I’ve had enough of women – Emeka Ike
Emeka Ike, one of the allegedly “banned” artistes in the home movie industry, says he has lost interest in women, apart from his wife, because he has had enough of women.
Ike, who admitted to Saturday Sun that some of them (artistes) had not really been disciplined on set, said “I don't have a girlfriend… I've played all I have to play in life”.
Rather than be aggrieved by the “ban” the Imo State-born actor saw it as a positive approach by the marketers to take the local movie industry to a better level.
“ I don't see it as negative or ban, but an attempt to take the industry to another level. And it started with a few of us who were not disciplined or professional enough in their work”.
My mother started it all
Emeka started out as a musician but his mother pushed him towards acting. “ I am a resourceful person, before I got into Yaba Tech to read Engineering I was already making it as a musician. I play all musical equipment. My mother started it all, she bought all musical equipment in the house. Apart from that, we sang in Church and took part in concerts before I got into school. So, when I came out of school, what I expected was not what I found out. There was no job anywhere; the few available were through connections. After a long time, I managed to get job as a project engineer with Solar Connections. While working there, I met Ernest Obi and we became friends. He was already a star then and I told him I had what it took to be an actor. One day, he took me to the set of Mega Fortune, where Charles Owoyemi was the producer and he said to me: 'old boy, you had better known how to act because if you don't know how to act I would not give you a script next week'. So I tried very hard and he gave me my first script to read. The upper week, he also invited me again to take part. Along the line, I discovered that I was not going anywhere because I was not interested in anything else. Deadly Affair was my first movie in 1994.
Stepping where angels fear to tread
“It is not easy stepping where angels fear to tread. When I started, actors were regarded as people who did not have anything to do, instead of not doing anything let me keep making people happy. It was a lonely and daring path when we started. In fact, somebody who is not as educated as you would look down on you because you are an actor. Sometimes, I had to hide because I didn't have money. Also, my parents fought me, because they felt money spent on my education was thrown away'. They kept wondering what went wrong with me, they did not train me to come out of school to join what they called work for riff-raffs. But I saw joy, interest and excitement in acting, though I knew that one day I would still go back to Engineering”.
The father-of-two claimed he had not gotten any official notification banning him from acting. “I still speak with the marketers and we are in good terms, no official letter has gotten to me concerning it. Some of us allowed stardom to get into their heads and were doing everything wrong; not professionally inclined again. They come on set, they don't consider the interest of the production, and they don't see it as a job. Like a banker, when you go to work, you take your job seriously; you don't go to the bank and tell your boss, 'I'm leaving in the next few minutes', because you have been paid for the job. Stay and dig it out, earn the money and it is yours. But when you make things difficult for people they call this kind of meeting. That was how they said, come we can't take this anymore from the artistes and they start mentioning names and those of us that did not do anything were included. Once on set, many directors respect me because you can't take a wrong shot with me when on set. They had to call that meeting and according to the rumour we heard that we are banned. But I know very soon we are going to hear another gist about it. I know there is restructuring going on in the market now”.
I can't react
So will Emeka apologize to the marketers? “ I can't react to what I have not heard, you are talking as if you were sent to ask me questions. But then, even if they sent you to come and ask if I will apologize or not, you apologize where there is a crime. You show me a letter that says 'due to these reasons' I am banned, then I would reply you. But there is not letter, the issue can't come up, you are not saying Emeka, you make production difficult. But if you say that, why not? We are human beings we should be flexible, that is politics. If governors can apologize, as difficult as it is and retract their words in papers - because it is a diplomatic thing. So if I have stepped on somebody's toes and I know I did, I would apologize”.
I earn very high
“I earn very high, that perhaps might even be one reason why they would ban me if they are banning me. I believe I have a product and you pay for that product. I might not tell you this is my figure but I earn in the six figures. So that is painful to part with. Nollywood is the third best in the world, if people in Hollywood earn as much as $30 million per movie and Bollywood earn half of it per movie, if we are earning $10 million per movie, I don't think it's too much.
“What I see is a case we could fight - the marketers should tackle the video clubs. I was a witness when Nigerian home movies sold 250,000 copies. My first movie Deadly Affair sold over 80,000 copies the first week of release. But lately, we don't sell 15,000 copies. Everything you see about home movie is the video clubs. They are the first 15,000 people that would rush to the market, buy and rent to our customers. We should begin to find a way around these people and whoever has permitted them. Even if I charge N20,000 per movie, these people would eventually kill us because they are getting bigger, even bigger than our market”.
Me and my wife
“ I met my wife five years ago, then I just produced my first film, 7-12. She is half German; half Nigerian. Her mother was against our marriage because I am an actor and somebody richer was coming for her hand in marriage
But eventually, when she came a little closer she discovered that I am more a man. I have her words in record, she said she never knew that was what she was about to miss. Even when my fans call, my wife knows the kind of man I am and she has come to realize that I have special interest in all my fans and nothing more. I am a disciplined man; I don't have a girlfriend. My wife goes through my text messages and picks up my phone anytime. I don't have anything to hide from her. I've played all I have to play in life”.