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In Kannywood, Muhammadu Rabiu ‘Rikadawa’ enjoys mass appeal

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One of the biggest challenges that many screen celebrities have to contend with is managing the huge fame and attention that come with their being top players in the moviedom. They have become the darling of young people, who consider them as role models, and who would not stop at cheering anytime they set their eyes on them. Like their counterpart in the Englishspeaking divide of the motion picture industry in Nigeria, notable actors in Kannywood—the Kano-based movie industry, receive star treatment wherever they go. In fact, they have, on numerous occasions, escaped being mobbed by some elated fans.

During the week, one of Kannywood’s respected actors, Muhammadu Rabiu Rikadawa escaped being mobbed in Azare, a commercial town in Bauchi State, Nigeria.

Rikadawa or Dali as the actor is also fondly called, was in Azare as a member of the cast of a short movie produced for the National Agency for The Great Green Wall, by RealForte Limited. Rikadawa could hardly walk the streets of Azare and indeed, other towns such as Gamawa, Udubo and Bulkachuwa, where the shooting took place for the movie project tentatively entitled ‘Greensmoke’.

Some of them kept vigil at the city centre just to catch a glimpse of the multi-talented actor, who hinted that he had found a way to cope with the attention he gets from his fans.

“The production team even had to get a vehicle with tinted glass to convey me because of the surging crowd. I told them that they shouldn’t have bothered because we exist because of our fans.’’

He said: “They buy our movies. That way, we get paid and so on. So, if you chase them away, they would assume that you are proud. At times, I come down from the vehicle to engage them and give them a sense of fulfilment for coming face to face with an actor they usually see on screen, live and direct. What is interesting is that some of them even begin to pray for you. It is a great feeling to find fans, who are interested in your progress’’.

An actor of many credits, who is one of the few Kannywood screen actors that can be described as ‘timeless’, Rikadawa is unarguably one show biz personality up northern Nigeria, who enjoys mass appeal both within and outside of Kannywood. His fans and critics agree that his stage charisma and kicks, have won him a growing legion of fans across the country, especially among fans that are in love with Kannywood movies.

Born and raised in Kaduna State, the native of Rikadawa in Madobi Local Council of Kano State explained that it was to make people understand his roots, that the name of his native town Rikadawa was attached to his name.

A versatile and humble actor, who is always first to flash an honest smile at a fan, Rikadawa cut his teeth as an actor whilst in secondary school where he was a prominent member of the school’s drama society. It was a member of the drama society that Rikadawa got an early inclination for acting. The actor who is married with children admits that it was being a member of the society that later inspired his incursion into acting on full time. ‘’So after school, I yearned for opportunities to act because I loved acting and loved mimicking big Bollywood and Chinese stars. The opportunity came with the defunct Kaduna State Broadcasting Corporation (now Kaduna State Media Corporation). They started a drama programme in the early 90’s, which I was a major part of. From there I got another opportunity at Nigerian Television Kaduna and since then I have not looked back’’ he enthused.

An artist, who has continued to grow in status and fame, Rikadawa’s career kicked off professionally when he got the opportunity to star in the some of the celebrated productions by a defunct cable company-DITV, and Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) series and soaps such as ‘Tales By The Moonlight’, ‘Wisdom Is An Asset’, ‘Adventures of Waziri’ and the ‘Telefest’ series.

He became notable but the fame and fortune were to multiply soon as he joined the home movie turf and starred in two of his most memorable productions ‘’Salaha’ and ‘Jemila and Jemilu’.

An observer of the Kannywood industry hinted that it took his near beatific performance in some celebrated Kannywood flicks including ‘Dan Almajiri’, ‘Alkalin Kauye’, and ‘Adam’ for Rikadawa to reign uproariously.

Today, Rikadawa is reputed to be one of the most popular actors in Kannywood. Some of his loyal fans and colleagues have maintained that his acting ability has remained timeless. The actor always spends off-screen moments relaxing, watching films, and keeping fit.

An actor of vast credit and a thespian of outstanding ability who gained prominence through hard work and determination, in Rikadawa’s movie credit pouch are such hit flicks like ‘Dry’, ‘Alhini’, ‘Bada Ba Rai’, ‘Dajin So’, ‘Dare Daya’, ‘Garbati’, ‘Ki Yarda De ni’, ‘Muradi’, ‘Sarki Jatau’, ‘Zalinchi’ ‘Rayuwa Bayan Mutuwa and several others. In fact, at the last count, Rikadawa has featured in over 150 home video productions with so many others still at various stages of production.

Asked to state his turn off and turn on, Ramsey a quick-witted fellow said he abhors liar and pretenders and likes to be among people who are progressive in thought and attitudes. He says he enjoys the gains that come with fame but not when it deprives him of his privacy. The actor also revealed that his greatest ambition is to be counted as a key player in the motion picture industry and to be cut above the rest as an actor and producer even on the world stage.


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