The popular comedian and Yoruba actor has finally spoken out about the challenges he faced before achieving success in the theater. Adekola Tijani, known as Kamilu Kompo, Golugo, Oleyo, and Muniru, is a close friend of Ambali (Olaniyi Afonja Sanyeri), who is one of the leading figures in Yoruba theater comedy.
According to his history, Adekola Tijani, a.k.a. Kamilu Kompo, was born in Oyo State. His journey to Oyo has been a long and eventful one, closely tied to the rise of Sanyeri in the theater. Kamilu Kompo himself has reported that he faced numerous challenges on his path to the theater, all in pursuit of ADEFUNKẸ ADEBIYI.
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Daily Legit: What year did you start in theater?
Kamilu: First of all, we thank God. It’s not easy, but we thank God for where we came from where we started, and where He is taking us.
I started acting in 1991 in the city of Oyo. I began because of my love for it and personal choice. My boss, Prince Sheyi Adeoye, may God forgive him, played a significant role in my journey, as well as Sanyeri’s. When we started, we didn’t really understand what it was all about; we were just happy to see people doing it on television. But I thank God for how far I’ve come today.
Daily Legit: How has the journey been over the 29 years you’ve been in theater?
Kamilu: Alhamdulillah, many of us started, but some have disappeared, as it’s not an easy path. Even the real thieves and kidnappers know that this isn’t an easy profession because their days are almost over.
If I had to recount everything I’ve experienced, I could talk endlessly, but let’s keep it short.
Daily Legit: Are you from the same family as Sanyeri? You seem very close.
Kamilu: We are not related by blood, but we come from the same state, Oyo. We knew each other from watching movies together but didn’t have much interaction. It took a year before we started talking. I used to see him as someone who had a lot of money to go watch movies like mine. He thought the same about me. Later, he joined the theater, and I didn’t see him at our usual cinema for about two weeks. When I finally saw him and asked where he had been, he told me he had joined a theater group. I expressed my interest in joining him, and he agreed. I thought they might not accept me due to my short stature, but they did, and that’s how it all began.
Daily Legit: When did you move to Lagos?
Kamilu: We moved to Lagos in 1995. I was familiar with Lagos because I had finished primary school there. Sanyeri had never been to Lagos before. After primary school, I returned to Oyo, where I met Sanyeri. In 1995, we decided that we couldn’t just stay in Oyo. The cinemas had opened in 1993, and they were all in Lagos, so we decided to move there together.
Daily Legit: Who provided your accommodation in Lagos?
Kamilu: We stayed at my sister’s house initially, which was where I used to visit when I was in Lagos. We slept on their porch because my aunt’s family lived in a single room with five children, her husband, and mature daughters. We realized we couldn’t sleep inside with them, so we made the porch our sleeping spot. We even used a bag or a tarp to shield ourselves from rain when it rained. We spent four years like this. The theater work that brought us to Lagos wasn’t paying much, so we had to find other jobs. I worked at a bakery, and Sanyeri worked with a shoemaker to make ends meet. When we saved enough, we rented a room and lived together.
In 1996, we celebrated the New Year in Oyo. That year, we met Adebayo Tijani, who was also trying to join the theater. I shared our Lagos address with him, and he came to join us. The three of us lived together in Lagos. Our journey began there, and we joined Alaaem Akeem Ajala Jalingo’s theater group.
Ibrahim Chatta later joined us with Odunlade Adekola, and things started to look a bit different.
Daily Legit: Which film brought you recognition?
Kamilu: Our struggle continued until 2009 when I acted in ‘Kamilu Kompo,’ and that’s when things started to change for me. Shortly after that, I got married. My wife was also a theater member, part of Muyiwa Ademola’s group. However, we decided that one of us had to leave the theater to take care of the household. She agreed to leave the theater, and I am grateful for her sacrifice during those challenging times.
Daily Legit: You didn’t have an easy journey, but fame has come. What about the money?
Kamilu: Just as a child going to the farm praying for a safe journey and returning without thinking about what they’ll find, we were praying and working hard without asking for money. We thank God for where we are now, but we also continue to pray for financial blessings. Our years of struggle aren’t enough for us to forget where we came from.
Daily Legit: With your busy schedule, how do you relax?
Kamilu: Haa, it’s tough to relax in this city. Before COVID-19, I wanted to travel to London for a break, but the pandemic prevented that. In Lagos, there’s always work, MCing events, and family, and the phone is constantly ringing, so I rarely get to relax. When I do, I usually leave Nigeria for a month or less, maybe three weeks, to find some peace.
Daily Legit: How many films have you starred in?
Kamilu: I’ve starred in twelve films.
Daily Legit: What’s your favorite food?
Kamilu: Amala and Gbegiri.
Daily Legit: Thank you for your time with us; we truly appreciate it, sir.
Kamilu: You’re welcome.