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Thursday, 25 April 2019


- Professor Sola Fosudo 

As an actor, Sola Fosudo needs no introduction. Instead it is he who will even do the introduction of the people and the industry. That is because, Fosudo is not only an acclaimed actor in the Nigerian movie industry, he is a professor in the field. So more or less, the industry is in his palms. But in real life, Sola Fosudo does not let that go to his head! He is naturally a down to earth personality, the only difference is, he speaks big grammar and keeps a trendy fashion style, seldom talks and laughs a lot.
He is a big name at Lagos State University, Ojo, and in this interview Paul Ukpabio, Professor Sola Fosudo, tells us more about the man behind the name.  

Which came first, the love for acting or the love for teaching?
I think it was the love for acting because I started acting while I was in Pry School, and also Secondary School. I only started teaching after my secondary school education so, naturally, acting came first.
At what point did it hit you that your love for arts and creativity could be turned into a career? 
I think it was when my College Cultural group participated in the Lagos State and National Cultural festivals in Lagos and Kaduna respectively in the year 1974, that my interest in the arts actually became kindled. I remember that Chief Hubert Ogunde who probably was a Training Consultant to the Lagos State groups preparing for the festival came to visit us at rehearsals in my school at Nazareth College Ibowon, Epe. He was immaculate, he was Culture personified. Meeting him then must have had some impact in my eventual choice of career. But I think there were other factors.
What were the early influences that shaped your career in the arts? 
The early influences were the great personalities that I met both at Unilag, Ife and Ibadan. Great men and women such as Late Bode Osanyin and his wife Prof. Ajike Osanyin, Prof Wole Soyinka, Prof Kole Omotosho, Prof. Folabo Ajayi, Drs Yemi Ogunbiyi, Olu Akomolafe and Oba Segun Akinbola at Ife; and also Prof Dapo Adelugba, late Prof Yinka Adedeji, Prof. Femi Osofisan, Uncle Bayo Oduneye, Professors Sowande, Umukoro and Lanre Bamidele at Ibadan. I was particularly lucky to have passed through Lagos, Ife and Ibadan to be trained and mentored by these great scholars and artistes. I am not sure there are many of us in the profession today who had this same opportunity.
How did your early years influence the person that you are today?
My early years turned me into what I am today, and I believe that to be so because of the quality of the teachers and mentors whom I had the rare priviledge to meet at the early years of my career. They were top scholars, world acclaimed artistes and men and women of character and integrity.
At the time you set out in your career, did you receive any discouragement or it was just a smooth sail?
I didn’t receive any discouragement at all. My parents were educated, and they also possessed some creative talents. They didn’t influence my choice of career, and when they eventually got to know where I was heading, they gave me their blessings.
Who influenced you most, your mom or dad? 
Both of them did in different ways. My Dad was a simple, gentle and noble man, and my Mom was an entrepreneur. She was courageous, brave and resourceful. I believe, I have derived my personality from both sides.

What was your first degree, and what was the perception of other students in the university about your course of study?
My first degree was in Theatre Arts. I think everybody including my childhood and school friends all agreed that I am well suited for my course of study. So, there were no beef in any way.
Which other artistic works were you influenced by, while you were on your first degree in the university? 
I was influenced by the stage productions of Bayo Oduneye; The Films and Stage Productions of Hubert Ogunde which I saw both at Ife and Ibadan.
Back in those early days, did you perceive that you will be a successful actor? 
Not quite. Nobody knows tomorrow. I’m sure Fashola didn’t know he would become governor of Lagos State when he was in school. Dogara might have dreamt or envisioned the idea of being a politician; he wouldn’t have guessed that he would become the Speaker of House of Representatives. Things play out providentially in the lives of men.
Now, those who plot and scheme to occupy some positions, albeit, dubiously or with desperation, usually don’t end well. But if God puts you there, you will shine. The glory of God will be made manifest. H. E Prof. Osinbajo the current Vice President is an example.
Where did you grow up and what was growing up like for you? 
I grew up both in Lagos with my parents and in Ogun state with my late Uncle who was a Headmaster. You know how it is to live with someone who is a Headmaster.
How about your wife, has she been in support of your artistic world?
Absolutely! She is also an Artiste, so she will have no reason not to support my creative career.
Many years after, what does your family look like? 
God has been kind and faithful to me and my family.
You could as well have worked in the corporate world, why have you remained in the campus? 
Work in the corporate world? (Laughs) I’m not sure I’ll be as fulfilled as I am where I am now.
What does it feel to be a professor, what are the challenges that has come with it in your relative field?
It’s a great challenge to be given a chair in the University. It means more responsibilities within and outside the University. It means more commitment to the University, the training and mentoring of the younger ones. It means continuous research and providing service to the community and the Nation. It means being available to humanity and society to share knowledge, to share experience and to keep learning as well.

You are a man of many parts, you have featured in home videos, stage performances that is theatre, television productions and so on, which do you love most?
The truth is, the Stage gives more professional fulfillment, but TV and Film give more fame and money. So, I love both equally.
Can you share some of your popular works with us, which brings cheerful memories to you?
For Stage Productions, I can never forget participating as Actor in Akinwunmi Ishola’s Aiye Ye won tan (1982), Ola Rotimi’s Kurumi (1980) and Femi Osofisan’s Morountodun (1981) all at Ife. And also Barrie Stavis’ The Man who never died (1985) in Ibadan. As Director, I can never forget Osofisan’s Many Colours make the Thunder King (2000) and recently Akinwunmi Ishola’s The Spirit of Lagos (2017) at LASU. For TV and Film, I can never forget Zeb Ejiro’sRipples (A network Soap Opera) (1986-1990), Hundeyin’s Iyawo Alhaji and Amin Orun (Video film, 1992 and 1993). Nnebue’s Glamour Girls and True Confession (Video Films, 1994 and 1995), Tade Ogidan’s Playing Games and Family on Fire (Video Films, 2002 and 2012) They are all classics.
How vibrant is the theatre arts department in Lagos state University?
The department of Theatre Arts and Music of Lagos State University unarguably is one of the best in Nigeria today for Theatre Arts and Music education. You can google it (laughs).
Do you have challenge of props, lightings, costume, studios here? Are you happy and contented with infrastructure?
Certainly, we have considerable amount of equipment to teach and execute our practical productions, but we can do with more if we have donations. The University authorities have been supportive and generous to us, but as you know, there are several other contending demands by other departments and Faculties. But we are happy with the attention given to us and our needs.
Do you gain any joy or satisfaction from grooming these youngsters?
That’s why we are here: To teach and train younger ones.
If you were not a theater arts practitioner and a university don, what else would you have loved to be?
I would have loved to be a Priest.

How do you describe yourself? 
I think you should direct that question to my colleagues and my students or those that I have worked with. But as a person I cherish and love simplicity and sincerity in life. I love to live and work with people who are serious-minded and result-oriented.
You go on leave, do you travel, what holiday memories do you have? 
Surely, I do travel once a while for holidays. One Holiday memory I will always remember was when I went to Jacksonville in the US in 1999 and my friend arranged a visit with some other friends to Orlando – Disney World. It was mind-blowing.
Most celebrity manages crash! What has saved yours? 
God, I believe. It can only be God. And I also think there’s an inherent determination by both of us to remain in the marriage in spite of vicissitudes of life and the normal challenges of marriage.
What men fashion accessories do you not do without? 
I can’t do without my wrist watch and my dressing ring.
You are already at the top of your career, what future do you still see?      
Thanks be to God for the little I’ve been able to achieve, I believe that I’m still “In the Making”. God is not done with me yet. The future is always in the hands of God for those who believe and even for those who do not believe, it doesn’t matter. God will do what He will do.

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