10 Nigerian Actors Who You Never Knew Are Lecturers In Universities

There was a time, not too long ago, when acting was seen as a profession for never-do-wells in the society, but notion has since been discarded. Actors now include intellectuals, professors, doctorate degree holders and others who find the passion to get on stage or screen too hard to resist.

Here is a list of actors who also teach the art in university, as well as university lecturers turned actors.

1. Peter Fatomilola

Fatomilola was born on 16 January 1946 at Ido-Osi, a city in Ekiti State southwestern Nigeria. He is a son of Chief Ifa Priest, which was believed to had influenced his herbalist role in Nigerian film. In 1967, he joined the Olokun Theatre group under the tutelage of the late Professor Ola Rotimi, a renowned dramatist and prolific playwright at the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University. He is also a member of the academic staff of Obafemi Awolowo University, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Arts in 1978. He was the first "Papa Ajasco", a lead role in a comedy film produced by Wale Adenuga. He had featured in several notable Nigerian films such as Sango, an epic African film produced by Obafemi Lasode and scripted by Wale Ogunyemi in 1997.

He later became a dramatic arts instructor at the OAU. Though he is retired, he still gets invitations to come and lecture in universities.


2. Sola Fosudo

Dr. Sola Fosudo hails from Lagos State. He was trained as a dramatist at Obafemi Awolowo University and University of Ibadan where he obtained a Master of Art degree in drama. He has featured and directed several Nigerian films. Sola is a senior lecturer and head of department at Lagos State University (LASU) department of theatre arts and music. He was until recently the director of press and public relations unit at the university.


3. Professor Ayo Akinwale

Professor Ayo Akinwale is an actor, a veteran movie producer, an academician. He was born in Ibadan and attended Methodist High School and the University of Ibadan before commencing academic work as a lecturer at the Polytechnic Ibadan. He is also the chairman of Oyo State Council for Arts and Culture. He has been a judge on several cultural festivals across Nigeria. He began his acting career in the 1970s featuring in television and drama productions. He has featured in several home movies. He is a laureate of the African Movie Academy Award (AMAA) and the current dean of the faculty of arts at the University of Ilorin. Prof Akinwale has written several books and articles on theatre arts in Nigeria. As a seasoned actor with a fantastic Yoruba accent, his spoken English is also impeccable.


4. Hafiz Oyetoro

Hafiz Oyetoro was born on August 20, 1963, in Iseyin Local Government Area of Oyo State southwestern Nigeria. He obtained a Bachelor and Master of Art degree in Theatre art from Obafemi Awolowo University and the University of Ibadan respectively. He is currently on a doctorate degree at the University of Ibadan. He is a lecturer at Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education in Ijanikin, Lagos. The actor who is simply known as Saka has been blessed through acting. Acting brought him the MTN brand ambassador contract. He has also modeled for different firms including Diamond Bank and Etisalat. His porting from Etisalat to MTN became a big item when he left Etisalat for MTN as a brand ambassador.


5. Doyin Hassan

Doyin Hassan is popular for his role in Saworoide but the soft-spoken actor with a woman voice has since gone on to appear in only Christian movies produced by Mike Bamiloye’s Mount Zion Film Productions. Doyin Hassan holds a PhD in Marketing and he is a senior lecturer in the department of marketing in Lagos State University (LASU). He is also a former HOD at the department and is currently an Assistant Director in the university’s school of part-time studies in charge of Ogba and Ikorodu campuses.


6. Professor Akinwunmi Isola

Professor Akinwunmi Isola was born in Ibadan in 1939, attended Labode Methodist School and Wesley College. He studied at the University of Ibadan, earning a B. A. in French. He also earned an M.A. in Yoruba literature from the University of Lagos in 1978 before commencing academic work as a lecturer at Obafemi Awolowo University. He was appointed Professor at the same University in 1991. Isola wrote his first play, Efunsetan Aniwura, during 1961 and 1962 whilst still a student at the University of Ibadan. This was followed by the novel O Leku. His play proved popular, and one performance in Ibadan was watched by forty thousand people.

Since then, he has written a number of plays and novels. He also broke into broadcasting, creating a production company that has turned a number of his plays into television dramas and films. Though he claims that 'my target audience are Yorubas', Isola has also written in English and translated to Yoruba. In 2000, in recognition of his immense contributions, he was awarded the National Merit Award and the Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters. He was also visiting professor at the University of Georgia.


7. Kola Oyewo

Kola Oyewo was born on 27 March 1946 at Oba Ile, a town in Osun State, southwestern Nigeria. He attended Obafemi Awolowo University where he obtained a certificate in dramatic arts, a certificate in Yoruba oral literature before he later received a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Theatre art from the same university in 1995. He proceeded to the University of Ibadan where he received a Master of Arts (M.A.) and doctorate degree (Ph.D) in drama.

He began acting as a professional in 1964 after he joined the "Oyin Adejobi theatre group" and the first role he played was Adejare in Orogun Adedigba, which was Oyin Adejobi's autobiography. After he spent nine years with Oyin Adejobi, he joined the University of Ife theatre, where he worked with the late veteran dramatist and scholar, chief Ola Rotimi. Kola Oyewo was known for the role he played as "Odewale" in The Gods Are Not To Blame, a drama by Ola Rotimi. Fame came the way of Kola Oyewo in Tunde Kelani’s movie ‘Kosegbe’ where he played Mako, an incorruptible custom boss.

In 1996, Oyewo joined the services of Obafemi Awolowo University, where he rose to the rank of senior lecturer before retiring in September 2011. After his retirement from Obafemi Awolowo University, he joined the services of Redeemer's University, where he currently serves as head of the department of dramatic art. He was a senior lecturer at the OAU until 2011 before he moved on to head the department of dramatic arts in Redeemer’s University.


8. Sam Dede

Sam Dede is an award-winning actor and at the same time a lecturer. His role in the epic movie ‘Igodo’ endeared Sam Dede to movie enthusiasts. The former lecturer at the University of Lagos is currently in the employ of the department of theatre arts at the University of Port Harcourt. He is also the director-general of the Rivers State Tourism Development Agency.


9. Tunji Sotimirin

Tunji Sotimirin is a veteran actor whose activity in the Nigerian movie industry spans almost three decades. Tunji Sotimirin stared in ‘Owuro Lojo’ alongside a young Joke Silva in the early 90s and has also featured in numerous movies including Tade Ogidan’s Hostages. The funny actor is currently a lecturer in the department of theatre arts at the University of Lagos.


10. Joke Silva

Joke Silva is a graduate of the University of Lagos and Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London, she began a career in film in the early 1990s. Silva was born in Lagos, into a family of four children. Her mother, Adebimbola Silva, a pioneering female doctor, died in July 2015. Her father was a lawyer. She attended Holy Child College in Lagos. At university she was part of a cultural group that included the playwright Bode Osanyin and the singer Stella Monye. Silva took a year off from her studies, during which time she began working as an actress. Silva then relocated to England, studying drama at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Initially her parents were opposed to Silva's decision to go into the theatre but they soon began to support her, happy at the success she made of her career. During a slow period of her career, she returned to school, studying English at the University of Lagos.

Silva is married to actor Olu Jacobs. The couple founded and operate the Lufodo Group covering film production and distribution assets and the Lufodo Academy of Performing Arts, where she is Director of Studies. She is also the pioneering managing director of Malete Film Village, in association with Kwara State University. On 29 September 2014, Silva received recognition as a Member of the Order of the Federal Republic, one of Nigeria's National Honours Awards, at the International Conference Centre in Abuja.


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