Alhaji Otunba Adebayo Salami, popularly called Oga Bello, was born on the 9th of May 1952 into the family of Alhaji and Alhaja Abdulkareem Gbogunleri in the Agege area of Lagos State. A native of Ilorin, Kwara State. He attended Ansar-deen Primary School. Oke Popo, Lagos Island, Adebogun Commercial School, Mushin, Lagos Drama School, affiliated to the University of Lagos and several seminars and sandwich courses both in London and France. While inschool, he started his career as an actor in 1964 with Youngster concert party which later metamorphosed into Ojo Ladipo Theatre Group led by late Ojo Ladipo .
After his education he worked at the Federal Ministry of Education as library Assistant between 1970-1974. He later joined Femi Okunnu Chambers as Personal Assistant to Chief Femi Okunnu, the then Federal Commissioner for Works between 1974-1976 when he resigned to concentrate on full time acting and was actively involved in traveling theatre for several years.
He took over the leadership of the group upon the demise of the leader of the group, Ojo Ladipo in 1978.
Some his stage plays include;
- BAYE BANYENI
- EFUSETAN ANIWURA
- OWO UDOJI
- OGBON GBEMIGA
- EGUN ALAKADA
He participated actively in many T.V series across the country where his stage name Oga Bello became a household name till today. He also participated in celluloid movies like Kadara, Taxi Driver, Iya Ni Wura all by Adelove and Jaiyesinmi, Ayanmo, Aropin’teniyan by Hubert Ogunde.
He produced his first celluloid movie in 1985 titled OGUN AJAYE and the Blockbuster movie OMO ORUKAN in 1987 where he bagged the award of African Producer of the year from British Film Institute, London. His last celluloid movie was Eri-okan produced in the year 1991.
With the advent of home video, Adebayo Salami played a very prominent role in making home video acceptable with his first home video productions, ASEWO TO RE MECCA and OKO which became pacesetters and a reference points in the industry. He has sinceproduced several home videos among which include;
- MOROLAYO AJIFA
- ISHOLA OBA ORIN
- AGBARA OBIRIN
- EMI ABATA
Adebayo Salami popularly known as Oga Bello discovered many of the present stars in the movie industry and is still discovering new talents with U-Bee School of Performing Arts, a school set up to discover and nurture young and budding talents. Since inception in 2004, the school as trained hundreds of students, some of whom are now notable stars.
He has over the years made considerable and effective proposals to government both at the state and national levels on the use of grass root entertainment to promote grassroots understanding and acceptance of government programmes and policies.
He has also produced several enlightenment materials which has help to make government policies acceptable to the grassroots. Such include but not limited to Tax drive for Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Kwara State Internal revenue Service, Traffic Laws in Lagos State for Lagos State Government, Government programmes for Kwara State, Rights of a woman for Ministry of Women Affairs and several more.
Adebayo Salami was President of the Association of Nigeria Theatre-Arts Practitioners (ANTP) from 2000-2004. He, through his visionary leadership, transformed the association and changed the fortune of Yoruba artistes. It was during his tenure that the association and the artistes gained national recognition. A member of A.N.T.P Board of Trustee, after his tenure he became a member of the Board of Trustee.
He was also a member of the steering committee of Motion Picture, Practitioners Council of Nigeria (MOPIPCON) set up by the Federal Government under President Olusegun Obasanjo, to see to the Affairs of the movie industry in Nigeria (Nollywood). A member of the committee on the Reformation of Entertainment industry in Lagos State under the administration of Governor BABATUNDE RAJI FASHOLA (S.A.N).
He is presently Chairman, Board of Trustees of Theatre Arts and Motion Picture Practitioners Association of Nigeria (TAMPAN), Chairman Board of Trustee Video Club Rental Association of Nigeria (VROAN). Board Member, Molete Film Village, Kwara State. Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer of U-Bee Media Network Limited and Artistic Director of U-Bee School of Performing Arts.
He is also Chairman to other reputable associations. He also has many awards both locally and internationally.
Adebayo Salami is a successful family man, a father and mentor to many both in and outside the entertainment industry.
Congratulations to our Icon of Quarter 3, 2023.