Tuesday, June 30, 2009
The good and hard working people of , under the leadership of highly focused Gov. Peter Obi, recently endorsed and agreed to support the forthcoming Kick Against Kidnapping in Anambra ( ), an awareness and enlightenment initiative embarked upon by the members of the Nollywood Association for Better Anambra State (NABA).
Elated Obi, threw his weight and that of the State behind the coming event, when some executives of the Lagos based body paid him a courtesy visit at the Awka situated Governor’s Lodge, recently.
Gov. Obi, who spoke extempore in the presence of some of his Commissioners, State Leaders of Thought and other Senior Citizens said the time has come for the State and its citizens to take their destinies in their own hands, adding that his administration will continue to embark on masses friendly projects, which would further return the light to the State and make it function optimally.
He also thanked the NABA executive for coming up with an initiative that would further move the State forward and restore confidence in her citizens as well as would be investors.
Pic- Oby Edozieh, Nollywood actress
“The good people of Anambra are in support of KAKA and any other good initiative that would further make our State great. It’s not about me, but Anambra State, which is bigger and greater than all of us. Anambra is great and would continue to do great things. Even when I’m gone from this position, those that will come after me should continue with the great work that we have already started…”
While responding, the president of NABA, Mr. Obi Madubogwu, also a leading filmmaker in Nollywood, thanked the Gov. for believing in the vision and mission of NABA, as well as endorsing KAKA, on behalf of the State.
Mr. Madubogwu, who spoke in both English and Igbo, further assured the Gov. that the project, which is primarily targeted at youths from the State, would definitely help curb the scourge of incessant cases of kidnapping in the once peaceful state, as soon as it is launched and flagged off.
The NABA team during their four-day sojourn also paid courtesy visits to some A-List traditional rulers in the State and further intimated them about NABA/KAKA and their good intentions for the State, which is noted and acclaimed for several ‘firsts,’ in the country.
The other NABA executives that made the historic trip include: Top actresses: Ngozi Ezeonu, Oby Gold Edozieh and Benita Nzeribe. Others on the train are: Chukwudi Bambino, Donald Okoli and Chigo Felix.
The KAKA awareness march, expected to be staged in Awka, Onitsha and Nnewi holds in the next couple of weeks, with the sole aim of nipping the unwholesome scourge of kidnapping in the bud.
Achievas entertainment grooms Solid Star
Although, Joshua Iniyezo, 21, better known as Solid Star started singing at age 8, based on his passion for music, which began from his days as a member of his family church’s youth choir. Amazingly, the dancehall/hip-hop debutant is now poised to play in the nation’s big league, courtesy of Achievas Entertainment, the outfit that recently discovered and signed him.
In the next couple of months, his debut album, a 14 tracker entitled: “ ”, would be hitting shelves both nationally and internationally on Achievas Records.
In a chat with us, the fast emerging crooner who just returned from , where he dazzled fans at the recently held tenth anniversary of Tuface Idibia, said the forthcoming work was done in collaboration with some leading musicians, whom he also look up to as role models.
Among those featured in the album produced by OJB Jeezreel, include: African China, Tuface Idibia, Rock steady, Mallam Spicy, Mayor and OJB himself.
“I felt and still feeling very happy for being the only up and coming act that was given the opportunity to feature at the Idibia’s tenth anniversary gig. I also got a standing ovation after my performance. I can’t wait for my work to be out, so that my fans will feel all my songs, which I also know are very tight. Yahoo-yahoo, One in a million, I love girls and My Papa, a gospel song, are some of the tracks in the coming album. I also owe my label a lot for discovering and believing in my abilities as a singer”.
Speaking further, Mr. Ossy Achievas, the honcho of the youth friendly outfit, maintained that there aim is to make the newly signed act and others coming behind comfortable, in order for them to deliver optimally. “We recently moved Solid Star from Ajegunle to Festac Town, in order to monitor his growth musically as well as repackage his image. We will soon be taking him on a tour of South Africa and the UK. Meanwhile, he has only been with us for just two years, meaning that there is a mutual understanding between us. With the support of my friends and colleagues in the industry, we intend making him the big next thing on the Naija music scene,” he promised.
The boss of Achievas, further revealed that Solid Star, who also performs regularly at popular hangout, Ojez, would soon commence the lensing of his musical videos.
“His full album will be launched in Lagos and Abuja soon, Solid Star is so unique that we had to sign him the first day we met. He’s not only talented, but also has the vocal strength to keep going on”.
On his future plans, the dreadlocks-donning act, said he has always dreamt of becoming an international act that will be at the top of his game. “Tuface Idibia is my role model and I want to be like him musically”.
Meanwhile, Achievas Records disclosed that it has concluded plans with its partners in the UK and US, on how to help market the forthcoming work effectively on both continents, as soon as its released and launched here.
Lurrenz drops new single, embraces acting
Nigerian born Swedish based singer and aspiring actor Lawrence Onuzulike better known as Lurrenz, has dropped his long-awaited new single on the national and international airwaves.
Stylishly entitled: I am Lurrenz, the new audio CD, currently penetrating the airwaves and also enjoying rave reviews from pundits and critics alike, featured the singing trio of Konga, Pasto Goody-Goody and the Jah Squad, in a never seen-before kind of collabo.
Painstakingly produced by Pupa Orits Williki for Lurrenzinc Music, the fast emerging crooner, also an author and activist; promised that the full album alongside the videos, would be released and officially launched in Nigeria and Europe respectively, in the next couple of months, in collaboration with his foreign partners.
“This promo copy is just to wet the appetite of my teeming fans, they are tired of waiting for the full album, which is almost ready, so we decided to give them this one first, just a tip of the iceberg. I just returned from my base in Sweden, where I went to master and completely repackage the full album. I’m also happy with the response we are getting so far from fans and critics on this single. In a nutshell, the work tells my story and further reveals the goodies I want to offer the music world,’ he disclosed.
The still single act, who is also the honcho of Lurrenzinc.Com, a fast growing social and interactive network site, recently indicated interest to join Nollywood as an actor. He argued that the move became necessary following pressures from his filmmaker friends in Nollywood, who strongly believe that his handsome face would be an added advantage in their movies.
Entertainers unite for comedy outburst
Emerging rib cracker, Romario is currently working round the clock to ensure that his debut show tagged: Comedy Outburst; turns out a huge success.
Holding amid blitz and glitz at the expansive Union Bank Sports Hall, Surulere, Lagos on July 5, 2009, the music/comedy concert, according to the organizers promises to be fun and memorable.
Among those billed to thrill guests at the evening groove include: Gandoki, Seyi, Law, Bovi, D’Lectura, Elenu and Emeka Smith.
Others on the very tight list are: Mr. Patrick, Sammie Okposo, OJB Jeezreel, Pasto Goody-Goody, Solid AC and a host of other up and coming entertainers.
Interestingly too, several Nollywood stars would be gracing the gathering as guest artistes and would be signing autographs for their teeming fans on the red carpet.
Shedding more light on what to expect at the coming evening of undiluted fun and high-level networking, the chief host, Romario, insisted that the concert being powered by Event Xpert Ventures, was long overdue.
“Aside saying a big thank you to my teeming fans, I’m also using the show to re-launch and re-brand myself into mainstream comedy as well as the nation’s entertainment landscape. Tickets for the show are available and currently in hot demand. We are also using this outing to bring back laughter to Surulere and its environs.”
Meanwhile, several of Romanrio’s colleagues that spoke with us said they can’t wait to thrill endlessly at the event, which is already serenading fun seekers, especially those based on the Island and Mainland.
Mode Men celebrates again
Mode Men, the all colour, all gloss magazine for men of style who are also achievers in their various fields of human endeavours recently hosted a luncheon, to further solidify the importance of the just held Father’s Day. The grand gathering, which held at an upscale Chinese restaurant, in the heart of Victoria Island, on June 13, 2009, was well attended. Though, it was held a week before Father's Day, in order to raise funds for a planned visit to the children of the Red Cross Orphanage in Yaba, on the D day. Guests that graced the beautiful outing include: Dr.Newton Jibunoh, Mr. Richard Akerele, Michael Archer, Princewill Utchay, Emeke Nzeribe, Kelechi Amadi -Obi and Pastor Rotimi Osoba. Champagne flowed as the three course Chinese meal was served.
Dr. Newton Jibunoh gave a short talk on the importance of Fatherhood, while the Editor In Chief of the high flying magazine, Abubakar Tafawa-Balewa spoke glowingly on the vision of the magazine and it's constant desire to make a change in the society and help the less privileged. It was an afternoon of good food, champagne, laughter and giving to the orphans. All the fathers in attendance also received gifts, which included a 'Michael Kors' fragrance set and a book entitled: 'Why the poor remain poor' by Richard Okejovoh, who was also at the event.
Crazy things I’ve done for love
AMAA nominated make up artist/actress
Having worked under great names like: Dagogo Diminas Jack, the late Amatu Braide and few other veterans in the creative department of Nollywood, AMA Awards 2009 nominated make up artist, Sandra Ejikeme is poised to rule the world and move her thriving career to the next level.
With over a decade experience in tinsel town, Ejikeme, who started first as an actress before veering into make up, is also a costumier and stylist of repute.
With age still on her side, the unassuming spinster with eyes on the global scene, is however of the view that Nollywood can also produce on Oscar winner in the Make Up category, if properly harnessed, based on the abundant talents inherent in the industry.
Speaking with Daily Sun, in her first major interview, during a recent courtesy visit to our corporate head office in Apapa, Ejikeme, from Obosi, Anambra State, bared her mind and further told us what makes her unique, as well as the nasty things she has done in her quest for true love.
You were among the nominees at this year’s AMA Awards, but ended up not winning. Did you feel bad?
No, I didn’t feel bad, being nominated for me, was as good as winning the prize itself. No doubt, I came to the awards expecting or hoping to win like every other nominee. I was and still very proud of myself and career in Nollywood and has even started working very hard, in order to win in next year’s edition.
Tell us more about The Assassins, the film that fetched you the nomination?
Okay! Assassins is a big budget film that we shot in Sierra Leone, for over a month. I even sacrificed my Xmas, which I normally spend with my family here in Nigeria, for this particular movie. Sincerely, I sacrificed a lot on the set of that movie. In fact, I did not only handle makeup on that set, I was also in charge of the costume and it was a large cast. The costume person did not make the trip, so I had to assist her.
When you saw your name as one of the nominees in that category, how did you feel?
I felt on top of the world and thanked God for making it possible. It is not easy being recognized and appreciated as one of the very best not only in Nigeria, but the whole of Africa. For me, the wait was worth the while. Though, I feel happy and excited, but winning would have been the icing on the cake for me.
Between make up and costume, which did you start first?
I started with costuming first and the late Amatu Braide trained me. I later worked with Millicent Jack and several other big names, before veering into make up with Dagogo Jack’s 13 Fat Man. I look young, but this my 13th years in Nollywood and seven solid years as a make up artist that has been on her own. Surprisingly, a journalist like you, Mr. Chu Nwankwo, brought me into the industry, he used to be with MBI.
So, what now informed your love for make up?
Ekenna Igwe, who is one of my mentors in Nollywood, was the person that suggested that I should go into make up, after seeing how passionate I’m in helping people to look good always. He eventually handed me over to Dagogo Diminas, who groomed and nurtured my growth and career in Nollywood, till I left him to establish Sandito Creations, which is my own outfit.
My first set of make-ups were in movies like: God Is A Joker, several of Chico Ejiro movies and many others, some seven to eight years ago. Actually, I do more of make up than costuming because of my passion for making people up and seeing them look good. I also like looking good and intend traveling out soon to go and study more about make up in Europe or South Africa. I will say it for the umpteenth time, I love make up. Making people or even myself up, makes me to be creative. I like to create new things and also experiment whenever I’m on set. I can turn people into monsters or Monalisas on set, depending on what the script says.
Aside Dagogo Jack that trained you, who are the other people you look up to in the make up world?
I have so much respect and regard for the boss of Gabazini Concepts, Gab Okorie, we were all together at 13 Fat Man, he has really done well for himself. I also admire Perewinkle, for his creative ability, who’s also another great member of 13 Fat Man.
You’ve said so much about 13 Fat Man, what was it like working with this outfit?
It was fun, nice, rewarding and also tasking working with 13 Fat Man. I learnt a lot from the outfit. It also helped to shape my career in Nollywood. I still respect and admire all the old members of that wonder production outfit that further helped to shape Nollywood in terms of creative designs. I learnt a lot from our boss then and even my colleagues. Another thing hat helped shape my career were the several books on make up that Mr. Dagogo Jack recommended for me, which I read whole heartedly. He is a wonderful boss.
What does it take to be a great make up artist in Nollywood or elsewhere?
To be honest with you, determination and the creative mind are the first set of steps. You must also be hard working and willing to learn, even under harsh conditions. In doing all of these, you must continually ask yourself, what do I want? So, that you don’t get carried away, while on the job. My aim as a make up artist is to be among the best globally, and I see that happening very soon, because I’m working hard towards that every day.
You started first in the industry as an actress; do you still act?
No and yes. I still once in a while, mostly on part time basis, because of my busy schedule. In fact, I came into Nollywood first and foremost, as an actress that I won’t deny.
I’ve done over a dozen jobs as an actress in Nollywood. Another reason that led to my quitting acting was the proliferation. Every Tom, Dick and Harry now wants to act and be an over night star in Nollywood. Again, working behind the cameras has also helped me to be my real self and guard me from living the life pretence.
Do you restrict yourself to only Nollywood jobs or you also do outside jobs?
No, I don’t restrict myself to only Nollywood jobs; I do make up jobs for society weddings and even fashion jobs, outside Nollywood. In fact, I just returned from Abuja, where I was invited to do a make up job for a big babe. Outside engagements pay me more than those in Nollywood. In the last couple of months, I’ve been shuttling in-between Abuja and Lagos, plying my trade as a professional make up artist on the social and corporate scenes. Above all, I love showbiz with a passion. I am also very affordable, for those that can afford my services.
We would like to know more about your outfit Sandito creations and the things you do?
At Sandito a creation, which is over five year, we do a lot of creative works for those within and outside Nollywood. We are basically into make up, costuming, styling and general makeup for individuals and corporate bodies.
Our dream is to be a reference point within and outside Nollywood in the areas of makeup and creative works. I’m happy that our quality works are already speaking for us. Recently, we started training up and coming Nigerians who are interested in pursuing a career in makeup and other related works of art. Since, I have been empowered; I also want to give back to the society, by empowering youths, who I expect to take over from me someday. If not for the lack of finance, I would have set up a make up school since. But I know that by God’s grace, I will accomplish that age long dream of mine, someday, and when that happens, I will personally ensure that the academy operates free of charge or with just a token fee. It’s not as if I don’t do costume jobs, but I always try to run away from the stress associated with it. It’s a pity that most people that claim to be costumiers in Nollywood, do not even know what a costume chart is all about.
We would like to know more about your background?
I was born and christened Sandra Nchekwubechukwu Ejikeme here in Lagos. I’m a young girl from Obosi, in Anambra State, who is also still single and searching for the sincere guy.
Why are you still single and what kind of man would appeal to you?
All I need in my life is a sincere man, because I’m a very sincere person. He must also be God fearing. Most guys coming my way are only interested in my hips. The way my hips drive them crazy also scares me.
What happened to your last relationship?
He got married and left me heart broken. That notwithstanding, we are still very good friends. However, I won’t deny the fact that he is a nice guy and very focused too.
Does the fact that he did not marry you gets you angry?
Initially, yes, but now, no. Like I told you earlier, we are still the best of pals. And let me ask you, must all relationships lead to marriage? The fact that he did not marry me won’t be the end of my life. No way, life goes on.
What if he comes back and proposes would you accept him back?
I can’t answer that question now, but the truth is that I don’t see him doing that, he loves his young family so much and I respect him for that. Mind you, you can’t bring back the hand of clock. But I regret not being his wife, because he’s a true gentleman and a ladies man.
So, when do you intend getting married?
Very soon, though I’m still single and searching, but I’m very optimistic that I would be married soon. If the right guy comes today, I would gladly accept his offer.
You’re a member of the Creative Designers Guild of Nigeria (CDGN), do you think the guild has done enough to support the careers of its members in Nollywood, especially the young ones?
Yeah! The guild under the vibrant leadership of Iyen Agbonifo-Obaseki is really doing a lot for its members. She has further helped to reposition the guild and is members. She also organizes regular trainings and workshops for us with foreign resource persons. Under her, CDGN, has really grown and done well for its members. Even most times, she uses her money to run the guild.
What separates you from the other make up artists in Nollywood?
I don’t like blowing my trumpet, but I think the invaluable experience gathered over the years as well as those that trained me on the job separates me from the pack. I was born to be a make-up artist. In fact, I’m a unique-make up artist.
Another thing I want to do is going back to school to study Mass Communications when the time permits. It’s a course I love so much.
Can anything make you quit Nollywood?
For now nothing, and not even the melt down. My passion for Nollywood and showbiz in general is something that I can’t really explain.
Have you ever cried for love?
Yes, aside crying for love, it even led me to the point of wanting to commit suicide and smoking heavily, which I have never done all my life. All these happened when my guy left me and secretly got married. In fact, he was supposed to take me out on his wedding day.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
After a long and eventful wait, the last 12 girls (kokolettes) standing, are now set and fully ready to walk majestically into the famous Koko Mansion. The elaborate ceremony would be unveiled to the world live on June 28, 2009, with razzmatazz and blitz, in the city of Lagos.
Beginning from this Sunday, 12 girls will for eight weeks strive to outwit one another in their quest to become the ideal Kokolette with brains and talent.
The Mansion is situated in an undisclosed area in Lagos. Hip-hop superstar D’banj will play a vital role in the coming show.
We reliably gathered that in these weeks, the young women will be groomed and tested in various activities in order to determine the one with the greatest Koko virtues, worthy of being a wife –Kokolette.
Some of these Koko virtues that the viewer, who will be the ultimate judge in the intrigue-filled show would be looking out for are: the ability of the Kokolette to cook sumptuous meals; furnish and maintain the mansion among other good behaviours. The Kokolette must also be industrious while being able to take care of the home front; her ability to be respectful and courteous at all times would be put to test. The potential Kokolette must be able to emulate notable women in the society, in order to win the public’s votes to remain in the house.
The public in the course of the show will know the most tolerant, hospitable and respectful woman in the mansion. D’banj’s entertaining character may also act as a catalyst that will bring out the girls’ true personalities.
The winner of the show will emerge the most sought after Kokolette. She must however, be a beautiful young lady, smart and intellectually savvy and also possesses a fun talent and must be willing to explore and definitely be a wife material. She must be well-cultured with sound domestic training, an absolute diva with the ability to get along with a diverse crowd. The Kokolette must be someone with good moral values, independent and ambitious, aside being a creative person.
She must also be an excellent host, a very creative person. A video audition was recently carried out at Planet One, Lagos, it further helped the panel to determine the 12 finalists.
“There will be no evictions in the first week because the ladies would have to socialize and familiarize themselves with living in a mansion. However, eviction starts in the second week, where two ladies with the least number of votes from the viewers will be ushered out. Weekly evictions begin from the second week till we have our final three ladies.” Meanwhile, eviction is primarily done by the public and could be based on D’banj’s comments. Every week, there will be a talent show segment where each lady must showcase her talent to the viewers. Talent is an important criterion to be part of the show because it would serve as the platform for each Kokolette to become a celebrity in her own right after the show. However, each week, among the three ladies up for eviction, it would be D’Banj’s prerogative to give Koko Mycine (immunity) to one of the girls. He can only use Koko Mycine once in the duration of the show. The winner will among
be crowned Kokolette 1, get a Chris Aires Diamond ring, a brand new convertible car, feature in his next music video, You Don Make Me Fall In Love alongside N5 million in cash. Aside winning, she would be D’Banj’s companion at public events both within and outside Nigeria. She would further emerge as HiTV’s Hi-Babe. Aside from exploring her talent professionally, she’ll be obligated to get involved in women empowerment projects that would especially reinforce the unique role of an African woman in the development of our society.
The winner of the show aside the mouth-watering prizes, the organizers have also made a commitment to invest in whatever talent she has that was discovered during the duration of the show. The Kokolette is not a street girl or party music video girl as most people may want to think.
WIM to honour Funke Akindele, other female achievers
Cheering news filtering in has it that Clout Media Limited has confirmed that it would host the second edition of the annual Women in Media (WIM), conference holding from June 25 to 26, 2009, at Terra Culture, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Launched in 2008, the maiden edition took place during the 2008 Lagos International Film Festival. The turbo charged and improved WIM, is now a stand-alone event that is expected to attract over 500 women from the West African sub region. Top journalists, filmmakers, producers, directors, advertising/PR experts will converge for workshops, panel discussions and other germane issues affecting women in the media.
Award winning filmmaker/activist Sandra Obiago, the CEO, Communicating For Change, will headline the event with a keynote address. Talk show hostess Agatha Amata, producer Emem Isong, Nigeria’s sole female cinematographer Sebari-Diete-Spiff, and TV presenter Nneka Moses, are just a few among some of the female heavy weights that would be featuring prominently at the gathering. Others include: Janet Mba Afolabi and Ijeoma Nwogwugwu. It will not be an all female affair as top entertainment lawyer Efere Ozako and filmmaker/activist and Regional Secretary of Pan African Federation of Filmmakers Madu C.Chikwendu will have to contend with these talented and powerful women making giant strides in the media.
According to the organizer, Daisy Madu-Chikwendu
In line with our motto that: Women got involved … Media got better. “This year’s event has a major addition, the Excellent Personality Award. The awards will reward women in various aspects of media including print/electronics, movie/TV producing, movie/TV directing, news casting, television/ radio presenting, special recognition and lifetime achievement awards.”
Learnt authoritatively that potential awardees include: Betty Irabor (Genevieve Magazine),Bimbo Fola-Shade (Leadership and Style),Ruth Osime (This Day Style),Bola Atta (True Love),Funke Akindele, Emem Isong, Rosemary Ingbi Ononiwu, Ariyike Oladipo, Amaka Igwe, Pat Oghre, Franca Brown, Funke Moore, Lamide Akintobi, Adaure Achumba, Seun Olagunju, Agatha Amata, Mo Abudu, Funmi Iyanda, Ireti Doyle, Mashe, Shoal kosoko, Titi Adelobo andTosin Bucknor.
WIM will also give special recognition awards to Mr. Ben Bruce and Mr. Bisi Olatile, whilst also honouring Chief Mrs. Rita Lori Ogbebor and Ruth Benemesia-Opia with Lifetime Achievement Awards.
NFVCB destroys illegal movies…wants more funding
It its efforts to further reposition and strengthen the Nigerian saturated film industry, the leadership of the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), on Tuesday, June 16, 2009, in Abuja, publicly destroyed seized illegal and unapproved films worth millions of Naira. The destruction according to the honcho of the apex film regulatory body, Mr. Emeka Mba, was in line with the NFVCB’s act and NFVCB regulations 2008.
The products which include: pornographic and uncensored movies; were confiscated from the dealers in a raid carried out by the enforcement unit of the board.
Performing the ceremony before the full glare of the public, amiable and hard working Mr. Mba, described the burning of the movies as very symbolic. In his words, “what we are doing, is to show our commitment to the fight against pornography and also to use it as a platform to appeal to the members of the public about the dangers of pornography and also to those who are involved in the sale of pornographic materials that we are there, and when we get them, we will arrest them, prosecute them and destroy their products”.
The DG was also very optimistic that the board would win the fight against pornography and illegitimate distribution of movies in Nigeria. He also assured that the board would continue to engage the members of the public through the media to understand the dangers of pornography.
Mba, further reiterated the commitment of the board and the pressure its mounting on pirates and criminals who are relentless in their quest to flood the market with illegal video materials.
“For the board to be a step ahead of the gang, we are appealing to government for increased funding to enable us continue with this enforcement activities”, he pleads.
Mode Men celebrates Father's Day with style
Mode Men magazine, the all colour, all gloss magazine for men of style who are also achievers in their various fields of endeavours recently hosted a luncheon, to further solidify the importance of the recently held Father’s Day. The grand gathering, which held at an upscale Chinese restaurant, in the heart of Victoria Island, on June 13, 2009, was well attended.
Though, it was held a week before Father's Day, in order to raise funds for a planned visit to the children of the Red Cross Orphanage in Yaba, on the D day. Guests that graced the beautiful outing include: Dr.Newton Jibunoh, Mr. Richard Akerele, Michael Archer, Princewill Utchay, Emeka Nzeribe, Kelechi Amadi -Obi and Pastor Rotimi Osoba. Champagne flowed as the three course Chinese meal was served.
Dr. Newton Jibunoh gave a short talk on the importance of Fatherhood, while the Editor In Chief of the high flying magazine, Abubakar Tafawa-Balewa spoke glowingly on the vision of the magazine and the magazine's constant desire to make a change in the society and help the less privileged. It was an afternoon of good food, champagne, laughter and giving to the orphans.
All the fathers in attendance also received father's day gifts, which included a 'Michael Kors' fragrance set and a book entitled 'Why the Poor remain poor' by Richard Okejovoh, who was also at the event.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Me, men, marriage and my fears
Yvonne Jegede, actress/model
Despite the constant resistance and opposition from her strict dad, an opportunity
to hit the
klieg lights had always been on the mind of Yvonne Jegede, and this, dates back to when she was even a child.
And as fate would have it, her long awaited dream of becoming a screen star, finally came in 2004, when she got
her first movie role in Missing Angel, which further
opened the floodgate for other movies and TV soaps in
Aside acting, pretty Jegede, from Edo State, who turns 26, this August, is also a model and music performer with many music videos to her credit.
In fact, her scintillating
appearance in Tuface Idibia’s monster hit,
African Queen, alongside two other beauties, is still being talked about.
In this heart-warming encounter with Daily Sun,
Jegede, who quietly disappeared from the industry’s radar for over two years, is not only back with a bang, but also wants to further expand her horizon by veering into movie production.
The boisterous entertainer also told us where she’s been, the stuffs that kept her busy, why she’s back, the big project and many more.
We would like to know what led to your almost two years absence from the movie industry?
I left Nollywood when I got admission to study in a Cyprus university in Europe. I’m in my second year studying international relations, that’s where I have been all these days.
Many of your fast growing fans are also sad that you left Nollywood at the peak of your career; do you feel the same way?
I thought about school first of all, because school is very vital. A couple of good friends spoke to me about going to school and getting a degree. But the truth is that, even if I go for ten years and come back, I’ll still meet the industry, and that was why I had to leave the time I did and I’m glad I’d left then. No regrets also, but I’m back and will apologize to my fans through your medium and my subsequent movies.
So, what brought you back?
Well, I came back to contribute more to the growth of Nollywood, based on the many ideas in my head. By remaining in school, I won’t actualize them. So, I decided to take a break from school in order to do one or two more things before going back. In essence, I’m in town to start work on my big project, a proper Niaja film with a little bit of my twist to it, and the story is mine, it’s about domestic violence. I’m also looking at getting sponsors to partner with me in the project. In fact, we are storming location soon, in the next couple of weeks to begin work.
How’s life in Cyprus?
For me, nothing much, only that you have a lot of white people working around, life is still the same, you wake up in the morning and go to school, just the regular life we live here in Nigeria. Majority of the people in Northern Cyprus, which is where I reside, are Nigerian students. We also go clubbing most weekends.
I met someone who sold the idea to me. The school is Near East University, located in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Which was your last movie before jetting out?
It was Blood Sisters and I actually left from set straight to the airport, I did not finish my scene before traveling. Again, Nollywood has actually changed, but I would not say if its for better or worse. But we hope it comes back better because it’s a little bit shaky now. I know Nollywood will be a lot better when it eventually bounces back.
While you were away, did you miss Nollywood?
Yes, I did, I miss work, if I don’t miss Nollywood, I won’t be here, i won’t even leave school for this long. I seriously miss my acting, because its fun for me, its what I love doing, I also miss my friends, colleagues and the cameras. Honestly, I miss the lights and the drama on set.
What concerted efforts are you making towards re-launching yourself into mainstream acting in Nollywood?
Sincerely, I’m not making any effort at the moment, because of my movie project, which is what brought me home. So right now, I’m giving it my all. I’m also happy some banks and other corporate bodies are also showing interest.
Now that you are back, is marriage also on your mind?
I’m not expecting this question, but for now, no, but I’m seeing somebody at the moment. I will be 26 on August 25, 2009. Mentally, I don’t think I’m ready for marriage. May be, I will be ready when I make my first 100 million. I’m just joking, I’m back in Nollywood, but not fully back, scripts are coming my way. I’m working very hard to be better than what I left behind, not to be where I was before I left
Share more about your background with us?
Well, as most people already know, Yvonne Jegede, is from Edo State,
Agenebode to be precise. I’m in my mid
20’s, the first of nine children from my father
and the first of five from my mother. In
essence, I have 13 younger ones. I started my primary
school in Kano, later moved to Plateau state, but
completed it in Lagos. I have a diploma in Law from
Lagos State University, before going to Cyprus for further studies. I also speak Hausa fluently.
On a sober note, it’s not been easy coping with
life as a child from a separated home.
Aside acting, I’m also a model and a professional music
video performer. Most people mistake me
for a dancer, I’m not, and I only appear in
music videos as a performer. Even though I got into
the industry through music videos, my first love
remains acting, but truth is that music videos got me
more roles, made me popular and helped me to get to
where I am now.
I started acting professionally with Blaze of
Glory on TV, my role as a drug addict in the soap was
really challenging. My role in Tade Ogidan’s
Behind the Siege, was also well applauded, this was in
2004, still on TV. But my first movie was Missing
Angel same 2004, it was on that set that I got the
offer to star in Tuface Idibia’s African Queen
courtesy of Uzodinma Okpechi.
I have also worked with other acts like: Fadabasi, Mr.
Cool, D’Jinee and several others. Let me also
say it here that an uncle- veteran actor Ignis Ekwe
made my coming into Nollywood smooth and possible.
And I featured in over 20 hit movies before my departure two years ago.
What would you say were the major challenges you encountered then?
A lot, but despite the challenges, it’s been fun because
it is something I’ve always wanted to do, that
is why I’m not feeling the stress that much. In
fact, I’m still working hard to be at the top.
As a busty actress, can you bare-it-all in a movie?
I do not think so, but deep down I know I can
be a bit daring in movies?
Why not tell us more about your love like?
Why do you want to know? Well, like I told you, I have a
relationship and I think that’s all I can say
Come to think of it, did your parents endorse your odyssey in Nollywood, when you first started?
Never, my dad was never in support until I did AIDS
Patients, a movie I did for my church, he calmed down
when he saw it. He later called me again and gave me
his blessings. My mum, unlike my dad then, was so, so
excited about my coming into Nollywood.
Who are the people you look up to as role models in
Plenty of them, Joke Silva, Genevieve Nnaji, Olu Jacobs and RMD, I also admire Mercy Johnson. Among them, I’ve
worked with most of them and they are all inspiring.
What breaks you down and also makes you cry?
Disappointments, heartbreaks and total rejection.
Like how many times have guys rejected you and
broken your fragile heart?
Heartbroken? May be, I’ve experienced
that like three times, but life goes on because I
bounce back very fast after the whole thing. I recover
fast and very strong when it comes to coping with
Do you believe in love?
Yes, I do and cry every time for love, because
I’m emotional and highly romantic too.
Describe yourself for us?
I’m a jovial person, not shy and fun to be
with, addictive, lovable and very happy no matter the
What is your biggest vice as a young lady?
I think I like having fun and clubbing, at least,
twice in a month.
How do you feel when people complement your beauty?
My dad started it, so, right now, it does not freak
me, because I’m used to it.
So, how do you cope with advances from the guys?
It’s not been easy but I get by.
But what part of your body trips the opposite sex most?
From head-to-toe, they all trip always, however, my boobs are the sexiest part of my body, and a whole lot of guys complement them, even
my guy. It makes me know that I’m richly
Do you intend baring some of it in the movies soon?
No way! I can’t reveal my boobs publicly no
matter the amount involved; they are so sweet and
precious to me.
In recent times, several questions and issues have come up, especially in the media about D’Banj and his forthcoming all female reality TV, Koko Mansion on HiTV. In fact, questions like who’s an ideal woman? How does one spot an ideal woman? What qualities stand one out as an ideal wife? These and many more, are perhaps the questions begging for answers on the lips of many, as the television reality show prepares to light up the pay per view screens this month.
Koko Mansion revolves around the quest of 12 beautiful and talented girls that will live in a mansion for eight weeks, with one of them finally becoming the ideal Kokolette (wife). Hip hop superstar D’banj will play a vital role in the coming show that has the support of Nigerian Breweries, Jagal Group, makers of Tetmosol among other sponsors. It is scheduled to begin this month.
In these weeks, the young women will be groomed and tested in various activities in order to determine the one with the greatest Koko virtues, worthy of being a wife –a Kokolette. The winner will among other benefits, be crowned Kokolette 1, get a Chris Aires Diamond ring, a brand new convertible car, feature in his next music video You Don Make Me Fall In Love alongside N5 million in cash. The winner will also be D’Banj’s companion at public events both within and outside Nigeria. She would further emerge as HiTV’s Hi-Babe; that is, Beautiful.
The anticipated show has already received plenty kudos as well as its fair share of knocks from critics of the sector. Viewers appear worked up and eager to see how HiTV would achieve the feat of showcasing the virtues of the ideal woman among the 12 finalists already selected to enter the Koko Mansion. But since the responsibility is on viewers, not some judges, the burden is less on HiTV as explained by Justin Akpovi-Esade, the pay TV Company’s Public Relations Manager. “We are just a platform for people to choose who the ideal woman is. From the various tasks in the mansion, weekly, Nigerians will be able to determine among the 12 who is worthy to be called the number one Kokolette. D’banj or anybody will not be involved in the voting process; the viewers will choose their ideal woman, not us. Don’t forget the fact that the whole concept is purely entertainment.”
For critics of the show, there are some issues that have been raised: For instance, which woman, no matter how successful she is in her career, does not take care of the home or cook for her husband when she has the time? When has success become a barrier stopping her from cooking for her husband or taking care of the kids? These among other issues the organizers tried to lay bare to all, when the show begins.
Akpovi-Esade would rather want viewers to answer that question “when the show begins. These are serious issues that have been raised, but as I have maintained, the viewers will tell Nigerians if they want a woman who is talented, a modern woman who is able to take care of the home too or they want a talented woman who neglects her family. At the end of the day, the verdict would not be HiTV’s or D’banj’s, but Nigeria’s.”
A taste of what to expect in the Mansion was revealed last week during the video audition of the contestants at Planet One, Maryland, Lagos. The enthusiasm displayed by the Kokolettes was contagious. Koko Mansion no doubt promises to be a great, entertaining show. Most of them interviewed already had their game plan for the eight-week stay in the mansion.
HiTV, Akpovi-Esade revealed, will release the list of the 12 finalists by the end of the week. “Nigerians will know the 12 Kokolettes that will be in the mansion beginning from this month.
What makes Koko Mansion different from most reality shows around is the fact that hip hop star, D’banj on which the show revolves around, will assist the eventual winner develop her talent. “If it turns out that she is a good singer, Mo’ Hits Records (a label owned by Don Jazzy) will not have a choice other than to take her in and make her the superstar she has desired to be all her life. This goes for all the participants, which is why the Kokolette is not a street girl or party music video girl as most people may want to misrepresent.
Lagosians troop out for Project Fame’s audition
It was a beehive of activities recently at the Fantasyland, Ikoyi, and Ultima Studios, Ojodu/ Ogba, Lagos, which were the respective venues of the just concluded Project Fame auditions. The events no doubt, witnessed the largest gathering of youths for the all – important audition exercise. The audition which took place simultaneously at both venues on Friday, June 12 and Saturday, June 13 2009, had in attendance thousands of youths from the nooks and crannies of the city and neighbouring cities coming out en masse to be part of the final auditions of the West Africa’s most popular music talent reality TV show, MTN Project fame academy.
The two expansive venues for the auditions experienced a massive turn out of enthusiastic youths, thus creating a very lengthy queue that spilled over miles along Ojodu road in Ogba, as well as Kingsway road, Ikoyi, from wannabe stars.
According to the organizers of the show, over twenty thousand youths were duly registered for the Project Fame audition in Lagos, a figure that out-numbered previous editions, as well as any other reality show audition in any single state.
The MTN Project Fame West Africa season two auditions, has
been taken to other major cities across the country like: Kaduna, Calabar, Enugu, Abuja, Ibadan, Benin, as well as other West African cities like: Accra (Ghana), Monrovia (Liberia), and Freetown (Sierra Leone), where several thousands of people were auditioned and over a hundred short listed to compete with qualifiers from the Lagos auditions, for a chance to be among the lucky 15 contestants that will make it to the music academy, for the duration of ten weeks.
As the academy commences shortly, the lucky talents will be admitted into the house, where they will be groomed in the general arts of music, which include: voice training, dance exercises, songs writing, stage performances and other qualities that characterize music stars.
The contestants will also be made to dig it out in a competitive weekly performance before a panel of highly experienced judges, academy faculty and a huge crowd of audience, where they will have to knock one another out until the ultimate winner eventually emerges. Also there will be several weeks of probations and evictions.
It would be recalled that the maiden edition of the show saw Nigerian Inyanya Mbuk, emerging the ultimate winner, after defeating other finalists like: Ghanaian Nii Ankra, the first runner-up, Nigerian Praise Adejo, the second runner-up and Annette Cookey, the third runner up respectively, to walk home with the sum of N2.5 million, a 2008 Toyota RAV 4 and a one year recording deal.
Inyanya has since been rocking the Nigerian music scene, with two hit singles entitled: ‘Love Truly’ and ‘No Time.
No doubt, this season two however, promises to be an explosive experience that will provide exciting TV content, characterized with breath-taking musical performances, thrills, intrigues and passion to all television viewers across the country and West Africa at large.
Another blockbuster from De Atai entertainment
Following the huge success recorded with High School 1 and 2, its debut movie in Nollywood, Abuja based entertainment outfit, De Atai, is set to hit shelves again with another blockbuster.
Entitled: Be Not Afraid, the star-studded movie was produced by hard working Irenita Nneka Eze, unarguably, the youngest female producer in Nollywood at the moment.
With financial and logistic supports from Mr. John Mgbere, the boss of De Atai Entertainment, director T – Chidi Chikere and his crew shot the heart- wrenching movie on various locations across the country with modern day production equipment.
The roll call of stars that sparkled in the big budget movie include: Rita Dominic, Pat Attah, Ali Nuhu, Irenita Eze and several other thespians.
The movie tells the pathetic story of a young mother, whose car was snatched at gunpoint with her sick baby inside.
Her woes were further compounded when all the efforts at finding the baby proved abortive, thus fuelling her suspicion that it was a set up from within.
Speaking further, slim-built Eze, who combines acting with producing, said she was grateful to her amiable executive producer–Mr. Mgbere, for believing in her vision as an actress and young filmmaker, adding that without his support the project wouldn’t have seen daylight. She however, promised to remain steadfast in her burgeoning careers as an actress and filmmaker.
“I will forever remain grateful to the boss of De Atai, without whom all I’m doing today in Nollywood would not have been possible. His Love for entertainment is unrivalled. We are currently mapping out plans for our next movie, it is going to be huge, in fact, we are also discussing with some State Governments and corporate bodies, to be part of the project. As soon as we are set, the world will hear about this noble project”, she hinted.
De Atai Entertainment is an Abuja based outfit with a vision of helping to develop talents in the nation’s showbiz sector, especially Nollywood.
Silent Scandal set to thrill movie buffs globally
Few months after recording a resounding success with When The Heart Lies, leading female filmmaker and the honcho of Purple Pine Productions, Vivian Ejike, is set to hit the national and international movie scenes with another box office.
Entitled: Silent Scandal, the thought provoking flick, according to cerebral Miss Ejike, would be released on VCD and DVD soon in Nigeria, Europe, US and the rest of Africa.
The dramatic love story that revolves around the hidden and triangular love lives of a strict mother, her spoilt daughter and an indigent ‘playboy,’ has top actress, Genevieve Nnaji, as the lead actress. Uche Jombo, Ebele Okaro, Ghanaian import –Michael Majid and a host of other up and coming acts, ably supported her.
Shedding more light, pretty Ejike, who just returned from the UK, where she went to tidy up some movie-related deals, disclosed that Silent Scandal, was painstakingly shot with hi-tech production equipment beautifully manned by tested professionals within and outside Nigeria.
“It’s a contemporary movie that will blow away the minds of movie buffs. Its also an emotional story, where a mother and her only daughter, unknowingly, are torn apart by the true love and lust of an indigent young man. Silent Scandal is full of intrigues and suspense from start-to-finish. With all sense of modesty, its another plus for Nollywood, especially now that the nation is preaching the gospel of re-branding. We believe so much in quality films and productions at Purple Pine and that is what this movie stands for,” disclosed Miss Ejike, a former top banker.
The movie, which was directed by a Nigerian filmmaker based in Los Angeles, US, also featured a live Fashion Show by award winning designer, Zizi Cardow and her leggy models.
Gathered that Cardow’s cameo appearance in the fast-paced movie was well applauded by the cast and crew.
Aside producing and financing the big budget project, Miss Ejike, with over 13 years experience in Nollywood, also wrote and screen played the forthcoming movie.
Elaborating more on the relationship between the cast and crew on locations within the Lagos metropolis Ejike, revealed that it was fun all the way. “We all had fun and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves while the production lasted. In fact, we worked like a family.”
Silent Scandal, will be distributed and marketed globally by Nollywood Distributions Company Limited, in collaboration with other major video outlets and marts.
Ochonma returns, drops Durotimi for fans
After over three years absence from the music scene, Customs officer tuned musician Innocent Chuks better known as Ochonma, is back and basking in the emporia of his latest work.
Entitled: Durotimi, the 13 tracker offering packaged and produced by Network Productions, is already on air and making huge impact among music lovers and pundits.
Durotimi, which is Ochonma’s third effort-coming after Sofri-Sofri and Odigiwe, already has three of its videos currently playing on air, for his teeming fans globally.
The former highlife crooner, who now sings hip-hop, maintained that all the tracks in the new work are socially relevant and topical.
“Durotimi was specially done for my female fans. In the song, I was appealing to them to always stay with me because I will never let them down. And with this new work, there is no stopping Ochonma, because I’m moving to the next level with my career.”
On why he dumped highlife for hip-hop, the act, who went into music professionally in 1990, insisted that he joined the line in order to move with what is in vogue, as well as repackage his career, to have a youthful appeal. “I’ve also come to discover that its not good to be rigid in life, and because of this, I decided to abandon highlife for now and join the hip hop train, which is moving very fast. I also went underground because my former marketer messed up my second album. The new guy I’m working with knows the terrain very well.”
Ochonma, who will soon embark on a nationwide promotional tour, has warned pirates to desist from pirating the new work, adding that those caught would be dealt with severely.
He also enjoined music lovers to always insist on buying only original copies of the fast selling work.
The act who now dons a gold tainted low cut hair style, was also full of praises to the Nigerian music industry, which he described as very vibrant and mature.
Barnaby Nigeria Limited in collaboration with other music outlets nationwide, are marketing and distributing the new work
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
All is now set for the first ever Cultural Heritage World Festival of Beauty & Fashion holding in Namibia. According to the organizers, the event begins on September 28 and ends on October 7, 2009. Already, the city of Swakopmund, has been chosen as the inaugurating city, courtesy of the Miss Cultural Heritage World Organization. Surprisingly, 42 countries have confirmed interests to participate at the forthcoming event, thus making expectations to be overwhelming. As part of the activities lined up for the opening ceremony, the Cultural Heritage and World Festival of Beauty and Fashion cum the official international launch of the Miss Cultural Heritage World Organization will host its world premiere/gala and welcoming Gala on October 3, 2009, at the Swakopmund Hotel and Entertainment Centre. The gala will serve as the official introduction of the Miss Cultural Heritage World Organization to the world media, the international fashion industry and all
participating countries in a fundraising effort for humanitarian aid.
The event would also provide worldwide exposure and recognition for the participants, with the sole vision of: promoting culture, heritage and tourism. The 10-day event will also feature top fashion designers from the strongest fashion nations around the world, showcasing highlights from the current and feature seasons. Participants would also be given recognitions not only as individuals, but also as representatives of their countries, cultures and national fashion industries, thus acknowledging fashion as one of the most powerful economic forces around the world. “The Mayor of the city has expressed her support for this event that holds international interest, a prominent humanitarian aspect and a strong multicultural philosophy”, said the organizers.
Interestingly too, the organizers further pointed out that this would be the first time that the pageant will be staged in the history of the event.
“Once the winner has been selected, he/she assumes the role of a Goodwill Ambassador. The winner automatically becomes a famous public figure, thereby commanding attention.
As a Goodwill Ambassador, he/she has two roles. The first is to raise funds for charitable organizations in order to help less privileged members of the society. The second is to sensitize members of the public on issues that are detrimental to society such as: HIV/AIDS, drug abuse, child abuse, child labour, poverty eradication, gender equality, health, nutrition, environmental conservation and cultural heritage tourism.”
Alapomeji grabs Zara
Pic-9ice, honcho of Alopomeji Records
With a combination of afro-themed beats and Caribbean vibes, American based Zara (born Margaret Mary Joseph, on July 30, 1985), is the latest addition to the Alapomeji family. Sassy Zara brings a refreshing mix to the already established entertainment company that boasts of acts like: 9ice, Ajayi Brothers, Streetwise, Snow and Keyifi. The creativity in her music boasts of an understanding and range that is more vivacious than debutante. With a style of music that is laced with heavy yet playful lyrics, Zara's down-to-earth but confident charisma and charm is what sets her apart from the pack. Her collaboration with Zaina on the monster track "naughty girl" has left many curious about this sweet sounding versatile artiste. Zara who is currently being managed by Toni Payne-Akande of Alapomeji, has a Z swagger popularly known as Zwagger that can be felt on such tracks as "The Flyest", "Mummy Mi", and "Su mo bi". Listening to Zara leaves you without a doubt
that she is the next best female phenomenon to hit the Naija music industry.
To listen to her current single “Flyest” visit her myspace at www.myspace.com/zwagger.
ZAFAA decorates patrons
Towards a better outing for this year’s edition of ZAFAA, holding in London, later this year, the organizers recently decorated some Patrons in London, at a colourful event, which held on May 29, 2009. According to Mr. Sam Anwuzia, the founder and prime mover of ZAFAA, those decorated were: Baroness Lynda Chalker of Wallasey. Christian Udechukwu of Business In Africa Event, HRH Prince (Dr) Bala of Golden Shield and Bishop Simon Iheanacho.
He further revealed that the Nigerian Patrons would soon be decorated at another elaborate ceremony at the New Chelsea Hotel, Abuja, on July 17, 2009.
Meanwhile, the event proper, which is currently serenading Nollywood, holds in London from October 20 to 23, 2009, amid glitz and grandeur.
Visit www,zafaa.com for more information
NABA set to unveil KAKA
Pic-Ernest Obi, Vice-President NABA
In the next couple of weeks, the executives and entire members of the Nollywood Association for Better Anambra (NABA), would be storming the troubled State for a week long enlightenment programme tagged: Kick Against Kidnapping in Anambra (KAKA).
Speaking at a recently held general meeting, which attracted several Nollywood stars from the above State, top filmmaker and the interim president of the body, Mr. Obi Madubogwu, said the aim of the walk, was basically to help sensitize and possibly put an end to the incessant cases of kidnapping in the once peaceful State. “ It is no longer news that Anambra, our once peaceful State is no longer peaceful due to the nefarious activities of kidnappers and other criminals. As concerned citizens living outside the State, we have decided to stage this walk as a way of making known our collective anger, disappointments and above all, the need for those involved to immediately say NO.”
Continuing, Mr. Ernest Obi, the vice president of the body, and also the Chairman of the Lagos State chapter of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), stated that he was optimistic that KAKA, would help restore normalcy to the State and also bring back the lost confidence of most indigenes living outside the State. “ We are no longer happy that as proud sons and daughters of Anambra, we can longer visit our towns and villages because of the fear of kidnappers. With KAKA, all these will stop, because we are saying enough of this madness. The State is losing a lot because of the rampant issue of kidnappings and we in the entertainment sector cannot just fold our hands and be watching. Hence, the need for this awareness walks through the cities of Awka, Nnewi and Onitsha soon.”
Leading names in Nollywood like: Charles Okafor, Teco Benson, Ngozi Ezeonu, Oby Edozieh, Benita Nzeribe and several others, aside gracing the meeting, also endorsed and applauded KAKA. “We want to bring back the light with this initiative and also calling on all the good people of our State as well as friends of our State to come and support this bold move,’’ Miss Edozieh, said.
Adeyinka plans grand burial for mum
Its no longer news that leading entertainer and one of the most respected comedians of the Federal Republic, Gbenga Adeyinka, The First, recently lost his darling mother. What perhaps, many are oblivious of, is the fact that Adeyinka, is planning a grand burial for his dear mum.
And in order to ensure a successful outing for the late madam Adunni Adeyinka Giwa-Bello, who died on May 20, 2009, Adeyinka and his siblings are already working round the clock. Info extracted from the very colourful burial invite, which is already in the hands of many of Adeyinka’s colleagues, friends and associates, says a Christian Wake keep, holds this Thursday, June 18, at the deceased residence, in Olodi, Apapa, Lagos. The Church Service holds the following day, at the Bishop Adelakun Howells Memorial Church, Surulere, Lagos, while interment follows immediately at the nouveau riche wing of the Ikoyi Cemetery.
The reception we reliably gathered holds at the lush open field of Eko FM, Ikeja, Lagos, between the hours of 1 and 7p.m
Also learnt that Adeyinka’s colleagues in the entertainment sector, especially comedians would be storming the event in a grand way, to further support one of their own.
Pic-Seg Arinze and Kinsley Ogoro
Top filmmaker, Kingsley Eloho Ogoro popularly known as Sir K and famous actor Segun Arinze, are set to drag top hotelier Chief Obodoechina and his Lebanese General Manager, Mr. Hani, to court over an alleged threat to life and assault, over a business deal gone sour. In a petition already submitted to the Nigerian Police and Keyamo Chambers, their lawyers, and entitled: Threat to life and physical assault against chief Emeka O. Obodoechina and Mr. Rony Hani, both of Heritage House Square Hotel, Ajao Estate, Lagos, they accused the men of refusing to pay them after several months of rendering a professional service. Instead, they resorted to physical assault, threat to lives and racist comments. In the words of embittered Sir K and Arinze, the once robust business friendship, which has now broken down irretrievably started on February 10, 2009, when Mr. Hani, a Lebanese and the general manager of the hotel contracted them to package the formal opening of
the hotel on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2009.
“At a meeting in their office, where Chief Obodoechina, the chairman of the hotel was introduced to us, it was agreed that we should provide the following: 12 Nollywood stars, musical band for live performance, pianist, 6 camera professional out broadcast coverage and a compere, for a fee of four million Naira. The chairman through Mr Hani, also requested to purchase our Yamaha piano, for three thousand US Dollars, it was newly purchased for our new rental sound studio. Both parties agreed that they should pay us 50% cash, for the event package immediately in order to commence production and the remaining 50% in barter, while 100% payment was agreed for the piano. By February 13, no payment was made and we were very worried. Hani later begged and told us they had problems with their bankers, but however, promised to pay up the following Monday. He only gave us three hundred thousand Naira cash, to enable us offset some minor debts, with a promise to
pay all outstanding debts on the morning of the event, which he did not do, but came up with new excuses. We went ahead to do their job after several pleadings and promises. They both started avoiding our calls the following Monday. But we usually got through to them by using unknown lines. While these were going on, we were also under pressure from the artistes and the crewmen that worked for us. Even when we told them the coverage tape was ready; they still refused to pay us. They also had our piano, which we would have been renting out in our studios. We eventually resolved to retrieve our piano on May 20th, and told them to now pay for only the accumulated rent. Mr. Hani invited Arinze and I to the hotel on June 6, while we were talking the chairman walked in and rudely told us he was upset and disappointed with us for taking our piano away. I courteously told him that we should be the ones to be upset and immediately left to pay my bills at the
bar. Hani quickly stood up, slapped and shoved me aside, boasting that he would deal with me in Nigeria and nothing would happen. The chairman also joined him in grabbing me by the collar and holding me very tight to the throat, choking and yelling insults on me. He even called on his security to lock me up and get some Mopol to deal with me. All the pleas from Segun and some of his astonished workers, fell on deaf ears. He eventually let go after some minutes, then I was already gasping for breath”.
Sir K, who is also asking for Police protection based on the threat to his life, aside the four million Naira, also wants the chairman to pay him an additional nine hundred thousand Naira, being the ‘demurrage’ incurred for the piano, for the period of days that it was being used at the hotel.
Ogoro, the producer of Osuofia in London and other hit movies, said he has told his lawyers to also file for a separate case of assault, trauma and disgrace caused him by the chairman and Hani, on June 6.
While reacting angrily to the above accusations in the morning of Wednesday, June 10, 2009, Mr. Kenneth Mbakwe, the Deputy General Manager of the hotel, said his boss and the general manager neither harassed nor threatened Sir K and Arinze. He also insisted that they did not owe them a dime, maintaining that they should go to the court and seek redress, if they feel offended. “They are even the ones owing us money, we are the aggrieved party and not them. They fraudulently collected money from us and refused to deliver as promised. We have all the relevant documents to prove to the world that we were cheated and even owed by them in a business deal. Our chairman and hotel are law abiding citizens with the highest regards for the rule of law.” We would definitely reveal more on this crisis currently tearing the erstwhile business partners apart.
Youthful filmmaker, Ephraim, rules Abuja
Chiejina Ephraim Onyemaechi, one of Nollywood’s youngest
directors is currently in Abuja working on a big budget movie project in collaboration with his Hausa partners. Onyemaechi, who learnt the art of movie making while under tutelage at the House of Macro, is also a graduate of Mass Communication from the Institute of Management and Technology, Enugu.
Though, he started as a production assistant under the watchful eyes of Mr. Simisola Opeoluwa, the boss of House of Macro, but later rose to the positions of a coordinator as well as a continuity person. He also won a recognition award from the Censor’s Board, during his stint as a continuity person. Through dint of hard work and perseverance, he eventually rose to the positions of a production manager and later assistant director, when he joined Annex Production. Aside paying his dues in his chosen career, Onyemaechi, has also worked with virtually all the big names in Nollywood in his fast paced career, spanning over a decade. He produced and co directed Beautiful Soul, the 2009 AMA Awards nominated flick, in the Best Nigerian Movie, Soundtrack and Original Screenplay categories. A native of Ogbunike, in Oyi LGA of Anambra State, the emerging filmmaker recently finished production on his first major work as a producer/director. The work featured
leading names like: Olu Jacobs, Jim Iyke, Mercy Johnson, Ali Nuhu, Maureen Ihua, Laclass Ozougwu and several others. The intrigues filled movie is from the stable of A-Town Productions
Abuja. Shedding more light on the project, its executive producer/CEO of the outfit, Mr. Moh'd Bello Mo-Allahyidi, promised to take movie making to the next level with the didactic film in the nation’s capital, adding that there aim is to increase the tourism potentials of Abuja through filmmaking. Also speaking, the Managing Director of the fast growing total entertainment company, Mr.Idris Moh'd Ahmed, hinted that they would soon be hitting locations again, for another riveting movie, featuring both Hausa and some notable Nollywood cast.
Meanwhile, elated Onyemaechi, who has since relocated permanently to Abuja, is currently on locations lensing another heart wrenching flick with his dedicated crewmembers. “I first moved from Enugu to Lagos, and now I’m in Abuja, doing what gives me joy-filmmaking. And I hope to remain here as a youthful and focused filmmaker with a vision to empower youths through entertainment.”
SKP ignites Abuja showbiz scene
It is an incontestable fact that when it comes to entertainment in Abuja, the nation’s seat of power and capital, Sam Kargbo Productions (SKP), is one name that truly stands out.
The holistic entertainment outfit owned by an Abuja based top lawyer and management expert/consultant, is arguably responsible for well over 50% of entertainment jobs coming out of Abuja and its environs.
With several Lagos and Abuja based acts on its label, SKP, is truly a force to reckon with when the issue is entertainment or showbizness.
X-Project, one of the big groups on the label, was discovered and nurtured to an international height by amiable Kargbo and his dedicated team at SKP.
With a knack for discovering and turning raw talents into super stars, SKP, is gradually spreading its tentacles into other countries on the continent, especially Sierra Leone.
The production house that boasts of fully equipped modern day studios in Lagos and Abuja, for all its artistes, has also produced some hit Nollywood movies, among them, the internationally acclaimed Blood Diamond, which was directed by Teco Benson, in Sierra Leone and Nigeria respectively.
Speaking on his plans for the nation’s entertainment industry, Kargbo, happily disclosed that SKP would continue to support and promote laudable ventures in the sector. “At SKP, what we do basically is to discover talents and help nurture their burgeoning careers to enviable heights. We believe so much in youth empowerment. Since we now operate from Abuja, we also intend using entertainment to draw more global attention to Abuja, because the Hon. Minister of Abuja, is also entertainment friendly.”
The entertainment guru further hinted that he hopes to embark on a nationwide music tour, which would kick start from Abuja soon, adding that the name SKP, is synonymous with entertainment in Abuja as well as the nation.
On why he left Lagos, the well-traveled Barrister, insisted he did not abandon Lagos for Abuja, but only relocated to open new grounds in the Federal Capital Territory, for entertainment to further blossom. “We still have an ultra-modern studio and a corporate office with workers in Lagos. But I prefer working in Abuja with my artistes, so that I will have enough time to monitor their progress and professional input. Again, Abuja for me gives them time to concentrate 100% on their productions, because its serene and conducive”. We would keep you updated as Kargbo unveils more plans for SKP and the nation’s entertainment landscape, in the days ahead.
Lagos Govt endorses Arewa Eko pageant
Pic-Gov Fashola with Sir Alex Ferguson, Coah, Man U
Arewa Eko Beauty Pageant (AEBP), a unique and refreshingly different pageant, which aims at promoting the rich cultural values of Lagos State as well as further help to increase the social and ethnic awareness of Lagos ladies, has berthed with so many promises.
According to youthful Barrister Ogunsanya Adedapo, the honcho of Sena ‘P’ Concept, organizers of the pageant, which holds in the month of November, amid razzmatazz and glitz, the event; has been endorsed by the Lagos State government and some corporate bodies. In her words: “The ministries of Tourism/Inter-Government Relations, Local Government/Chieftaincy Affairs as well as the Office of the Secretary to the State Government, have all endorsed Arewa Eko beauty pageant. We are also grateful to them for endorsing and standing by us, she enthused.
Commenting further on the aims and objectives of AEBP, Adedapo said: “The main objective for this pageant is creating a platform where vital issues that concern the development process of our core cultural values and heritage would be addressed.
We also intend bringing back those glorious days when the dress code of the Lagos woman was appreciated. Above-all, we aim at creating avenues for our young Lagos women to express their talents, skills and intelligence. The pageant will also kick against our contestants showcasing attires that are close to nudity. We would only showcase and demonstrate only the attires sewn and worn by Lagosians all over the world. It is going to be an annual event that would further help to remind us about our great historic background, values, unity and diversity”, she explained.
On who is eligible to participate, Adedapo, said a contestant must be a Yoruba lady, whose state of origin must be Lagos. She must also speak Yoruba and English fluently. Must be between the ages of 18 and 26, single and also possesses an SSCE.
While in camp, the contestants would be groomed by a team of experts on how to catwalk, choreograph and also receive lectures on etiquette, history and culture of Lagos State, as well as the art of interacting with people, especially personalities.
Meanwhile, series of entertainment activities already lined up for the grand finale include: comedy, music, traditional dances, fashion shows, mini art exhibitions, photographic displays, drummers’ displays and raffle draw.
A brand new car, N1m cash, an all expenses paid trip to Dubai and one year wardrobe allowance, awaits the eventual winner, while there are consolation prizes for the two runners up and other contestants. The organizers also promised that the eventual winner would have an interesting and adventurous reign, touring communities in Lagos State, while promoting her pet project. For more on the coming pageant, visit: www.arewaeko.com
Top Nollywood actor, St. Obi, drops bombshell
Govt. should tax actors
…how I was stripped in public
Mercurial actor and one of the leading hunks in Nollywood, Saint Obi, is one thespian that hardly speaks, but whenever he does, feathers are always ruffled. After a long silence from the movies and pages of newspapers, the actor-turned director, in this exclusive interview with Saturday Sun, bared his mind on several burning issues revolving around Nollywood and the nation. He also took a swipe on some corporate bodies for always celebrating mediocrity as well as not embracing Nollywood. Obi, a father of one, from Mbaitoli, Imo State, also spoke on his long awaited movie-True Color, how he was stripped at the airport, why actors must pay taxes and much more.
What has been happening to you?
I’ve been quiet on the surface but very loud at the background. You get to a point in life when you don’t just want to settle for anything, but you want to make a mark, you want to up your game and above all, you don’t want things happening in your child’s life, you want to begin to enjoy the goodies now. Like it was said sometime ago, that teachers reward are in heaven but teachers of nowadays want to enjoy it here and now and as well as beyond. In the same vein, acting in Nigeria unfortunately, at this time of our existence is not an end but it is a means to an end, unlike what it is in Hollywood and Bollywood. Those countries, acting and filmmaking are an end but here in Nigeria, people expect so much. A lot of times, we don’t do our homework very well. Another problem is that most of our predecessors that got carried away with the euphoria of stardom today are languishing in poverty. Some of us don’t want that happening to us, so that is
why we have to make hay while the sun is still shining. I’m working on a lot of stuffs currently, mainly re-branding Nigeria, under an umbrella called, Project Image Nigeria. I am also working on my soon to come movie, True Colour, which is also an effort in stating who we are as well as entertaining Nigerians in a very unique way. Aside that, I am also working on ground to see how we can put a structure on ground and help move the movie industry to the next level. So a lot of people are doing their stuffs but I am doing my own in a quiet way. Its going to blossom and Nigerians will see what I am trying to do. As I said, it is to take the movie industry to the next level, especially in the area of distribution. That is the bane of the movie industry.
Project Image Nigeria
I’ve been on this journey for a couple of years even before Heart of Africa started. Back in the days, each time I travel out, I get harassed and messed up because I am a proud Nigerian holding our beautiful green passport. In year 2000, I went to Slovenia to feature in a movie, when I got to their airport, the only thing that they did not take off was my pant. I was stripped. I had work permit from the government of Slovenia and I had my papers and everything other genuine and relevant documents. I was so angry. I told the airport attendant that I have valid British, Schengen and United States of America visas. Why would I leave all these juicy places and come to Slovenia? That was just one of numerous experiences. I was in Houston Texas and somebody gave me a cheque for a thousand dollars, I took this cheque to a bank and to my greatest surprise, I presented my international passport as mode of identification, they told me buddy, we don’t accept
Nigerian passport as mode of identification. I mean your international passport is your highest mode of identification anywhere in the world. The guy said that was the bank’s policy. I was so angry; I had to get the money some other way. It dawned on me that our image is really, really bad out there. I said what do I do. Should I fold my hands and keep seeing these things happening? Because I know that there are so many good Nigerians out there. So why are we suffering this kind of terrible image? Then I said it is time to match word with action, in 2004, I went to make the movie, True Colour in the US. To sell our image, I need to go and give it to the environment where probably in the process of watching themselves, they would see the reality of who we really are. Because the truth of the matter is, less than 0.01 percent of Nigerians are into Internet fraud and other vices. Let us even say we are too loud, one percent. Is it enough to judge the
other 99 percent? The problem is that the 99 percent of Nigerians who are on the other side of the fence have been too quite and as they continue to be quiet, the one percent denting our image will continue to misrepresent our image and that is why the initiative of Heart of Africa and currently the re-branding by professor Dora Akunyili is a welcome development. There is a disconnection because there has been so much lack of trust with leadership and that is why a lot of Nigerians are not keying in with the re-branding initiative. They feel government is saying one thing and doing something else. But Professor Akunyili, a splendid and wonderful Nigerian who most of us will die for. Leadership is a big problem to the fight. Because of that problem there is a little hitch but having said that, we should not lose sight of the fact that whether we like it or not, we are all part of this. Whether you are down there or up there, you are a Nigerian. And if
you don’t stand up and get counted, you, as well as your children, and grand children will keep getting what is going on at the moment. Every society went through what we are going through. Nigeria is going through a phase. For the fact that some part of the leadership is not living up to its expectation, does not mean that we should discard Nigeria and on our efforts to get it right.
Akunyili’s re-branding initiative
The minister’s initiative is a brilliant one and she is a Nigerian everybody knows. When she says yes, she means yes. But she needs people with genuine intentions for Nigeria to move to the next level. We want to partner with her because we cannot all be singing from different voices. We need a coordinating point. We all need to put heads together because Nigeria is for all of us. Anybody that has any positive idea should try and key in the minister’s initiative, we would then be the foot soldiers. I mean people with genuine intentions not those who are in because they feel there is a government largesse, but there is no largesse because the vote for re-branding Nigeria was the same vote set aside for Heart of Africa. So it shouldn’t be a money thing. When I went to make my movie, there was no Heart of Africa let alone re-branding Nigeria, so there was no money involved, it is just me spending my own money to see how I can better the image of my
Re-branding Nollywood, first, we have to get the industry together. We need a structure like MOPICON. But the way it is, that has been stalled at the national assembly level. When we had a stakeholders’ forum with the honourable minister, Akunyili, and she heard about what is going on in the industry, instantly, she set up a 5-man steering committee that would represent the industry at the moment, that would help to collate ideas, which is very key to the industry. That is the first step. The second step, which is piracy, is another thing, which we all cried out to Akunyili, now we want her to deal the some blow she dealt the fake drug merchants, in the movie industry. We believe she has the tenacity to take care of that aspect. Then thirdly, there is a lot of disunity in the industry. Now it is time for everybody to come together. This individual thing would not work. If we put heads together, we can become a very strong force. Entertainment anywhere
in the world is a huge money-spinner. What people don’t also know is that we are one of the highest employers of labour. Do you know how many people have been taken off the streets, how many girls have been taken off prostitution, how many armed robbers have been taken off the road? The business is for both the skilled and the unskilled. Government ought to pay attention. I was listening to the chairman of Nigeria premier league and the guy was analyzing how the British premiership became what it is today, that when they mooted the idea that Margaret Thatcher brought about 200m pounds to put the structure in place. So it is not just to throw crumbs at Nollywood, there has to be a conscious effort not just at the censors’ board or film corporation level, they have to realize that this is a huge money spinner and government has much to gain. Now we make these movies. It is not enough that producers pay stipend to censors’ board as form of
censorship. Government can tax every actor in this country. Every movie you feature in whether you are an actor or producer, director, make-up, location manager, every facet of the movie industry must be taxed. Every production is documented. Government is loosing so much but to enjoy those things, they must put a lot of structure on ground. I have always mooted this idea that when Babangida built SDP and NRC headquarters across every local government in Nigeria, they are still there, it can be done. Government can take the initiative by building multi purpose entertainment centres across Nigeria. We have 774 local government areas in Nigeria; let us start with half of them. When these movies are released they go into a chain through these theatres so that we can stop this home video because we lose money by going straight to home video. We lose all the money we are supposed to make from exhibitions, TV, cinemas and we now come to the last stage and
that is why we are shortchanged. It is important that government put these structures in place and then leases them out. If we get it right, it’s going to be a huge spinner in the long run. Like I said earlier, the Honorable minister had started something. The five-man steering committee is not a one sided thing. People from the Yoruba, English, and theatre arts people, just name it, were on this body. It is a holistic approach, so that nobody feels left out. She has commenced that journey; lets just give her a chance and see what happens.
How Nollywood can bounce back
The banking sector at a point went through a bust, then professor Soludo came and introduced mega banks, today banking is sweet again in Nigeria. I don’t’ want to let it out but I can assure you, we are not going to take one year to bounce back, if what I am working on works out. It will become a comprehensive blue print that will change the history forever. People are trying other ideas but the idea I am working on is foolproof.
The film True Color
Why it is not yet released is because I want to raise the bar. It took me about a year to bring the movie back to Nigeria. After shooting the movie, I left my rushes in the bank of America; I was planning to go and edit the movie there, so I just came back. When I got back into Nigeria, there was a lull so I had to do other things. A year later, I now went and collected my rushes. Eventually, we edited and anyone that knows me will tell you that with all sense of modesty, I am a perfectionist. I shot Take me to Mama in 2001, I released it in 2003 and when I released it, by the special grace of God, we broke almost the whole records in terms of publicity, getting corporate endorsements. We had Coca-Cola identifying with our movie, NTA, the first time, they will promote and market a Nigeria film and the Catholic parishes across Nigeria supported my movie and although I am not a catholic. So to get it right takes time. If I were into all those shoot one
week and release the next week, I will be making those trickles but it won’t serve my purpose. I am looking for that thing that would raise the bar for Nollywood, take Nollywood towards where it ought to be. Whatever Hollywood and Bollywood are enjoying today is because of the seed the pioneers planted. So it is important to know that what we are doing is for generations unborn and it is only that way it will outlive all of us. So if we don’t do it right, people are not going to take us serious. Another factor is waiting for the right moment to drop the movie. I am trying to get my partners to come on board full time. Once they come on board, we are as good as out there in the market and it is going to happen in a few months time. We want to do premieres, cinema shows, home video, TV distribution, we want to squeeze and make sure we get the most out of this movie. That is what it ought to be. When an American makes a movie, the same movie keeps
bringing in money for years. We are waiting for the highest bidder. The way it is now, we have spent so much money on the movie. My movie is not a movie to be sold in Nigeria only and that is the mistake most of us make. Nollywood is a global phenomenon in the sense that our market has gone beyond Nigeria. We are in many countries across the world. What we have to do is to harness that market. What Bollywood did was look at where it has concentration of Indians and start with that so we start with that look at people with similar culture, North Africa, Middle East, the Muslim world. If you go to the north till tomorrow they still love Indian movies. It is for us to identify our market. It’s a global market and once we change to that market, trust me, N500m will be too small as proceeds the moment we get it right.
Story of True Color
It is a love story. It is a story about a Nigerian guy who leaves Nigeria for the good life overseas but on reaching there, he realizes that it is not a bed of roses out there, which is one thing I’ve been trying to tell our young ones. We all need to put our eyes towards Nigeria. We need to look inward to begin to believe that we can make it here not fraudulently but legitimately. Down the line, he meets this white girl and they get to know each other but this guy genuinely was friends with this girl, no strings attached, in fact, he even helped her pay her school fees but when he now got in touch with the girl’s parents they liked the guy because they are no racist but when they heard he’s a Nigerian, the story changed. The movie is all about trying to take out that misconception about Nigeria. It is a fusion of love, tragedy and the image problem we have. To be fair to the Ministry of Information and Communication, the Federal government has
endorsed my movie. Government is saying, you did well and I feel honoured. Government can’t do it alone and there is also the economic downturn and you need the private sector to also assist in things like this. We want individuals, corporate bodies to come and support the government good ideas. If you want to make a change, do it selflessly. Some corporate bodies are trying their best for Nollywood, but like Oliver Twist, we need from them.
The way I have designed my own marketing strategy, there would be less room for pirates to exist. For instance, in America, a lot of people, Nigerians, Ghanaians, among others own homes that are just pirating our movies. The first thing you do is to have your movie copyrighted in a particular country where you want to sell because if you are not there legally, you don’t have any legal say and that is what happens to our movies. They just buy one or two copies and export them to different countries and pirate them. My movie is copyrighted in America, so if anybody messes with my movie, I will thank God, in the sense that he would be speaking with the FBI for a long time to come. It is also copyrighted here in Nigeria as well. There are incentives that you will gain and enjoy when you buy the original copy. We designed a unique hologram. We also designed a scratch card. For you to win, you must buy the original copy. I am talking with my partner, ABS
Limited based in Abuja. We are working with them. If you are a pirate and decides to print one, two, three, you will discover that it is a wasted venture. Talking about piracy as a whole, the minister has pledged to fight piracy head on. We know she would do it. I also want to proffer my own solution. I have said at different fora, to end piracy in Nigeria is very simple. If you catch this guy with his fake products, once you confirm that these are pirated works, say if his entire wares are worth N5,000 or 10 grand, as the case maybe, you tell the guy to pay government N200,000 or he goes to jail for one year. Of course you know he doesn’t have that kind of money, so by the time he goes to jail and comes out, he will not go near piracy again. What you also do is to trace the origin of that pirated copies that the hawker has. You reach the manufacturer and confirm that he is the one producing this fake things, assuming the entire plant is worth N500m,
you tell the company to give Nigeria N2b or N3b as the case may be or all the top management staff whether they are 50 or a hundred, they all give Nigeria five-year jail term. Catch two people and piracy would be gone forever. When Idiagbon and Buhari shot the first set of drug peddlers, drug peddling became a history in Nigeria. At this stage of our development, we must create some draconic laws as a way of cementing our development. When we get to that level where we are stabilized, when people understand that it is good to buy original, then we can now relax the laws. But these laws are very necessary at this time of our existence. Some people might not like Sharia but it works. So you need such draconic laws to keep your society in check.
Flyers for project image Nigeria
Apart from my movie, I developed a flyer called Nigeria Again. That flyer has two concepts. One is for Nigerians; I am going to circulate it so that it helps us to stop bad mouthing Nigeria. Bad mouthing your country is like insulting your own mother. Whether you like it or not, you and I are products of Nigeria. The soil your father comes from is from Nigeria, so when you badmouth it whether government is working or not, you are insulting your own mother. You can criticize the leaders but don’t belittle your mother because when you do that outsiders will sweep her into the gutter and that is the information that comes when we bad mouth our nation. We are the envy of every black nation in the world. We are the giant of Africa. We are the most populous black nation in the world. People want to see us look small, like we don’t know what we are doing but of course, we know that Nigeria has produced some of the best people in the world. And that is why
the world is scared of us. We know that we can do it. Any facet of life, we have the pedigree, manpower and resilience to move ahead.
The foreign leg of that same Nigeria Again is a flyer that I developed to sensitize the world to understand that the sins of a few people should not be translated into a blank cheque of the entire nation. That one or two Nigerians are bad does not mean that the other 99 are. You can’t judge the whole country based on the sins of less than one percent of the population. I also say that if they want to do business with Nigerians, don’t fall into the temptation of fraudsters because people who come through the back door are people who fall prey. The Nigeria embassy is almost in every part of the world. Liaise with Nigerian embassy before you know whether the man you are talking to is a fraudster, so that you come legitimately the door is wide open and Nigeria is the most lovable place to be. That is why when people come to Nigeria; they leave with a big surprise. To me aside good people, great country, another slogan for me is, Nigeria, expect a beautiful surprise.
UNESCO rating of Nollywood
Unesco said we have the second largest film making industry globally. It is a good omen in the sense that the fact that UNESCO is researching on Nollywood shows that we are a global brand. It is no longer Idumota brand. For you to think Nollywood is not real, you are living in the past. Nollywood is the future as well. I was speaking with one of those very top Nigerians and the guy told me why Nollywood is still the way it is, because some very rich people have not come into the equation. You see, if some of the billionaires in this country put in N500m into this industry respectively and groom it properly, the industry will move to the next level. We are second in terms of quantity and not quality. If UNESCO has said we are second, we should also gravitate towards quality so that when these movies get into the international market, they would not look at them as, wow, what kind of crap is this. We should look at them with some respect. Yes, it might not
be an American movie, but its done with quality because we don’t speak one language, bring whatever language you are bringing on board, but do it with finesse and quality and that is the difference between the good and the bad of what UNESCO said.
Emeka Mba’s framework
I subscribe to the framework but it is not hundred percent perfect. It’s a good idea and much better than what we have before, but we must keep moving forward until we get it right. No one singular person has the magic wand at this moment but in the light of what is going on, you release movies, you don’t know how many copies are sold and what have you, Emeka Mba led censors board came out with this idea. It’s a way forward and anything that is a way forward for the industry, I am up for it. As we go along, we perfect it and we get better. I am not going to say, my idea is perfect. We all need to marry ideas so that at the end of the day we will all be the better for it. The market and distribution network is here, it is just for us to marry the ideas and move the nation forward.
Biggest challenge facing Nollywood and solution
The biggest problems facing Nollywood are piracy and lack of scientific marketing. What we do here is we think marketing is all about buying and selling. It is not trading. We currently have people trading in films, we don’t have marketers. I told them at some point to employ professional marketers, people who went to school to read marketing, to address them, give them a blue print in which they can get it right, they thought I was talking bullshit but today it dawned on them that what I was saying is right. So that aspect is a major problem. We also have the problems of too many quacks that are constantly thinking of how they are going to make one stupid N5m and move to the next level. Filmmaking is not trading, it is an art and art is priceless. There are some Picasso works that are today worth about $150m, when that guy was drawing it, lets say 80 something years ago or 100 years ago, he didn’t know it is going to be worth like that, may be, he
even died a poor man but he took his time to paint those pictures from his heart and that is how painting should be seen. Sound of Music was made in 1965, you have watched it, I have also, your children have seen it, my son will also see it, and people are still watching it. If they have rubbed hand over the movie, I wouldn’t have seen it, you wouldn’t have seen it. You must gear towards perfection. That is what art is all about. Then lack of governmental presence, is also killing us. Government needs to come in and match words with action. There has to be a conscious structure. South Africa won an Oscar. The government spent over $20m making that movie. Government needs to help see how we can have stable power. Of course, I know they are working on that. Once power comes on, the industry will also blossom. Government needs to do its own part, help to elevate standard of living. If the Nigeria’s standard of living is okay, we wont be settling for
anything less. This craze to buy pirated copy will reduce. There is another problem of lack of unity among filmmakers. People who pioneer things have always gotten it wrong because of their own selfishness. People who have taken the movie industry higher have messed it up. When I released Take me to Mama with Coca Cola, I left filmmaking for one year. When people were collecting N400,000, I raised mine to N1m, you can ask, as a way to discourage anybody from disturbing me because I wanted to concentrate and make sure that Coca Cola would get the mileage and every kobo they invested in my movie. So we must be selfless when we get to such a point so that we can move the industry forward, and for the ones coming behind to benefit. In terms of solutions, we need to have a different orientation.
There is a lull financially in every part of the world, and to execute some of those things because you need money to oil them, that in itself is a fundamental challenge. The bottom line is that the vision must be accomplished. It doesn’t matter how fast but how well. We have a couple of people who are talking with us because what we are talking about is global. Film is a communication vehicle. A lot of these brands don’t understand that we are a communication brand. A good Nigerian movie is seen by a minimum of 20-30 million Nigerians. That is good number for any brand.
Coping with female fans
When people call you doesn’t mean they want anything beyond friendship. A lot of them know that I am married. Even before I got married, most fans love what we do and they just want to appreciate you for what you are doing and not that they want to sleep with you or anything like that. They are just appreciating your effort in making them happy, making their family members happy and that you are doing your work diligently.
We all have our styles. I usually don’t talk about my family as a matter of principle. It’s all a question of style. What is important is not how loud it sounds but how well it lived and for me I’d rather live it well than have it loud.
Marital life and the showbiz world
One is that I have not been shooting too many movies but basically I am a home guy. I am not your regular guy you see at the bar or clubs. That is not to say that there is anything wrong with people who patronize those places. It’s just that before and now, there is no difference because I am a home guy.
It is a beautiful experience. When you wake up and see a life unfold in front of you, then you will understand the miracle of life. You then understand why God is unbeatable.
My name is St. Obi. I hail from Mbaitoli local government area of Imo State. I grew up in Jos, Plateau State. The Jos worldview is what I have so to speak. In Jos people are selfless, quiet, easy going, forget about what you see these days. It is quite a shame. All my life in Jos, there was no single violence. I left around 1996. I was born in Port Harcourt. I love what Amaechi and Ohakim are doing including Fashola. We need visionaries like these guys to run places.
I have 8 sisters. I am number seven down the line. When I was little, most of those female games, I did with my sisters as the only boy in their midst. The luck I had was that at some point, during my secondary school, something happened in my home and I realized, you are the man in this house. From that moment, the man ceased to play with the girls. I read Theatre Arts, served in Makurdi, myself and Gbenga Adeyinka were same set. I was the platoon leader. I played football (goal keeper) for so many years for Plateau state. I played division three back in the days. I am 6 feet, 2 inches tall. I’m not one of those people who claimed I am a sports man meanwhile they never saw a pitch. Then my sister said she would get me scholarship in America, I started playing basketball, it didn’t work out and I thank God, it didn’t. At that time stupidly I felt bad and I didn’t know that my old boy didn’t want me to go because I was the only son. My dad died
22 years ago. My mum is still alive. My biggest regret about my father’s death was that he didn’t see me get into the university. Just the year he died was the year I got into the university in 1987.
I don’t want any political office. I am a social crusader. I don’t want to see myself in politics. I want to see what I can do to better Nigerians because that is my major constituency and better humanity at large. My foundation. The St. Obi Foundation is coming very soon. There is so much to life. We are going to be dealing with life, children, social justice and all other good cause for humanity. I am also in the fight to change the Osu caste system in Igbo land. I have always say that if 80 percent of Igbos are Christians today the fact that the Osu caste system still exist, we should all hold our heads in shame because the Bible says ‘ love thy neighbour as thyself.’ Have we loved ourselves as our Osu brothers who by the way are not their fault? The fact that you are on the other side of the divide does not mean that you made yourself at the other side of the divide. These guys find themselves where they are not by their own volition or
making. It is like just the way you find yourself where you are. It’s just like whether you are a Christian or Muslim, we should have mutual respect. That you are a Christian today is 90 percent because of your parental lineage. When you see that man from Saudi Arabia why do you think he is going to hell because you are not seeing it from your own side? We should learn to tolerate each other as long as we all worship one God.
I love football. I think that the NBC have done a great disservice to this country by allowing the premiership on public TV. By bringing premiership to public TV, they’ve killed Nigerian football. It will take 50 years for us you wake up. We need to protect ourselves. We need to understand that we must build our own. You know the money people spend to get rights to show premiership? It is ridiculous. Today, you put Nigerian league, people just hiss. We need to regulate it. If you have your money to watch it, go and pay and watch but don’t bring it to public TV because people who are supposed to go and watch the local league will not go and watch it because they are getting something better and it shows the senselessness of some corporate bodies. I don’t know if some of our corporate bodies are suffering from inferiority complex. I stand to be corrected. I don’t know what it is that they are so crazy about out there. You go to India, they had
Indian Idol, I didn’t hear any English song on the show. But here, the story is usually different. You can never be better than a fake imitation. So when some corporate bodies leave the things to support and begin to support mediocrity, it’s a shame not only on the people who are bringing the ideas but brands that are supporting these wishy-washy productions. Can’t we create our own? Must you always bear the imitation of other people? Once a programme is a hit overseas, somebody wants to suggest it here. Nigeria is a country of brilliant people, we can device and create our own ideas. In that vein, I think that some of these people in the corporate circle who are sponsoring most of these things, I don’t know if they are not seeing. But please channel your effort towards home. Lets groom that which we can export. Till tomorrow, Fela is still selling; Sunny Ade is still selling because these are original Nigerians. You can never rap better than an
American no matter what you do. Even when you go outside, you will rap within Nigerian audience. These are the realities. These are the hard truth. I feel very angry when I see some of our corporate bodies who ought to lead the way romancing mediocrity.
Super Eagles and 2010
I think the super eagles will qualify but they must take some of the home-based and mix it up with the foreign based. There should be no automatic jersey for nobody. A Kanu Nwankwo must understand that there is one local guy here who is fighting with him. These guys want to prove themselves they want to get good club so they would want to die to get to that level. But most of these guys know that there is 100 thousand pounds waiting for me that week or 50 as the case may be, because they are aware of that, their sense of commitment might not be 100 percent. They want to play for their country, fine. They love their country. But you need people who want to go there and die, because they want us to qualify, and not those who want to play without any commitment.