Atunyota Alleluya Akpobome (sometimes written Akporobome), stage name Ali Baba, is a Nigerian stand-up comedian and actor. Today being his birthday, here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about him;
1. Ali Baba was born in Warri, Delta State, on June 24, 1965 to the Royal Family of Agbarha Otor, Ughelli North Local Government Area.
2. The first son after several girls. He spent the first 8 years of his life in Warri (Delta State, Nigeria).
3. His father is a retired soldier who served in Lagos. Schooling therefore was at Ojo Primary School and Command Secondary School both in Lagos.
4. He furthered his education at Ibru College in Agbarha-Otor and then went on to the now rested Bendel State University now known as the Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma where he read Religious Studies & Philosophy.
5. He began his professional career with corporate events, appearing on television shows with the likes of Patrick Doyle, Charly Boy and Danladi Bako. He also made cameo appearances on radio shows with Bisi Olatilo, Sani Irabor and Mani Onumonmu. He also worked briefly with Dapo Adelegan of DP Lekki Limited as executive assistant in 1991.
6. He had made up his mind that he was going to do everything to enhance himself, improve his skill and the service he offered in other words be professional. However at the time there was hardly any precedent to follow because the funny men then were not into Stand-up comedy. Patrick Doyle, John Chukwu, Bisi Olatilo, Femi Segun, Femi Jarret, Leo Onwudi, Smart Otemu, Tony St. Iyke and many more were funny, very funny but did not do full-time comedy.
7. Through guts, sacrifice and creative dynamism, Ali Baba carved a niche for himself as a comedian for both corporate and non-corporate events. In less than 4 years, he had also become the preferred Master of Ceremony at some events. Ali Baba made the rules, broke them and sometimes even discarded them depending on how effective they were. These days no event is considered complete without a Comedian to MC that event.
8. Ali Baba, has lived with the philosophy that his business is big enough for all who want to make their chosen profession. As such, he has supported, mentored and presented several comedians helping to ensure that standards are maintained and professionalism encouraged
9. In 1998, he hired billboards in strategic parts of Lagos Ozumba Mbadiwe Street, Victoria Island; Osborne Road, Ikoyi and the Marina paying for two years. The message was simple and one he has come to be known by Being Funny is Serious Business.
10. He has been a professional stand up comedian for the past 22 years and has in the last 13 years received several awards.