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“I’m sick and broke” 98-years-old actor, Charles Olumo, cries out For Help



He’s famous for the stereotypical ‘bad man’ role he plays in Yoruba movies. In deed, not many people know him by his real name, Abdulsalam Ishola Sanyaolu or Charles Olumo, but mention Agbako in a crowd and all heads will turn.

For sometime now, however, Olumo has been down with a strange ailment that rendered him incapacitated and incommunicado. In fact, the veteran actor is in a bad shape and he needs whatever help he can get from Nigerians.

In this interview, the 98-years-old thespian opened up on his ailment and sundry issues.

Papa, you have been sick for sometime now. Could you tell us the nature of the ailment?

Yes, I have been sick but thank God I’m gradually getting back on my feet. The ailment is heart-related. After series of test, I was told that my heart was weak, coupled with the fact that I often forgot things, so I was placed on drugs that must be used to avoid any crisis.

Did they perform any surgery on you?

No, the doctors said there was no way they could perform surgery on me. They said the drugs were very essential and must not be skipped. Though, I was operated upon when I had urinary ailment recently, I’m free from that now.

Is your association, ANTP or TAMPAN aware of this?

Different people with different characters; some members were aware but it’s only a few of them like Esther Idowu Philips aka Mama Rainbow that gave me money regularly to feed and buy drugs.

Do you have any regret going into acting?

No. Our generation suffered a lot; we didn’t make money from acting. During our time, we worked to entertain people. I started as an entertainer whereby 12 people will be pounding (yam) on my chest. At times, I would be dancing on broken bottles.

How did you get such power to have 12 persons pounding yam on your chest?

It’s by practice not by any power. Also, with constant practice, I was able to jump down from a 10-storey building.

That means the ailment could be as a result of those dangerous things you’ve done in the past?

Yes, we took a lot of risks to entertain our audience in those days.

You mean you didn’t make money from acting?

Yes, all we were looking for in those days was fame, not money. But thank God, I have a house. I also have children but some of them are still young.

It means you have many children?

No, I only have five children from two wives.

Do you have any regret so far?

No. I thank God for the fame He gave me.

Right now, what do you want the government to do for you?

I want financial assistance from Nigerians and, most especially, the government.

How many films have you produced so far?

I have produced three films such as Agba Aja, Ajana Oro and Nkan Se, but I didn’t make money from them.

Why do you always play wicked roles in films?

I don’t play wicked roles but that of a ‘bad man’. I play ‘bad man’ to educate people, most especially, evildoers that the wages of sin is death.

Is there any difference between Agbako in films and Agbako at home?

At home, I’m Sanyaolu; but as soon as I put on the costume, it’s as if another power has come over me and I’m possessed.

Do you worship idol that possesses you while acting?

No, I’m a Christian and an Anglican for that matter. It was the late Abdul Jabar that sponsored me and other colleagues to Mecca sometimes ago, that’s when I became an Alhaji.

No one lives forever, so how do you want to be buried when you die?

I have instructed my children, and I’m saying it again that I should be buried the same day I join my ancestors. I should not be taken to any mortuary.

What of your colleagues? Have you told them this too?

I have told them, and I’m also using this opportunity to inform them, that nobody should come and shed crocodile tears at my burial. If they do, my spirit will flog them, because when I needed their help, they were nowhere to be found.

Did you mentor any of the young ones?

Yes, I mentored many; some are dead while others are alive. One of those still active is Muyiwa Ademola also known as Authentic.

What advice do you have for the younger ones in the movie industry?

They should be honest with themselves. They should not be diabolical because I am not fetish; I only play a fetish man in films.

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