Princess Elizabeth Onanuga





The world over, several showbiz stars are in the habit of using their stage names, aliases and not their real names. They are very popular with these stage names or aliases, such that their real names are largely unknown.  In the Yoruba movie industry for instance, many of such actors and actresses abound. In this piece, popular Yoruba Movie Reporter, Gbolahan Adetayo compiles a list of 50 popular Yoruba Actors/Actresses who use stage names, and their real names. Watch out for the part 2



When you hear the name, Lere Paimo, not many know who you are talking about, but when you say Eda Onile Ola or Baba Eda, then you are sure everybody knows who you are talking about.  He’s one of the pioneers of the Nigeria movie industry, Chief Lere Paimo, a national award holder of the Member of the Federal Republic,  MFR. Baba Eda, a prolific traditional movie producer has produced works like the popular epic movie, Ogbori Elemesho and several others. He is a traditional title holder of Are Arobabojo of Ogbomosholand. Chief Lere Paimo has won several local and international awards. He was part of the team that won a gold medal with the presentation of the Yoruba traditional movie, “Oba Koso” during the Commonwealth festival in 1963.



Adebayo Salami is generally called Oga Bello, he is a Veteran Actor who others look up to as a role model. He was born in Lagos Island, Lagos State in 1953. Oga Bello started his acting career in 1964 with a group called Young Concert Party led by late Ojo Ladipo a.k.a. Baba Mero and featured in a first Yoruba movie produced by Dr. Ola Balogun titled “Ajani Ogun” in 1977. He is blessed with grown up children, 4 of whom have taken after him in acting.



Another Veteran, Jide  Kosoko, a Lagos prince from the Kosoko royal family of Lagos Island, contributes in no small measure to the growth of the Nigerian movie industry.  His late wife, Henrietta, his daughters Sola, and Bidemi Kosoko also joined him in the race to take the industry to the zenith. Jide Babs is the name he is known with in the 90s.




She is Toyin Adegbola by name, but she’s popularly called Toyin Asewo Tore Mecca, as a result of her fantastic role in the movie, “Asewo Tore Mecca”, a film which actually shot her into limelight.



Toyin Afolayan, a.k.a Lola Idije is well-known as a temperamental, no nonsense, and mischievous character in movies. She acted in a film where she played the character of a prostitute with the name Lola Idije and since then, the name has stuck.



Modupe Johnson is one of the veteran actresses in the industry who many movie producers and directors can’t toy with based on her acting prowess. This no nonsense actress got the name, Fali Werepe from the role she played in the film years back.



Babatunde Omidina a.k.a. Baba Suwe needs no introduction in the Yoruba movie industry. This Ikorodu, Lagos State born actor has won many laurels for his acting.



Do you remember that popular movie where Saidi Balogun played the character of Wale Walata? The flick was titled Ologbon Dudu featuring Bimbo Oshin and many others. Since then,  the alias, Wale Walata has stuck to him, just like Nigerian James Bond. However the real name of the multi-talented actor still rings bell just as his nicknames.



Wale Adebayo is a prolific actor who has brought innovations and glamour into the movie industry. He played the role of Sango in the popular movie, titled Sango and since then, he  has been nicknamed Sango.



Kayode Olasehinde popularly called Ajirebi is a comedian of note in the industry. He joined the industry over 3 decades ago, appearing in stage plays and TV programmes.  He is also known as Pa James on Papa Ajasco series, a Wale Adenuga Production.



Afeez Oyetoro widely known as Simply Saka is undoubtedly a popular actor whose acting prowess as a comedian is extraordinary. The dynamic actor was born at Adegbola Village in Iseyin Local Government Area of Oyo State. He has become an icon in the stage cum screen business.  Saka, had a very rough and unpleasant beginning. As a young boy in secondary school then, his passion for arts was legendary. Today, he is one actor others envy.



Papalolo is the stage name of popular comic actor, Ayo Ogunsina. He was a member of the defunct Jesters International, a comedy group comprising himself, Aderupoko, and late Jacob.



Another nickname in the industry is that of Aderupoko.  By birth, he is named Kayode Olaiya. He is a veteran comedian in the Yoruba movie industry. The Ibadan, Oyo State based actor got popular when he started appearing on stage. He got into acting through the group of late theatre icon, Pa Hubert Ogunde, with whom he performed across the West African coast (Republic of Benin, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Liberia) in the 1960s.




ALUWE is one of Nigeria‘s highly famous comedians. He has featured in over a hundred movies. Indeed, he is one of the founding fathers of what is known as the Home Video industry in Nigeria today, especially the Yoruba genre. He has bestridden the stage like a colossus that he is; so much to extent Ent that the Federal Government gave him the National Honour of Member Of The Order Of The Nigeria (MON). His real name is Sunday Omobolanle.



Chief Jimoh Aliu (MFR) a.k.a Aworo is an actor, and the Elejoka of OkeImesi, in Ondo State. He was born in Oke Imesi on November, 11, 1936. He’s a dramatist, playwright, sculptor, film writer and director. He is also a keen cultural enthusiast. He has been bestowed with an array of awards and chieftaincy titles. He got the name, Aworo because he usually acts as herbalist in most movies.



Akeem Alimi, the former Governor of the Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (ANTP) Lagos State chapter is also called Ajala Jalingo. The Egba, Ogun State-born actor got the stage name, Ajala Jalingo in a movie he acted in a few years ago.



Charles Olumo a.k.a  Agbako is very good in playing the role of bad cetaceous character in movies. That is the reason he was named Agbako while on set.



In the early 90, the likes of Ojo Arowosafe popularly known as Fadeyi Oloro and others were great actors everyone want to watch, especially in the weekly TV series, Arelu . He is still very much active in the game.



Iseyin, Oyo State-born Olayiwola Razaq, popularly called Ojopagogo, is an example in this regard. In 1986, when he acted in a play titled, Ola Abata, by Labake Theatre, in celebration of the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, he had cause to mock one of the characters in the drama.  The interjection was so funny that the audience not only laughed and applauded him; the Alaafin gave him some money at the end of the show. Since that day, Ojopagogo became his stage name.



Over 4 decades ago, superstar, Tajudeen Oyewole, popularly called Abija, was an enterprising driver of commercial buses and trailers in Osogbo and Port Harcourt respectively. But fate made him leave driving for acting. The actor who hails from Osogbo, as soon as he strayed onto the stage, it took no time for him to abandon driving for commercial purposes. He was with late Akin Ogungbe for 4 years before he went to Port Harcourt in 1972 to continue his job as a driver. He was still engaged in driving when the late Alhaji Yekini Ajileye came with Opa Aje. Before this time, himself and some friends were producing a Yoruba series for NTA, Akure.  He eventually participated in the movie – Opa Aje – which made him popular.



Fatai  Adekunle Adetayo, better known as  Lalude is another household name in the Yoruba aspect of the movie industry, particularly the epic movie genre.  He started acting in the year 1970, when he was in primary 2. What actually motivated him was a theatre group which used to have its rehearsals behind his father’s compound and anytime he closed from school, he was always there to watch this group.




The name, Bolaji Amusan a.k.a Mr Latin is a household name in the Yoruba movies genre. He stumbled into the industry by opportunity because he was never one of them. His way of acting is actually an imitation of his former Landlord who behaves like that and when the opportunity came, he grabbed it. He actually got the name Mr Latin from late Ogungbe, who wanted to send him on an errand but couldn’t recollect his name. he said “Omokunrin To Ma So Latin” meaning the boy that speaks Latin.



The light skinned Yoruba actress has featured in over 50 movies and remains one of the highly sought-after actresses in Yorubamovie industry because of her acting. Tayo Odueke got the name, Sikiratu Sindod in a yesteryear movie, where she acted the role of Sikiratu Sindodo.



Ever ravishing actress, Bisi Ibidapo Obe is queenly and ever elegant in the industry. Her prowess in the industry speaks for her anywhere she goes. She got the nickname, Bisi Omologba logba in a popular film, with the name as title.


Fausat Balogun is a talented actress, who became popular many years ago and got the name, Madam Saje sequel to the role she played in one of Baba Suwe’s flicks. It’s a character of a woman who acts as an Iron Lady which she played it and got it as her stage name.



Madam Idowu Philips, popularly referred to as Mama Rainbow or Iya Rainbow by her teeming movie fans, is a movie producer and actress. She is a native of Odogbolu, in Ogun State. She developed strong passion for acting while she was working as a Nurse; her late husband formed a Osumare Theatre Group, from where Iya Rainbow started as a stage actress. People used to call her late husband, Baba Rainbow, and by extension, herself Iya Rainbow, that was how she came about the name.



Madam Lanre Hassan Adesina popularly known as ‘Iya Awero’ is one of the veterans rocking the scene at the moment. The talented and prolific actress is a top shot in the Yoruba movie industry. She is a cross-over actress who has acted in some English films. Her role in the popular TV series, ‘Dear Mother’ comes to mind when Iya Awero is mentioned. She got the name years ago.



The name Iyabo Oko  is an household name in the Yoruba movie industry. She got the name when she played a lead role in the movie, Iyabo Oko, which was produced by Oga Bello, years ago.  Her real name is Odukanmi Kudirat.




Popular actress, Ronke Ojo is known for her comic roles in movies. She is good and she can as well play other roles. The busty actress played the lead role in a film titled Oshodi Oke, and that was how she came about the name.



Funke, Akindele, also called Jenifa is one of the highly successful actresses, not only in the Yoruba movie genre but in the English sector. In 2009 she won the African Movie Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. It was her movie, Jenifa the name she is known with now that really shot her to the limelight.



Eniola Badmus is a known face in the Movie Industry, well known as “Gbogbo big girls”, an appellation she used from the Award-Winning comedy movie, “Jenifa”. This big sized lady has been in the Movie Industry since 1997, Eniola Badmus begun with the English Movie Sector before she started making appearances in the Yoruba Movies.



Diminutive but talented, Olu Olowogemo Harejan is a Comic Actor who has his own style of throwing people laughter even when one is sad. He got into the industry years back and made his name a force to reckon with.  He became popular when he produced the film, Bosun Omo Yankee.



Another famous name on this list is this comic actor, Tayo Amokade popularly known as Baba Ijebu. He got the appellation from his own style of acting, using his local dialect of Ijebu, and this has taken him to places.



Tribal mark faced actor, Olaniyi Afonja  popularly called Sanyeri,  is a big name to reckon with in the industry. Though, he has been doing his comedy in Oyo town, Oyo State, many years ago but he became popular when he produced his movie called Opa Kan, a very popular flick that shot him into an all-time high popularity. The movie featured Odunlade Adekola.  He got his name as far back as when he was in Oyo.



The duo of Sanyeri and Golugo are like twin brothers. They both have some things in common. Golugo’s real name is Adekola Tijani. He got the name from his sluggish way of role delivery as a Comedian.



Baraka (Oluwole Cole) is another movie star in the industry. His way of acting, many see as rascally, but the Lagos Island-born actor enjoys it. He became popular when he featured in a film ritlet, Eru Ku, from where he got the name, Emir.



If you have watched the then popular movie, Owo Blow, you might not need to know anything about the man. He’s one out the 3 men behind the biggest Yoruba movie caucus, Odun-Ifa. Taiwo Hassan got the name Ogogo from a film she featured in years back.



Ebu Oloyede is another veteran Yoruba actor who is popular with his stage name, Olaiya Igwe. The Abeokuta-Ogun State based actor got the name several years back after he released his hit movies like Iru Esin, Abela Pupa and many more.


His real name is Soji Taiwo but his fans usually call him Soji OmoBanke. A character he played in a movie some years back. Since then, Omobanke has become a force name to reckon with.


Kura is another household name among the veterans rocking Yoruba movie scenes for the past 35 years. And this name belong to one of the founders of the biggest theater school in Lagos, Odunifa Caucus, in person of  Yinka Quadri



Bisola Alanu was a yesteryear movie that shot star actress, Lola Margret into limelight. Since then, the name got stuck and her fans feel more comfortable to address her with.



Adeola Shoremi is a comic actor who has carved a niche for himself in the industry several years ago, especially with his hilarious style of interpreting his movie roles. Many of his fans don’t know his real name because his stage name, Princess Lanko Omoba Dubai quickly comes to mind when you talk about him.



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