Nollywood actress of many years in Nigeria, Foluke Darmola Salako, has revealed in a no holds bare interview with the National Mandate newspaper on why she wants to float a social welfare intervention scheme to help intervene in the harsh situations some of the aged and generational Nollywood actors are passing through at the moment in their private lives in today’s Nigeria.
According to the delectable theatre practitioner, she said she was close to some of these actors and she is aware of the hard times they are going through at the moment, which needs the urgent intervention of all well-meaning Nigerians to help put smiles on their faces again.
“Some of these actors have put in so much over the many years in the growth, progress and development of the entertainment and Nollywood industry in Nigeria, and so, they do not deserve to be neglected, forgotten or left alone to continue to wriggle in economic hardship and pains just like that in a country they have done so much to act as veterans to contribute to the growth of the theatre and entertainment industry agelong in the country.
I am very close to many of them and I am always sad, when I see them look abandoned in their pitiable situations or when I receive calls consistently from some of them, telling me the ugly stories of what they have been passing through in their health and economic challenges.
Some of these evergreen veterans even call me on phone most times to ask me to assist them with money, which under normal circumstances they should be able to afford to attend to their situations.
So, I thought about it and I decided to help build a platform in the form of a pension scheme to help them have access to monthly stipends through my NGO to intervene in their situations.
I am also in the industry and I could be one of these helpless aged veterans tomorrow. So, I am taking it upon myself to use the platform of my NGO to help build mutual trust funds to alleviate their sufferings and intervene in their failing health situations.
We are in a make-belief industry, where people think because we are celebrities, all is well with us.
Those who are okay among us are okay, and those who are not, are not.
We all live in a country, where hardship hits many people so hard and Nollywood celebrities in Nigeria are not excluded.
That we are hardship free is not the picture. We may be popular on-screen, but that does not mean we do not have critical needs we are also battling within our private lives that need the humanitarian attention of all well-meaning Nigerians and our fans across the globe as humans.
I have come up with this initiative to sensitize the world about this fact and reality and to draw the attention of Nigerians to the fact that we also could be vulnerable needs, who deserve the kind gestures of humanitarian Nigerians.
Over the years, we come on social platforms to beg for the financial interventions of Nigerians, when some of us have critical health and economic challenges. But, for how long can we continue to constitute social nuisance in this regard?! For how long will this continue?! This is a situation that is demeaning in itself.
Actor Mr. ‘A’ is sick, please come and help with money to pay his medical bills have been the order of the day in our industry. But, with this initiative I am undertaking for the economically vulnerable, aged and forgotten ones in our midst, I am optimistic that it would go a long way to arresting, alleviating and reducing the ugly situation.
It is an initiative to consistently raise funds into a mutual benefit assurance pool and will be run in collaboration as well as in partnership with credible insurance and pension organisations.
We are already in progressive talks with IBTC pension managers; Crusader pensions; ECO Bank and co. for partnership and collaboration operations.
They will be involved in the running of the scheme, and in the long run, will always be there to help take care of the health situations of these veterans and also assist to provide money for them to survive optimally on monthly basis.
We will thereafter use part of the money we are able to build to invest in the production of TV series and a recreation cum production house that could always help to bring them back to active social and productive acting lives again.
I, therefore, call on all Nigerians of humanitarian nature and kind hearts to support and help to build capital funds for the successful running of this initiative.
This is about what we are trying to do. It is purely a not for profit humanitarian project. I am only passionate about helping these aged ones among us in the industry to live healthily, productively and happily again.”
Mrs. Foluke Daramola Salako has, however, announced the hosting of a gala event, which will see to the bringing of these actors together for celebration, honour and formal launch of this initiative to kick start in earnest.
The event, which will host many prominent and kind-hearted Nigerians has been slated to hold on Friday, November 29, 2019 at the prestigious Anchor event centre in the heart of Ikeja in Lagos.
On the list of those expected to grace the occasion are Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; his wife, the distinguished Senator Oluremi Tinubu; the governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide SanwoOlu; the speaker of the Lagos house of assembly, Honourable Mudashiru Obasa; the wives of all the governors in the South West; Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi; Iya Aladura Esther Ajayi; Taiwo Afolabi, Sifax boss; Chief (Mrs.) Remi Adiukwu Bakare and many others across Nigeria on the list.