Halima Abubakar is one actress that has carved a niche for herself in the Nigerian movie industry. What many people don’t know about the Kogi state born thespian is that she is a shrewd businesswoman and philanthropist. Enjoy the excerpts
I came and left several time. I think I left about three times and came back in 2008. I will just say it is consistency. If they see that you are hard working and you don’t give up, people will start appreciating you. When you are passionate about what you are something, even the devil will give you space. I will just say is consistency and the fact that I love what I do and the passions for the job have been able to keep me. For stardom, it is something you either have or not. With success comes stardom. I don’t know if I have that(achieved stardom) but if I do, glory be to God.
There is a mix up on your state of origin. Are from Kano or Kogi?
I was born and partly raised in Kano. Well, because my name is Halima Abubakar, people think I’m from Kano state. I am from Kogi state.
You were once tagged Nollywood bad girl but now people are saying you are born again. What do you have to say on this?
Do I look like a born again? Does it mean I won’t put on lipstick. Well, being born again is in the heart not in appearance. I don’t know what they mean by bad girl. Is that I have dated someone they know or did they give me a boyfriend or anything. One thing I have noticed about Nigerians is that they like giving someone a bad name. Because I acted some controversial roles, doesn’t pass me for a bad girl. Please they shouldn’t give me a name that wasn’t given by my parent. Not that I had done anything to warrant that name. I wasn’t sleeping around with men. So what bad about me?
There have been rumours in town that you have been losing weight. What is your reaction to this?
How do I look? I don’t know what they mean by me losing weight. But really, I have been working hard. I’m not losing any weight. It is just about the stress associated with my work.
Have you ever made fashion mistake?
I had made a lot. I wear what I feel like wearing. If I get a pass mark for it, good. If it is a fashion no no, good. Nobody is perfect.
Which one was the most embarrassing one?
That would be when I was growing up (laughing). (Still laughing), I actually played a lot with clothes. Definitely, that types clothes I won’t be caught wearing today.
Tell us about Halima as a philanthropist.
I didn’t have food while I was growing up. I really went through difficult time. I’m not from a rich home. I have to work hard for food; in fact I have to beg at a point for people to give me food or money. Money as low as N500, even N100 and people were still getting stingy about it. I can imagine how those that owned orphanage homes survive. Who give them money to take care of the kids? These kids are not theirs. They picked them from the street. That is a difficulty situation. So, I really respect those people that have orphanage homes. it is very difficulty raising these children. Most of the homes don’t have food and clothing including basic needs of life. Each time I do a movie, no matter how little I try to give out. I see it as my way of paying my tithes. People go to church to do that, while the Muslims giving is called sa’dakah. This is my way of paying tithes. I took out of what I have and give to the less privilege, to me that is what I love doing. It’s human; sharing what you have so that you can have more. If people can join in the cause, these kids won’t be begging on the street.
I so sorry to say this, I love my wonderful country but some of us are hypocrite. I’m not apologizing for say this because I had gone through a lot in the hand of people. I have come to a position in life where I have to be truthful otherwise people would keep spreading rumours. I like to say what I have done so that people won’t go around peddling lie and falsehood. Either you write about it or believe it. If I don’t say a thing, that doesn’t me that it is right. It means that thing is not important. When you do well, Nigerians complained. When you do badly, they complained. You just find yourself not knowing what to do for your country. Yes, I begged for food. I was without transport fare back to okoko from mile2. I have to beg for N100 because I didn’t get a role. I went back to my parent in Kano. I went back to school; I still need to struggle because my parents were not rich. I am into many things. I produced movies and discover new talents. Hopefully I can contribute to the society. But that is not the way I want to be remembered. I want be remembered as a young girl that came and work extremely hard to make it. I didn’t need to sleep around with directors or producers. If I did, how many people would I had slept with? There so many directors and producers in the movie industry. When I heard something bad about me, I always cried, not because I have too much tears in my eyes. These people don’t know me; I don’t know how I will come out to tell them about myself. It is just uncalled for. I just want Nigerians to embrace people that are doing well. They should appreciate the person; this would make him or her to do more. We all don’t have the economy power. I understand that poverty sometime make people to think only negatively. I’m poor and the person talking about me is poor. So why two poor people are fighting themselves?
We should try to embrace love, because that what we really need. Because it is only love that can make you successful. If somebody is a star or celebrity today, it just because of the love he or she received from fans and friends. I have kids that I paid their tuition. I don’t come on newspapers to say look these kids are on scholarship courtesy me. It is just God! If I’m somebody today, is just by God’s grace. It is my time, you can’t stop it. That is the true; you can’t stop me no matter how you try. Some people have so much, but they till exploit the poor. Then they will tell people not to beg or prostitute. They should help the poor. If anything happen to a celebrity, people won’t call on the government for help. They would start shouting, those actors and actresses that are driving big cars should come to the rescue of their colleague who is sick. Is that how life is? If you have money to help him why calling on the actresses and actors. If you buy a car, they will be angry that you bought a car. If you don’t donate, that doesn’t mean you are withholding your money for a colleague in need. You will go broke if you start donating for everybody that is sick. Most time you didn’t buy the car. A generous person may give you a car to drive till you can buy your own, maybe your boyfriend or husband. It is not a crime. Nigerians should try to love themselves, so that they can grow. If you keep talking negatively about a person. The person will keep growing while you will be limited. I make money. It is the way I make money that is the way I spend it on people. Not because I have but I know I will. I don’t need to be stingy with money. That I’m making money is because I worked extremely hard for it. I wish a person good that is why good will definitely comes to me.
Tell us about Halima as a businesswoman.
I have been into buying and selling for a long time now. I used to go to Lagos to buy bags and jewelry then. This adds more to my cash flow. When I don’t get to sell the goods, I used it myself. My dad told me to try my hand in farming business. We have a large hectare of land in Kogi state. We are into fishing, cropping, poultry and more. During the new yams festival, I harvest my yams in the farm. I’m sure that my yams are in Lagos and other part of the country. I’m a farmer. Kogi state is known for farming, I’m doing well. You won’t believe it that a lady likes me would go into farming. Farming is traditionally meant for men. People don’t know ladies with farming. You will think that I will run a boutique or beauty home. No, I don’t do easy business as I called it. The other day about a thousand of my birds died. I was really depressed as I told my dad that I was quitting farming. He told me not to quit, that business is not run that way. Sometime, you will plant crops but it will refuse to grow. This is just a few of the challenge in farming business. The same food that I once begging for , now I have it in abundance.
People believe those female actress are more successful than their male counterparts. What do you think is the reason for this?
Most of the female actresses are extremely hard working. I could start naming names, all of them. Some of them sell while in location. You will see these ladies selling goods. Men don’t do that. I’m going to say this, men have so much responsibility. Some of the women, maybe their parents are comfortable or their siblings are doing well. So their money is theirs. Some of us that have family and other responsibility might not be as rich as other with lesser responsibility. When you invest in a business, you have to wait for it to mature. You wont start spending your seed capital. Because, somebody is living large, I shouldn’t do the same. That is not the way I was brought up. I was taught to be contented with the little that I have. We all have our different priorities. Even if I’m driving a golf car, seriously I will be comfortable with it. Because I know if I cannot buy my choice car, when I get married my husband will get it for me. The actors are also quite rich. They just like being modest. You see, women loved flashy things. I just want to say that the different is not about what you drive but by the worth of your investment. These men have buildings and they don’t make noise about it.
What is your new focus in the movie industry?
I’m trying different angel. I just want to contribute to the movie industry. I have many stories I would love to share. When I was growing up, I wrote stories that I gave to directors but I was turn off. Most of these stories I know will make good movies. If I have a chance to do produce them, I will. The field is large enough to accommodate everybody. If you don’t want me to produce that means you don’t want me to grow. I’m contributing to the economy of the country. I mean, I’m paying my tax and discharging my civil responsibility. It is a legitimate business. It is better than prostituting or runs; whatever they call it. I’m doing something great, no matter how small it is.
Has your movie, the mistresses finally hit the market?
Yes, it had. In fact, it is the number one movie in the market now. It came back out on 9th of September with 120,000 copies. To God be the glory, it is sold out. We are producing 200,000 copies on demand. People had already booked for it. The whole of Maryland, people have been calling me for the movie, that they want it. I’m really happy that people accepted the movie. It is not my doing. The movie was premiered in April and it is just coming out. I shoot it two years ago.
What is the next movie we should be excepting from you?
This would is an educative movie. It is titled the bully. It wouldn’t be a kind of commercial movie but is a very interesting movie with a lot of lessons. It would be something good.
What is your advice for upcoming actress?
If I have a job, they can come for audition. I do lecture and workshop to educate upcoming actress and actors. I will try as much as I can to help out.. I cannot help everybody or keep throwing money around because I don’t have. If I have, I will do my best. The true is that life is not easy. I used to think that things were worst while growing up as an actress but I see people are still going through confusion and peer pressure. Because, these days there are so many fake. People are just in love with the glamour not how to make the industry better. People forget to go for auditioning just because they know the producer. They don’t want to work hard. If you are in school, stay in school. Upcoming actress should be passionate and focus including working extremely hard. These qualities would take them to the height of the movie industry.