Mohammed Sani Gwarzo Tumbuleke is not only a veteran television personality but he has been in several drama series for years. Those who watched NTA Kaduna “Gidan Kashe Ahu”, drama in the 80s will easily identify Tumbuleke because of the role he played in the series as a clown.
Tumbuleke who is now 81-years-old told Neptune Prime’s correspondent, Saleh Inuwa in an exclusive interview in Kaduna that even though he has been playing drama for more than 40-years, he has nothing to show for it because as of today, he is jobless, has no house or even a plot of his own and lives in a family compound on Adamawa road, off Kaduna road, Kaduna.
Our correspondent visited him in their family compound where he lives with his only surviving wife. He narrated how he is finding it difficult to survive because of the harsh condition of living, especially under the APC government where everything is tight and money is no longer flowing.
EXCERPTS OF THE INTERVIEW
Neptune Prime: Sir, it has been long that your fans heard from you, even though you are no longer acting but tell us briefly about your life?
Tumbuleke: 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 3 wives but 2 of them died remaining one, I have seven children and many grand children.
NP: Tell us about your contemporaries, I mean those you have been playing drama together with during your time?
Tumbuleke: Well, as for me, I started acting when Idi Jibrin a former staff of NTA Kaduna introduced me to Late Kasimu Yero who is my boss in Kannywood, though he is late now. I was involved in several drama series like “Gidan Kashe Ahu”, “Samanja”, “Karan Bana” and host of others. 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 of them but to mention a few.
NP: What will you say are your major gains from drama?
Tumbuleke: Well, like I told you before, 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 81-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 led government. In fact, use this medium and highlight very well to the president because I know him very well right from the time he was a junior officer. I have pleaded with him to 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 even though things have gotten worse again and people are suffering and are yet to feel the impact of his government.
NP: You have been in television drama for years before the birth of Kannywood, how can you assess what you see today coming out of Kannywood and what was obtained during your time?
Tumbuleke: Well, in those days, most of our programs 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 artist, holding female artist hands, lodging in both male and female in same hotels. All these does 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 film but instead of portraying your 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 a role so that they can put food on their table but this is what Tumbuleke will never do.
NP: You have been in the drama industry or lets say Kannywood as they call it today, have you ever receive awards from State, Local of Federal Government?
Tumbuleke: 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, and 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, they look at us as beggars and people that have no ambition, that is why only one of my son 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.
NP: Do you want to assess the Buhari led administration and possibly advise it as an elder statesman?
Tumbuleke: The way I see it, this government will finish its 8 years without northerners feeling the impact of the government. But 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, somebody who was a former governor, former petroleum minister, former GOC, former military head of state and chairman, former PTF, if he sincerely wish to develop the North going by the massive support giving to him by the masses, since he started contesting the presidency in 2013, he don’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 is why today, you hear of ‘Yan Shara, ‘Yan daukan Amarya, kidnapping and banditry and other criminal groups that are given our people sleepless night. At the age of 81, I want to wish every body the best of luck in all their chosen endeavor 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 Federal Government to honor him.