Adebayo Salami

Adebayo Salami popularly known as Oga Bello was born 9 May 1953 in Agege to parents from Kwara State. Growing up in Okepopo of Lagos Island, he attended Ansarudeen school Okepopo, Adebodun Commercial School and later, Lagos Drama School which was then affiliated to University of Lagos. All the time Adebayo Salami was schooling he was also acting. His childhood was enlivened by the festivities at Lagos Island. At Ramadan he would follow Were music performers everywhere they performed, and at Easter time he enjoyed Meboi Meboi, which was like a carnival. At Christmas he would take part in the Fanti performance.

Adebayo Salami’s main inspiration for acting came through the TV Series, Village Doctor, produced by Hubert Ogunde, and Pa’ Ayinla Olumegbon’s group rehearsal. He would watch the rehearsals at a loction just adjacent to his street at JK Rollings and would go back to his house and re-enact the scenes in his Bathroom. He eventually joined the Young Stars Concert Party in 1964 led by Ojo Ladipo, a.k.a Baba Mero at the age of twelve, the group then metamorphosed to Ojo Ladipo theatre, without his parents’ permissions.

1970 was a great year for Adebayo. He joined the civil service as a library assistant and also got his big break in this same year during a stage production at the Lagos State Festival of Arts. He worked as a library assistant then as a personal assistant to a federal commissioner. By 1974 he resigned to join his boss in his private firm while he continued to act. Dozens of films have followed Adebayo Salami’s first Drama Taiye ba Yeni (Tread Softly) of 1966.

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer