in marriage?
You must be responsible. When I am asked to do something, I am always happy to do them for my family. I value my marriage a lot.
Don’t you think English actors are doing better than Yoruba actors?
No English actor would come close to me and say I am nobody. Once you see me, you would want to know who I am or where I stay. I’m not the type of Yoruba actor that can be easily pushed aside. I feel that when you put yourself in a not too dignifying position, there is likelihood of you being subjected to ridicule.
Have you ever starred in English movie?
No, but I have featured in a soap produced by Wale Adenuga. If the opportunity comes tomorrow, I can take it. There is nothing impossible; the difference is language. I believe interpreting scripts in Yoruba language is even more difficult than in English language.