Ace actor, Kayode Odumosu, popularly called Pa Kasumu, is hardly seen on set these days, no thanks to an ailment. As lively as ever, Pa Kasumu spoke with JOAN OMIONAWELE on a wide range of issues that include politics and his love life. Excerpts:
How is your health condition now health-wise?
I am improving, but lately, I have not been feeling well.
Haven’t you been going for check ups?
Yes, I have been going, so I pray things will improve with time.
Did you eventually go to India as you once planned?
The people who were supposed to be my link to India were not straightforward. One of them was an Indian but he avoided coming to Nigeria because of the Ebola Deadly Virus. We discussed at length in April about the issue, but....
But now that Nigeria has been certified Ebola free, have you tried to reach him?
I don’t want to be a burden on him
So there is no hope of you going to India anymore?
I want to be honest with you, I am just hoping on God
What about the Actors Guild of Nigeria, have they reached out to you?
No they haven’t. But as it is now, if I have any problem, I just discuss with my family members, and that’s how I have been doing it. God has been on my side and I am grateful for this.
It was gathered that Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State gave you a new house here in Abeokuta..
Yes, the governor has really tried for me. When I was at Mushin, Lagos State, he sent the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism to me. He gave me a cheque of N2 million, and later he sent me another N1 million. Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State has also helped me. They have done well for me.
So you are saying that none of your colleagues reached out to you
I won’t say none of them did...
So how many reached out to you?
I can’t really count.
So right now, what are the things you still need to get better?
I am taking to my doctor’s advice and doing all that he says I should do. You know I ought to have travelled to India, but I believe that Nigeria can give me all it takes to get better. My eyesight is still giving me problems. But I don’t see it as something that will require a major operation.
What do you think about entertainers who are going into politics, do you think if you were much better in health, you would have gone into politics?
I wouldn’t go into politics because If I want to help the nation, I wouldn’t do anything for money
Are you trying to say the stars are going into politics for money?
I’m not saying that they are going into politics for the money, but each person knows why he is going into politics.
When did you really start acting?
I started as far back as 1968, at Iponri village, in Lagos. I was there with an uncle whom we used to call Bro Simbad who organised concerts back then. He had members who used to rehearse and I showed interest. I was to play a role with the late Chief Ayinla Olumegbon. I said some lines that were not in the script and the applauses kept coming and after the play, people praised me, and since then, I never looked back.
How did you come by the name Pa Kasumu?
There was a day Madam Saje and I were on set, and we were doing a movie, so I just wanted a name that will start with K, though I am Kayode. So I agreed on using Kasumu because the letter K is flexible, as one can use it to describe a young boy as Kazeem- or an old man,-as Pa Kasumu. And I will say I’m still here because of God.
You have been known with your trademark, which is the pipe for years, was it just for the movies or you also hold the pipe in real life?
No, it was to create an image for that character in Pa Kasumu, so that when you see the pipe, you know it’s me.
Do you have any regrets in life?
So you never for once thought that if you had quit smoking or drinking, your health would not have deteriorated?
No. I stopped smoking since 1977, though my illness was traced back to that time, I stopped drinking many years ago, and this illness started in 2009 but all the same, I have no regrets.
What’s your relationship with two ace Yoruba Actors, Baba Wande and Jide Kosoko?
Jide Kosoko happens to be my friend apart from being together in the theatre world. Baba Wande is a very nice man to me, he is an elderly person anyway and I know he loves me.
So since you became so ill, have they reached out to you?
Yes they have, over the phone.
Can you compare the Nigeria of those days with what we have now
You can’t compare the Nigeria of those days to what we have now. Back then, we were not using NEPA or PHCN for power generation. We had ECN (Electric Corporation of Nigeria) and if there would be power outage, they would tell us a month before. They would even give you a countdown until the day they would take the light and after that, they would promise that it wouldn’t take up to five minutes before power is restored. We had potable water everywhere, there were very few mosquitoes because we had people who swept the gutters. But you know, these days, it’s all about money everywhere. There are many things that are not going well in this country.
When Alhaji (Lateef) Jakande was the governor of Lagos State, he tried to make the rail system work, but the political ambition of others parties had affected the programme and the country as a whole. If we handle things well, we don’t need to go to any country for survival because God has blessed this country a lot.
Not much has been heard about your marital life and you are also hardly seen at events with your wife. Is this deliberate
It’s deliberate because mine is different. Being a celebrity doesn’t make my wife or children celebrities.
But is it true that you like women a lot
Ah, no man will say he doesn’t like women
So men are allowed to do anything they like with women
No, you are taking it to another dimension now. That’s my wife, you can ask her.