Adewale Adewuyi is a school proprietor, and amazingly a notable producer in the Nigerian movies industry. Added to these, Adewale acts and has featured in many movies, including award-winning ‘Kokoro Alate’. He spoke with MURPHY AJIBADE.
How did you come to be known as ‘Merit’?
I’m Adewale Adewuyi, but popularly known as ‘Merit’ in the entertainment world. The name ‘Merit’ was given to me in 1995 by a group during my days at the University of Lagos. I think it was due to my brilliance. In fact, there was this particular Hausa guy who was always calling me ‘Meritorious Ade’. So, the name ‘Merit’ was coined from Meritorious.
How did you get into the movie industry?
Well, I had quite a number of those already in the industry around me before I got involved. Whenever they came to my house for location then, they would tell me I could act, that I have the diction and the dialogue. I don’t know what they saw in me, they just took to me. Some of them said I could be very good in acting. They kept encouraging me whenever they came to my house for location. One thing led to another, and I found myself in the industry. Then I had to come under the tutelage of my boss. And to make it formal I had to register with ANTP. I was a trainee for four years.
How many movies have you featured in?
Haa! I don’t think I can remember them all now, they are many… I try not to feature in too many movies, though. Otherwise, I would have been more popular than I am now, because there is no week I do not receive a script. But I am selective and also always busy.
I have other businesses I am combining with my acting. I am the proprietor of a school here in Sango, Ogun State. Apart from that, I am selective in terms of movie locations. This is because I am a man of standard, and I reflect this in all I do. I don’t just go to any location. Secondly, I am also into education business, so I don’t really have that time for location. For instance, location could fall into the period of WAEC or JAMB, so I have to do away with some of the scripts I am given.
You have featured alongside the real big stars?
I have featured alongside practically all the known stars, there is no known Yoruba star that I have not featured with.
They usually compliment my acting, and always have words of encouragement. The younger ones would say ‘Sir, you are good.’ It was the younger ones who linked me to our ‘boss’, I mean Jide Kososko, because they think I act like him.
Some say I act like Odunlade Adekola, some say like Muyiwa Authentic. But I don’t forget to tell them that I am Merit, Adewale Adewuyi and not Jide Kosoko, Muyiwa or Odunlade. I am who I am, though it is good to be likened to somebody who is good.
Who are your role models?
I think my number one role model is Odunlade Adekola, I like his performance, I think I like everything about him.
Have you produced any film of your own?
I will not say yes, because I have not. But, movie makers bring film to me to buy, such that my name will be there as a producer. They would tell me they need money that I could buy it. If I see that the movie is good I would buy it and take it to the marketer, but so far I have not produced any, but I will soon do that.
Is the industry growing, in your own perspective?
Yes, the industry is growing. I will not say we are retro-progressing. I think the industry is growing going by continental and world ratings. Though we still need to improve.
Where do you think you can improve?
I think we need to improve on the side of leaders. I am not saying we do not have a good a leader, but we need peace in the industry. It would have been better if we don’t have factions or case in court. We should come together as one for a purpose. Let there be focus, we can now say this is what we want, but without such a thing, there would be ‘anarchy’, and at the end of the day there would be bad productions. If we have a strong leadership that is allowed to focus on strong targets, the industry would move forward.
What is your view about actresses who don’t seem to stay long in marriages. Is it a curse or what?
It appears as if it is a curse, but it is not a curse. There is one thing I really want to clear in terms of impression and that is, we have a lot of scandals around us because of the kind of job we do. We are showbiz, so anything we do is always being monitored. If we go to our bathroom to have a bath, it will be reported, everybody wants to know the type of breakfast we take every morning. But what happens in our professions happens in other professions too.
But it seems to happen more often in your own profession.
That is your own impression; everybody is entitled to his or her opinion. We have diversed opinions about issue. As far as I am concerned, all these things you say happen to our ladies happen everywhere. And it is all about the individual, not association or group or industry.
As you as you talk about those who can keep their homes in our industry, you will still have some of them who you can point to as good examples. I don’t wan to start mentioning names here, but I know we have people of good morals in the industry. We teach people how to live their lives to avoid regret at the end of the day. This thing like I said earlier on, is not all about industry but a thing of individuals, because all these people that are in negative light, I am sure if they are not in this industry, they will still do it in whatever profession they found themselves, so it all about individual and not profession. And another thing that I can say is working against us is that every Dick, Tom and Harry come to this industry without been thoroughly checked or screened. This has to stop.
Finally, are you planning to contest for a leadership position in Ogun State ANTP?
Not, not now