“How I toasted my youngest wife with N200” – Chief Jimoh Aliyu aka Aworo @ 80 | + His Relationship with OBJ, Afe Babalola & Co Unveiled

GDA meets Chief Jimoh Aliyu (MFR)

In 48 hours time, Chief Jimoh Aliyu (MFR) one of
Nigeria’s most respected actors and movie Producers who reigned in the 80s and
90s with his epic movies, Arelu, Yapan-yanrin, Fopomoyo and many more, will
be 80. This great thespian who was born on November 11, 1939 is an actor,
dramatist, sculpture, film writer, playwright and Director.

He was equally an Officer
of the Nigerian Army before he retired in 1975. He worked under late Benjamin Adekunle and General Olusegun Obasanjo in the Third Marine
. This Thursday, November 12, there is going to be a lecture and
seminar in his honor at Lagos Television (LTV8) Compound, off Lateef Jakande Road Agidingbi, Ikeja-Lagos while on Friday,
November 13, top Nigerian artistes both young and old will converge at the same
venue to throw a big bash in his honor to celebrate his 80th

Your Africa’s Number 1 Celebrity
encounter blog Asabeafrika caught up
with the septuagenarian last weekend and like never before, he told us the
secret of his birth-to-live success and equally shared his many moments of
travails and triumphs in his over 50 years in Nollywood. It is an interview like never before. Enjoy the
If you want to wish Jimoh Aliyu a happy 80th
birthday or send birthday gift to this great dramatist, you can reach him
through his Nigerian contact on (080-3452-5224). Enjoy the Reading.   

The GDA with Baba Aworo after the encounter

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We are very privileged to be with you
this afternoon; Asabeafrika congratulates you on reaching the Octogenarian age
of 80 this week. How would you describe life at 80?
Thank you my
son for coming around to interview me. I thank God for His mercy and I thank
all my fans including my spiritual fans like the Imans, the prophets, the
traditional doctors, the kings and high chiefs in various localities in
Nigeria. I thank Celestial prophets, Cherubim and Seraphim prophets and the
Pentecostal church pastors who keep praying for me at all times. I am also
thanking God for making me to fear Him that I did not become greedy, He feeds
me from time to time. I thank God for his protection; despite the fact that I
am not educated, I have gotten over two hundred awards both locally and
internationally. That alone makes me fear God. My father (Late Chief Aliyu
Fakoya) was a traditional medicine expert and for my mother, she went through a
lot of strife in my father’s house.
Is your mother the first wife?
No, she is
the last wife and she married my father when he was 70 years. She gave my
father six children out of which four died and it remains only two of us. The
same thing happened to me as well, when I married my younger wife at the age of
65 and she went and gave me a child who is now in the University even when my
grand children have graduated from the university and some of my grand children
are mechanical engineers. 

“Tin ban ba o ja, oo ro pe ere ni n
ba o se. Ebiti ta piri-taa pa! Tin pa ota tiye-tiye, agbada re o do ri ina ton
gbona teti-teti, are na omo bi owu, o balagbede ja, o da won pepepe, o da won
geere-gere wodo pasa”

Chief Jimoh Aliyu to Asabeafrika….’I have learnt a lot of life lessons from Obasanjo and Afe Babalola’
You mean the child your younger wife
gave you is now in the university when all your grand kids are graduates?
You are very
correct. In fact, she was my daughter’s friend and how I married her is quite
interesting. In fact it was my daughter who influenced the marriage because she
said ‘this lady will be able to take care of my dad’; even her family got mad at
her, that she wanted to marry an aged man (Baba Arugbo). She even  had suitors who brought cars but she insisted
that she is marrying me and that is why I made sure I sent her to London, I
sent her to Mecca (Saudi Arabia) because I don’t want her to think ‘Oh, I
married an old man’ or whatever. She has even gotten  two traditional titles to her own benefit. My
three wives have all visited Mecca. And there is nothing done in any good
church that I am invited and I will not go because everything is of God. We are
one and we worship one God. So, I thank God that I am 80.
How old was your younger wife when
you married her?
She was just
30 when I married her.
And she is a friend to your first
Not my first
daughter, maybe my tenth daughter. I think God is the architect of our romance
because when my daughter brought her home and I toasted her, when she was going
I gave her N200 for transport. So, she jokingly told my daughter that ‘see,
your dad will think he has found a wife, cant you see the ‘big money’ he gave
me’ (Laughter). She left and it was after three months that I have forgotten
about her that she resurfaced in my neighborhood. She and a friend of hers,
they came to look for one of their boy friends in my neighborhood.
unfortunately, they didn’t meet the guy and her friend said to her ‘there is
one man in this neighborhood that is doing theatre. Let us visit him’. So, when
they were approaching my house, I taught she deliberately came to look for me.
So, I said to her ‘you this girl, you just abandoned me like this, did I offend
you?’ but on leaving my place, her friend who prompted the visit said ‘Please,
don’t marry that old man, just collect his money and leave him alone. You are
not the type that will marry that kind of man o’; it was later after our
marriage that my wife started telling me all what happened. When I was now at
the Presidency in Abuja, this younger wife of mine got a lot of respect from
people because she was very close to late first lady Chief (Mrs.) Stella Obasanjo
and Aba Gana’s wife. She
fraternized well with them and that was when her family who rejected our
marriage initially, started calling her for one favor or the other.  So, no man should underrate anybody and that
is why I tremble before God because his power is awesome. That is why people
cheat me and always think I am a fool I am not a fool. The four children my
mother lost to death, if I happened to be one of them, who would I relate with?
Can I get my over two hundred award plaques in heaven?  So, I fear my God. I don’t understand His
mystery of keeping me alive till 80. Even if you look at me now, if you see me
when I am jogging in the morning, when I am doing my dancing rehearsals, people
used to ask, ‘Baba, how are you doing it?’ I can’t understand. I think God is
to be appreciated for all the goodness in my life.

“If you get to Obasanjo’s house at 5am and you think he is still sleeping, you
will be disappointed because he is already awake. If you get to Afe Babalola’s house at 5am and you are looking for him you
will find out that he is already in his farm and he will trek the entire landscape
of his farm without being stressed”.

What is the name of your younger
Bolanle Aliyu.
I am sure a lot of people will think
you married her with Juju?
I don’t want
to use a depressing language but anybody that marries a woman with Juju,
that person is a foolish man; there is nothing one can compare to a natural
love. And you must find out from God, from Godly men like prophets and Imams
and even from Ifa priests
because if you have a bad wife from foundation, your life is finished. I have
married a woman before and Ifa
warned me not to marry her, that she will be a bad omen but I went ahead and
married her and what happened? I was thoroughly disappointed. I regretted the
action because I faced a lot of mystery. You can see that I am now an Ifa traditional priest myself, which is
what my father left as a legacy. So, destiny cannot be tampered with. Now, this
my wife has an undergraduate child for me, and she was with me in Saudi Arabia, we were in Presidency
together during the time of President
Olusegun Obasanjo
the great Ebora of
land. So, she has been with
me in both not too fair and fair times. It can only be destiny at work.
Femi Falana
It seems you are very close to Chief
Olusegun Obasanjo. His regime gave you the title, MFR?
My son, you
have just mentioned the name of a great man and I pray that you will also be a
great man. Yes, Obasanjo is a great
man, he loves me so much. He is my person, and because I married a wife from Abeokuta, that now increased his love
for me. Apart from the fact that I worked under him as a junior in Third
Commando, he is a great friend and fan. I have important
personalities like that all around. Before you came in now, I just left Femi Falana’s office. He is a great
brother and on my birthday matter, he asked me to go get twenty five invitation
cards for him. That he is coming with great friends and colleagues. In fact, I
will need to show you the kind of recommendation letter written by the likes of Chief Afe Babalola. These are great people that have been a blessing to
my life in a long while. Imagine someone like Afe Babalola, he is dynamic person and a rare personality—an enigma
(Went into Oriki of Afe Babalola) “Eni
ta’a lee, ta’a ba; taa le fi se nkan-kan. Ti won soo sina, tina ku, ti won soo
somi, tomi gbe. Ti won fe so di eran, ki awon aje oo jee, o wa di Ipeure bi ofa
Abuja; ko see je faja, ko see gbemi faja, o wa n ta aja lenu kaa-kaa-kaa”.
 (A man enemies chase but couldn’t catch, a man
that cannot be ridiculed. They threw him inside flame of fire but the flame
died. They threw him inside an ocean and the ocean dried off. They wanted to
turn him into meat so that witches can eat him up but his flesh became
poisonous and nobody could eat him up).

Afe Babalola SAN

That is the brand of person Afe Babalola is; the same thing
with   Olusegun Areamu Obasanjo. You know they are the same thing. If you
get to Obasanjo’s house at 5am and
you think he is still sleeping, you will be disappointed because he is already
awake. If you get to Afe Babalola’s
house at 5am and you are looking for
him you will find out that he is already in his farm and he will trek the
entire landscape of his farm without being stressed. These are the kind of
people I have learnt a lot from in terms of lessons of life. I learnt about
truth; even kings, may God grand my father, the late Ooni of Ife eternal rest in
His bosom. If you know how long myself and Oba
has been together, you will marvel. Now, the new person there is
also a great son. You see, Prince Enitan
who is right on the throne now, he is not the one who is crowned,
even the emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido
is not the one crowned but it is just the acknowledgement of God that if
someone is being persecuted, that persecution could become a channel to his
greatness. It might be because you even persecuted such person that is why he
will get to the top.  In life we have
people like that who need not to be persecuted because anything bad you do to
them will always be to their own advantage. Look at all the people who fought Sanusi Lamido the emir of Kano, today, they
are all going to prostrate before him. People must seek wisdom. 

“I have married a woman before and Ifa warned me not to marry her, that
she will be a bad omen but I went ahead and married her and what happened? I
was thoroughly disappointed. I regretted the action because I faced a lot of

How things of now & things of the
Past works for me
I don’t
drink beer, I don’t smoke I only drink water. Today, some of the people who do
gather to watch my plays when I was young, majority of them are now kings,
industrialists, administrators and rich people. Even majority of my retired
colleagues in the military, most of them are now in very big positions. If I
visit their offices at times, I marvel. When I visit them and I talk, they will
listen, when I finish talking, they will say ‘Sir, we were always on pants and
tattered clothes in those days when we sneak out to come and watch you at the
Cinema”. Some will say ‘We are the ones that used to fetch water for you so
that we will be able to watch your plays’ another will say ‘didn’t you remember
so-so accident that happened when you came to our school? And many, many
testimonies, that alone humbles me. If someone strays into my lane while
driving, I do tell my driver, ‘please, wait, and just let him go. Don’t fight
him’ because if I utter a word and say ‘are you stupid?’  The man will say ‘Ah, ah, Baba Aworo, we know
you very well” and I will be humbled. That is why nobody can say Jimoh Aliyu is being taken to court for
anything because if you cheat me, I will just ignore you and leave you for God
to judge

Chief Jimoh Aliyu to Asabeafrika…’Obasanjo and Afe Babalola are both Enigmas’

After you founded your first drama
group, Jimoh Aliyu Concert Party in 1966, you later joined the Nigerian Army in
1969 and retired in 1975. Why did you join the army? 
 I worked under three great Nigerians in the
army; they are late Benjamin Adekunle, General Segun Obasanjo and General
TY Danjuma.
It was J.J. Oluleye
of the 2nd Division who sent me to 3rd Marine Commando that I should go and be doing
performance for the officers.  It was at
that 3rd Marine Commando that the late (Ilya) Bisala found me during the era of Captain to Major and he said if I
finished my performer at the 3rd
Marine Commando
, the next thing for me is to go to the first division but
every position I held in the military was of great benefit to me. Even the late
General Shehu Musa Yar Adua was my
boss at 7th Brigade, Agbor. So, I enjoyed my tenure under each of
the officers.

Chief Jimoh Aliyu (MFR) to Asabeafrika…’My reaching age 80 is God’s decision’

Can you tell us about Benjamin
Adekunle, Segun Obasanjo and TY Danjuma. Having worked under these three
prominent officers what can you say is their leadership trait?
They are
different in character; Adekunle is
an enigma of his own brand. His own brand of enigma is different. However,
among all the people we can boldly call ‘Enigma’ (Akanda) that anything you say
is impossible is always possible with him, that person is Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo Ebora Owu, if he is fighting you, you will
mistake it for a child’s play “Tin ban ba
o ja, oo ro pe ere ni n ba o se. Ebiti ta piri-taa pa! Tin pa ota tiye-tiye,
agbada re o do ri ina ton gbona teti-teti, are na omo bi owu, o balagbede ja, o
da won pepepe, o da won geere-gere wodo pasa”
(Coughs Heavily and took a
glass of water to cool off before he stopped the highly inflaming Oriki
for Obasanjo).

Olusegun Obasanjo

So, is this how Olusegun Obasanjo is?
That is how
he is my son. Because I moved with him very well, if I seat with him in the
room and I will say to him “You are indeed stubborn. Why?” he will say “Me,
stubborn? It seems you Ekiti people
have started abusing me”. And I will say ‘I am not abusing you but why are you
always insistent on doing things that seems impossible?” and he will say “Well,
to you and many, it is impossible but to me and my God, it is possible. That is
how my God created me and that is who I am” and if I say “I am leaving his
house” he (Obasanjo) will say “Please, go and give Aliyu his transport money o
and let him go” he is a generous fellow.

TY Danjuma

So, why did you retire from the army
in 1975?
The war
ended. There was no more war. In those days, any town or region the Nigerian
Army takes as territory, I was the one that always entertain the soldiers
there.  And when the war ended I had to
return home to start afresh. I told Ejiga
and he instructed JJ Oluleye to sign
a war ticket for me, give me a car and let me go home and that was how I left
the army. Then, I became the first theatre practitioner who bought latest
instruments and started afresh at that time. My theatre company had the best of

Late Benjamin Adekunle

That means you joined the military
because of the war?
I didn’t
join the army because of war, I knew if I get there I won’t have to carry gun
and shoot like them because of my talent. You know, I had already started doing
theatre  before I joined the army and I
started entertaining them, even (General Tunji) Olurin, when he was at Oke-Ile
as a young officer, I gave him a traditional performance before he now left for
Jos. I have staged dramas for majority of them and entertained them one way or
the other.
So, you are like a military
You are very
correct my son, very correct. My organization in the Nigerian Army was called Jimoh Aliyu Welfare troupe.

Baba Aworo with his crew

As a veteran actor in your own days,
you wrote some of the best scripts and they made headline, you wrote good
stories like
Fopomoyo, Arelu, Yanpan-yanrin and numerous others. But today’s
stories are different, is there anything you feel has happened to our theatre?
We have lost
our culture, we have lost our history. Everyone is just doing what comes to
mind, someone will just watch an American film or an Indian film and reproduce
it in Yoruba. The elderly ones and very senior citizens of this country used to
lament to me, they will say ‘Jimoh, you know we have been your fans for ages,
we have watched all your movies but are you watching the movies of the younger
ones? Are you not disturbed?’ but if you call them and try to educate them,
they will abuse you and say ‘your time is past, this is our own time, you
cannot correct a man whose perception towards a thing is strong. For instance,
people make incantations in films (Ofo) but there are some incarnations that
have rendered some people useless. They become so broke and empty to the extent
that they won’t be able to buy clothe just because they don’t know how to
render incantations.
Can you explain more about this? Are
those incantations not made for the purpose of the movie?
Thanks ……
(Read “Reason
why Nigerian Actors become wretched as a result of making incantations in
movies and womanizing” in Part 2 of
“Exclusive encounter with Chief Jimoh
Aliyu @ 80
on Asabeafrika


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