Life and its challenges — Emeka Ike
At an age when his peers have bulging tummies Emeka Ike still stands tall like the hulk that he is. Little wonder this hardworking dude who has continued to dazzle his fans onEmeka Ike screens was adjudged the third sexiest male in Nollywood.
An elated Emeka who spoke to our correspondent Ebun Babalola was happy and grateful to his fans for what he called the most beautiful thing ever organised by the media.
How did you got into acting?
When white collar job was not forth coming, I decided to take up acting. Then I discovered that it is a way to go and I stood by it.
Professionally I started acting in 1994 but before then, I had been acting and singing all my life as a church boy.
How much was your first pay as an actor?
I started with N75,000. I was one of the lucky ones that started off getting good pay. I think I was chosen. My first movie was a hit and I played a lead role which is rare for an up-coming star.
And what was the title of the movie?
Deadly Affair. I played Ike Nwannu, with great names like Sam Loco Efe, Sandra Achums amongst others.
What in your opinion may have informed your being chosen as lead actor in your first ever movie role?
I wouldn't know. All I ca n remember was that I went for auditioning with the likes of Desmond Elliot, Okey Bakassi, Earnest Obi, Bimbo Manuel and other big stars and at the end of the day, I was considered good enough to be starred as lead actor ahead of the rest. That decision was simply that of the director and not mine.
I think he an idea of the person he wanted and he figured I met the standard, that's all.
My sister getting that role was not easy. We spent several month going through different stages of auditioning before the final casts were chosen.
What was the reactions of others who didn't make the cast list?
I wouldn't know and I didn't border to find out. The most important is that we all became friends after that.
What was the reaction of your parent when you took up acting?
They were not very receptive as the beginning. Coming from a very religious background, they considered me a prodigal son and thought I was going to become way ward.
They called me and said, “We have trained you to be an engineer with everything we have, why have betrayed us?”.
They felt the enemies were at work but I thank God today, they are happy. I'm rugged and I put my passion to everything I do.
I am happy yo say that I'm one of the few people that redefined Nollywood with my own style and my passion for what I do. That actually paved the way for me and my parents have since seen that I wasn't foolish after all.
Today, they now understand the nitty gritty of what I do beyond the layman's definition of the profession. They appreciated all these fact and they have since given their blessing.
Can any form of provocation push you into fighting on the streets?
No serious minded persons will think of fighting on the streets and I am no exemption. Whatever comes to you comes natural as it . If you begin to preempt things, then you are a trouble maker.
I don't fight on the street, not in my life. There is nothing like that. Nobody would ever say that he has ever seen where Emeka Ike fight on the street. It has never happened and it will never happen. I'm too responsible for that.
But I've always known that in life, where there is progress, there are people of little frame of mind who tend to be petty and want to cause unnecessary trouble. This set of trouble makers will come and if you are a real man, you'd know how to handle the situation and not get distracted.
I also believe that there are opposition everywhere you go but it is not as if you have been living for that opposition but for a purpose and when they come, you should know how to handle such issues.
So how true is the story that you and your brother Jim Iyke were engaged in exchange of words so much that blows were exchanged?
God forbid that I do a thing like that, I'm too old for that. I'm too exposed for that, I'm too important in this country and too connected to do that.
And how would parents of the students in my school react? How will the Chairman of the school's board react?
It does not make sense. What legacy would I be leaving behind for my students?. In my whole life, I have never had any form of physical combat with Jim Iyke. I have never for once had any issue with him. I never had a fight and I intended to have a fight with anybody. I'm too big to be involved in such act.
How would I do a thing like that?. How would you feel, if a man of my caliber begins to do that?.
What image am I leaving for the young ones?. I'm a role model. People call me for a different reason that makes me responsible, so I don't think, I should be the one be involved in that kind of thing.
Some people see some us (actors and actresses) as a life savers and some believe in more us than the would believe in their husbands or daddy. So why should I do such a thing.
he position we see ourselves does not give room for such. Yes, as a human being, there is always room for misunderstanding.
Anytime that issue comes up, I have always kept my cool because I'm a man that knows that whatever I do, people are there watching me, and that's what makes you the real man. It's not like, you can't try your punch, or flex your muscles and see how far you can conquer but once you have gone beyond some levels, you let sleeping dogs lie.
As one of the few chosen as the Sexiest male in Nollywood...
I want to say a very big thank you to the entire Vanguard crew especially Saturday Vanguard crew. I want to say thank you for judging me one of the winners of the Sexiest guy in Nollywood. I appreciate, I'm sorry I couldn't make it down to the office and that was why I sent my mum and wife straight from the airport to come and represent me.
I give God the glory for keeping me sexy at my age. I thank him for the wisdom and intelligent and all the courage he has given me to remain in that position and for the fact that I did not in any way influence it even if I remain the last man standing.
Did you ever come across the competition before now?
It was Mercy Johson that called my attention to it and that was about two weeks ago. She even told me to get a copy of Vanguard Newspapers so that I can know what my fans are saying about me. She brought a copy of the Newspaper to me and I said, “This is better compared to those, who would rather crucify the artists just for them to make money or sell their papers.
It makes sense and it's better than marking us out or bringing us down. Vanguard has spent its money to buy plasma TV for the winners. You have spent money to celebrate models, it is a welcome innovation. Now, I am a lover of Vanguard Newspapers.
I was out to buy Vanguard one day, I was told, it was not on stable, this means, your organisation has suddenly developed a particular crowd that others don't have.
You people have been able to separate yourselves from the mediocre who benefits more in celebrating armed robbers, cocaine peddlers or fraudsters, corrupt politicians on the pages of their paper and look at the real hard working musicians or the actors that spend 24 hours on stage trying to get something right, to tell the story right to changing the lives of people.
I say kudos to Vanguard, lead on, let them copy from you. Ride on, plan more for the movie and music industry. Let's keep having positive packaging for industries like this so that we can have a progressive and prosperous nation.
And your fans...?
I don't know what to say other than thank you. I don't know what they saw in me. What I know is that beauty is the eye of the beholder. I might judge your eye as the most sexiest part of you, some might say, it is the nose.
Some people might say I love his dress. Some will say, we like his approach, manners, the way he carries his left hand but whatever my fans see in me, I appreciate and love it.
You guys have appreciated excellence the way the audience would yes, we believe this is excellent. You are part of the patriotic Nigerians and a nation builders. I thank my fans, they are wonderful.
Unlike the average Ibo man, you married quite early if I may say...
I think it comes by discovering yourself as a person and what you are up to. If you come into this kind of situation, the only advise you would have to give yourself is how to really position yourself and make sure that you do things that would not ruin you, but make you.
I married at my tender age. People started encouraging me to marry before I got distracted and that was what my head kept telling me.
I also discovered that my girlfriend was not doing badly, she was lovely, she is such a person, I can talk to and relate with her. So, I think I can walk with her and so I believe in her and I'm happy I did that then.
When was that?
That was in 2000, although I met her in 1999.
Since your marriage, how would assess your home front in the face of all the professional challenges?
It's been progress all the way. No wonder the Bible says, “A man who finds a wife, finds a good thing and obtain favour from God. My wife is a good wife. She is a virtuous woman.
What informed your setting up a school?
The fact that the youths in our country no longer enjoy what we the older generation enjoyed from government got me worried. . The Nigerian youth of today has lost all the care they are supposed to get from the nation.
Lack of educational facilities, unemployment, poor health system has become the order of the day.
Apart from the little effort being in put in these sectors by the government of Lagos and Imo, nothing is happening. So as a youth who has the interest of the future generation at heart I decided to take up the challenge of providing quality education for the youth.
Although I had the resources to build an hotel (I had already started out with the hotel structure in Ogudu), I chose to educate the Nigerian kids. And since, I took up the challenge there has been not one second of regret.
I already have the love for kids, naturally and so I started investing. Now I have a full grown school. A parent can walk up and say, thank you for training my child..I feel I can use my position as a role model and a star to affect my generation. It is good to know that no children has been withdrawn from my school because they get the best of what they want.
What is the concept of St Nicholas College?
To help the students actualise the dream in their lives. Ours is a school that is shouldered with the responsibility of delivering a qualitative and excellent education with qualified and oriented teachers.
We also have a boarding school with facilities for both boys and girls with homely environment and properly trained house masters and mistresses giving a parental care to the children.
There are labouratories in the school to cater for the need of the science students. We also offer ICT programme under the supervision of the Karrot limited an Indian organisation. The system runs through the period of six months after which the children will be given certificates.
When did it started?
September 2007 and this is our second year. It has its field where children can enjoy recreational facilities and a befitting environment.
How much have you invested on this project?
It cannot be quantified.
Your most embarrassing moment?
The day a lady showed me something that looked like a pant when I was driving. She was really willing to see me.
That was a crazy moment. Another one the day when someone who actually wanted to greet me, almost got me killed.
Your best moment?
When you walk on the street and see someone that has lost joy lightens up he or she sees my face. I feel happy when I make people happy. That I can cure people as individual with my facial appearance, that is the greatest thing that God has done for me.