July 11th, 2013 – Nigerian Carnival In Ireland: Actor Deji Adenuga & Wife, Yemi Take Nollywood To Dublin
Actor Deji Adenuga, the husband of talented broadcaster, Yemi Adenuga has relocated to Dublin, Ireland.
For many years, the actor straddled both the stage and the screen, bringing immense delight to many homes through his acting. Then, with neither a warning nor a farewell, Adenuga disappeared, simply vanishing from the cinemas and the home videos. His fans were left with nothing but the old films he had been involved in before his sudden departure, even as they wondered what actually happened to their beloved entertainer.
“Well, I relocated, like people would say, to join my family in Ireland. That was in 2006,” the actor told the reporter recently at a chance meeting in Lagos on his way back to Dublin.
But he denied abandoning the theatre totally, saying it was unthinkable that he would run away from what had become a passion for him.
“I’ve been on vacation,” he continued. “It’s like when you are in traffic. You sit down there, and you’re just cursing and lamenting because you don’t understand what is happening. Now, it’s good for you to just come out of your car, get on the roadside and look at what is really happening. Then you’ll understand the problem and perhaps the solution. That’s what I’ve done with the movie industry in Nigeria. I got out of the traffic to be able to assess what’s causing the traffic and what I as a person could do to clear the mess. A lot of people in the industry look up to me for direction, and I don’t want to disappoint people. So I’ve not abandoned the industry.”
So what has been happening to Adenuga since he ‘ported’ to the Irish Republic? A lot, he says. “Even though I’m not acting now, I’m into a lot of things. In Ireland, I’ve done series of radio drama productions, I’ve also been part of shaping some of their policies in the arts industry. With that, I’ve been able to see even beyond what I was seeing here. I’ve gathered more experience and more knowledge that will be very useful when I come back.”
Right now, the project that dominates Adenuga’s passion is the Nigerian Carnival. So, what is the Nigerian Carnival in Ireland all about?
“I have a company in Ireland called Ddymensions Communications. We are into events management, training, personal development, public relations and so on. One of our projects is the Nigerian Carnival. When I got to Ireland, I sat down and looked back, and I discovered that a lot of the things that should be happening in the Nigerian community are not happening because those who should be doing them are not around. So, my wife and I decided that we wanted to show the passion that we have for our country. And one of the things Nigeria needs is a good face, a good image. In Ireland, like in other parts of the world, Nigeria has been stereotyped negatively. They say we are corrupt, fraudulent etc. But show me anywhere in the world where there are no corrupt and fraudulent people. So they have stigmatized us. But it’s of no use arguing and defending what is bad. So we decided to tell them that no, that’s not all that we are about. If you say we are fraudsters, that’s just a minute percentage of us. Maybe .00005 per cent of us are fraudsters. But if such are the people they meet all the time, that would be enough for them to stigmatize us. We want to come up and fight that negative stereotype. We want people to know that, if you believe that’s what we are, you need to come and see us in our true colours. And that’s why we brought up the Nigerian Carnival.
“And I can tell you that we have achieved a lot in the area of rebranding Nigeria, in the area of presenting Nigeria to the world. When we started the carnival in 2010, we had to meet a committee to approve a venue for us. And that was a very precious space for them. But that was where we wanted. When we met the committee, they were impressed that Nigerians could be that organised and orderly, that intelligent. They said this was not what they read in the newspapers. After the event, they said we could be using the place every year. So, that’s why we decided to be holding the Nigerian Carnival, and we’ve been able to achieve our main objectives.”
His wife, Yemi, one of the most popular broadcasters who delighted millions of viewers with her radio and TV programmes, including Straight from the heart on AIT, was the first to relocate abroad. You asked the husband why the wife also decided to abandon her fans. But he quickly came to her defence.
“She did not abandon her fans and the industry. You are a journalist, but that’s not the only thing you can do. As an intelligent, very creative journalist that I know you are, if you decide to digress into any other area in life, you will do well. That’s what I want people to try and explore. I’m not just an actor; I am much more than that. My wife is not just a broadcaster; she could do much more than that. After she took a break from broadcasting, she has done several other things, and she has done very, very well in those areas. But she has not abandoned broadcasting. We are coming back fully, and with a big bang.”
Back to the Nigerian Carnival in Ireland, how is it staged each year? Adenuga explained: “Well, the Nigerian Carnival Ireland is a platform to showcase Nigeria, our culture, our traditions, our dances, our food, every good thing about Nigeria. It’s to promote Nigeria, to promote tourism in Nigeria, to promote the good image of Nigeria. It’s also a platform for cultures to interact. So it’s not for Nigerians alone. We want other ethnic groups in Ireland to come together, to showcase their cultures, to interact with us and know who we are. It started as a one-day event, but by the grace of God, today, it’s has become a one-week event.”
Adenuga informed that the Nigerian Carnival would hold next month, between August 12 and 18. “We want to bring Nigerians from everywhere in the world to Ireland and enjoy the beauty of the Nigerian community in Ireland. If you want to enjoy your holiday, come over during the carnival, and you’d have loads of fun. We have a column on our website for international participants. When people go there, they can see how they can be part of the carnival.”
Asked how supportive the Nigerian government has been in driving this patriotic initiative, Adenuga shook his head. “This is a private initiative. It’s our own way of making our contributions to the progress and promotion of the image of Nigeria.
“To be honest, we have not actually approached the government. And the reason is, I don’t like to say to people, I can do this, I can do that. I like to show to people what I can do. Now that we have built the Nigerian Carnival to a very commendable level now, we have been approaching people from government quarters, and they’ve been showing interest. I’m sure that when we bring the full gist of the Nigerian Carnival to their table, they would respond positively and fund us.”
Adenuga isn’t particularly contented that many Nigerian families in Europe and North America don’t inculcate the Nigerian into their children, especially, the language, culture, music etc. “They allow their children to be exposed completely to the western world, not minding the fact that it’s going to rub off on them later in life. That’s why in Ddymensions Communications, we teach our culture to the young ones and adults who are married to or desire to be married to Nigerians. That’s one of the things we do in our company. Nigerian Carnival Ireland also has a day for the children to display what they have learnt about our culture. We call it the Children’s cultural day.”
Deji Adenuga, who was recently treated by his beautiful wife to a surprise 50th birthday bash aboard a luxury yatch in Dubai, has always seen himself as an unrepentantly proud Ijebu man. So what has he been missing about Nigeria in Ireland? “I don’t love complaining,” he replied. “If I miss anything, I create that thing around me. In Ireland, I’m one of the extremely few people that would pound yam in the house. I don’t eat yam flour. In my luggage here, I have my cocoyams and I would make my own local ebiripo. I make ikokore for my children in Ireland. All my clothes are sewn right here in Nigeria. I will be meeting with my tailor very soon. I talk to my friends all the time, and I travel home all the time. As you know, I’m a very local boy.”
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