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As the pioneer governor of the Theatre Arts and Motion Pictures Practitioners Association of Nigeria (TAMPAN) in Oyo State, actress Rose Odika has been able to pilot the affairs of the association to an enviable position. ‘The goddess of the screen’ as she is fondly called, in this interview by FEMI OGUNTAYO, talks about her recent event, her pet project ‘Bond’ and issues arising from the Nigerian movie industry.

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You recently celebrated 32 years on stage. Looking back, how would you describe the experience so far?

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I thank God; it is opening new doors for me. The celebration has put me in a new pedestrian now, in the sense that, a lot of people are now coming to me to ask, what next after this? Can you be our brand ambassador? So to me, it is a big experience that is opening new doors and I am glad I celebrated it because many people didn’t even know I have spent that long in the industry. So, it is also putting me in a new limelight.

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At your event you launched a new project called ‘Bond’, what is this all about and what is the motive behind this initiative?

It is just my way of making the celebration more memorable and also giving back to the society in my own little way. I looked at the unrest, insecurity, disunity, lack of love and moral decadence in the society right now and I felt what can I do? All these started from the roots which is the family. We all belong to one family or the other and each family produces what the society will be. So, I felt, why don’t I bring ‘Project Bond’ where we will be bonding families, homes and also, the society? So, I unveiled Project Bond to celebrate family values, I will look at what is missing in the society and catch them young.

What is missing is that most of our youths are derailed, they have lost focus. Let’s teach them how we were able to move from grass to grace. You must not remain poor because you were born poor. How can you leverage that and become who you want to be? We will also celebrate marriages that are 25 years and above and are doing fine, how did they cope? Then there would be icons awards, those who have been able to move from grass to grace and are doing fine, people who have great stories to tell. Jumoke, the bread seller, for example, is there and we will look like people like that in the society to celebrate and encourage them. I will also be shooting a 52 Yoruba TV series called ‘Kesho Rode’ (Charity Begins at home), which will project all these things; because when you act these things to them they tend to understand better. All these are what Project Bond is about.

You also recognised some people at the event, tagging them the pillar of the project. Who are these people and what are their roles in this?

I quite understand that if you have a vision, you need some people to make the vision fly. So, I selected people in the society, who are also people we can look up to and we gave them the Pillars Awards. Their roles are to advise and support us financially. They are also people who have made it through thick and thin. They have risen from grass to grace. This is not just about people who have money, but people who have money and integrity. People like Barrister Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), a very hardworking man, who made it from grass to grace, Prince Olaide Akinremi and Apostle Remi Awode. Also, Reverend Mother Esther Abimbola Ajayi, who also doubled as the mother of the day at the event, also made it from grass to grace through hard work. So, we felt we should make her one of our pillars so she can give us advice and also support us financially. We also have the three prominent Obas in Yoruba land as pillars of the project. Talking about the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, the Ojaja II and the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji. So, looking at the calibre of people who are our pillars, which will tell you we are not joking here. It is not just about having an NGO but making an impact. It is my belief that with the help of God and these people behind us, we will succeed.

As TAMPAN Governor in Oyo State, how would you describe your experience over the years?

Without mincing words and without being proud, by His grace, my name – Rose Odika has been written in Gold when it comes to TAMPAN in Oyo State. When we pulled out of the defunct ANTP and started TAMPAN, I was the interim chairperson who started TAMPAN in Oyo State. If I didn’t put in a good structure for the association, there wouldn’t be anything like TAMPAN in Oyo State. The fact that I am the pioneer governor of TAMPAN in Oyo State says a lot about my achievements so far. It is not easy to start an association with a zero-account and I have been able to sustain TAMPAN for the past eight to nine years. It is a great feat.

The Ooni of Ife has always been calling on both ANTP and TAMPAN to come together as one single body or have an umbrella body that would oversee their activities. How achievable is this and are there plans to make this work?

It cannot work! It cannot because TAMPAN has gone far, so we cannot go back. There is a cordial relationship between TAMPAN and ANTP, but coming back as one association? That is a forgone issue. On the umbrella body; there is an umbrella body that is overseeing all the entertainment associations in Nigeria and we all fall under that association, so they oversee our activities.

A lot has happened in the industry recently, how would you say the social media has contributed to aiding this crisis?

Everything has side and good effects but social media currently has a lot of side effects, because, you can sit in your house and post anything on the social media without anyone to caution you. So, we have all thrown caution away and it is not telling well about us at all. We should know that we are image makers in this country, to the youths and everyone who looks up to us. So, when we let loose and we don’t get our tongues guided, we put ourselves in trouble and in a mess. Social media has put us in a mess and we are trying as much as possible to come out of this mess that some people have put us into. If I say I am an image-maker and I am already messing up, what do I tell the young ones coming behind me? How am I portraying myself? Where you can just open your mouth and talk to elderly people and talk about your private part anyhow. So, social media at this point is not helping matters. So, I don’t blame Baba Buhari if he wants to close down Twitter, because most of us are misusing the opportunity.

So, do you think the suspension slammed on some erring members by TAMPAN will have an effect on these people or the industry at large?

I believe it will caution them, give and take, if the person agrees that he has been suspended and is not moving on to another association. But then, the fact remains that you have a bad record somewhere. There would come one day when you would be reminded of that suspension because it has been recorded for the future.

How is your prayer ministry fairing?

It was called ‘Women PUSH’ but now it is simply PUSH – Pray Until Something Happens, because we want men and women to attend. It is a bi-monthly programme and the next edition is coming up on August 3rd and by His grace, it is moving on gradually.

In 2019, you hinted to us about a change in your marital status. What is the update on this? Or are you secretly married and we don’t know?

When I get married you will know. So, be hopeful. (laughs)

What are your plans moving forward, what should your fans expect from you?

They should be on the lookout for me; I am not going to disappoint them at any point. A lot of my fans have been saying they miss me on screen, they should be ready, I am hitting the screens back very soon by His grace.

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