Listen to article

If you have been looking at the world of actors and actresses being rosy, then you need to listen to this.
A-list actor, Bob-Manuel Udokwu and anchor, Gulder Ultimate Search 4 (GUS4), has opened up on his ordeal with overbearing female fans on a daily basis.

“I don't know how they get my number but all sorts of characters call me,” he told us. I talk to them nicely on phone. Some could be very rude, down right irritating and stupid but I try to talk to them nicely.

Sometimes they want to know personal things and I refer them to newspaper publications. I make them realise that I could be a nice person but there is a limit. Some fans would harass the living daylight out of your life. They don't care whatever.

They could call you at anytime and when you say you are at home and need to rest, they scream back at you, 'you should be happy your fan is talking to you.' Even the fact that I am married doesn't change anything. Sometimes they get very crossed when I try to let them know that I am a married man or when my wife answers the phone.

“I guess God has given me the ability to handle these things with patience. You need trailer loads of it to handle these people,” he said.
Have they ever harassed his wife: “She will be in a better position to answer that but a few times, female fans have brought discord to my family. I got married seven years ago but I will tell you that it has not been easy. Female fans create problems for us.

“Sometimes I wonder, 'why did I get myself into this?' If I were working in an office, nobody would bother me. Ironically, your friends who are not in the business feel that you are having a swell time but I tell you, it is not easy. I want to do my acting and go home in peace.

“That is why I don't encourage influx of people in my house. I don't encourage people to visit me. I try to protect my family. That's all I have.”

However, he said that despite the 'wahala,' he doesn't turn his fans away. “I don't turn my fans away because entertainment is basically the crowd. You need to have a support base and it is basically women and children and if you turn them away, you lose your base.

He however admitted that while some get upset and rude, others greet his wife nicely and tell her how lucky they think she is to have married a star.

Gulder Ultimate Search

Udokwu anchored the just concluded GUS -4. He talked about the experience.

“The high point was when the two finalists were struggling to get the most coveted trophy. It was a culmination of everything we were doing and everything that we went to do in Jos. But the low point was when one of the contestants died. It was a painful experience for everybody. It underscored the transience of life; born today, gone tomorrow. Within a twinkle of en eye, the contestant was gone. It was a rude shock for us all.

“On the whole, Shere Hills was a different experience in terms of the conditions for the productions and the topography. The weather was entirely a different ball game. There where no written scripts. As the anchor, I relied on talent, experience and training. I remember a particular female journalist who kept taunting me. She doubted that I was up to the task because of the rigours associated with GUS but I told her not to judge a book by its cover. I am an actor and I play different roles at different times. Today my performance has proved that there is nothing I cannot do. Most of those who love what I did are military people. Like the CEO of NB Plc said, 'if I did not have military training, then it must be somewhere lurking in my genes. The response I have got from every arm of the military is that somewhere along the line, I was one of them. I proved skeptics wrong!

“We are very dismissive of people. Today, what I have done is there for people to see. If they call me back next year, my challenge would be to beat my own record and if they call somebody else, God help him; his challenge would be to beat my record.”


Udokwu is a pioneer of Nollywood. He featured in the very first movie that is widely believed to have kick-started what has become known as Nollywood.

“I was in 'Living In Bondage,' the very movie that started it. I tell people that I was already ahead before the industry stopped me to join it,” he added jokingly. “'Checkmate' started running in 1991. By 1992, they invited me to be part of 'Living In Bondage.'”

With over a 100 movies in the kitty, Odokwu speaks modestly of his achievements: “I cannot count the number of movies I have acted. There's been quite a number though. I used to document them those days but I have lost count.”

Despite being the third largest movie maker in the world, Nollywood has come under flack on the basis of quality. However, Udokwu thinks that to write of Nollywood on that basis would be to throw the bath water out with the baby.

“Please note that the rate of production has nothing to do with professionalism. Yes, we churn out movies every day but the number of films released has nothing to do with quality. The danger is that we are quick to come to conclusions. Nigerians are pessimistic. The industry is just 15 years-old and what we get most of the times is knocks and more knocks, most of the time from the media. Our movies are becoming a staple across the globe. TV channels are dedicated to the phenomenon called Nollywood. It is a large employer of labour. We have been adjudged the third largest all over the world.

Next month we have a series of activities in London. Some movies have been entered for the 'Sun Dance Film Festival' in the USA for January 2008. We intend to take our movies to the Oscars, so you see, we are doing well. For God's sake, give us credit. Besides, there is no basis for comparison between Nollywood and Hollywood. If you know the history of Hollywood, then you will appreciate that we have not started. Hollywood is over a 100 years.

Jide Kosoko

Reacting to a recent statement credited to NANTAP President, Jide Kosoko, that there is tribalism in Nollywood, Udokwu said: “Everybody is entitled to his/her own opinion but I think that statement is unfortunate because Jide Kosoko is a man that I have worked with on several sets and I respect him so much.

He may have his reasons for saying that, but I did not read the article, so I cannot respond with proper insight. However, I don't think so. It would be unfortunate for us to bring ethnicity into a place of talent. I am an Igbo man trained by a Yoruba man; the late Professor Ola Rotimi. I remember, back then in school, there were Yoruba boys and girls in my class but I was about the closest to him.

Why weren't Yorubas closer to him? The reason is simple; the man is a core professional. He believes in talent. God does not operate quota system and you and I know that it is quota system that has destroyed this country. It is a shame if we bring it into entertainment. See what it has done to football. In my opinion, if you can get the best from one state for football, let them go. We should not bring ethnic dimensions to entertainment.