So many very popular movie starts began by playing very minor roles in movies. In fact, in a number of such cases, the first roles played by some of those big names were unaccredited appearances, which we call in Nigeria, waka pass roles. Someone like the almighty Clint Eastwood began with a very minor role in his first movie Revenge of the Creature in 1955. Action superstar, Bruce Willis, the almighty Die Hard and other solid action movies hero, began on a very funny waka pass role in the 1980 film, The First Deadly Sin. What role did he play? He was seen for a few seconds as he just walked into a small restaurant. Look where he is today. Other huge names in this category are Sylvester Stallone, Brad Pitt, John Wayne, and many more.
One very big name in Nigeria’s movie industry who started from the very scratch like these mega starts is Adam Zango. Yes, you heard right. This is one of the biggest names in the Hausa language movie industry in Nigeria called Kannywood. The name Adam Zango is a major brand in Kannywood but to know he started from the scratch to grow to the mega level he is today as the most captivating talent in Kannywod is amazing. Though he recently announced that he had withdrawn from the Kannywood industry after alleged misunderstanding with his colleagues, the announcement does not remove the fact that his prestigious footprints seen al over the industry contributed immensely in making Kannywood an international brand to be reckoned with. Adam Zango could be described as the most missed personality in Nigeria’s enter movie industry, as millions of his fans are praying fervently everyday to see him return to the big screens of Kannywood.
Who is Adam Zango?
Born Adamu Abdullahi in 1985, Adam Zango, is a multi-talented Nigerian singer, songwriter and multiple award-winning actor. He was born in Zango local government in Kaduna state, to the family of Mallam Abdullahi and Hajiya Yelwa Abdullahi. Adam left town in 1992 after a tribal clash that made the environment insecure for him to continue staying. He then moved to Plateau State where he had his early education. Adam Zango later went to Kano where he started working for a music and dance company. He is popularly known as Gwaska. He is also called Usher, a nickname he got as a kid because he was a very good dancer. His growing up was very humble and his hard work and doggedness paid off at last. Today he is a actor, producer, script writer, dancer, director and singer. He is in fact, among the most influential celebrities from Northern Nigeria.
Adam Zango is a typical example of success from self-development, belief in oneself and hard work. He is a reference to the fact that you can make it in life even without passing through the four walls of the University. After his primary education (1989–1995) and secondary school (1996–2001) in Jos, Plateau state, Adam did not proceed further to any university or polytechnic. He thinks education goes beyond just having a degree or whatever. Here is what he said about being educated: “If an individual can make and contribute positive things to himself and the people he lives with; learn from them and give back that knowledge he has in whatever capacity, I think that is real education. I have so much experience in life and I am well educated in my own capacity. It doesn’t have to be a degree or Masters or whatever.”
Adam Zango began his journey into the entertainment industry from secondary school. He began with his musical career back then in secondary school. He appeared in social activities and club events and used to represent his school, government secondary school Laranto Jos, in social event competitions. He later became successful in the music industry as one of the best hip-hop Hausa singers around.
Adam Zango then ‘sneaked’ into the Hausa film industry in 2001 as a music composer and gradually moved into acting profession as a low level actor. He did not hit it big in his movie career out of sudden luck. He took even low-level acting parts at first so as to move into the industry and establish himself. It worked for him. His debut in the Kannywood industry came with the movie Surfani but his fame came after he acted in three top quality movies, Kawanya, Raga, Kallabi and Zabari, which are still classics you should watch if you’ve not yet seen them.
Today he has appeared in over 100 Hausa movies. He is an internationally recognized actor, especially after winning Africa Movie Award in London, UK.
Adam Zango has also played roles in a few movies where he spoke English language such as whne he featured in Bayan Rai, Hindu and Gwaska Returns. Few fans make fun of him for his ‘battle’ to speak in good English but he laughs it off by saying he learnt how to speak English from the streets: “Stop correcting my English. Did I tell you that I ever went to any School? I didn’t attend any school. I just learnt how to speak English on the street.” His superb acting skills and ability to fit into any role is what fans love about him, not his grammar, which is even not necessary in Kannywood. His production company, Prince Zango Productions Limited, is behind so many top quality movies in Kannywood.
Here are some of Adam Zango’s numerous movies which you should search for and watch: Ya Ya na, Ni Da Ke Mun Dace, Rumana, Shahuda, Siyayya Da Shakuwa, Sayayyar Facebook, Tarkon Kauna, Tsangaya, Ummi da Adnan, Najeriya Da Nijar, Wata Rayuwa, Ya Salam, Zanen Dutse, Zarar Bunu, Zatona, Zeenat, Zo Mu Zauna, Zulumi. Most of his movies can be found on YouTube.
Adam Zango is a celebrity whose success is also being enjoyed by the less privileged in the society. His philanthropic activities are very impressive and helpful to the society. This has further endeared him to the heart of fans. In October 2019, Adam Zango paid N46.75 million for three-year scholarship for 101 students to study at Professor Ango Abdullahi International School, Zaria. Many of the children were orphans. This is truly amazing.
Here is what Adam Zango posted on his verified Instagram handle regarding why he extended the philanthropic gesture to the kids: “I think it’s excellent to have the opportunity to help others and to support those who are worse off. Helping others especially kids fulfills my heart and it’s something I enjoy doing. How do you contribute or add value to others? Every day we do our best to achieve great things. As from now on together with my team, we won’t hide our good deeds any longer, we’ll work to improve the lives of women & underprivileged children, adolescents and families across Nigeria.”
An organization, Angels Hope Foundation, once recognized him as the ‘National Philanthropist of the year’ for his impressive philanthropic activities impacting the society positively.
Adam Zango is noted for carrying his fans along in whatever he does, including giving them fun times whenever he can. He once asked his fans to join him on a fun trip to Lagos through a contest. This was when he was invited by the makers of Amstel Malta to embark on a tour of their production plant in Lagos. Instead of catching fun alone, Zango decided to go on the trip with five of his fans. To select the lucky five from his teeming fans, he initiated a contest, which produced the five fans that accompanied him to Lagos on the factory tour.
Zango said the contest was a way of giving back to his fans that have been part of his success story. Here’s what he said on his Instagram page about the trip: “Everything I am doing is about my fans. I decided to do this because I want to give out something back to the people who made me who I am today. Post a photo or short video and the best five will rock with me in Lagos.” Adam Zango is one celebrity that loves letting his fans have a taste of his success story always.
Adam Zango’s great works in the Kannywood industry have been recognized by several organizations in numerous ways. Among these awards are Best Film for Gwaska, 2015, Kannywood Best Actor, 2012, Africa Movie Best Actor, 2014, City People Magazine Best Popular Actor, 2015,
The numerous recognitions have made him an icon in Nigeria’s entertainment industry. He has also been recognized with Award of “Excellence in Entertainment Industry” (by Wazobia FM|2016). He received international recognition from Africa Movie Award in London, UK for the movie Gwaska, where he starred with Ali Nuhu, another very big name in the Hausa language movie industry. Adam Zango also won ‘Viewers’ Choice of the year’ award from Lagos-based Arewa Films Production company, Alaba. He was also appointed INEC youth Ambassador in 2015.
Adam Zango family life is dominated by series of divorces as he is said to have been married six times since 2006. Though we could not ascertain the number of wives he has had in the past or he currently has, reports have it that he has gone through six marriages. His most recent wife whom he married in 2019 is Safiya Umar Chalawa. The wedding was said to have taken place in Emir of Gwandu Central Mosque in Gwandu, Kebbi State. Before then, he had married and divorced five wives who gave him six children – four boys and two girls. His very first wife was Amina whom he married in 2006 and had his first son with her. His second wife was A’isha whom he married from Shika in Zaria Local Government Area of Kaduna State. He had three sons with A’isha. His third wife was Maryam from Nasarawa State. His fourth wife was Maryam Abdullahi Yola whom he married in Lugbe, Abuja in 2013. This was a few months after they both acted in a movie entitled Nas. His fifth wife was Ummul Kulsum, is from Ngaoundere, Cameroon. He married her in a secret wedding in 2015 and they both had his first daughter. His sixth wife is Safiya.
Crisis and withdrawal from Kannywood
The road to success and managing success at the top level is never smooth at all. Adam Zango has had his own share of challenges and travails even as a big name in the entertainment industry. He had a serious crisis in the Kannywood industry that made him decide to leave the sector. Before then, a popular cleric in Kaduna had also accused him of recruiting underage girls to feature in his movie ‘Sabon Sarki’, an allegation which he denied. Here is what he said about why he left the Kannywood movie industry, which was contained in a nine-minute video post on his Instagram page:
“My colleagues in the Kannywood are not with me again. They don’t like me and are envious of my successes. They are treating me like a novice and do not take me seriously at all. All because Allah has made me great and I am prospering more than them. About 90 per cent of the players in the industry are envious of me. They are player hating me. They don’t like me at all. All because I am successful and better than them. They sponsor people to attack me on social media pages all because am better than them. I could not take it anymore so I decided to quit the Kannywood and stand-alone with the few that are with me.” Adam Zango was said to have started a new movie industry in Kaduna called Kaddywood.
Adam Zango is one celebrity whose dedication to his acting career is positively infectious and has made many young Nigerians want to go into the acting industry. Despite the challenges he faced in the Kannywood industry which made him announce he was leaving the sector, the impact he made in the industry can never be downplayed or ignored because of its deep-rooted nature in building Kannywood as an international brand of great reckoning. The news of his registration with the Kano State censorship Board for him to be able to practice his career in Kano came as good news to many fans but Zango said it was not a move for him to return to Kannywood but to make it easy for those who identify with him to practice in the state. His withdrawal from Kannywood has not stopped him from acting as he still rolls out big budget hit movies from time to time to the delight of his fans.