Homosexuality, juju, and ritual ceremonies are the bane of Nollywood –Ernest Asuzu
You have been out of circulation for a long while. What happened?
I am not out. But you have not been featuring regularly in Nollywood movies
I don't have to be regular nor do I have to have my face in every movie. I should'n be doing all the junk they call movie because, as far as I'm concerned, I am a brand that nobody can change, even with controversies. I took sometime out to do a lot of things: my movies, TV programmes, and music album. Forget the controversies; they were only trying to tarnish my image. I have been going out with people that do not love me, but I loved them. If there is anything I can't joke with, it is my God. He is the reason why I'm still here today.
What is new about Ernest Asuzu?
Everything about me is new. Ernest Asuzu is ahead of his generation and that is why a lot of people misunderstand him. I have worn my jersey of movie, music and everything God has destined for me.
You just launched your maiden music album?
Yes, my first album was supposed to have been released in 1988. But didn't come out By the grace of of God, this is the year that dream was fulfilled.
So how was it?
It was awesome. I had a lot of people in attendance; actors, musicians,and other personalities. The event was high and I'm so grateful to God that I saw a day like this. It was a glorious day.
Is it passion or money that made you veer into music?
Well, like I said before, my first album was supposed to be released in 1988 and that was definitely before I joined Nollywood. I joined Nollywood in 1996. I have always loved music and I would say that music is my first love, but acting is my passion. I think music chose me, not for the money; but for the love of it. All my life, I think I have always wanted to do music and now that I have launched my album, I think I have been launched into the music market.
Most people that switched over to music have not profited by it. Do you see that kind of thing happening to you?
No , I don't think so. Now that my album has been released, people are going to listen to it and they will know that Ernest Asuzu is talented. My album is going to go places. I want to erase the notion that all the Nollywood actors that switched from acting to music have not been successful. I will break that jinx with my album. Music must be in your blood before you can make an impact. It is not all about what people say, or money; but how many people that feel your music. This is what I have heard. Nobody has ever said any negative thing about the album. That is where my confidence lies because I know that the album is a hot one.
What do we call your kind of music ?
I do a blend of hip hop and African touch.
Do you have plans of doing a collabo with other music artistes?
Yes, I just did with few people because I believe more in carrying up and coming artistes along. I did some songs with new acts like Mocs and also I have Black face and Snows in some of my songs too.
How many tracks is in the album?
It is a seventeen-track album.
Do you intend to take your musical career seriously?
No, nothing is part time. I'm going to take it professionally. As we speak right now, many marketers are on my neck. I have marketing deals in and outside the country. I want to take my game to the next highest level.
So how do you intend to combine music and acting?
I will combine the two perfectly because you are not going to find me in every Tom, Dick and Harry movie. I will only act in movies that will send real messages across to the audiences. You don't need to feature in many movies in order to be successful. Just like what is done abroad, you can do two movies in a year and get paid enough cash that will last you for a lifetime. You don't need to kill yourself doing one million movies to survive. I must have an alternative because if Im not well paid for any job, I don't see why I should be doing it. The only way to balance the equation is if I'm not acting. I will be definitely on tour promoting my music or doing shows. Besides, I run an entertainment outfit with my partner Charles Adedeji (Flex) called Samba Unit. We 've got all our strategies mapped out. If I am not shooting another person's movie, I will be doing mine. Pretty soon, I will be shooting my own first ever movie. I'm ready for the world in terms of entertainment.
Which movie launched you to the limelight?
It was 'Rituals' by Kenneth Nnebue and about that time, I was the first new comer that his face was used on a poster. Normally before your face can grace a film poster then, it must really be a well known actor. But I think it was just a favour from God that NEK just saw me and liked me and thought of the concept on the poster, which sold everywhere. That also encouraged me to get popular.
How much were you paid then?
I can't remember, but I'm sure I was paid peanuts. Really what mattered wasn't the money, but the fact that it made me famous and fetched more jobs.
Is it true that you had mental disorder?
Well, people will always want to throw up stones at a fulfilled tree. Whatever they said about having a mental disorder; I think my destractors were trying to stop me from getting to my destination in life. If I had a mental disorder, you would not be here sitting next to me. Secondly, I wouldnt' haave done some of the things I have done successfully. Okay, I was insane and everybody out there is insane. Why must my own become a wahala. People should just try and do the right thing and not go about saying bullshit about others.
Did you say it was a spiritual problem and not madness?
God forbid! I don't know where they got their stories from. The other day somebody was trying to define me and he said, ' Ernest I have been looking at you for years and the only way I can describe you is that you are far ahead of your generation and that is why people can't understand you'. Why should I be bothered when they say such things. People said worse things to our Lord Jesus Christ when He came to the world. They called him many names. Who am I then? Everybody is free to say anything but the truth is that anybody who has a mental disorder cannot get married or release and make movies. When they were busy speculating, this Ernest Asuzu was doing well. I have made more than thirty home video films since then. So tell me can a mad man so much?
If it was not madness, what was it then?
I can't explain the intentions of the evil ones, niether can I explain what they are thinking. As far as I'm concerned, I am just myself and nothing is wrong with me. I mean an evil person will always have a reason why he must do evil. I can't explain their intentions and that is why by now they have been put to shame and cannot talk anymore.
You said it was the imagination of your enemies. Have you been having problems with anybody in the Nollywood?
You see, you don't have to have problem with anybody before they start to criticize or pull you down. They may be intimidated by your personality. Also they may be unhappy with what God is doing in your life and the only way they think they can stop you from getting to your destination is by spreading malicious rumours to tarnish your image. As far as I'm concerned, I am a free minded person. Even I dine and wine with my enemies, but they only understand why they are doing what they are doing. I don't have enemies. Even if I have, I know how to keep away from them.
Some people have said your problem emanated from the failed relationship you had with a Nollywood actress. What do you say to this?
Well, I just want to move on with my life. If I had relationships in the past and it went sour, I think it is one of those mistakes you make as you travel through life. Whoever thinks that she must hold me down because I had a relationship with her, I'm sure she must have regreted her actions. As far as Ernest Asuzu is concerned, I'm out to achieve a lot from this wicked world. I'm here to achieve and bring a change to this generation, to be an ambassador of aesthetics, love, Christ, the depressed and the less privileged. That is why I'm created in this world and you don't expect me to accomplishe them without having hiccups. When Jesus came for our salvation, it was not easy for him. He was criticized and even called a mad man.
Why is it that are you known to fight, even at the slightest provocation?
I will say that was in the past. I easily get angry with people for just one reason and that is when I find out that you are a hypocrite, a pretender, fond of spiting people uneccessarily. Anger is not a sin. It is a spur of emotions. It is only when you take it to the next level that it becomes a sin. I can get angry with you now and the next moment I become your best friend. That is to tell you that I have the heart of a baby. If you don't get angry at certain things and it gets out of hand, it might come back to haunt you.
Is it true that you once walked out of a movie set because you wanted to play the lead role?
That was because we had already had a deal with the producer and he changed his mind at the last moment.
Also is it true that you fought the owner of Murphis club over a matter?
The Murphis incident took place a long time ago. I got angry with them because they took me for granted. When they tried what they did with me and it resulted into a fight, I called the Police and was going to take them up legally. My Lawyer was going to sue them for damages because I did practically nothing to them. But one spirit told me that vengeance is of the Lord and I left vengeance to God . About that same time too, I went to Murphis and told them that they have shed the blood of an innocent soul and told them that God would not be happy with them. A short while after the incident, Murphis was shut down and it ceased to exist.
How about the MITV robbery incident? Do you mind sharing with us what really went wrong?
I would not like to say anything concerning that issue for now. At the right time, I will say something about it.
For a special reason.
Don't you know that by not commenting on this issue, you are giving room to more criticism and suspicion?
People can believe anything they want to believe. I have passed that realm of caution , as regards what the world thinks. The world is so wicked that even when they think this is right they want to believe the wrong thing. Sometimes, I shed tears for this world. God said that the heart of man is desperately wicked. People are so wicked that everybody is like looking for the next man to eat and to survive. Sometimes they know that this is not right, but they want to do it because they feel that it is right. I have passed that realm of what people think about me. As a matter of fact, it is what God thinks about me that matters and not what anybody thinks. If the whole world says I'm wrong and God says I'm right, that's fine by me. So that is my take on it. Forget all those controversies, they never happened. In no distant time, I'm going to speak on those rumours. They were never investigated because they never wanted me to move forward.
You sound quite religious. Are you born again?
Don't call me born again because that is a tag. I don't want you to see me walking down the street with a girl that is not my wife and they will start drawing into wrong conclusions. Just know that I believe in God, Jesus is my best friend, and the Holy Spirit is my comforter. Even Jesus was surrounded with a lot of controversies when He came into the world. They said so many evil things agaisnt Him. It does not matter what the world says about you; what matters is what God thinks about me.
So you mean the controversies were false?
They never did happen. They just created a beautiful story out of nothing. The world cannot throw a stone at a fruitless tree. I'm a fruitful tree and that is why they formulated all that. They are all rumours and like I said, they were never investigated. I called my lawyer Festus Keyamo to write them, which he did. But I decided to leave it to God because the Holy Bible says that vengeance is the Lord's. I will call all those rumours back to table.
When do you hope to do that?
I will do that very soon. Although I don't have the resources to do it now, I will definitely do it.
How did your parents feel about all this?
Naturally they felt bad. But they know how much God loves me. Before my father died he told me that a time will come in my life when I will see them no more. The only person I can't do without is God. God has celebrated me when the world thought I was not good.
You secretly got married few months ago. What attracted you to your wife?
She is humble. The easiest way to get to me is by being humble. My wife is very humble and I love her for that. I am a very humble person and the reason why I have not passed out with all I have gone through in life is because of my humility. My wife is also hardworking and she believes so much in me. Even when a lot of people thought that I colud not make it anymore, she said no that I was designed for greatness.
What is your take on the entertainment industry in Nigeria, especially Nollywood?
Nollywood needs re-orientation. In the first place, we need God so much to right the wrongs. We were supposed to rule the world, but after sometime Nollywood's fortunes nosedived and it was caused by some entities that just want to see the industry as their own empire and heritage. I believe by the time we come back in the new dispensation, everything will be sorted out.
We have so many factions in Nollywood these days. Which of them do you belong to?
Yes, there are many faction in Nollywwod. But I don't believe in factions. I believe in doing what is right. If I find any of the factions doing the right thing, I will join, but for now none; I'm minding my own business.
We hear sexual harrassment and other societal ill is the order of the day in Nollywood. How true is this?
Well, they say it happens and as a matter of fact, it happens. It is so painful that ladies think it is only when they sleep with the director, producer, and an actor that they will get lead roles in the movies. I think the problem is that more of the upcoming actresses do not know why they are there. There is homosexuality, juju, rituals and what have you in the industry. If nobody is saying it, I will say it. They are some of the things that God had seen and made the industry to nosedive. Nollywood is like Sodom and Gomorrah but I believe in no distant time, God is going to cleanse the industry. I'm sure those are the tools that the devil is using to destroy the industry because we are more like social crusaders, pastors and preachers. By the time the children of God mounts the helm of affairs of the industry, all will be cleansed and the industry will soar higherthan before.