Sadiq Daba - Nigerian Nollywood Actor, Photo Portrait

Who Was Abubakar Sadiq Daba?

Sadiq Daba (Abubakar Sadiq Daba), a Nigerian Nollywood veteran actor, producer and director who spent about 40 years of his life behind and in front of the camera. Daba, a national treasure and broadcaster of great renown at the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), was also a producer, director, news editor, and radio producer.

When Nollywood was at its teething stage, Daba was one of the iconic stars who graced the screen. He starred in ‘Nightmare’, a 1995 film by Zik Zulu which starred Sandra Achums, Pete Edochie, Onyeka Onwenu among others.

At the rise of ‘New Nollywood’, Daba was picked to play the detective Danladi Waziri in Kunle Afolayan’s 2014 movie ‘October 1’. His peerless performance fetched him an Africa Movie Academy Award (AMAA) in 2015. In 2016, Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA) bestowed the Industry Merit Award on him.

‘October 1’ proved not the be the last time Daba would work with Afolayan. Last year 2020, when he embarked on ‘Citation’, he tapped Daba for a role.

Sadiq Daba Biography

Originally from Kano, he grew up in Sierra Leone where he attended St. Edwards Secondary School. He enjoyed listening to the radio and mimicked the leading broadcasters then. His father bought him a tape recorder which he used in honing his skills.

He returned to Nigeria in 1968, and on a trip to Kaduna Khalifa Baba Ahmed was impressed by his voice at Hamdallah Hotel and introduced him to Radio Television Kaduna. He started there as a continuity announcer.

From Kaduna to Jos and more, he served at Nigeria Television Authority. He read the news, reported, acted, produced and directed.

“I used to listen to William Roberts on Radio Sierra-Leone,” he recalls, smiling broadly. “He was my role model. Being on-air, for me, became an obsession.”

That was in the early 1960s, a time he used to go around with the pop star, Giraldo Pino, who practices just behind their house to dance halls.

But it was not till he met Khalifa Baba Ahmed on his return to Nigeria around 1967 that he was able to actualize his childhood dream. And it was by happenstance!

It was on a casual visit to his brother, Major Daba in Kaduna, who took him to Hamdala Hotel, where he found himself sharing the same table with Ahmed. Listening to Sadiq talk, the man asked him whether he had ever been on radio.

His answer was a blunt no. But Baba Ahmed may not have believed him. The voice was just too arresting. He was immediately invited for an interview at the Broadcasting Service of Northern Nigeria (BSNN), Kaduna. There again the old question popped up. Had he ever worked on radio? This time, it was an emphatic no.

When he left, he put the whole episode behind him, heading straight to Kano. His letter of employment arrived at his brother’s house the following day! And he had to be trailed for days before he could be reached. Still relishing the experience, he beams, now.

“I felt excited. Confused. Surprised. It was like a dream. All along, I had been listening to people on radio. Now people were going to listen to me.”

He knew he had a good voice but to be able to attain a reasonable height in broadcasting, he needed some formal schooling in diction. He was lucky. Ibrahim Abba Gana started him off. There were Abubakar Abdulsalami and the man he calls “my Godfather,” Adamu Augie. “They were the best presenters then on RTK (Radio/TV, Kaduna),” he recalls.

He began as a continuity announcer on Radio and was also anchoring a Sunday magazine programme for television. One day, a man came looking for him. He wanted to meet that man called Sadiq Daba whose voice, he enjoys so well on Radio. When they met, the man could not believe his eyes.

He had expected to meet a “very big personality,” but shaking his hands and identifying himself was this thin, if not frail, looking boy. It was a joyous moment for the presenter. So he was now accepted by the people, he thought to himself, grinning. His journey to the top was only beginning.

He went into Radio plays where his voice was even sharpened the more before his transfer to Sokoto where he met Peter Igho, who was then in charge of drama at NTA.

“I don’t know what Peter saw in me,” he says, downplaying the impact his voice might have had on the producer, “but he invited me to join his programme.” He had never acted before. The part given to him was that of a prankster. His debut was impressive.

Abubakar Sadiq Daba Acting Career

For many Nigerians who grew up in the 70s and 80s, Daba defining role on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) soap opera ‘Cock Crow at Dawn’ inspired them.

He was fondly known by his character ‘Bitrus’. He brought his stellar art to another production of NTA, ‘Behind the Clouds’.

In 2015, he earned critical acclaim for his portrayal of Inspector Danladi Waziri in the dramatic film “October 1.” The role earned him Best Actor Award at the African Movie Academy Awards in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, where he received a standing ovation.

Sadiq Daba, Sadiq Abubakar Daba - October 1, Film by Kunle Afolayan
Sadiq Daba, Sadiq Abubakar Daba – October 1, Film by Kunle Afolayan

In 2018, the Actors Guild of Nigeria gave Daba the honorary title of Garkuwan Nollywood (“Shield of Nollywood”) to recognize his contributions to the motion picture industry.

Some of his popular series and movies are Cock Crow at Dawn, Behind the Clouds, Ripples, Village Headmaster, Moment of Truth, October 1.

Many still have fond memories of Bitrus, his role in Cock Crow at Dawn.

Abubakar Sadiq Daba Education

Daba earned his degree in mass communication, specializing in television production, from NTA/TV College at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and continued his training in Germany and the United Kingdom.

Sadiq Daba Awards and Honours

From news reading to acting, his sterling career has been crowned with awards and recognition.

In 2015, he earned critical acclaim for his portrayal of Inspector Danladi Waziri in the dramatic film “October 1.” The role earned him Best Actor Award at the African Movie Academy Awards in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, where he received a standing ovation.

In 2018, the Actors Guild of Nigeria gave Daba the honorary title of Garkuwan Nollywood (“Shield of Nollywood”) to recognize his contributions to the motion picture industry.

Abubakar Sadiq Daba Hobbies

When not following Abubakar Sadiq Daba favorite football team Arsenal, Daba enjoys traveling, especially the Caribbean, and meeting people from all corners of the world.

A gifted conversationalist and talented chef, he loves nothing more than preparing a good meal to share with dining companions.

Abubakar Sadiq Daba enjoys spending time with people who open his mind to new ways of thinking and who share his love of laughter.

A special treat is to watch a movie with Daba, as he has a facility for predicting the plot, and love for imitating the actors on screen. He challenges himself with crossword puzzles and challenges others to be on time.

Sadiq Daba: Other Contributions

Daba has also become a prominent voice in the fight against cancer, participating in the Project Pink Blue walk in February 2018 aligned with World Cancer Day.

Death of Abubakar Sadiq Daba

Sadiq Daba, a veteran actor and broadcaster who breathed life to many characters on TV, died on 3 Wednesday, March 2021, evening, at the Ayinke General hospital in Ikeja, Lagos, after a long battle with leukaemia and prostate cancer.

Sadiq Daba, Nigerian Nollywood Actor -- Photo Portrait
Sadiq Daba

The remains of veteran actor and broadcaster, Sadiq Abubakar Daba, were interred on Thursday in Lagos according to Islamic rites. The late Daba was buried at a cemetery in Agege, Lagos State.

The Lagos Network Centre of the Nigerian Television Authority tweeted on its Twitter handle that Daba died after battling leukaemia and cancer for years.

It tweeted, “Sad News; Veteran broadcaster and Nollywood actor Sadiq Daba is dead. He died this evening (Wednesday) after a long and excruciating battle with leukemia and prostate cancer. May his Gentle Soul Rest in Perfect Peace #RIPSadiqDaba.”

“We have lost a gem,” said prominent filmmaker Femi Odugbemi. “Sadiq is one of Nigeria’s cross-generational artistes whose work spanned decades and sustained its excellence and impact. Many of my generation first met him on NTA’s ‘Cock Crow at Dawn’ in the 80s and to watch him deliver starring performances in contemporary cinema blockbusters like ‘October 1’ and ‘Citation’ tells you the quality of talent he carried.”

Veteran actress Ajoke Silva in her tribute to the deceased on Instagram wrote that he had a good run.

“I thanked God that you worked till the end.”

Sadiq Daba Family

Sadiq Daba was married to Bolaji Daba whom he met in Jos. Daba was father to two children and grandchildren.

Quick Facts:

Sadiq Daba Date of Birth

Sadiq Daba (Sadiq Abubakar Daba) was born 1952.

Sadiq Daba State of Origin

Sadiq Daba, a native of Kano, born in Kumasi, Ghana and raised in Freetown, Sierra-Leone.