To some global film enthusiasts, the action flicks from Nigeria’s Nollywood deserve recognition and praise, especially because of their execution as compared to the production limits. The same cannot be said for Nigerian dramas, though, and the new Yoruba series on Netflix, Ololade, bears testimony to that. With rather objectionable plot elements and amateurish production and editing, the six-episode show ranges from bad to downright cringy. As the idiom goes, Ololade should be avoided with a ten-foot pole unless you are really into Nigerian dramas.
Plot Summary: What is the series about?
Set in the Nigerian city of Lagos, Ololade begins by establishing the two central characters, Shina and Lateef. Shina is a teacher at a middle school, but he is absolutely bored by this job. Neither does the man find enough money in the profession nor is there any mental satisfaction. The only benefit for Shina is that spending time at the school lets him be away from his wife, Sade, with whom the man is perhaps even more bored than with his job. Despite having a young daughter with Sade, named Ajoke, Shina is having an extramarital affair with a colleague at the school, Amaka.
According to the series, Nigerian society is full of instances where men cheat on their partners, and it is almost like an accepted norm. Thus, Shina’s sexual appetite is not fulfilled with two partners, and he flirts with an attractive woman while on his next visit to the local bank. He desires to take the woman’s number but has to interrupt their conversation since he is next in line at the bank teller, and then notices the woman to have gone away from the place very suddenly. Unbeknownst to Shina and visible to us viewers, the woman had spotted someone in the bank and had immediately bolted from the place. That very evening, only a few hours later, Shina received a message on his phone that informed him that he had received fifty million naira from some unknown source.
On the other side is another man named Lateef, who works a small-time job as a mechanic at a garage. But Lateef is more engaged in going around with women, getting intimate with whoever he can. At present, Lateef is in an intimate moment with a woman named Laide when someone knocks at his house door. As it turns out, a local intrusive neighbor, known in the neighborhood as Perpetua’s mother, had led Lateef’s other lover, Iyabo, to the place. Lateef’s adultery is finally caught, and a huge argument between the three breaks out. But in a shocking twist, Laide accidentally falls and injures her head badly, which kills her in a few minutes’ time.
Lateef and Iyabo find themselves in great distress, for they cannot go to the police, since Iyabo has been cheating on her husband with Lateef. They decide to bury the body and keep quiet about it. Since Iyabo is a rich businesswoman, she gives her boyfriend twenty million naira to move into a new house, so that nobody gets any hint about their heinous act. Thus, in a completely unexpected manner, the good friends Shina and Lateef come across huge amounts of money, not knowing yet that there are consequences involved.
What happens in the personal lives of the men?
After the emergence of all this money, both men rejoice and throw around notes at just about anything they can. Shina believes that the money is a blessing from a special prayer service he conducted with a local Catholic priest, and so he has no guilt or thought before spending the amount. The man buys expensive cars and then even moves into a lavish new house, much to the surprise of his intelligent wife, Sade. When Sade asks for some money from her husband for her beauty salon business, Shina gives her even more than she asked for, and this makes the wife even more suspicious. Sade keeps asking Shina what the source or origin of this money was, but the man never tells her about the accidental credit to his bank account.
Within a very short time, Shina left his job at the school and started a new business selling lottery tickets, along with Lateef. While Sade grows more wary of his actions, the man’s mother comes to visit him from their village, and she brings along an entire (metaphorical) baggage of problematic propositions. According to the mother, Sade is not an adequate wife, for she has given birth to a daughter and not a son. She is also not happy to hear about her son’s other secret girlfriend, Amaka, for that woman belongs to a different tribe. Instead, the woman wants Shina to have a second wife, and she brings Bose from her village, who is a well-built woman, with the promise that she will bear sons for Shina. The mother also brings a young man named Dayo from the village to basically keep an eye on her son and daughter-in-law during her absence.
Sade is obviously very upset at this whole setup, for she fears Dayo’s presence might not be safe for her young daughter, and she is also disgusted at the proposition that her husband will have a second wife. The mother-in-law rather enjoys troubling Sade, and there is nothing she can do since Shina does not say anything either, for he would not mind having multiple wives. Now that the man is known to be rich, Amaka also joins in the party, as she comes to Shina’s house and claims that she is pregnant with his son. Amaka is actually lying about this pregnancy, but she manages to stay at the house from now on. Absolutely shattered by all these instances, Sade leaves the house and keeps no contact with Shina.
A few days later, Bose also claims that she has gotten pregnant with Shina’s son, even though the man claims to have never slept with her. Shina’s mother is excited that she will become a grandmother to two boys, which is a source of great pride for her. However, Bose’s child actually turns out to be Dayo’s, and the young man even tries to casually kill the baby by making Bose drink some medicine with abortive qualities. It is now that Shina’s mother learns of Bose and Dayo’s secret romance, but she decides to keep it a secret. The matriarch gets both of them to agree to an arrangement in which the baby boy would be passed off as Shina’s.
Meanwhile, Lateef had turned into a bigger Casanova after coming across the twenty million naira, with no guilt or remorse for Laide’s death. After sleeping with some sex workers, he proposes to one of the stable girlfriends he has had in the recent past, Risi. In fact, Risi and Laide used to be best friends, but none of that deters Lateef, who keeps claiming that he does not know where Laide is. Risi has a number of suspicions against her boyfriend, starting with the fact that a pair of earrings belonging to Laide were lying right on the floor of his house, but she also lets all of that slink, out of love for the man. With time, Iyabo also learns of Lateef’s engagement with Risi, and as a means to somehow get back at the couple, she hires Risi to work for her.
But during all this time, Laide’s poor parents kept searching for their daughter, and they asked Risi for help as the woman had been so close to Laide. Risi often takes Lateef along with her to these parents’ house, and meeting them starts to make Lateef feel guilty. Eventually, he decides to exhume Laide’s body so that the parents will at least know that their daughter has died. This naturally creates pressure on the man and on Iyabo, and after some time, Lateef is even picked up by the police. The authorities tell him that Perpetua’s mother informed them about his interactions with Laide, and so Lateef gives the woman an earful once he is out of jail. However, it is revealed later on that it was Iyabo who had reported Lateef to the police, as this was her way of getting back at the man’s adultery. Iyabo was an influential woman, and since there was really no concrete evidence to tie her to the crime scene, she had arranged for Lateef’s arrest.
Who did the money actually belong to?
While Shina kept rejoicing that the fifty million naira he had received was directly from God himself, in reality, the money belonged to a very different and very dangerous source. The woman Shina had flirted with at the bank was someone called Ihotu, and she was a member of a notorious criminal gang called the Black Lions. On that particular day, when the two characters had met at the bank, Shina was looking for a target in whose name she could deposit the money for a few days in order to avoid the police and government authorities. This apparently needed to be done as the money was from an illegal source, and so a school teacher like Shina suddenly receiving so much money did not raise alarms for the authorities.
Now that the scare is over, Ihotu returns to take back the money from Shina, which becomes a huge problem for the man since he has already spent most of it. Shina gathers some money through loans and by mortgaging his house and cars, but still fails to collect the total of fifty million. He returns forty-one million to Ihotu, but the woman is definitely not ready to settle. Instead, she orders that Shina pay back the money by letting his lottery business be used for money laundering. Lateef also gets to know about it all now, and neither of the men can do anything. The lottery is rigged every time, and in this way, Ihotu turns all her criminal money into legal tender. In this time, she had also first given Shina some money to launder, which she had then stolen from his house, only to create pressure on the man and ensure that he would always work with the Black Lions. It was also Ihotu who had gotten Lateef released from prison, as he could have told the authorities about what she was doing to him and Shina.
Whenever Shina tries to beg forgiveness or negotiate the amount, Ihotu threatens him with black magic, for she herself is a practitioner and also has more such people on her side. The threat is very clear—Shina will lose his wife, his daughter, and most importantly, his genitals if he does not pay up the money and continue to work with Ihotu. Based on the number of instances where people go against one another’s backs in the series or the amount of cheating involved, it might also be that Ihotu does not actually work for the Black Lions but is only using their name to get her job done. Either way, the fact that the woman is extremely cunning and has great power is established well enough.
Who is Ajoke’s real father?
During Ololade‘s ending, the two friends get into more trouble than ever before when Ihotu shows her real vicious side to them. Lateef had confessed to Risi about his many affairs, and this caused him trouble with Iyabo, who threatened to take action against him. Since Iyabo was the one who had given Lateef and Shina the office space where they ran their lottery trade, she walked into the place at a time when Ihotu was also present. Iyabo naturally sees the bag full of cash lying at the place, and she starts asking questions about its source. She, too, wants a part in this rich trade, and this causes trouble between her and Ihotu.
In her usual way of insulting everyone, Iyabo disrespects Ihotu, in response to which the latter woman goes full rogue by pulling out some totem and performing black magic on the other. Iyabo’s neck instantly twists and turns with every contactless jerk of Ihotu, and the woman very quickly dies. Ihotu then makes Shina and Lateef carry this body into a van and photographs the men doing so, too, further ensuring that they will always remain indebted to her.
While the professional lives of Shina and Lateef are somewhat settled, for they will continue to launder money for Ihotu, their personal lives also need some dealing with. Lateef loses the love of his life, Risi, who refuses to forgive the man and leaves him forever. Unlike how the man actually is, Lateef suddenly realizes that Risi is the love of his life without any proper discernible logic, and so he is mentally shattered that he cannot be with her anymore. But on the other side, Shina comes to his senses about how he had been letting down his only legal wife, Sade, for all this while. His daughter, Ajoke, had also been missing her mother, so Shina decided to reconcile with Sade. He brings the woman back to his wife, much against his mother’s wish, and this marks a happy reunion for the family. However, at the very end of Ololade, the series keeps on with its consistent theme of people cheating on each other to reveal that Ajoke is actually not Shina’s biological child, for she was from a secret affair that Sade had been having behind her husband’s back. This secret lover turns out to be the husband of Iyabo, who is also a rich and influential businessman.