Ace comedian, Atunyota Akpobome, popularly known as Ali Baba has said that, contrary to the belief in some quarters, that Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote paid him big for performing at his daughter, Fatima’s wedding.
Ali Baba, said he did not charge the billionaire businessman a dime for his service at the wedding. He told an online blogger: “Dangote is my friend and I chose to play a part in the wedding ceremony of his daughter for free. I have done a lot of events for him such as dinners, luncheons, award ceremonies, among other events and I was nicely paid.
For instance, if (former President Olusegun) Obasanjo, calls me for an event, I would handle the event for free because of my relationship with him. If he then offers me anything out of the abundance of his heart, I would take it. I don’t see why anybody should raise eyebrows over my decision.
Other comedians were there and they did well.”
On whether he advised his younger colleagues to perform for free too at the classy wedding, Ali Baba said, “It depends on the kind of relationship each individual has with him. I’m not the one to tell anybody what to charge.”
Mentioning lessons he took away from the event, Ali said, “The major lesson I learnt from that event is that friends always support their friends.”
Meanwhile, the comedian had earlier complained about how daunting it was to control the crowd during the wedding. In a social media post, Ali Baba had said, “The challenge of being an MC at a state function can be daunting. After dealing with protocol, then come the issues of timing and duration. There seems to be a long journey towards achieving the seeming decorum…”
However, when Sunday Scoop asked him how he handled the challenge of ‘controlling’ the VIPs at the event, Ali simply said, “I did not get in trouble with anybody; everything was professionally done. I did my job and I never felt intimidated throughout the event.”
Explaining that he has been in talks with government authorities over the better preservation of the country’s resources, Ali said, “I have reached out to some government authorities but I cannot say much about it now because it is still a work in progress.”
On whether he gave the new couple a gift, Ali Baba said, “I was there and I believe that the best present you can give anybody is your presence.”