Veteran filmmaker, Tunde Kelani, has responded to the accusation by veteran film actor, Kareem Adepoju, with Baba Wande as stage name, that he cheated him over the returns from classic Yoruba movie: “Ti Oluwa ni ile,” which was a big hit over 20 years ago.
The Director of Saworoide and Agogo Ewo spoke on the development in an interview with Tribune Online on Tuesday.
Kelani said he never defrauded Baba Wande and that the film didn’t make as much money as some have reported.
He said: “He was not accusing me; I think he was stating his own case and complaining about a project that happened over 20 years ago.
“I think he is not saying that I didn’t pay him; he is probably saying that the money was not enough.
“When I heard that, I asked the office to start dusting some papers and I think they found some vouchers, at least we are still looking for 2003 record.
“But the vouchers they found already showed that he was paid over N300,000 that time.
“You know the film has a short lifespan and I cannot understand why Baba Wande keeps harassing me over something that happened more than 20 years ago.
“If he thinks that the films are selling as he thinks, I can give him the right to produce, if that would solve the problem.
“It is painful that he didn’t even care whether we made our money from it or not.
“Even after all that experience, I took him to Benin Republic to take part in Abeni and I always paid him whatever he demanded.
“Again, I invited him to play in Arugba.
“He doesn’t remember all those ones, but he can only remember bad things about me.
“In spite of the relative success of the Ti Oluwa Ni Ile project, he doesn’t seem to see anything good in it and in me.
“It is very strange.
“I think it is a deliberate effort to blackmail me.
“I think he is broke, but I am broke too; we are all broke and that is the reality.
“This is why I refused to reply him instantly, because it won’t be good for the Yoruba race.
“I don’t know who is older; he would be probably older than me, because I just turned 70.
“I don’t expect him to be saying all that on the pages of a newspaper.
“I cannot do that because I will be insulting the institutions of our traditional rulers and all eminent Nigerians.
“I think it is a very simple case that can be resolved.
“He is also not bothered what I went through when all my works, including the films, were pirated.
“I almost died when it happened.
“It pains me a lot anytime Baba Wande refers to that issue.
“I have various pirated copies of my works in my Lagos office.
“I would say that he is entitled to his opinion on the things he said about me.
“Meanwhile, I have not said anything bad about him, not to talk of doing it in the public.
“There is nothing to settle; if people are interested, fine, not me.
“I have many challenges.
“I am pained because all my films have been pirated.
“He could not imagine what happened to me.”