I WANT TO BE NIGERIA'S FIRST FEMALE SENATE PRESIDENT – ANDY IKE
My romance with Nollywood I was born into the Assemblies of God Church. When I was a little girl, I used to sing in the choir. We used to act for the church as well. Even in school, I was in the dramatic society. I always loved to mimic people. Acting has always been there for me.
The home video film industry, more or less, started when Andy Ike started acting. Even before Living in Bondage, I acted in Okpuru Anyanwu. It was a television drama series shot in Igbo language and it was shown basically on eastern TV stations. One guy called Pastor John introduced me to the television. That was how it started. It wasn't everybody that knew about it. But After Living in Bondage, I was opportune to audition in Onitsha for a movie titled, Judgement. I actually didn't set out to go for the audition. I only escorted a friend to the venue, but somehow, I auditioned and I was given a role. I acted a part in the movie and I did it very well.
After Judgement, I was featured in a few other movies in Onitsha, such as Obiora, Forbidden before I came down to Lagos and joined the train. I decided that staying in Onitsha was not paying me at all. I had to move down to Lagos. That was when I did Shame. It was the first English movie I did. Then I did Battle of Muzanga. I coordinated the Eastern part of the production. We stopped shooting Igbo films. Then if you don't know anybody, you are a nobody. You will go for auditions from Monday to Monday, there will be no show.
By the time I moved to Lagos, the Isoko people held sway in the film industry. The Igbo brought the money, but the Isoko did the casting. After we did Silent Night, Chico Ejiro now called me and told me we did not have enough crews in the industry. He suggested that since I knew much about fashion, I should join the crew. Everybody wanted to be an actor and there weren't many movies then. Then you can audition for two weeks and rehearse for six months. Even at the end of the day, the movie would not be shot. So when Chico suggested that I should go into make-up or costume section, I decided to go for costume. I became a costumier and the jobs were coming, but sometimes, I would dabble into acting. I was handling the two together. That is why you may not call me an A list actress. But most of these A list actresses passed through me. I helped some of them in getting their roles. I groomed some of them, as well. If you are not close to the costumier, how will you get your costumes?
I left Nollywood for two years, just to answer a call to serve my home state. I was given an appointment as a member of a transition committee in my local government in Imo State.
I am back to acting, though I dabble into costuming once in a while. Since I came back, I have been acting. You will not believe it. The jobs are coming here and there. I have done a couple of movies. I will going back to set for another job.
Why I chose acting
I would have been a designer because I went to a fashion and designing school though I studied Banking and Finance. I love fashion. I had a stint in modelling. Then I was slim and very pretty. But acting turned out to be better for me and I was meeting lots of people. I was getting good things from acting so I had to stick with it.
But for Nollywood, I wouldn't be where I am today. Now I can walk into a place and I will be recognised. I am enjoying the fame. I have never been involved in any scandal. I can't even be involved in one. I live a low life. I am not in the A-list category like you said so I cannot be scandalised.
Why I am a single mother
I had a child when I was much younger. I didn't want to dabble into marriage just for marrying sake. The first guy that was supposed to marry me broke my heart. But I have a son to show for that relationship. I decided to concentrate on raising my son and that only.
It was not as if men were not coming to me and requesting my hand in marriage. I just wanted to concentrate on my son and that was what I did.
I communicate with the father of my son once in a while. He is still the father of my child. But there is no string attached at all. Marriage to him is out of the question. I will not even consider it. If I was not good enough for him then, I will not be good enough for him now.
When you are doing what you love and the money is coming in, what do you need from a man apart from security? But Tony Montana said in Scareface that when you have money, you have power. Lots of people will come to you for friendship and lots of them will come to reap where they did not sow. I am not interested in marriage right now. But if it comes I will still marry. I hope I will still marry.
No time for marriage vows yet
I started caring and fending for myself at a young age. I started taking care of myself and members of my family at a tender age. If any of them comes to me and says, 'Aunty, go and get married, why are you not married?' I will ask the person what he has contributed to my life that would give him the right to go and ask me to marry. Who am I marrying? Somebody I will marry today and whose home I may leave tomorrow? I have a straight mind. I may love you today and you do a very minute thing, something that you will do else where and get away with; you will do it to me, but you will not get away with it. I don't take nonsense from anybody. I can see you and like you as a person. I may want to have something with you and I will do that. But tomorrow, you will call me and I will ask you if I know who you are.
I learnt the hard way. I was very small when I had my baby and I fended for him. I took care of him and nobody helped me except God. My relations were there for me as well. I was just a young girl. I lost my mother when I was small. I can say I had no adviser back then. There are situation you will find yourself and somebody close to you will tell you what to do. I had nobody to give me a better advise. I kept things to myself. I bottled things up. Nobody in my family knew I was pregnant until the day I put to bed. It was just God's way of showing me how the world is. I have a heart of my own. It was not about being naive. It was about growing up in a Christian way and being told that if you do some certain things, you will go to hell fire.
I am in a relationship now. Every woman must be in one. But I will not discuss it. It is just for me alone.
For now and as I said before, marriage is not something you dabble into. Marriage is for better or for worse. There are many women in marriages who want to come out of it. You see young girls who are not in it, but they pray to get into it. Marriage is not too sweet other wise, those women who date men outside their marriages will not be doing it. Even the men will not be doing it as well.
I don't know any of my colleagues whose marriage is broken up. I know lots of them that are married. Most of them are separated from their spouses, it is not as if the marriage has broken up. I can decide to stay on my own for a while. But then, it happens every where. It is not only in the movie industry. It happens in banking industry and even in your own industry. I know teachers who are still single. I know the ones who even got married and separated from their husbands and they are living alone with their kids. My career had nothing to do with it. God will give me a man that will befit me. When God says it is time, He will give me one.
I am so happy. I like the way things are. I do not have any regret. For everything, there is a time. When that time comes for me to be married, I will be under the man. I will be submissive. I am still single just because I do not want to go in and come out again. I want to marry my own man. I will marry a man I will love and respect and who will love me too. I am happy the way I am.
I am into politics. Do you see that Senate? I will be there. I am starting from my state house of assembly. From there, I hope to ascend. I must go to the senate. If Nigeria will ever have a female Senate president, it will be me. It will come to pass. With my background in film acting, Nigerians will take me serious. We are the people showcasing all the bad things they do in the seat of power. I will change a lot of things when I get in there. I know the ladies are not given the chance. Women are not weak. The men are the ones that are very weak. A man may be dressed like a fool and if you tell him that he is looking so lovely, he will believe you and will dress like a zombie and go out.
When I was in the transition commitee of my local government council in Imo State, I saw a lot of things that needed to be changed. This dividend of democracy does not get to the grassroots. You see people in power carrying bags and bags of money. But the business that is supposed to get to the people in the village does not get to them. I want to start from the grassroots. I want to make a change.
Between entertainment and politics
It is not easy to leave your first love. The first cut is the deepest. Once in a while, I will still come and do what I love doing, which is film acting. I have no intention of singing. But if I at all I should sing, I will do gospel music. But I don't have any intention of going into music
Life as a youth
It was wonderful. I never knew my mother. She died when I was very little. I only know her through her pictures. But there was somebody who trained us up. I still refer to her as my mother because she treated me like her child. My father was strict. I told you we were members of the Assemblies of God Church. We were brought up in a strict Christian home. We had our morning devotion everyday. As at when I was in Primary Three, I could read the Bible from Genesis to revelation. I was brought up in a Christian home.
I did not complete my studies. I left school because my father died in 1989. There was no money to take care of my academics. I had to quit and enrolled myself in a fashion school. That was when I started fending for myself. There was nobody to care for me. That is why I still say nobody has the right to question me about my martial status because nobody contributed to what I am today.
I must confess, things were so hard then. I am a self made person. Apart from God, nobody helped me.
I am in school now. I am in Abia State University and I am studying Law. I will be a graduate soon. I told you I am aiming for the senate.
No qualms about Nollywood
Whatever talent you have, everybody will support you. My younger brother is a film editor. He is an A list editor. I support him. Anything you love doing, do it well and everybody will support you.
My son has been acting, but I had to stop him because of his education. He will soon enter the university, so if he wants to continue, he will.