How old were you when popular soap, Village Headmaster, was being aired? Who was your favourite character? Did you miss the long rested soap which kept viewers glued to their TV sets? Omolara Akintoye had a chat with Dan Imoudu, otherwise known as Prince Dagbolu in the drama, who says drama has been bastardised, history must be restored into school curriculum, among sundry issues
PRINCE Dagbolu was a phenomenon character, would you still like to play Prince Dagbolu if Village Headmaster is to return or would wish to play another character?
Since I’m alive I have to be Prince Dagbolu because it’s a royal family. You find out this is why myself and kabiyesi were not really in very good terms. Balogun cannot talk when I’m talking, and Okoro found me so cantankerous because I believe so much in herbs and I still believe in it the role of Dagbolu which shows that Nigeria is rich in culture, especially with our herbs which also have the power.
The Amebo’s bar in The Village Headmaster is a gossip centre, that’s where the news comes from, if there is a single radio in a Village it’s at the bar, from there you know what is going on, the interpreters are there who interpret the English to any way they like and from there the news flies out, that was how it was in those days. Dagbolu is meant to show that Africans have Culture. But nowadays you found out that our drama is now being bastardised, there is no way you can act an English drama like am English man, let’s stop deceiving ourselves. Also concerning our children now education is not only in schools, the home plays a lot of role in children’s upbringing, some of our children now don’t even know what is called a calabash.
Now many of our children don’t even know that they have to bow down to greet their parents, and you also found out that in Village Headmaster, there is this idea of indigenous language, all the tribes were represented there speaking the dialect correctly, so you are able to learn something, but now what do you learn.
Also there is this suspense in Village Headmaster, after every episode, people will be asking, what will happen next, that is the beauty of the drama in it. So hopefully if NTA brings it back, to God be the glory, and apart from the Headmaster in the cast who was a foreigner, others were indigenes of Oja Village who moved through the ranks, see how I grew, even Chief Eleyinmi was once a Carpenter in Oja and immediately he became Eleyinmi, he brought out zone mannerisms which the audience caught and from there he became a Magistrate, he was not initially a magistrate, so a lot of things happened in the Village everybody has grown and they continue to grow.
Talking about the bastardisation of our drama particularly what we are seeing now in the Nigerian film industry, what can be done interns of interpretation of our culture’s and values from your point of view?
Right now money has overridden everything, in those days when we were acting, money was not an issue at all rather it was passion, right now you discover that people pay to get roles, right from the time of writing the script to interpretation, to recording, money overrules everything and once money becomes an issue, other things becomes secondary. But if we can go back to the roots now and we do it the right way, things would be fine, we’ll get there. Prince Dagbolu for all you know was a lover of the Bible, he can read Quran and can interpret it into local languages, he also love herbs.
People are pointing fingers at religion and the Western culture as being responsible for the debased of our culture, how true is this?
Our problem here is pretence, we pretend to be what we are not, even the so called Christian and Muslim also takes agbo but they won’t disclose it to people, there is beauty in our culture. The greatest disservice to our culture now is the idea of history not being taught in school, we must know our root, I’m from Edo (Etsako) in Edo state by the grace of God but I speak Yoruba fluently and also my language, when my dad was alive we must go home every year, it was compulsory, I can sing, talk and discuss in my language fluently. But it is sad that things have changed
We are going to miss Mr. Garuba very well, if Village Headmaster is coming back, I don’t know how the cast will look like but we are going to see someone in that reflect in the play?
You discover that attitude is everything, you only have to buy into whatever happens, look at Eleyinmi for instance many people felt he had no hand but he had a hand, he was using the agbada to cover it, and many people bought into it even that of Kabiyesi, so if you come up with your own mannerisms people will buy into it, this is what brings out the acting in you, so Garuba had his one style and likewise other cast in the play.•A scene from the Village Headmaster
Are you suggesting that History should return back to the curriculum?
Yes, 100 per cent, if it does, it is the beginning of our culture being restored back, if there is no history how will you know of Nigeria’s Independence, the period of Coup, how do you know when and how you were born etc, so you cannot kill history. If you kill history, you kill our culture entirely. I’m even of the opinion that it’s removal is what is contributing to all the insecurity challenges, killings and kidnapping we are experiencing now. In those days, a lady cannot kill a chicken, but now people no longer value human lives, it’s so sad.
Who is Prince Dagbolu and what else takes your time aside being an actor?
I went to Comprehensive High School Aiyetoro, Ogun State. I was there for seven years, it was the first American Controlled School in Nigeria, I was opportune to be there for good seven years. After which I worked for seven years before going to the University. I went to Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria from where we were made to go to Bayero University as a foundation students, and drama has been in the blood since when I was in form one. I was lucky to have tutors who were experts in drama like we had Djbulock from Government College Ibadan, he came to tutor in Aiyetoro and he was really there for us in the area of drama. So when I came out from the university, I was doing some teaching jobs then, I was a member of Ojo Theatre Group owned by Mrs. Shoretire from there I was invited to NTA. In those days you don’t just enter TV programmes, it’s from the stage you will be invited, so I was invited by Chief Taiye Ayorinde to come to NTA to be a member of Play of the week, so I acted in Play of the Week, For better or for worse and then again I was invited into the Village Headmaster, so along the line the so-called Waka pass or passer-by that was the beginning, i.e you just moved around when you do it and you feel happy that you have achieved something. So from there, I became a police man, a Palm wine tapper, the medicine man before I finally end up with Prince Dagbolu, so I acted that part before it was rested, and have involved in so many videos, place and I did some for Wale Adenuga,I was in schemes, presently, I’m into business into business, by Grace of God I own Gold Speed Freight Agencies Nigeria Ltd. I’m also into manufacturing and farming. I thank God for everything, I always mention it that after God , my wife is the next, she has been a pillar behind me, so whatever I’ve achieved to God be the Glory and I thank God for her.
Final word for upcoming artistes
They should not be lazy, they must try and read, there is a thin line between being famous and being notorious, nowadays most artistes are notorious and every artiste must be conscious of that line.