She is so passionate about giving that sometimes she empties her bank accounts to solve people’s problems.
In this interview, the newly crowned Queen Mother of the Uke Kingdom in Nasarawa State talks about her passion for charity, career, marriage, and roles as a traditional titleholder. Enjoy it.
Who is Tayo Sobola off-camera?
I am a very lively person, but I can also be the direct opposite at the same time. Off-camera, I love to be by myself a lot. I prefer to hide in my room and do things on my phone. If the phone is not available, I sit at my thinking table and start to do what I have to do.
If you were to put a figure to it, how many films have you produced so far?
I lost count already, but I know they are more than 15. Most are of the Yoruba genre, but I have produced one English film too.
It’s like you speak Hausa…?
I speak a few words (of Hausa) gleaned from books.
How then do you communicate with people in the Uke Kingdom in Nasarawa?
They speak English as well. It is a civilized kingdom. For those who don’t know, we have several people who can translate. I also have a book from my NYSC days, because I served in Gidan Madi, Sokoto. They gave us a book to help us communicate better with the locals and indigenes, and that still comes in handy. Whenever I go there and I know what I want to say, I read up beforehand.
Speaking about your traditional title, what is the most surprising part of having to embody that title?
The fact that I didn’t see it coming was the most surprising part. It just happened and I took a deep breath and embraced it. I got the title the first time I stepped into that kingdom. I had gone there for something else, I didn’t know I would be offered that prestigious title.
Many people wonder if you are now the wife of an Emir or how come you were crowned The Queen Mother?
I don’t think emirs crown their wives ‘queen mothers’. If you are married to an emir, you cannot be everywhere. There is always a limitation as to the wife of an emir.
So, what determines the kind of roles you accept in movies?
There’s a limit I can go. Some men don’t like their wives in touchy-kissy roles. Before now, I was very careful about the kind of roles I accept, I didn’t do a lot of romance on set. Some actors find it easy to marry each other, because they are used to doing those things a lot with themselves on set, so feelings set in. I never used to do those things, and now I can’t.
A number of men restrict their wives from acting after marriage. What’s your opinion on that?
It’s their decision. I believe that for you to decide to marry an actress in the first place, there was something that you saw. If you eventually marry and say you don’t want that aspect of her, then it is left for the woman to decide if she can abide by it. It is a decision for the lady to make if she can cope with it. Most men do these things as a result of jealousy. They think that the way they saw her is the same way others will notice her.
Can you give up your career for marriage?
It depends. The question is that how many times do I even act now? One thing takes the other away; that is the truth. People think they can juggle but eventually discover that one of those things would take precedence. Now, I do a whole lot of services that are taking me away from my career as an actress. It is not like my husband or anyone is saying don’t do movies again. He lets me do what I want. But I have to respect that there is a limit I can go when I am acting, and I don’t need to be told.
What is the biggest gift marriage has given to you?
I have always been reserved, but I don’t look it. Marriage has given me the ability to maintain who I have been.
Do you think you would have come this far if you didn’t come into the movie industry?
Yes, I think so. I did not grow up with a lazy mother. People in my family look at me now and see that I am more like my mother. I grew up living in my mum’s house. She was accomplished even before she married my father who had his own things. Imagine growing up like that. But even with everything I have done, I know that I have not started, I still have a long way to go. And I am not the kind of woman that relaxes simply because her husband has it all and provides for her. I chase money daily and I pay bills every day. I have buildings that I have to maintain and manage. If I am not hardworking my husband would not stay.
Tell us about your NGO?
Before now, I have been doing a lot of humanitarian activities. We go to schools of the blind every February 14 to give gifts to the visually impaired. It is a big deal not seeing the people around you talking and moving, I feel for them. So, I have always done unpublicized things for them. But at the end of the day, the situation of the country is getting worse and people need help. Some won’t even know how to come to you, to ask for something, because they don’t want to be laughed at. Some want things and can only approach people whom they believe will be willing to give at the point that they want it. If someone knows that you are running a Foundation, they can easily come to you. But when that isn’t available, they find it hard to approach you with their needs. Meanwhile, there are also people who don’t do things except you hold them to it. I am not rich, but I know that from the little I have, I can share. Sometimes I transfer all the money I have in my (bank) account to people because I know that I have no immediate need of it, yet there is someone else that needs it. I also know that I have people I can call when I am really in need of help. But those other people don’t have people they can run to or call when they need. So, by establishing a Foundation, I am able to reach out to more people and render humanitarian services. I can be the mouthpiece to get people to give to others in need. Some people are in the hospital with bills of N10,000 that they cannot pay. Some people give birth and their husbands run away. For me, it is more than just sharing food; people have real problems. People die because of N500 or N1,000 registration fees at the hospital, yet some others can comfortably sit in traffic with their legs crossed munching on Gala and Lacasera, and before you get to your destination, you have spent N5,000. My STA Foundation is going to be officially launched soon, and it is to give people access. If I open my DMs on a daily basis, you will cry for people. For things as small as paracetamol, and gloves, people go to general hospitals and still have to buy. There is a lot I want to talk about. People also assign blame when not due. People litter the roads, block drainages, and then complain about the government being the problem. Is it the government that threw rubbish on the road?
What are some of the rules you have to follow as Queen Saruniya?
Reported By Damilola Fatunmise