Hello Presh Nation,
Wole Ojo is a Nigerian actor, he projected to fame after he won the fourth edition of AMBO. He then went on to play the role of the older Kashimawo in Tunde Kelani’s 2011 movie Maami. He is currently one of the top acts in the industry. Enjoy!
PRESH: Good day, can you please introduce yourself
WOLE OJO: Good day, full name Adewole Bolaji Ojo, Screen name Wole Ojo, I’m a Nigerian actor
PRESH: Tell us about your childhood
WOLE OJO: My childhood was pretty colorful, I come from a very humble background, I grew up in the barracks, barbeach police barracks, Ahmadu Bello way, Victoria Island to be precise. Ofcourse growing up in the barracks means one of my parents was an officer, so my dad was a police officer, I pretty much had the regular barracks upbringing. The barracks setting is sort of multicultural so you have people from all works of life living together with different languages everywhere. The central language that was spoken of course was pidgin. I attended Titilayo nursery school, went on to Police children school, where I did my primary 1-5. For my primary 6 education, I attended command children school, bonny camp in VI. For secondary school, I attended St. Gregory’s college. My childhood I would say was very interesting, I grew up practically in front of the television, I guess that’s my one of my biggest influences with regards to what I do today and my Dad I will credit him with doing me a lot of good. He saw my love for tv and he used that opportunity to educate with a lot of Musicals, so I grew up watching a lot of educational musical programs so I pretty much had a colorful childhood, things were not over the top magnificient but my parents did their best to make sure that myself and my siblings had what we needed. So yes I will say I had an amazing childhood.
PRESH: Command is one well known school in Lagos, the whole of Nigeria in fact. Tell us about your experience there.
WOLE OJO: My experience in command primary school, like I said I just did one year and that was my primary six, it was a pretty good experience, I remember being nicknamed police, because I got into school and I wasn’t the kid that will necessarily back down from a fight I may not get physical, but I wouldn’t back down when I’m being threatened, so I remember I had some altercations with some of the kids in class and our classroom teacher was trying to sort things out, and in the process he called me police and since then the nickname stuck, you know this guy that came from police children school , so yes they used to call me police then, it was pretty good, it was basic like every other childhood experience, going into a new school, start building friendship all over again, students that have been together for a couple years and I was just coming in primary six but it was a bit easy, it wasn’t that difficult. It was just a regular experience and I also had a good time in command.
PRESH: What was your family like? Do you have siblings?
WOLE OJO: My family was pretty close knit, There are three of us between my mom and my dad, but I also had step brothers and sisters, so my family was pretty close knit, growing up we were pretty much together, we were close, but at the same time respected our spaces, we were just cool, we didn’t really have that much drama between us growing up, because we grew up with parents that as loving and open as they could be, they were also very strict in some certain ways, so we grew up around a lot of (permit me to use the word) control and also you knew what to do and what not to do when you’re overstepping your bounds you know when not to push it, when to push it, so yeah pretty much basic childhood growing up
PRESH: What university did you attend and what did you study?
WOLE OJO: I attended the University of Lagos, Akoka, I was in the creative arts department and graduated with a BA in theatre
PRESH: Did studying Creative arts come easy? Based on the fact that you were already on screen
WOLE OJO: Studying creative arts wasn’t entirely easy because of the fact that I was already on screen, no. The nigerian educational sector suffers a lot and UNILAG was no exception, so many things we didn’t have working for us and we had to improvise a lot. We had some very passionate lecturers that I’m grateful I learnt a lot from, and we had some lecturers who seemed like they didn’t want to be in the department and it was just about paying the bills which has always been a problem with education in this part of the world. The conditions we were made to learn under wasn’t so conducive and research wasn’t so easy cause a lot of materials were not readily available so if you weren’t so passionate studying was a difficult thing, But I’m thankful that I was passionate enough cause so it’s something that I always wanted to do so I had to go out of my way most times to get some things done. So yes I enjoyed the process but it wasn’t that easy, being on screen didn’t make it any easier.
PRESH: What was the first project you were involved in as a professional actor?
WOLE OJO: Kidi Vision 101, I think I was 9 years old at the time, It is a children television show which aired on NTA back then
PRESH: How did you get the role and how did you feel?
WOLE OJO: Like I said earlier I grew up in bar beach police barracks on ahmadu bello way and NTA was just a couple blocks down literally a walking distance from my house and growing up in front of television, Kidi Vision 101 was one of my favourite programs and I would always tell my mum and I would love to be part of it, you know critic the program and all. One day she just challenged me and was like NTA is just down the corner, if you feel you are good enough why not go there and so I did, I went to NTA. First time I went there didn’t go so well I wasn’t able to see any of the producers. The security personnel at the entrance were not very friendly and they sort of took law into their own hands, asking some sort of questions and didn’t even let me get through, I was not deterred I think I went there second time, this time I got in but I was unable to see the producers. Then a friend of mine who happens to be a DJ now DJ Picasso, he was already on the show met him through a cousin of his who is late now we were all friends, the cousin was my friend so I met DJ Picasso through his cousin, and he was already on Kidi Vision so he was the person who got me through to the producers, he just invited me one day that they had a reading, I just said hello to everybody not necessarily do anything, so from then I had access to come around and I would read, I would get tested I think it was about the second or third time I’m not sure which exactly, as I went there for a couple months before I got a role but it was about the second or third time but I was tested to read for character I got my first professional character and the title of the character is Benson he was a cameramen was one of the cameraman in television station ran by kids, I remember that very well, and it felt great because like I said growing up acting was always been more passion for me and I don’t even remember concerning myself with what I was going to get paid, but I just want to act I just wanted to explore talent God has given to me and so it’s felt very fulfilling at the time.
PRESH: Your first major break came when you won the fourth edition of the Amstel Malta Box Office reality show then when you played Kashimawo in Tunde Kelani’s Maami. What are the stories behind these 2 successes?
WOLE OJO: Yeah about the Amstel Malta box office reality TV show, it was a very key turning point in my life before that I had stood up from acting for about a year I was going through a phase in my life, as a teenager where I was trying to figure out some things, things weren’t with my family at the time we had to move there were a lot of things going on and then when I came back into the scene I struggled for a bit, I struggled to get things going and then The Amstel Malta box office reality TV show just presented me with an opportunity to jump start my career again and I went for it and I won, thankfully and it was good at the time and the experience was mixed feelings I had a good time and I also had some down times it was amazing all in all. And Maami, I must give a lot of credit to Tunde kelani because I remember the movie Maami was delayed for almost a year because he really wanted me to feature in it, he wanted to make the movie while I was the reigning AMBO winner and for some reason the people at the helm of affairs at the Nigerian Breweries will not have me to any other movie that year, I was just lucky enough that Tunde Kelani just waited for my contract run out with them and we made Maami and so for that he has a special place in my heart and I’m forever grateful for that because Maami go down to represent everything that came after, because Maami was sort of the real start to my Nollywood career and I’m grateful to Tunde Kelani for that.
PRESH: How was it then acting alongside the likes of Funke Akindele?
WOLE OJO: It’s always great to act alongside top professionals, so it was a good experience, I didn’t particularly have a lot of scenes to do with her directly, because she dealt more with the younger version of my character, but was a good experience all in all
PRESH: Which movies did you make with Amstel Malta?
WOLE OJO: 1 movie, ‘The Child’ directed by Izu Ojukwu
PRESH: What have been your observations so far as to the progress of nollywood? WOLE OJO: My observation so far as to the progress of nollywood, it’s growing, steadily growing, but however the growth is slow, it can be way better, I just think the powers that be, the people at the helm of affairs, just need to be better human beings for things to work a bit faster, and we as Nigerians we really do not understand the concept of collaboration in total, and that has indirectly affected nollywood, so we need to be a little more collaborative with each other, be more transparent and then just keep doing what we are doing, we are improving, the growth is slow but we are improving, we are getting better.
PRESH: Away from your Job, is there a special person currently?
WOLE OJO: I don’t answer questions about my relationships, I believe in keeping my relationship very personal and that how it’s always been for me, so I’m not going to talk about it, if there is or if there is no special person.
PRESH: Thank you very much for your time.
WOLE OJO: You’re most welcome
Life is a long journey, the stages might get difficult, but if you keep your head in the game, you can come out on top. Ire oo