By Joshua Olomu
Foremost Nigeria stand-up comedian, Atunyota Akpobome, popularly known as Ali Baba, has attributed his success, to hard work and discipline.
The ace comedian and seasoned Master of Ceremony (MC), said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
Alibaba spoke on the sideline of the 2017 edition of the United States International Visitors Leadership Programme (IVLP) Alumni association in Nigeria “Lecture, Dinner and Awards”, where he received the `Excellence in Entertainment Innovation and Leadership’ award on Thursday night.
NAN reports that the IVLP is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange programme.
Through short-term visits to the United States, current and emerging foreign leaders in a variety of fields experience this country firsthand and cultivate lasting relationships with their American counterparts.
Professional meetings reflect the participants’ professional interests and support the foreign policy goals of the United States.
He advice up-coming acts to be creative and disciplined to enable them attain the peak of their careers as professional.
” Every young and upcoming comedian needs to work hard and be disciplined as a professional for them to realise their potentials.
“Unlike many other genres of the entertainment industry, stand-up comedy currently has no association that monitors or regulates its activities.
“There is a level playing ground for everyone to strive.
“Young and talented Nigerian singers like Wizkid, Davido, all rose to fame through creativity and hard work, because talent is not enough,” he said.
The Delta State born artiste popularly referred to by fans as “Father of Modern Comedy”, was among the recipients of the IVLP Excellence Awards.
The award was for deserving Nigerians and foreigners alike, who have contributed to the development of Nigeria, using their professions.
Dr Abel Ochigbo, Chairman of the Organising Committee for the event, said that Ali Baba was recognised for his commitment towards the growth of stand-up comedy genre of the Nigerian entertainment industry over the years.
He noted that through Ali Baba’s sacrifice, creativity and exemplary leadership, many youths with budding talents have been developed and empowered, as stand-up comedy evolved in Nigeria.
“He has lived with the Philosophy that his business (comedy) is big enough for all who want to make it their chosen profession.
“As such, he has supported, mentored and presented several comedians, helping them to ensure that standards are maintained and professionalism encouraged.”
In his remark, Ali Baba expressed gratitude to the IVLP alumni for the honour, describing it as a ‘call to do more for one’s fatherland.’
“I dedicate this award to my mentors, fans, and doubters who never believed that comedy can go far as a career in Nigeria.
“When I started comedy, there was no precedence for me to follow,but through guts and creative dynamism,I am here today,”he said.
The alumni is the umbrella platform for Nigerians who participated in the U. S. IVLP, that connects, engage and impact the society through various developmental initiatives.