Ogbomoso-born Veteran actor, Chief Lere Paimo, popularly known and addressed as Eda Onileola, has dismissed as untrue news that sickness prevented him from acting.
He said it is not also true that he was deliberately sidelined because he was causing problems in the association.
He fingered Jide Kosoko as one of those who ordered film-makers to sideline him and others but added that “I have maintained a cordial relationship despite the fact that they mandated others not to feature us in films again. As an elder, I maintain my space, because it doesn’t move us an inch. They will even be troubled with guilty conscience, because they are also hearing about what God is doing for us. In fact, they must have seen that God did not abandon us. Personally, I bear no grudge against any of them. Take it or leave it, Jide is my son; I don’t have any grudge against him. He and his associate still greet and accord me respect anytime we meet. We are not fighting at all.
According to Lere Paimo, ”That is not true. Meanwhile, I am not the only person that is sidelined; Baba Wande and a couple of elders in the industry are also sidelined, because of association issues. The situation became messier when they left the indigenous association, the Association of Nigerian Theatre Practitioners (ANTP), to form the Theatre and Motion Pictures Association of Nigeria (TAMPAN). I made them realise that I would not leave ANTP that the late Ogunde founded. This is why they said they would not feature us again.
“So far, I have no regrets being sidelined from acting for about six years. I thank God for His faithfulness, because despite all these, I have not turned a beggar nor gone hungry. God has not turned against us. I have every reason to thank God, because their plans didn’t work. I have not lost my place as a veteran in the industry. Though I may not be wealthy. I appreciate God for what I have been able achieve in this profession and the good things He will still do for me.”
Chief Lere Paimo further explains that the ANPP still exist and formidable. “I foresee an association that would have a selfless leader and well-committed members. Everyone needs to check themselves and ask questions whether what they are doing is right or wrong. We need to remove sentiments or selfish interest if we desire to let the association grow, as well as to leave a worthy legacy behind.
“I am still acting. We just finished a series that will be aired for a year by Galaxy Television. The drama series is currently running on the station, precisely on Thursday by 8:30pm. We are not resting, because we have already completed the series. Currently, we are warming up to embark on another drama series . The title is Omi Ogbon and it is full of wisdom as the name implies. I derive joy in producing works that will boost knowledge, affect lives positively and promote culture and values.
“The owner of Galaxy TV, Chief Ojo, who is a good friend of mine, gave me the offer. For someone to have given a year offer is not ordinary, but a true love. He even told us to bring a proposal for another one year series. So, you can see that I am not retiring,” he added.
Revealing how he had turned down offers to feature in some works because some of them or the stories had no meat, he noted that: “some of the jobs did not have good messages and lacked cultural values. Except for Kunle Afolayan, who has good manners, he is the only person that I would not hesitate to work with if he calls me. Others don’t fear God and they don’t want to reckon with elders and this is why we have kept them in their space.”
He also disclosed that his recent overseas’ trip was not for a life-saving medical, adding that “contrary to the rumours doing the rounds that I went for a life-saving trip. I am hale and hearty. I was healthy and sound before I left the country and even when I returned, nothing has changed. Mere looking at me, did you see any sign of illness? No, I don’t care about what they say.”