Kolawole Ajewole, a familiar face in the Nigerian movie industry, joined the industry in 1997 and has since then featured in numerous movies and produced some himself. He married popular actress, Toyin (Abraham) Ajeyemi in 2019. In this interview by FEMI OGUNTAYO, the Oyo State-born actor talks about his career, speculations about their relationship and other issues. Excerpts:
Firstly, let me wish you a happy New Year. What are your New Year resolutions?
The year is just starting, so I have a lot of resolutions for the New Year, a lot of expectations. I pray God grants me my heart’s desires.
Are there things you did in 2021 that you regretted doing?
I don’t really have reasons to regret. God has said that every other day will be blessed, so I don’t have any regrets in 2021.
What is that thing you wished you did in 2021 that you didn’t do?
None, like I said earlier, I put everything in God’s hands and God does his things the way he wants and it is my belief that whatever he doesn’t do for me today, will be done tomorrow.
What was your best moment in 2021?
That was the day my daughter graduated from Secondary school. It is not easy; there were a lot of children that died that same last year, while some are in the hospital, some became pregnant. But my daughter graduated last year, I am happy.
Let’s talk about your career. How and when did you join the industry?
I thank God for my life and give glory to him. I joined the industry precisely in 1997, and I started fully when I relocated to Abeokuta, Ogun State, because I am not from Abeokuta, I am from Oyo State, Ogbomoso town. In 1997 I joined the likes of Dimeji Ijadunade and Segun Ogungbe. There were no movie locations to go to, but then, we were going for school shows. We performed in schools, myself, Segun Ogungbe, Odunlade Adekola, Kayode Akindina, Bose Aregbesola, Olu Olowogemo (Portable Actor), and many more.
How did you get the alias, Awilo?
I got the name while I was performing on stage. It was during the time the song ‘Awilo logonba’ was the vogue. So, we went for a school show and I played the role of Awilo in a play because I know how to dance. Since then people started calling me Awilo.
Which movie would you say is your big break in the industry, which, gave you the attention you needed?
That would be ‘Ijogbon’ – a movie produced by myself and Tunde Sobayo. Also, ‘Ijiya Ife’ which I produced alone did a lot for me and my career. But ‘Ijagbon’ was the big break; it really gave me the requisite attention.
What are the projects you did in 2021 that you are proud of and what are your plans – movie-wise, for the New Year?
Last year for me was the movie ‘Jamal’ because I produced it and also I put it on my YouTube channel and it did well. Currently, it is on over 1 million views on YouTube. I am very happy it did well, and in 2022 I have a lot of projects in mind which I believe will work out well by God’s grace.
When you joined the industry, was it ever in your plans to get married to a fellow actor?
Yes, I never saw anything bad in it. Bankers marry themselves; even policemen marry women in their line of profession too. So I don’t see it as a big deal. So, it was in my plans, just that I want a happy marriage. In everything I do, I want to have a happy home. I want my children happy and I also want to be happy, because I come from a very religious background. My mum is a good Christian and my father is a good Muslim. So, I want a happy home and whatever makes one happy, I don’t see reasons not to do it. I thank God.
We learnt you and your wife started dating as far back as 2017 and it all started in Abeokuta, can you tell us how it all started?
Those are my family matters, I wouldn’t want to dwell too much on it or go too deep. All I know is that we started by God’s grace, we are now married by His grace and by God’s grace He will see us through till old age. So, that is all I would say about that.
Since your relationship with your wife started in 2017, why did it linger till 2019 before the relationship became public knowledge?
As I said earlier, I don’t really want to say much about my family. The thing is, I am a kind of person who doesn’t really say much, I just like to say less about a lot of things. I pray to God a lot, and I follow God’s lead and will. I believe it is God that will let me know when to say this or that, or do this, do that. So, it is between God and me. It is not someone or a pastor or alfa that will tell me to do this or that, even though I have Pastors and alfas that pray for me on a regular basis.
Some say she is older than you are, some say she is richer or more popular, what do you say to all these?
(Laughs) I have said I won’t say much about my family, but I think I have to address this. I was born in 1979 and I have a lot of colleagues that know my age. As I said earlier, I joined the industry in 1997 and I believe she hasn’t joined the industry then. So, subtract my age from 1997 when I joined the industry and compare it. So, I am older than my wife. Then on the issue of being richer or more popular, money or no money, popular or not, God is the one who owns money or fame and freely gives to whoever. Whether I am the one who is more popular or rich, or she is, the fact remains that we are both popular and rich. It is no big deal if my wife is richer than I am, in as much as none of us is being arrogant to the other over this. There is no issue because, at the end of the day, it is good for both parties, you assist each other. On popularity, I am also doing well for myself. I have been in the industry and doing well even before I met my wife, and I make my living from what I do. Currently, I have a clothing line – Kola Ajeyemi Clothings and Shoes. I also have a large farm, a very big one. So, I am doing well for myself and I am okay with that. She is doing well too and I have never for once wished she comes down. I am not that kind of guy, I wasn’t brought up that way. I pray she continues to go up and I remain at the top. But my wife is not older than I am, I was born in 1979 and a lot of people know this. So, for those talking all about whether she is older than I am or not, they are the ones who cause issues between husbands and wives. I want to say they should stop that. If they don’t stop, those in the marriage too shouldn’t allow talks like that to get to them.
What are your most embarrassing moments as an actor?
It is not possible not to have these embarrassing moments, but to me, once it happens, one must learn from it. I wouldn’t want to mention some of these experiences because the characters involved won’t like to see that I still dwell on the issue.
Some words for your fans.
I want to thank all of them, without them there is no Kola Ajeyemi. They are the ones who put food on our tables. I pray God continues to provide for them so they can continue to watch our movies.