No girl can break our hearts –Aki and Pawpaw
Nollywood star actors, Chinedu Ikedieze and Osita Iheme have declared that no girl can break their hearts even as they said they have not jilted any girl.
Speaking in an interview with http://nollywoodgists.com, the duo admitted having a number of female admirers but denied dating any girl. Below is the concluding part of the interview which was published last week.
Do you think women love you because of your money?
Osita: Women? I don't understand. You can never say somebody likes you because of money. I know that I have fans who love my works and not because of my money.
When you started in Nollywood, what was the fee like?
Osita: The fee started with N6, 000. It was my first movie, Cold Blood. Then, it was big money for me. From then, I started moving to hundred, two hundred, three hundred, one million, N1.5 million. I kept moving, you know. It varies. It depends on the relationship you have with anybody that is contracting you.
Should we then say you are comfortable?
Osita: Yeah. I am comfortable.
Osita: I am comfortable. I am able to take care of my needs and self.
There is a kind of burst they said Nollywood is going through. How is it affecting you?
Osita: That is exactly what I am saying. It is affecting us because, sometimes, when you go out there, to talk something about Nollywood, people come back to say that there are many problems in Nollywood. It is affecting us because our fans are yearning to see more of our works, but they don't know that our home is on fire. Something has been withholding some of the works we have been doing. We need to pass a message and we have not reached where we are going in Nollywood. So, if we start fighting now, I don't think it will help us to forge ahead.
What do you do with the money you have been making?
Osita: We do a lot of things with it. We also have a foundation, where we put our money. It is called Aki and Pawpaw Child Care Foundation. We take care of the underprivileged kids.
Teach us how to manage money?
Osita: We are different individuals. People have many different ways they can manage their money. Depending on what they like and what they don't. Some people have taste for cars. They can buy as many as 30 cars, after building their house. It depends.
How many cars do you have?
Osita: Actually, if I tell you I don't have, you will not believe it. So, the issue of the car is not the problem. I can tell you to keep the money very well, go into properties, you know, investments. My own experience is going into shares, properties, and a lot of things. We also put our money into helping people. Because the best investment you can do is investing in human beings.
Were you affected by the crash of the stock market?
Osita: Yes, of course. I was affected.
Who made you invest in it?
Osita: Nobody, I invested myself. I don't need somebody to take us to the stock market.
How much did you lose?
Osita: Don't worry. You are not going to pay me. If you were going to pay me, I would tell you how much I lost.
Chinedu: It was very unfortunate. Actually, it affected a lot of people, including me, and him too. Every business is a risk, even our lives. We keep walking and working. So, that is the thing. As he said, I'll advise whoever that has made some money to invest properly. I invested into real estate, shares and the human investments. I think I have like four graduates in my house. And I trained all of them, plus other people, nieces, cousins and some other people from my community. I am the first son. I used to have four brothers, but I lost one on May 31, this year.
Chinedu: I don't know. They said brief illness. What you asked was exactly what I asked when they called me that he was dead. I was in South Africa. It was very unfortunate. He was the last-born and the last boy. In fact, we travelled on the 27th. Two days before then, he called me to say that he was having headache. I advised him to meet our family doctor. And the next day, I sent him some money. That was it. Until May 31, we were talking. They called me. That was it. He was approaching 20.
Your parents are back home in the East?
Chinedu: Yeah. They live in Aba.
What have you done for them?
Chinedu: A lot
Chinedu: What do you expect me to do for them?
Did you buy them a car?
Chinedu: They are comfortable.
You did not buy them a car or build them a house?
Chinedu: They never said so.
Must they say so before you do it for them?
Chinedu: They never complained that they don't have a car.
Who are your parents?
Chinedu: Mr. and Mrs. Ikedieze Ogbonnaya
What does Mr. Ogbonnaya do?
Chinedu: He is a businessman based in Aba and deals in stationery.
What values did you take from your father?
Chinedu: I am happy I have parents like them. They inculcated this discipline in me. They made me understand I should value my norms of the society. From them, I got to understand that culture is very unique. When I see my elder, I should greet them. And when I see a pen falls down, I should pick it up and give to my elder. I should respect my elders and even age mates. I grew up with them. I internalized everything they said.
Whatever thing I do, not minding my size, if I go out of tune, my mother will smack me then. And those things helped me a lot. So, they never pampered me because I was the smallest or something like that. They never gave me that opportunity. If I made a mistake, they beat me and I loved that. Now, I have come to remember that. If they hadn't done that, may be now, it would have affected me. That is why I can take care of them. My parents can count on me. That is it. They inculcated discipline in me.
What about your mother?
Chinedu: The same applies to her. She was into confectioneries before she changed.
What about your parents?
Osita: My father is dead. He died in 1990.
What is your memory of him?
Osita: I was too small when he died. I didn't stay too close to him a lot, because I was small when he died. He was a great father. He taught me how to be a good boy.
So, you were really brought up by your mother?
Osita: Yes. After our father died. My mum was doing it all by herself. You know what it is without a husband. But she made sure that all of us became somebody. We are five. I am the last.
That is to say that your mother is a little bit old?
Osita: Yeah. She is 60 something.
What have you done for her that makes you glad?
Osita: Anything she needs, I make sure I do it for her.
You know at 60 something your mother will be looking for a grand child?
Osita: Yeah. She has a grandchild, but not from me. Of course, she will get it.
Osita: Soon. By God's grace!
Chinedu, as the first son, won't your parents be looking up to you for a grandchild?
Chinedu: They are not complaining. I am a guy, you know. I have a sister who will give them a grandchild.
You are from Uzuakoli, and you know what a grandchild means to us.
Chinedu: My mother has a grandchild.
I mean one from you.
Chinedu: There is no problem. I said when the time comes, you will know. I can call you tomorrow and say, 'You see, my mother just had a grand child.' Well, that is the thing. I think we were talking about what values they were able to inculcate in us. If we were not too responsible, I don't think a cellular phone manufacturing company in South Africa will just see us and then decide to partner us. Last time we went to South Africa, we were just walking and, I think they saw the huge followership. And they inquired about us.
They went through our status and they found out that, yes, they could deal with these people. If we had had poor upbringing, I think that somehow, it would have been affecting us. If you look round the industry, some of them who had poor upbringing, it is really affecting them. Today, we are doing something with AG Cellular Phone. It is an indigenous phone manufacturing company in South Africa, owned by a Jewish South African. They are using Aki and Pawpaw pre-loaded contents in their phones. So, it is going to be AG Cellular-Aki-and-Pawpaw range. They are going to have like three, four ranges of phones, which will have our copyrighted videos, the ones we invented, not from any film, our pictures as their wall papers and our voices as their ring tones. So, very soon it is going to hit the Nigeria market. By the grace of God, this September, we will be launching it in Nigeria.
Do you have any brand you represent in Nigeria?
Chinedu: Yeah. OK Foods. We even did Apple 3 in Ghana. We have another one we will endorse soonest. When we finish whatever is binding, we will let you know.
Managing popularity is a bit of a challenge. How are you managing your brand?
Chinedu: We have a team, a management team. I think they are doing the work responsibly well.
Osita: Still on the values you were asking of. Because we have good upbringing, we understand each other. We have management that also helps us keep the brand together.
If I want you to endorse my brand, what does it take?
Osita: It depends on the kind of brand you want us to endorse.
The Sun, for instance?
Osita: The Sun! Then we will discuss that.
Do you pay us or we will pay you?
Osita: No. You will pay me.
The deal with AG Cellular, how much is it worth?
Chinedu: It is big.
Osita: Yeah. It is big. We can't really say exactly.
Stars do disclose the worth of their deals?
Osita: Their deal is different from our deal. They have a particular price that their deal is worth. But our own is different.
Chinedu: Ours come monthly.
Osita: It comes monthly and we are into partnership with AG Cellular. So, whatever comes…
Chinedu: …We have a percentage.
Do you live together in the same house?
Osita: Yes, we live together.
Do you own the house?
Osita: Yeah. We own the house.
Is it in Lagos here?
Chinedu: Before the end of next month, we will be through with the papers.
Several adult Nigerians are facing a lot of problems in the country.
Like Boko Haram! So, what is your take on what happened in the North?
Chinedu: If you ask me, I think I would say, I thought Nigeria…if you want to measure our academic values, we were 65-67 per cent higher. But with what just happened, I think we are like 40 something per cent lower. Yeah! I mean, I can't understand. I don't know whether it was premeditated by their religious beliefs or what. I mean, how on earth can a group of people say that women should not get any education. In fact, that they don't need even western education; that it is not useful to them. And we are still living in the same port we call a country. It is too appalling, honestly.
What is your view on what is happening in your part of the country? The kidnapping?
Chinedu, when last did you visit home? You are afraid, eh? 'Make yawah no go gas you, abi'
Who are the people doing this kidnapping?
Osita: People who don't have anything to do. They are frustrated. No jobs; nothing to do; no employment; there is nothing to write home about. Most of them who do not have the fear of God inside them, no good upbringing; there is nothing else they can do. So, they go into kidnapping, causing riots and a lot of things.
When you are going to people now, you will have to go with security, because, they can kidnap you.
Osita: They will not kidnap me. God is my security.
Have you ever encountered armed robbers?
Osita: I am not praying for them. There was a time we met them on the road, but they did not recognize us, in Lagos here.
What advice do you have for the governors of the states where kidnapping is taking place?
Osita: First of all, enough security. Then, they should try as much as possible to provide employment. People need to be doing something so that their attention will be removed from all those evil things.
How many films have you made so far?
Chinedu: They are in the region of 70 films. Nothing less than that.
Do you consider going into politics?
Chinedu: No. No. No. No. Well, for now I said no.
But the governor of California did it.
Chinedu: Those things are not achievable in this country.
Chinedu: Yeah. They are not achievable because the government of today is em.. forget it before they come and carry me from house. The thing is that the policy that is obtainable in America is not obtainable here. They have open and free policy and we don't adopt that here. I mean we don't practise it. You know what I mean by open and free policy. Look at Obama's election and his victory and every thing. It was transparent. It can never happen here. You can't have something like this in Nigeria.
Osita: Somebody will lose an election and he will still be there for three years. He keeps going to court.
Is it because of our electoral system?
Osita: Yeah. It is bad. It is either you beat them or you join them. Somebody who is not ready to do what they do, I don't think you will be able to compete with them.
What is the way out for us if everybody is throwing in the towel?
Osita: No, it is the government. Everybody is not throwing in the towel. The government should provide the enabling environment for all of us. If the country is okay, we will know where to fit in. Let's say we have steady power supply. We have a lot of things you can start doing in the country.
Who are your heroes?
Osita: Well, there are a lot of people I look up to, but I have some people who I can say inspired me. Somebody like Richard Mofe-Damijo inspired me. There are other people also that I look up to.
Who are your favourite female actresses?
Osita: A lot of them. They are good. If I keep mentioning them, I can mention up to 20. Maybe, I will mention some and forget some. People like Onyeka Onwenu; she is good; Stella Damasus, Edith Jane-Azu, a lot of them. Bimbo Akintola. They are all good.
Chinedu: You mean my role models in the industry? I admire a lot of them; those that are doing good work, I admire them. The fact is that I learn from anybody. I learn from even a 10-year-old boy. Because once you do something and it strikes my mind, it comes and I place it. I can't really tell you now that this person is my role model apart from God. Because they are not perfect. Some day they will wither like the ordinary grass. So, I look up to God. I just admire them. I learn one or two things from them. So, I can't just tell you that this person or that person is it.
What do you think of Genevieve?
Osita: Genevieve is a good actress.
What of Stella Damasus?
Chinedu: Yeah. She is equally good.
Chinedu: She is good too.
What of Mercy Johnson?
Chinedu: She is equally good.
Can you marry an actress?
Chinedu: I didn't say so. I have never thought about it.
But what if it happens that the person you want to marry is an actress?
Chinedu: It has not crossed my mind whether it will happen like that.
Osita: Why not? They are human beings.
Chinedu: Until I tell myself that yes, I want to. But for now it is not on my mind.
Osita: Yeah. I can marry an actress.
Is there any one of them that you admire now?
Of all the beautiful girls in Nollywood, none of them interests you?
Osita: The fact is that I am not thinking of any now.
Osita: As I said before, if I am ready God will direct me to who choose. It can be any one. It can be an actress.
What doors has acting opened for you?
Chinedu: A lot of doors. For you to know me today is because I am acting; for me to be in The Sun today is because I am acting. For Yar'Adua to know me today is because I am acting. He doesn't know my brother.
Have you suffered heartbreak ever in your life?
Chinedu: No. Me? 'Girl fit break my heart?'
Have you ever broken a lady's heart?
Chinedu: Why will we break people's hearts?
Osita: There is something I want to ask. The Sun, whenever it comes out, it is always the bomb, I mean the headline! Why?
It is our own strategy. If you don't come out with a bang, the readers won't even take your paper.
Osita: Among the politicians, do you have a favourite?
Osita: I mean, The Sun.
In The Sun, we don't have a favourite politician. Do you like the PDP?
Osita: No, I don't like any party. I like people involved in the parties.
Who do you like among them?
Osita: The politicians? I have to think about it. I can't really answer it now.
Have you met Governor Ohakim
What do you think of him?
Osita: As a person or as a politician? You know, there are characters you exhibit as a politician and the character you exhibit as a person. As a person, he is a kind person; he is good, caring, jovial, easy going. So, I don't know the political side of him that much.
As a politician, what do you think of him?
Osita: No, I don't know much about that.
Do you know anybody in PPA?
Osita: Of course, the governor of Abia State is from PPA. Our oga, OUK (Orji Uzor Kalu), is from PPA. I know a lot of PPA people. I know PDP people too.
What do you think of OUK (Kalu)?
Osita: He is good, caring and jovial, determined and hardworking. You can describe him more than me. He's also our oga.
I don't know him.
Osita: Okay, you don't know him. As a journalist you go and research. You meet them one on one so you can know better.
What do you think of him as a politician?
Osita: I don't know much about him as a politician.
Chinedu: Yeah. I know him as a person. And as a person, he is kind. OUK, our oga, is a nice person, easy going, very caring and like he said, he is equally jovial. He is a father to us.
You don't like his style of politics?
Chinedu: I did not say so.
Have you met Ohakim?
Chinedu: I was sitting just few metres away from him. Yeah, he is a nice person. He is just a free man. He is easy going. He is equally kind; himself and the wife. They are kind people.
What about his politics?
Chinedu: Politics, politics, politics. I don't know.
Do you also like PDP?
Chinedu: PDP, PPA. APGA, I am not into politics. I just like the individuals in those political parties.
If you have your way, what kind of political parties do you want to see in Nigeria?
Osita: Pure democracy
You think what we have is an impure one?
Osita: Somebody will lose election and he will be there for three years and they are still talking about court. So, it is not the kind of electoral system I will like to see.
So, you are for an electoral reform?
Osita: Yeah, of course. That one is not good. Somebody who lost an election will be there for three years. Meanwhile, you are still the governor or the president or whatever. You are still going to court. Meanwhile, you are ruling.
Chinedu: Ruling for four years.
What do you want to be remembered for?
Chinedu: We want to leave a legacy that people will emulate. We want to make a statement in the sands of time. And that is our dream.
Do you guys play pranks in real life?
Osita: What do you mean by pranks, the ones we play in the movies? That is in the movies. So, they should help us to do all those things we are begging government. Seven-point agenda is very important to us and the Niger Bridge. Even if we can fly, others can't.
Which are the movies you like most?
Chinedu: A lot of them. I don't have any one as my favourite.
Which one was more tasking?
Chinedu: So many of them. Jadon was equally tasking.
So much voodooism is going on in the movies. Is that really a reflection of who we are now?
Chinedu: You are older than me. So, you are in a better position to know whether we imagine it or they happen really. I am just an actor. I interpret the role. But the thing is that, somehow, even though we have so many religions in Nigeria, people tend to put more effort on what they feel. What they imagine. They believe in fast religion where they got their problems solved quickly. They still have that in their minds there are so many other ways in which they can table their problems and it gets solved immediately.
That is why, somehow, a lot of people, even though they are Christians, still deviate. Because the Bible said, the way of God is not the way of man. The way of God is rough. It is not just smooth. You will have to put more efforts. You will have to be determined. You will have to be holy. People see that as a punishment. So, they want the one that will be easier for them. Yeah, quick solution. That's it.
They said the Igbo are marginalizing the non-Igbo in Nollywood?
Chinedu: The Igbo are marginalizing the non-Igbo? Where is Nollywood first of all?
We are in Lagos, right? And we do films in Lagos. Is Lagos Igboland or a Yorubaland?
Omotola said at some point they wanted her to adopt an Igbo name.
Chinedu: Omotola. If she said that she lied. If there is any Yoruba artiste that has done so many Igbo movies, that is Omotola. I don't see any reason, unless maybe they were just joking. Her name is Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde. How can somebody tease her to change her name? I mean, it is not just possible. Maybe, they just joked with her and they said maybe, some day you are going to have Nkechi attached to your name. If she's talking about indigenous movies, that have indigenous contents, the only person that has been favoured that is not from Igboland. It's Omotola. Maybe, she was joking or may be, you did not get her well. I have never done a Yoruba movie; she can't speak Igbo, but she does Igbo films. Any movie that has Yoruba background, I have never done that. I have never done a movie where I answered Jide.