Mohammed Sani Gwarzo Tumbuleke is a veteran television personality and has featured in several drama series over the years, prominent among them is Gidan Kashe Ahu drama which aired in the 80s on NTA, Kaduna. The series earned him the name Tumbuleke because of his role as a clown and has stock as most of his fans call him by the name. In this interview with ALIYU ASIKIRA, the 77-year-old artiste speaks on his career, the industry and more.
Sir, it has been long that your fans heard from you, even though you are no longer acting tell us briefly about yourself?
My name is Mohammed Sani Gwarzo Tumbuleke, the nickname Tumbuleke was given to me by producers of Gidan Kashe Ahu a popular NTA Kaduna drama series of the 80s up to the 90s, I have one wife even though I married three wives, two are dead now.
I have seven children and many grandchildren.
Tell us your contemporaries in the movie industry?
Well, I started acting when Idi Jibrin, a former staff of NTA Kaduna, introduced me to Late Kasimu Yaro, who is my boss in Kannywood. Later, I was involved in several drama series like Gidan Kashe Ahu, Samanja, Karan Bana and host of others.
Then, I played alongside people like Kasimu Yero; Usman Baba Pategi Samanja; Haruna Danjuma; Late Harira Kachia; Late Hajara Ibrahim; Halili Getso; Rabiu Rikadawa Dila and several others.
What do you consider your major benefit from drama?
Well, I don’t have even a bank account, I don’t have a house or even a plot, I have one wife and seven children, I am 77-years-old.
As you can see both my legs are in bandages because of old age and poverty, I am not begging but I won’t mind if people read on the pages of Newspapers that I am poor, people are suffering seriously under the Buhari government.
In fact, I will like to use this medium to highlight very well to the President, because I know him very well right from the time he was a junior officer, to please buy a house for me or a comfortable car before I will answer the call of my ancestors.
President Buhari is a nice man and he is doing his best to develop Nigeria, as you can see we now have complete sense of security, one can even sleep outside his house, but people are suffering and are yet to feel the impact of his government.
You haven’t been on television drama for years after the birth of Kannywood, how would you assess the industry compared to what obtained during your time?
Well, in those days, most of our programmes where sponsored by the government, companies, or even political parties. In those days, there was nothing like sexual harassment; dressing half naked; sleeping on the same bed with female artists; holding female artist hands; male and female lodging in same hotels; all these did not exist during our time.
What we watch these days is nothing but films being produced by young business men and women to make money. For example, what is break-dance, wearing of ear ring by Kannywood artist or singing and dancing, all these are not part of Hausa culture. So, it is unfortunate that they call it Hausa films but instead of portraying our culture in positive light, they are completely destroying our culture and that is why some old members of our crew are now following these small-small boys for roles so they can put food on their table. This is what Tumbuleke will never do.
Have you ever been honoured or recognised for your role in the industry?
I was opportune to meet several governors, several presidents, and Head of States, Local government chairmen and other senior politicians and business men but nobody has ever given me an award for my contribution to the theatre. Katsina state gave me an award but it is nothing for one to be proud of.
I personally hate begging, that is why you hardly see me visiting politicians or rich people’s houses for a favour, because immediately they see us, the look at us like beggars and people that have no profession.
That is why only one of my sons is now acting in Kannywood. It is a good profession but I can tell you, we, that were pioneer members have nothing to show for it.
How would you assess the President Buhari administration and do you have any advice?
The way I see it, this government will finish its eight years, that is if Buhari wins again, without northerners feeling the impact of the government.
The issue is that an ordinary northerner is a lazy person; we don’t have industries; our children are not going to school like other sections of the country; our rich men are not sponsoring children of the poor; our politicians prefer to loot the treasury and marry more wives and send their children abroad to best schools in the world.
So, what advice am I going to give the president? He is somebody who was a former governor; former petroleum minister; former GOC; former military head of state and chairman, Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF).
If he sincerely wishes to develop the North, going by the massive support given to him by the masses since he started contesting the presidency in 2013, he doesn’t need anybody’s advice to turn the North into a place where there will be no begging; where our industries like the textile industries and Kaduna Peugeot Automobile should be revived for our jobless graduates to get something to do.
It is because there is nothing for our youths to do that today you hear of ‘Yan Shara, ‘Yan daukan Amarya and other criminal groups that are giving our people sleepless nights.
At the age of 77, I want to wish everybody the best of luck in their chosen fields of endeavour but please say it loud and clear that I am suffering and I want President Buhari to buy me a house where I will live with my family before I die.
To conclude this interview, I wish to put it on record that Late Kasimu Yero contributed a lot to the entertainment industry and I want Kaduna state government or the federal government to honour him.