Travails of Nollywood Stars
Nigerian movies producers have over the years churned out films with plotline that reflect the ever-changing political, cultural climate and current events. Their storylines revolve around corruption, prostitution, folklore, HIV/AIDS, romance, slavery, civil war, witchcraft and kidnap. CHINYERE OKOYE looks at the storylines against the happenings and kidnapping of one of the leading actors recently
Nigerian film industry emerged in the late 1970s amid the country's crumbling economy due to many financial obstacles. As a result public funding of movies and original television programme collapsed as well as when spiraling crime wave made cinemas too dangerous to visit.
For many observers of the development in the sector, Nigeria movie needs more support to create and produce quality films; they need more infrastructures to build the talent and create more opportunities for Nigeria to compete with international films instead of pulling them down with gossip, abuse or kidnap.
Nollywood actor and veteran broadcaster, Pete Edochie was kidnapped by an armed gang on Sunday afternoon at Afor-Nkpor in the Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, as he was returning from Asaba in Delta State back to the family house in Enugu when the kidnappers intercepted his Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) and whisked him away.
Twenty four (24) hours later he was freed. The actor in his statement after his release said, his kidnappers seized him in protest at the obscene display of Nigeria's stolen wealth by politicians. Edochie said his kidnappers told him they were not happy at the situation in the country. He said they told him they were into the criminal act because they wanted to get their own share of the wealth being displayed by politicians.
He said the kidnappers told him that although people were repulsed by the act of seizing people, there was nothing else they could do. He said they refrained from shooting victims to show Nigerians that they were just focused on making money and not taking lives. Edochie, who described them as young men, explained he was grateful to them for the respect they accorded him, “but this does not portray the image of Nigeria positively.”
He stated earlier that the movie industry has no future if government does not take an interest in it. “I am still talking about the Ministry of Information and National Orientation. It has not shown any commitment to the industry. Nigeria by now should be in a position to produce a film that can be taken outside this country and commented upon by the international community, that this originates from Nigeria. We can do a good film on Slave Trade because we have never really told our own story,” he said.
Barely some months back, popular actor and singer, Enebeli Elebuwa was attacked by a young man who tried to pluck his left eye, allegedly to make him blind. The attack left Elebuwa with a major injury such that he could hardly see until many good Samaritans home and abroad came to his aid.
The 62-year old entertainer was however sighted at a film location recently as he was preparing for shooting. He had been invited by Daddy Ejiro, the casting manager of the movie, Tears for Tomorrow to star in the movie, alongside Chief Alex Osifo, another top actor and a Nollywood star.
Asked if his health would allow him play the role, an elated Elebuwa said he is now hale and hearty, and can resume his acting career despite his predicament.
“Tell them I'm no longer bedridden, I'm now as strong as a bull and I can now continue my work. Although I am yet to see clearly with my left eye, I can now go on working” explained Elebuwa who expressed his gratitude to all those who rallied round him and prevented him from going blind.
However, when asked about the allegation that he has a son in the Nigerian entertainment industry, the ailing actor denied, saying he has never abandoned any child in his life, but quickly disclosed that there is a son an Igbo woman (Ngozi) had for him in 1974. He has since then not set his eyes on the boy and the mother, since both left his brother's house 35 years ago.
In this interview conducted at the location of the soap, Tears for Tomorrow, Elebuwa who hails from Ukpane in Otagunu local government area of Delta State spoke on his career in music and acting, noting that he would never stop singing praises to Jesus Christ, his saviour.
Again, for Nigerian star actress, Eucharia Anunobi-Ekwu she still cannot understand all the rumour about her family problem. She wonders why her case should be brought to the public domain, just because she is an actress. Come to think of it, why will Nigerians wash her dirty linen outside?
In her statement, she said “I am too grounded with my God and with a precept of Christianity; you don't go to defile your matrimonial bed. And I want to use this opportunity to say loud and clear that those seven years with my ex-husband, I remained one of the best women any man could have and I kept my matrimonial bed undefiled.
She said she also denied that her husband abandoned her because she was too possessive stressing that “you don't possess something that is not there and you don't fight over something that is not worth fighting over. I do not think anyone would say I am possessive. You are going to fight over a man who is not worth your time, who is not worth your value, if you really have something and it is supposed to be yours, are you not supposed to protect it?
“And you will even go out of your way to protect something that is worth it,” she said, explaining that what is important now is to strengthen her career and other challenges and future aspiration to find a new husband who will love, cherish and appreciate her worth in life.