Like the stories of many great men, the Nigerian comedian, Atunyota Akpobome, popularly known as Ali Baba’s story is not different, having risen from grass to grace.
A former motor boy will be decorated with the Life Achievement Award during the Silverbird Man of the year award ceremony in February at the Eko Hotel.
There are so many qualities that qualify Ali Baba for this prestigious award among which is his doggedness to succeed as an entrepreneur at the time many of his mates were seeking jobs elsewhere.
He said, in order to succeed in life he worked as a motor boy. “I have been a bus conductor before, from Ramah Park back to Ogbaazu in Delta State. I occasionally used my dad’s Toyota Crown vehicle to convey people to their respective destination as a taxi-driver.
“I had my dad’s Toyota Crown. I will take the car for washing and I would do kabu-kabu (taxi), bribe him by coming with all the newspapers and put on the table,” he added.
Speaking further, the comic actor revealed that his hard work eventually paid off because people recognised him when he ventured into comedy.
He also recalled how the family of the late publisher of The Guardian Newspaper, Alex Ibru, approached him a few years back as they recognised him as ”someone who once did menial jobs for the family.”
He added, “I have loaded bottles before in Super Breweries. Even the Ibrus knew me because during holidays my dad takes us to the village. Our own summer was in the village.
“So when I started doing stand-ups, they were one of the first people that I visited and they were like, you are the one that loads crates and I responded, yes I used to.”
Ali Baba, who has marked 30 years as a successful comedian in the country said that his entry into the comic world began by an “accident.”
According to him, 1988 was a defining moment because ‘October Rush’ was a time people coming back from holidays had free time.
Promoters of the shows in the 80’s according to him helped shoot him to limelight by targeting students who were fresh from school with lots of cash that could attend the shows.