Few years ago, Taiwo Akinwande a.k.a Yetunde Wumi almost had her acting career truncated when she was arrested for possessing hard drugs at the airport in Lagos. The soft-spoken actress spoke with National Mirror on how she has since picked up the pieces of her life together.
You disappointed your fans some years back when you were arrested for drug trafficking at the airport by the National Drug Law Enforcing Agency (NDLEA). How did it feel?
It was one sad experience that I would never wish for my worst enemy. I did not only disappoint my fans, I disappointed my friends, families and, of course, my very self. I have been acting since 1981 when I joined Feyikogbon, a Yoruba serials, on the television and until that incident, I was respected and loved by all.
Whenever I passed through an area, I was a known face and I enjoyed everyone’s approval. I thought my world had come to an end when that incident occurred, I thought I was going to die, I didn’t know, I would ever be accepted into anywhere again.
I hope I could turn back the hands of the clock, I just wished it never happened but I thank God and everyone for giving me the opportunity to redeem my image.
Was it your first time?
Yes, it was and I really wouldn’t want to have the memory back. It was one wrong decision I took, it was one big effort of the devil to ruin me and my career but I thank God I was able to survive it.
A lot of people didn’t live to tell their stories, I thank God for the opportunity He gave me to learn my lessons and to tell the story afterwards.
What lesson(s) did you learn?
So many lessons I learnt.
Above all others, I have learnt that God Almighty is a loving God. He is merciful, He does as He wills, He is God of a second chance and I intend not to misuse this rare opportunity to amend my ways, wash off the evil blemish the devil inflicted on me.
I have also learnt to take each day as it comes and never compare myself with others. I learnt to be contented with what I have and not to allow any lack to push me into trouble. I learnt to love God, appreciate people and rely on what I can do to earn my money. So many lessons I have learnt through that incident.
Many believe that many top Nigerians who are rich today have been involved in one drug deal or the other before. What would you say to that?
I would say it is wrong to believe every hearsay that comes our way. If we will listen to these rumours, we are likely to be taken over by them and we may end up in trouble. Besides, what one person will do and escape, another may do and end up in a cobweb of problems.
Was that what happened to you?
This belief that you mentioned is not just coming up for the first time. People had heard of even worst things before.
All I can say is that we should be wary of what we listen to because it is what we hear that will stay long on our minds; it is that which will play back on our minds and if these things are negative, they can push us into negative acts.
Take for instance, students in higher institutions, even secondary schools. If they go by the general notion that if they don’t belong to a secret cult, they may not have it smooth on campus, they will be lured into wicked acts that are associated with cultists.
The same thing goes for ladies, if they will go by the saying that there is nothing wrong in using what one has to get what one needs, they will easily go into prostitution, which will eventually lead them to all sorts of evil. If mothers want to join the bandwagon or the trend, they will not be able to lead their children aright; they will end up as failed mothers.
I have tried to help myself by the option I took and like I said, I have learnt my lessons. There is no hard situation that can make me get involved in any negative deals in my life. That is just it.
Has this, in any way, affected your acting profession?
I must tell you that it has not. I thank God for the kind of people in my industry. Everyone can attest to the fact that they all rallied round me at that time of trial and even after; they have continued to invite me for roles.
I thank God for this which is why I said it has pleased God to give me another chance to live a good life and I am not going to play with it. I appreciate it and I will always be His mouthpiece anywhere I find myself or whenever I have the opportunity.
You don’t live with your husband. Is this a further confirmation that actresses can’t keep their homes?
We want to keep our homes. There is no woman that goes into a marriage with the mindset of making it fail. The problem we usually encounter is that of full support and lack of understanding on the part of our men.
Many of them can’t endure or let me say, cope with the dictates of our job and because we love what we are doing, we find it hard to give it up for anything.
Is this not contradictory to God’s dictate that men are the heads of the homes and should be respected accordingly?
It depends on how you look at it and what the situation is like in each instance. Agreed, men are the heads, but the same God also instructs that they should love their wives. Loving their wives should include loving and caring for what makes her happy especially if it is in the interest of the family.
Most men are self-centred and this is bad. Mind you, broken homes are not limited to our world alone, it is everywhere and I tell you, those things that contribute to our plights are equally applicable to those in other professions.
If you have another chance to reunite with your husband, what would you do to keep him?
I love my job , I am passionate about it. It makes my world go round, so, I will always do anything to keep it. May be, if he will see it the way I see it, we will be able to work things out.
I don’t know. We were married before I went into acting; he doesn’t like the job, I love it. So, the clash of interests is one we couldn’t get to settle.
If we are able to find a way around it, may be, things will work out better.
What advice do you have for people who may be planning to try the drug courier option to get out of poverty.
I will advise them sincerely to look elsewhere. It is not a good option, it can only kill or deter their progress in life. Only lazy people take the cheapest option to make it in life. They should work hard; follow good friends who would not corrupt them. is what we should be thinking of. We should engage or brains here and God will help us.
What about couples whose homes are on the verge of collapse?
They should exercise patience with each other. They should talk more. When there is no gap between couples, they settle their matters easily and quickly. They should learn to listen to God and not their own interests. Husbands should take time to get to know details of the expectations of their wives’ work and vice versa.
Couples should respect each other and disallow third party interference in their affairs. Above all, they should pray and give each other chances to have their ways on issues.