Veteran Actor, Sola Fosudo who is now a Professor at the Lagos State University (LASU) has disclosed why he made the decision to leave Nollywood for lecturing.
He revealed that he started off as a theater practitioner, but applied for a job at Lagos State University, Ojo when he saw an advert which stated that the English Language Department of the school was looking for a lecturer who had a background in theater arts.
Would you say it was easy for you to attain professorship?
Professorship is not a political position that people fight for or seek elections to. There are criteria for evaluating the application of anyone for a position in the university. When you have the needed number of publications to apply for a position, you will apply and it will go through necessary procedures. Once you are qualified, you will be appointed as a professor.
When did you start focusing more on academics?
I think in everything one does in life, there is the hand of God in it. Though I started as a theatre practitioner, at some point, I saw an advert where the English Language Department of the Lagos State University, Ojo, was looking for a lecturer who had a background in theatre arts and I applied. Then, I was not just an actor; I was directing and producing plays both on stage and screen. I had already produced about four video films as of then.
I applied to LASU, passed the interviews and was employed. But when I joined LASU in 1994, some people felt I was unserious or insane. I was already earning N150, 000 to appear in movies. I had featured in popular movies like Glamour Girls, True Confession and a host of others. However, when I joined LASU as a Lecturer 2 in 1994, my salary was N5,000.
A few years after joining LASU, I was instrumental to the establishment of the Theatre Arts Department. I joined the English Language Department, but I later applied to the Department of Theatre Arts, which started in 2001. For me, this is a major achievement as many students have passed through the department.
Why did you leave acting for lecturing?
I was happy with the industry at the time I moved to LASU, but I have always looked forward to growth and I knew LASU would be a platform for me to make a bigger contribution to the development of theatre in Nigeria. Development theatre in Nigeria should not be only through films but also by training people.
Even before I went to study theatre arts, I was a professional teacher. I love teaching and reading. So, when I saw the lecturing advert, I was attracted by the fact that a theatre person was needed.
How did you cope with N5,000 as salary at LASU?
I was not bothered about the salary because I was still acting until years later when I became busier with the school job. For the first few years as a lecturer, I was still getting some additional income from productions.
Meanwhile, it is incorrect to say I have left acting for lecturing. I am doing the two and I am not the only one doing this. We have many lecturers who are in the university and are also theatre practitioners. We call them scholar-artistes. For me, it means one is relevant both in theory and practice. We can be practitioners in different ways, but most people recognise actors better because they are always on television. This does not mean other practitioners are not playing their roles well.