How Nollywood actress Sola Sobowale "rose from the dead"


Sola Sobowale

By Nehru Odeh

Popular Nollywood actress Sola Sobowale is the proverbial cat with nine lives. And she is no doubt relishing her second coming, her current moment of glory. Not only was she confirmed dead and buried in Saudi Arabia for alleged trafficking in cocaine, but according to the rumour mill, she has risen from the dead to tell her own story.

Risen from the dead to tell her own story? Sure. Not many are blessed with that luxury. Not many have the luxury of a second chance. Not many are alive to tell the tale of their own death and resurrection.

However, Sola is alive to tell her story. She is here in flesh and blood, as they say. And she is leaving no stone unturned as she tells the story of her supposed death and second coming.

Supposed death and second coming? Certainly. During a live chat on the Teju Baby Face Show on Tuesday, the 58 year-old award-winning Nollywood actress bared her mind about the story that had made the rounds about her voluntary death, after her hand and leg had been amputated for trafficking in cocaine.

The story went that she asked for that merciful death because as a celebrity in Nigeria she couldn’t live with the eternal shame of being a crime-induced amputee.

Her words: “The worst of the rumours I heard about me was when they said Sola Sobowale had been killed in Saudi Arabia. and that I carried cocaine,” she said.

“It was written here in Nigeria. I was arrested in Saudi Arabia. That there, they amputated my leg and my hand. And I said to them that ‘I am a star in Nigeria’ and that they should kill me.

“So when I now got to Nigeria, at the airport, they said ‘Sola Sobowale is dead’. I said do you believe in abracadabra? I said I am alive. I have never been to Saudi Arabia.

“I do not even know where it is on the map. So many negative things. But to God be the glory. God has compensated me.”

God has indeed compensated the actress who shot to limelight as Toyin Tomato in 2001 via the premiere Nigeria’s popular television drama series Super Story: Oh Father, Oh Daughter.

Her rumoured death and eventual resurrection is indeed a metaphor for the death and resuscitation of her acting career. The truth, therefore, which nobody can deny, is that the acting career of the actress who had peaked in the 2000s actually nose-dived and dipped. That was the time she spent in the United Kingdom between 2004 and 2016, doing things other than acting.

And she later bounced back and made social and financial capital from her second coming, acting in movies such as “The Wedding Party“, “King of Boys” and “Anikulapo” for which she got many nominations and awards.

Recall that Sola relocated to the United Kingdom in 2004 and didn’t return until she featured in the audition for the Wedding Party in 2016.” Sola herself recounted her cinematic death when she relocated to London and put her acting career on hold as according to her she assisted her elder sister Kike Oyelami in her restaurant.

It was that hiatus and the time she spent there that spawned her rumoured arrest, amputation and death in Saudi Arabia for trafficking in cocaine. Those were the times she spent in limbo, or better still, in hell before the resuscitation of her acting career.

In her words: “When I was in the UK, doing my thing, Nigerian newspapers published articles titled ‘From grace to grass’ claiming that Sola Sobowale now resides in the UK and sells food at a restaurant called Emuke. My older sister owns the restaurant.

“The restaurant is owned by Kike Oyelana and Uncle Tunji Oyelana. Whenever I have time off from work, I visit the restaurant to see my sister. I occasionally prepare Eba and other dishes to assist my sister and serve the customers. They saw me and wrote, ‘Sola Sobowale now sells eba in the restaurant,’ it went on like that.”

The actress stated that before she left Nigeria for the UK, she owned a restaurant named ‘Sola’s Kitchen’. She said, “If I go to the UK and sell eba, I’ll make my money. If I wash the dishes, it’s no problem. I’m earning. The only thing that bothers me is that they accused me of carrying cocaine in Saudi Arabia.”


The veteran actress also disclosed that she left her lucrative acting career which was earning over N5 million within months in the early 2000s, for menial jobs in England because she wanted to make her children her priority, emphasizing that she didn’t expect anything in return.

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She then recounted how she met Seye Fadipe while engrossed in her new-found job as a carer, washing, carrying and cleaning. Fadipe, who was astonished at the menial jobs she was doing, later advised her to return to acting after she had admitted that she was the same ‘Sola Sobowale’ he used to see on TV.

“It was confusing because my tag read ‘Olu’. Because I did not put Olusola. Especially one of the top Ogas looked at me and said ‘have I met you before’ and I said no,” she said. “Then he looked at me and walked away.

“After I saw him in the office, I went there and asked “may I know you sir” and he said his name was Seye Fadipe. And I said yes, you have met me before. I said ‘my name is Sola Sobowale. You met me on television.’

“He looked at me and said ‘are you crazy?’ I said ‘I am not crazy.’ He asked ‘what are you doing? You are up there in Nigeria.’ But there was something better than that. My future. My children are my future. There will be a time when the energy that Sola Sobowale have will no longer be there. It is what you sow that you reap.

“At that time, Sola Sobowale was baba career. Career that there was nothing you will not do. Not senior carer or team leader. You will wash. You will carry. You will clean. You will do everything. That was what I was doing. The following week, I was called to go to college and register.”

Sola while recounting her experience in the wilderness, referred to herself as “elevated omo odo”, which means in Yoruba, ‘glorified servant.’

Asked why she referred to herself as a glorified servant, she said after facing so many struggles, she was fortunate to have conquered all obstacles, to have risen from the dead.

After featuring in the popular television drama series, as ‘Toyin Tomato’ in the early 2000s; the popular actress took some time off the screen and movie scene.

“Oh yes. It was after Toyin Tomato – Super Story that I left (for London). I left Nigeria totally in 2004 and I didn’t come back until I came for the audition of the Wedding Party in 2016.

“When I started work in that office, there were Nigerians, Jamaicans, Ghanaians, and all of them know Sola Sobowale. But it was confusing because my tag read ‘Olu,’ and not Olusola,” the award-winning actress stated.

Speaking further, the veteran actress noted that “there’ll be a time that the noise, the energy that Sola Sobowale have” will no longer be there.’

“I believe in dignity in labour. There’s no job I won’t do to put food on my table, to provide for my children, except prostitution and fraud,” she maintained.

Sola had earlier revealed the reason she went on a 10-year hiatus in an interview. “The moment you have children, then you must be ready to take full responsibility. Education is something that is of priority to me, and that is the legacy you can give to your children.

Yet despite wandering in the wilderness to provide for her children, despite the time she spent doing menial jobs, despite the fact that her acting career literarily died at the time, Sola was able to return to acting when she conceived and implemented a forthcoming moving project in Bollywood.

Asked how she managed to do so, she said: “It’s the grace of God. When you’ve grace, you have everything, and that’s what has been working for me.”

That grace of God was indeed what made her to not just revive her acting career but also hit it big in her second coming.

That also explains why, based on her pedigree, she was able to play the lead role of Alhaja Eniola Salami in King of Boys. And since she has resuscitated her acting career, having risen from the dead after a hiatus, Sola is not just king of boys but Queen of the screen.

She indeed possesses that expertise and gravitas as she has shown in the movie, King of Boys, where she made a huge statement about her second coming. Not many indeed are blessed with that luxury.

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