Chief Executive Officer of Wale Adenuga Productions, Wale Adenuga Jr, in the interview with Tosin Clegg, talks about his work and the entertainment industry  

Winning the USAID award was a wonderful experience

It is a wonderful feeling to be recognized by the United States Agency for International Development. The award was for one of our programmes on Super Story and it was for a programme we did with Society for Family Health that is aimed mainly at curbing the spread of malaria. So, it was an anti-malaria campaign with 13 episodes and it featured a lot of stars. We got the unsolicited recognition because they saw the impact we were having. The award was really a big one for us since it was from USAID, the same organisation that did ‘we are the world’ campaign back in the days. It is good to be recognised as part of the people trying to kick the menace out of the country is good.

 Wale Adenuga Productions is always up to something

We are still fanning the flames in our TV station, that’s WAP TV, which is on DSTV, Star Times and other platforms, bringing in new contents daily. We just wrapped up the recording of Papa Ajasco Reloaded. And that’s the major project we are working on right now vis a vis our pro TV programmes. We have taken Papa Ajasco and we repackaged it. We have changed some characters and that’s the latest project we are working on and it would hit your TV screens soon. It’s bigger, better and very modern. Shot just this year, it features most of the reigning stars aside from the major crew. The only new faces are Miss Pepeye and a new Ajasco. It’s Papa Ajasco Reloaded Season One and in it we have Frank Donga, Eniola Badmus, Ronke Oshodi Oke, Ijebu, Ese Erieta, Emeka Okoye and some other major acts. It’s a good package and it’s going to crack your skull and jaw when you laugh.

Recession is affecting everybody

I keep saying that anybody who is doing legitimate business in this country will feel this recession, unless otherwise, but again I do know that there are some businesses that profit when other businesses are having big issues, but I won’t mention them. We happen to be on the other side where the cost of production, accommodation for actors and feeding affects us. But I think one upside of the recession is that you get more creative ways to achieve things without dropping quality. But even if there is no recession in Nigeria, there are times there is recession in your pocket too.

Our family-oriented approach

We have this holistic family approach to our programmes, as we do something the whole family can really enjoy. You know they say charity begins at home and if everyone in the family is happy, then it resonates in the society. Wale Adenuga is more than just entertainment, it’s educative too. We have this reputation that if you are watching our programmes, then you don’t have to be worried about seeing too much violence, or something too extreme. So, we always play safe with our productions, but not to a boring level. We scale up sometimes, but it’s something a parent can lead their kids through and have no fear; so that’s basically our strong point.

In the next five years

We are content producers and over the last few years the platforms people use to watch content are radically changing very fast. People are viewing contents from all sorts of platforms now, and we see technology taking it to another level. So, in preparation for this shift, we have to be in the forefront of content production in five years on all platforms. So, we see ourselves providing contents on all sorts of platforms. So, whenever you want to watch anything you will see a WAP programme.

My dad inspires

One thing I tell people is that there is one person that you know and that knowing someone that inspires you in person is different. But there is someone I know since I was born, which is my dad. If you are talking about anyone in my line of business, then it’s my dad. I know where he came from, battles he fought. He came to Lagos for a business people did not see as viable or which people felt was done by others, but he was able to make a breakthrough. At that time you could get discouraged, but now it’s different with social media because anyone can come up with anything and people will say try it and it might trend. But back then, the odds were much, but he took some big risks which most of our young people have been lucky not to go through, because everything is more flexible and trending these days. So, I think for somebody, during that time, to go through all that, make certain decisions, and succeed, then that’s the person that inspires me.

 I love what I do

I don’t see it as a job per se. I actually love it. But as Wale, I play video games, I love swimming, I watch movies a lot, and not just our own movies. So, everything I do still revolves around what I do, anyway, and when I’m seeing a movie I see what I like I take notes of it.

I’m a simple person and I keep my private life. I know these days people would rather show off the latest watches they have or something, but I would rather show off things I have going on in relation to my productions. But what you can only do as a producer is not to close your eyes to trends. People may show off life, you don’t have to do it but you can still infuse it into your works.

I want my brand to be in the public glare 24/7

That’s what I know my brand should be based on. I would not say because I don’t want to be in the public glare I would not push you there. So that’s Wale Adenuga Jnr and that’s how most of us are in the family; very private people. I would spend 24 hours trying to push my brand out than myself.