For over three decades veteran actor, Bimbo Manuel, has proved to be an actor of repute from his features on soap operas like ‘Ripples’ and ‘Checkmate,’ to his recent role on ‘Tinsel.’ Although the actor has successfully put smiles on the faces of his audience and kept them glued to their television screen, not many people know that the actor could have become a soldier but for the intervention of his parents.
In an interview with Saturday Beats, the actor disclosed what his parents did to prevent him from joining the Nigerian Army. He said, “In retrospect now, I do not think I had was any chance of joining the army because I come from a very conservative family that would want you to have a chosen profession and career and chase it to its peak. Also, you have to get married and have children, and then retire and live in peace. That was the kind of family in which I was raised.
“So being a soldier would have been an aberration in the entire set-up, so my parents locked me in the house when I was meant to report at the military school in Zaria. The rumour at the time was that they were drafting young men into the military school in Zaria as a ploy to get more young men into the army, give them the basic training and send them to the war zone.
“That rumour was really pervasive; at the time, not many people wanted to join the army. Sadly, joining the military at that time was seen as something for dropouts, mostly because it succeeded in mopping a few people off the streets.”
Manuel said he was very disappointed at his parents for their action at the time but there was little or nothing he could do about it. “I was extremely disappointed when my parents locked me in the house, preventing me from going to the military school. I just wanted to move ahead in life. However, thinking about it now with the benefit of hindsight, I really was not serving myself any purpose if I had joined the military. I probably would have been one of those extremely rebellious guys in the army and I could have been shot,” he said.
Although many would argue about his age due to his good looks, the actor, who turned 60 last year, shared some of his regrets in life with Saturday Beats. He said, “I regret that I may in some way have contributed to the decadence in our society; the failure of a family structure and the collapse in the society. I would feel bad if I could find myself guilty. I regret that I may not have done enough to affect such little things as the politics of Nigeria because some of us did some things or did not do some things and we have ended up where we are. It saddens me.
“I am very concerned about those things – the kind of filth that you read about and hear everywhere, the kind of words people use to describe one another. The loss of lives and attacks coupled with the tense environment.
“The lack of basic amenities; I feel that with my status, some of us could have spoken about these things and that is why I said I would feel very bad if I should realise I’m guilty of this in any way because I would feel like one of those people that have failed this country. We should not be here. We are regressing instead of progressing; industries are folding up.
“People are becoming criminals because they want to feed or live the kind of lifestyle that they do not deserve. I feel that I am at a point when I should ask those questions and everyone in the country needs to pause a bit and ask questions.”