J.T.TOM WEST LAID TO REST IN PH
Port Harcourt the Rivers State capital yesterday, witnessed the gathering of who is who in the entertainment industry and the civil society, top government officials from the state were also among dignitaries that besieged the Obi Wali Integrated Cultural Centre and the Port Harcourt cemetery to pay their last respects to the Late Nollywood top actor, Mr J.T. Tom West who died on Thursday, September 28, 2006 as a result of a ghastly motor accident in Lagos.
The entertainment all rounder was said to had just finished directing a new movie and was on his way back from the location when the accident occurred, he died three days later at the Ikeja General Hospital, Lagos.
On Thursday October 26th, 2006, his body was received at the Integrated Cultural Centre by members of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), government functionaries, friends and relatives among other dignitaries. This was followed by service of songs which was in two phases the first aspect was purely a Christain affair as J.T. Tom West was said to be a devout Christian.
The second phase was the social aspect where his professional colleagues and those from the affiliate bodies in the movie industry gathered together to mourn their colleague in a grand style with other diginities in attendance yesterday, Friday October 28th 2006 was the interment at the Port Harcourt cemetery.
Speaking shortly before the burial, the chairman of (AGN) in Rivers State, Mr Adafe Jaja commended the Rivers State government for all her efforts in ensuring that late Tom West had a befitting burial. He said there are quite a number of plans to immortalise the name of Tom West in the state.
According to him, the AGN had already written to the state government to see how something somewhere could be named after him as well as a welfare packaged for his only child and aged parents. He disclosed that members of the guild in Rivers State are also planning to do a movie that would further concretise his name.
Mr Jaja noted that though, AGN had lost some of its members in the past late Tom West is the first from Rivers State to die in active service and in his youth. He prayed God to give the state and the deceased family the fortitude to bear the loss.
It will be recalled that recently, the Nigerian movie industry otherwise known as Nollywood had come under serious danger, prominent actors and actresses have been involved in fatal auto accidents. Apart from leaving some of the victims in critical situations, others had been snatched away by the cold hands of death.
The first notable case of this unfortunate incident was in March 2005 in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, when award winning actress, Stephanie Okereke involved in a dangerous auto mishap on her way to Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital for the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA).
The accident was so terrible, it took the screen diva out of movies for well over a year. Stephanie had spent all those months treating broken limbs and under going surgeries. She is just making a gradual return to the movie industry.
Another dangerous auto crash was that of exquisite Omotola Jalade –Ekeinde. The youthful mother of four had just returned from a trip abroad and gone to the airport to clear some of her goods, on her way back home, her Chevrolet jeep lost friction on the slippery road and summer saulted several times and got terribly damaged beyond recognition; but the actress and other occupants were unhurt, they were very lucky.
But, prodigiously talented cross over actor Saheed Balogun was not as lucky. He too was involved in a ghastly motor accident that has put him under very critical condition. There was serious fear of his surviving the accident because of the extent of his injuries.
However, by God's grace, Saheed is still alive and making earnest recovery even though his colleagues alleged that the handsome actor might not be able to get on set for a very long time.
Few weeks later, Emeka Rollas, an actor and producer who lost the AGN presidency to Ejike Asiegbu in the last election was also involved in an auto crash in Enugu while he was shooting a movie. Though, he was injured in the accident, his was not as critical as that of Saheed Balogun.
'Fineboy' Ramsey Noauh was not excluded in the list as he was involved in an accident while riding on his power bike. It was gathered that the lost some teeth in the process, but it is reliably gathered that he is doing better now.
In recent times, the industry has lost some of her top stars apart from Tom West, others: include father Moses, Mandela Ajah, Nnamdi Eze and a make up artiste, Isaac Uwa.
Others who had been involved in life and career threatening auto accidents in the past include: Ann Njemanze, a tragedy that has diminished her place in the industry, Sam Onwuka, Jerry Amilo and Clem Ohaneze among others.