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.
Ali Baba spoke on the side-line 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.
Ali Baba advised up and coming acts to be creative and discipline to enable them to attain the peak of their careers as professional.
“Every young and upcoming comedian need 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.
Chairman of the Organising Committee for the event, Dr Abel Ochigbo, said 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 his 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.