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Monday, January 12, 2009

Saving Majek Fashek

Pic-Fashek in his reigning days

This is a clarion call to PMAN, music lovers and the teeming fans of Kpangolo exponent, Majek Fashek, they should please come to his aid before his condition reaches a point of no return.
It is very glaring that Fashek currently needs help and rehabilitation urgently, from well-meaning Nigerians and mostly the leadership of PMAN. And if the help does not come soon, Fashek, might go the way of others. Did I hear you say God forbid?
We have spotted Fashek twice at O’Jez, looking very emaciated, sick and poorly dressed. Sincerely speaking, this “Prisoner of Conscience” needs an urgent help, but if you are in doubt, take a thorough look at his picture on this page.
The last time he was at O’Jez, several of his fans were crying openly over his sorry sight, in fact, some fans that could not withstand his pitiable sight left the venue immediately.
This is not the time to apportion blames or crucify the once cerebral crooner, for what he has done wrong, it is the time to rescue and rehabilitate him and possibly revive his dead career. We also hope his State government is reading this.
PMAN should swing into action now and act very fast, instead of waiting for his condition to deteriorate to a point of no remedy. This is the time to show love and care to one of their own, currently on the verge of losing it all. Please, Majek Fashek must not die!

Calling Naeto C, Ikechukwu to order

Pix-Buddies Ikechukwu and Naeto C

What you are about reading is just a piece of brotherly advice to the up and coming duo of Naeto C and Ikechukwu.
They should learn how to be humble, respectful and more professional, if they truly wish to be successful with their burgeoning careers in this New Year and beyond.
Their recent unprofessional behaviour in Imo State, during the Ichu Afo music concert was uncalled for and really dented their image.
Imagine, they blatantly refused to go for Sound Check, prior to the main show, and deliberately kept all the other artistes who, were already at the venue, waiting for several hours. Not even the pleas from Okey Bakassi, the coordinator of the event, could assuage them. They eventually did not turn up, even when the other acts moving in a convoy to the venue for same mission, berthed at their hotel. That wrong move eventually affected their very poor and dry performance at the concert proper.
In fact, fans dubbed their very uncoordinated performance, the worst for the night. They even had the effrontery to storm the show with gun totting policemen, (for what?), unnecessary braggadocio that was not needed. It hurts so much when one - track (not album) wannabe stars like Naeto C and Ikechukwu, start behaving like gangsters. What will then happen when they become as famous as Tuface and D’Banj? Maybe, they would employ the services of a whole Army platoon
or battalion. They better watch it in this New Year. Or what is the essence of you ‘claiming’ to be a star, when your fans can’t feel you or your vibes? Arrant Nonsense!

Ohakim energizes Imo youths with Ichu Afo

Pic-Ohakim, Imo State Governor

Imo State indigenes, especially youths were thoroughly thrilled and entertained with good music and rib cracking jokes on the eve of New Year, by the amiable governor of Imo State, Ikedi Ohakim, in a musical concert tagged: Ichu Afo.
Held at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri, the all night show, coordinated by Okey Bakassi, the Executive Assistant to the governor on Entertainment, was well organized and attended.
Among the leading performers that held the tumultuous crowd spellbound in the capacity filled stadium with good music were: African China, Nigga Raw, Felix Ndukwe, Kelly Hansome, Jimmy Jatt (who was on the turn table) and Singalolic. Others include: Naeto C. Ikechukkwu, Freewindz, Imo All Stars, Sarowiwa and a host of others.
The trio of Okey Bakassi, Mr. Patrick and Uche Odoputa jointly anchored the free show, aimed at entertaining the peace loving youths of Imo State and help usher them into 2009.
Also, three proud daughters of the State, Tina, Phyna and Ijeoma, who equally did the State proud in the just ended Gulder Ultimate Search and MTN Project Fame, were presented to the visibly elated crowd mid-way into the turbo-changed show.
Meanwhile, a Choral Nite featuring the Abuja Metropolitan Chorale, had earlier performed at the Concorde Hotel, Owerri, as part of the activities lined up for the Xmas. Ikedi Ohakim, the workaholic Governor of the Heartland State and the prime mover of Imo Clean and Green, made all these possible.

Tony One Week’s Champion ready

The undisputed king of gyration music from this part of the divide, Tony One Week, has concluded plans to release his long awaited follow up album into the Nigerian and international markets this New Year.
Entitled: Champion, the well-arranged work is a potpourri featuring leading singers like: Nigga Raw, African China, Duncan Mighty, Singaholic, Sunny Bobo, J Martins and Flavour.
According to Abuja based One Week, the side A, of the album, is a medley of gyration songs, while the other side brims with contemporary works. He further disclosed that the full work would be released this Easter, adding that they have also commenced work on most of the videos.
“Watch out, the Gyration master is changing gear. Put on your seat belts Africa”, he hinted.

Lagbaja, 9ice thrill First Bank workers


The management and staff of premier financial institution First Bank Nigeria plc, recently took an avant garde route in the celebration of the 2008 CEO’s Annual Merit Award (CAMA) at the lush lawns of The Colonades, Ikoyi, Lagos.
The evening, which saw the duo of Lagbaja and 9ice thrilling the gathering, further provided all the guests a cozy atmosphere to relax, unwind and network in a party mood.
Decorated in the brand colours of the bank, the lawns of the Colonades was transformed into a haven of relaxation and laughter as the bank’s executives and guests enjoyed the conviviality of the evening, which was interlaced with good music and witty anecdotes.
Big brother Nigeria contestant Ebuka, who quizzed the guests on their expectations of the event, anchored the award ceremony proper. The duo of Ikechukwu and Wildchild further thrilled the guests with a repertoire of witty statements as they compered the affairs of the night properly.
Gongo Aso crooner and the mask one Lagbaja entertained staff and guests of the bank to popular tunes, bringing them to the height of relaxation and excitement.
The guest and staffs could not but give a sign of relieve as they made merriment and danced to the beats and lyrics.
The award was a long time of hard work and waited for, by the staff. And the best of them went home with plagues that showed their achievement for the year 2008.

Funto Fatoba bereaved

Pic-Fatoba in a poster jacket

This is definitely not the best of times for actress and producer, Funto Tarila-Thompson. While her colleagues and the world were celebrating Christmas and the New Year, she was reeling in pains and mourning the death of her thespian father, Femi Fatoba.
Gathered that the erudite scholar died in a ghastly motor accident, while returning to Lagos from Bayelsa, where he lectures at the Niger Delta University. Amiable Funto, has not been herself since the sad news reached her.
Funto, a mother of two, is married to Bayelsa State born ace movie maker, Tarila Thompson. Funto’s late dad would be laid to rest on January 17, 2009.
Already her colleagues in Nollywood are planning big towards assisting her organize a befitting burial for her dad.

Uche Jombo rocks @ double bash

Pic-Uche Jombo

As a prove that she is unarguably one of the most sought after actresses in Tinsel town, sultry actress, Uche Jombo, was hosted to a double birthday bash by friends and colleagues, in the last days of 2008 and early this year.
In fact, still single Jombo had a surprise get-together in her honour on December 28, which was her birthday, at her Yaba, Lagos home.
She was later hosted to a lavish groove on Friday, January, 2, 2009, by Frank Okamigbo, the boss of wave-making Papas Nite Club, on the Island, alongside few pals.
The all night soiree is still being talked about by those that attended. And for your info, the fun-loving birthday girl and all the invitees thoroughly soaked themselves in unlimited fun, till the wee hours of the following morning. Surprisingly, Jombo has blatantly refused to divulge her age or if she would be walking down the aisle this New Year, with her international footballer Romeo.

Fat Joe thrills at Calabar Carnival


American born rapper, Fat Joe thrilled his teeming fans endlessly with a potpourri of his rich repertoire of rap songs at the just ended Calabar carnival, in Cross River State.
The rapper reputed for his free –flowing lyrics and rhyme said he was in Nigeria to have fun and celebrate with his fans, who according to him appeared to love and understand his music with an undying passion:” I love my fans in Nigeria because they flow with my music and it makes me very good and happy. I am back to make them happy, “he enthused.
Fat Joe also praised the organizers of the Calabar Calabar, adding that thrilling at the event was a dream come true.
Born Joseph Antonio Cartagena in August 1970 of Puerto Rican and Cuban descents, Fat Joe further disclosed that he loves Nigeria because Nigerians love hip- hop with a passion
According to him, the visit was his second coming to Nigeria and he was ready to add flavour to the already charged Calabar Carnival with his rap lyrics and style, which he eventually did on stage, while thrilling.
Fat Joe who runs his own label ,Terror Squad Entertainment and also signed on to Imperial Records said he does not know any Nigeria artiste but when reminded about Tu face ,he said he had met Tu face but not in Nigeria, stating that they met in Gabon where they performed together as guest artistes.
“I am open to collaborations with any Nigeria artiste. I just love hip hop and ready to do anything for hip hop,” he hinted.
Fat Joe can be most remembered for his most popular song, "Lean Back" which he performed with Terror Squad, and also featured prominent rappers such as Eminem and Lil Jon. The song was a number-one hit in the summer of 2004.

Top actor, Zack Orji involved in ghastly auto accident

Leading Nollywood actor and the former national president of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Mr. Zack Orji, miraculously escaped death on Wednesday, in a ghastly motor accident, which occurred in Bauchi State. However, a close friend said to be driving with him in an SUV, according to Daily Sun’s source, was alleged to have died on the spot.
We further gathered that the Enugu State born thespian was immediately rushed to an undisclosed hospital, where he was said to be responding to treatment.
Confirming the sad news, Mr. Ejike Asiegbu, the national president of (AGN), said he was devastated when the news reached him, adding that he had already met and spoken with Ngozi, Orji’s wife.
“ On behalf of AGN, I want to assure Nigerians, especially the teeming fans of Mr. Zack Orji, that he is hale and hearty. We have been in constant touch with his immediate family, through his amiable wife. His very good friend and confidante, Mr. Anayo Odobeatu, the CEO of O’Jez, has also assured us that Zack is alive and responding to treatment. In fact, as I speak with you, our people and some of his family members are already on their way to Bauchi. As soon as they are back, we would issue an official release and tell Nigerians and the world the true position of Zack’s health and how the unfortunate accident happened. Meanwhile, Nigerians should keep praying for Zack and his household,” Asiegbu told Daily Sun, in an emotion-laden voice.
Also speaking, Mr. Odobeatu (Ojez), said the sad news spoilt his whole day, further disclosing that he was on the phone with Orji, a couple of hours before the crash.
“ I have been in constant touch with the wife, and the news reaching me has it that Zack, is responding to treatment, the wife even spoke to him briefly. We have not yet confirmed, but it is also being alleged that the close friend driving with him died on the spot of the accident. Our people are already on their way to Bauchi, so we cannot say much for now.”
When we met her yesterday night in Surulere, for comments Ngozi, the visibly shaken wife of Orji, who is also an actress, could not say a word.
Meanwhile, Mr. Orji, who clocked 50 last year, is a pioneer and versatile actor in Nollywood. He is also a producer and director. He read Estate Management and speaks French fluently. The soft-spoken actor has entertained his teeming fans in several Nollywood movies, including the very controversial Glamour Girls, where his raunchy role was widely criticized.

Nollywood in Review: The Cheers and Jeers of 2008

Dominic, shone in 2008

No doubt, the just ended year was challenging as well as interesting in the Nigerian motion picture industry, globally known as Nollywood.

The year began on a good note for Nollywood and multi-talented entertainer Emma Edokpayi, the veteran actor who was hit by stroke a couple of years ago. He got a N400, 000 lifeline from Atlantic Overseas, the company, further promised to endow his talent with same amount annually in perpetuity.

In a related development, the Actors Guild of Nigeria, under the national leadership of popular actor, Ejike Asiegbu, finally secured and commissioned a befitting national secretariat, over 15 years after the body’s inception. The complex located in the heart of Surulere, Lagos was declared open at an elaborate ceremony in early 2008, with several dignitaries in attendance.

Perhaps, three of the biggest stories and events that kept making headline news in Nollywood in 2008, even in this New Year, were the Nkem Owoh’s death rumour, Enebeli Elebuwa’s attack and the lingering face-off between the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), and movie marketers, over the newly introduced Framework Distribution Policy by the former.

In fact, the Nkem Owoh’s death rumour was so intense to the extent that it reverberated beyond our shores. Not even the several public appearances by the leading comic actor, including a reception organized for him, at a popular hangout, O’Jez, could douse the tension and permanently put an end to the wicked rumour.

Also in the twilight of 2008, millions of Nigerians and even those in the Diaspora jointly condemned the vicious attack on veteran actor Enebeli Elebuwa, at a Filling Station, by a heartless car dealer.

The unwarranted attack left Elebuwa’s left eye badly battered, with concern that he might go blind, if not provided with urgent medical treatment abroad.

Again, the protracted war between the NFVCB and movie marketers was another low moment for Nollywood in 2008. The brouhaha generated by the crisis, nearly crippled activities in Nollywood, when it first began.

The face off climaxed with the arrest, detention and subsequent charging to court of some leading movie marketers by the board, for vehemently kicking against the policy and allegedly threatening Mr. Emeka Mba, the Director General of the board.

Painfully too, an officer with NFVCB lost his life while the crisis rages, with another miraculously escaping death by the whiskers.

Another crisis that nearly tore the industry apart was the lingering altercation between the leadership of the Actors Guild and the organizers of the Face of Nollywood (FON). The bizarre crisis succeeded in polarizing Nollywood by pitching erstwhile friends against themselves. Authentic information at our disposal has it that the crisis has not yet abated and both parties have vowed never to sheathe their swords.

The recurring issue of armed robbery attacks on some popular Nollywood practitioners was another incident that shook the industry in 2008. Popular names like; Kanayo O. Kanayo, Uche Jombo, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Jennifer Eliogu and a few others were all victims with sad tales to tell.

Unfortunately, the duo of Jombo and Ekeinde, lost their automobiles in the ungodly attacks, lucky Jombo, however, recovered her SUV, some days later, though badly vandalized.

After several years of impersonating top actress Ini Edo as well as extorting huge sums of money from unsuspecting fans and admirers of the Akwa-Ibom State born thespian, the Lagos State Police Command nabbed a lady last year, and the suspect was subsequently charged to court. Speaking at a crowded press conference, immediately after the arrest, embittered Ini, now happily married, vowed to follow the case to its logical conclusion.

Asiegbu, President Actors Guild

The low and sad moments notwithstanding, Nollywood, also the third largest film-producing nation globally and the pride of Africa, also recorded some milestones in the areas of marriages, awards, festivals, summits/workshops, political appointments and increase in celebrity-child- births.

Popular names that found true love and finally said “I Do” by walking down the aisles include: Ini Edo, Saint Obi, Emeka Ossai, Emeka Enyiocha and Julius Agwu. Others are: Uche Elendu, Jim Lawson Maduike, Dauda, Ay, Tony Ani and a few others. They are currently the reigning husbands and wives in tinsel town.

High profile events like the AMAA, Abuja and Lagos film festivals, Zuma and the Tinapa film summit, all helped to further shape and reposition the industry for greater challenges in 2008.

Interestingly too, well-attended summits and workshops held in 2008 by the Association of Movie Producers (AMP), Movie Reporters Guild of Nigeria (MORGON), Screen Writers Guild of Nigeria (SWGN), and the Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN), were all aimed at helping to move the stagnant industry forward and attract investors from within and beyond.

Several resource persons who were drawn from within and outside our shores delivered topical papers at the above events in 2008. In fact, the US Department of State, hugely supported the SWGN workshop, and flew in Professor Myla Churchill, from the New York Film Academy, as the main resource person at the event.

Nollywood, which is reportedly worth between USD 250 and 300 million on an annual basis, also got a big boost in 2008, when two of its leading names, Okey Bakassi and Richard Mofe Damijo, got political appointments from their states’ government respectively.

While the former was appointed an Executive Assistant on Entertainment to the Imo State governor, Ikedi Ohakim, the latter was elevated from a Special Assistant, to the position of a Commissioner and cabinet member by Emmanuel Uduaghan, the Delta State governor.

Both historic appointments were widely hailed in Nollywood and beyond.

Top acts such as: Saint Obi, Chioma Chukwuka – Akpotha, Monalisa Chinda, Chidi Ihezie-Okafor and a host of others, further increased the population of “Nollywood kids” with the arrival of new born babies in their respective homes in 2008.

Elsewhere, Nollywood practitioners were openly booed, jeered and castigated for failing to send a single representative to the 65th edition of the Venice Film Festival, the world’s acclaimed oldest festival, which held elaborately in Italy, in 2008.

Mixed reactions also greeted the shocking news of the face –off between erstwhile best of pals, Oby Edozich and Tricia Eseigbe, over who wins the love of ex musician, Danny Wilson.

Similar reactions further trailed the dirty and messy break up between controversial actress Shan George and her younger lover boy, last year. The scandal eventually landed the ex love birds at the Ikeja Police Area Command, where accusations and counter accusations were traded in full public glare.

Indeed, another incident that jolted the entire industry alongside its keen followers in 2008, was the announcement by top actress Eucharia Anumobi, that her only son- Joshua, had been diagnosed with Sickle Cell. Embattled Anunobi, is still struggling to save the soul of her prized possession, even in this New Year.

Meanwhile, many practitioners in the industry were disappointed when the annual Nollywood Gala Nite, organized by the Niteshift Coliseum, failed to hold last year.

Above all, several industry watchers are still dazed that Nollywood, which has been severally and severely criticized for churning out movies in large quantity, surprisingly, recorded low release of movies in the just ended year. And many have attributed this to the on-going re-organization and re-structuring of the industry aimed at consolidating production efforts for an even distribution.

Despite the several trials, tribulations and set backs recorded in Nollywood in 2008, the industry eventually triumphed with the presentation of licenses to film distributors and exhibitors, by the NFVCB, in the last days of the year.

Pundits as well as core practitioners and stakeholders are optimistic that the bold move would definitely bring in good tidings for Nollywood this New Year and beyond.