A week after the death of her footballer father, Haruna Ilerika, SAMUEL OLATUNJI went after Sheri Ilerika, the super actress daughter of Nigeria’s ex-footballer to talk about the old man who passed on at the age of 69. Just when we thought we would conduct an interview without sex, like old habit that dies hard, the issue came up from the most unlikely source. Sheri brought up the issue of sex and revealed that she learnt the importance of it from her father.
What will you miss most about your father?
I will miss him a lot. I was the closest to him. He used to give me a lot of advice.
What sort of father was he?
He was a very good father.
What did you learn from him?
Whenever I had problem, I always go to him for advice and I act on whatever he said. I love my daddy; I didn’t expect him to die like this.
How was Ileya without him?
It was not the same because all of us (his children) usually do Ileya with him. We usually kill the ram together.
What else is there about your father?
He was friendly and jovial. You can’t be sad if you are with him. He made us happy. He was a comedian of sort.
But we know him to be a footballer.
Yes, you all know him to be a footballer. But if you are close to him, you will know that he is a comedian.
Tell me the jokes he used to crack with you.
He always makes jokes about his marital life. He usually says if you have a wife and you don’t make love with her, you are nothing. He always makes jokes about boyfriend and girlfriend issue. He was very free with us.
What else did you learn from him?
He said if you are with a man and you are not happy with him, you don’t need to be there with him. You have to be in atmosphere of happiness. There is no way you can make love to a man if you are not happy with him. You have to learn to make your man happy. He said all these jovially.
So, do you believe that a man who does not make love to a woman is not a man like your father told you?
Why must a man not make love to his wife? I believe my father totally.
Was he in support of your acting career?
He supported me totally. My mother was not even in support of my acting career. My dad was the one that told her to leave me alone. He told her to let me be.
Did he used to watch your movies?
Oh yes. My father did not watch movies except the ones I acted in it. Sometimes, he would call to tell me he was watching my movie.
Which of your movies did he enjoy the most?
He enjoyed Agbere Oju and Ere Egele.
Did he complain when you kissed in movies?
No, I told you he was a carefree man. He did not complain.
How is life as an actress?
I enjoy it. This is what I had wanted to do. When I was in school, I was in the cultural group.
Is acting the only thing you do?
I am a full-time actress, though I am planning to open a shop in January. I will be selling clothes.
You look so innocent even after having two children. Did you inherit athletic body from your father?
Let me say I inherited it from him.
Are still with your husband?
And is he comfortable with your acting?
Yes, he watches my movies and he supports me. He doesn’t complain about my roles.
You are a very blunt person. Does that not affect your home?
I have absolute respect for my husband and I submit to him.
Does your husband make you happy by making love to you?
That is what keeps my home.
You mean sex keeps your home?
Yes, it does. I am very good to my husband in everything. I am always ready anytime my husband says it is time for action.
I heard actresses are not faithful people.
I am faithful to my husband.
How many movies have you done this year?
I‘ve lost count. I have Enu Mi, Adun Ojo Kan, Ounje Omo and so on.
You usually say Agbere Oju is your most challenging movie, but it has been a while that you’ve done that movie.
Yes, but it still remains my most challenging movie.
How did you get into acting?
I was at a party in Ebuta Meta where I met Yinka Quadri and Ogogo. I told them I wanted to be an actress. They directed me to where they used to meet and the rest is history. That was in 1992. My first movie was Ere Egele with Ogogo.
Is it true you dated Ogogo?
No, he is a brother, a friend and a colleague.
When did you get marry?
It was in 2005.
How come you have two children in three years?
The children are from another marriage.
What went wrong with your first marriage?
My first marriage was in 1995, but something came up and we broke up.
Was your ex-husband chasing women?
No, that is not something new with men. That is bound to happen. Men cannot be faithful. My husband and my father cannot claim to be faithful.
So, men are terrible?
Oh yes, you guy are terrible. Even you, cannot claiming you are not doing it with another woman outside.
I am very faithful.
That is a lie.
If your ex-husband wasn’t chasing women was he beating you?
No that is my private life. Let’s just leave things the way they are.
What are the schools you went to?
I went to a secondary school in Sabo-Yaba. I then proceeded to obtain diploma at Opral Windfrey Fashion School in cosmetology.
It was because I love it.
How was life in polygamy?
My father married my mother and the other woman legally and we all lived together as one. My father had nine children and I was number four. I am the second born of my mother.
Can you marry a polygamist?
I am the third wife.
Why did you marry a man who has two wives already?
I love him.
Are sure it wasn’t because of money?
I married him when he had nothing. All the three wives live apart.
I heard you are planning to produce your own movie.
Yes, I am planning to produce my movie in January.
Does being an Ilerika has any advantage?
Yes. People treat me specially when they hear I am Haruna Ilerika’s daughter. I got a job with the present Commissioner for Sport in Lagos, Ademola Adeniji Adele in 1994 when he was a local government chairman based on the recommendation of my father. Adeniji later took me to work with him at his private company when he left government.