My Rumoured death! I ran to my mum to avert her demise — Nkem Owoh
Famous for his role especially in “Osuofia in London” , Nkem Owoh is a celebrated Nigerian movie actor-comedian, one cannot avoid to blink one's eyes for. Ever since his emergence in the movie world, Owoh has featured in not less than 100 movies.
Recently, he veered into music, when he released an album that doubled as the soundtrack for a movie he was involved in titled, 'The Master'. I go chop your dollar, one of the songs, stirred a lot of controversy as it was seen to promote fraud, bribery and corruption. The soundtrack also had songs like “Susana', “Agreement' and “Know me when I am poor.” Last year, the world of the movie bluffs in Nigeria appeared somewhat shattered as rumours hit the street that the Enugu State born ace-actor had kicked the bucket in a circumstance that was shrouded in mystery.
But Osuofia did not die, instead he lives on to the shame of the mischief makers. Just last week, he was among the five recipients of this year's edition of BOBTV award for excellence outstanding contribution to the growth of motion picture industry in Nigeria. A humour merchant, Osuofia was in a good mood to grant interview to whoever that cared to chat with him. But he warned beforehand, 'I will not talk too much.' And that's exactly what he did in this encounter, as he reacts to certain issues that bothers on his rumoured demise, the BOBTV award, and role of Nollywood in the re-branding project of the Federal Government amongst other issues.
BOBTV Award '09
Like every good thing that comes my way, I regard it as blessing in disguise. And secondly, as an act of encouragement And all these translate to the fact that what I'm doing today is appreciated by my audience.
This award is another confirmation of my commitment to the growth of the movie industry. I appreciate it so much, and it gives me the zeal to continue to do what I know how to do best.
Acceptance of Nigerian movies internationally
There is no doubt that Nigerian films have come to stay. Internationally, our film are accepted too. What is now left to be done for the industry is to formalise our distribution channels legally as well as the quality of our production. Also, we have not put enough of our local content in our movies. We need to explore cultural content in our movies.
Contribution of Nollywood to the re-branding project
I give kudos to the Minister of Information and Communication, Professor Dora Akunyili for choosing Nollywood as one of the sectors that would be used for the re-branding project. There is no better medium to use in the re-branding process than the film industry. I'm waiting to render my service.
Nollywood stars and their Hollywood counterparts
Let me tell you one thing you don't understand. I don't intend to feature in Hollywood movies for whatever reason. Rather, I would like a situation where Hollywood actors are invited to star in Nollywood. That way, we can be projecting our cultural heritage. What I'm doing today translates into the promotion of my native culture; to let the outside world see us the way we are. If they like, let them come to us. We will not go to them.
Rumour comes and rumour goes. When I heard about the rumour I was shocked. I immediately went on air to dismiss the rumour. I remember vividly late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe's reaction when he was rumoured to have died.
He said, he had to live to see what would happen. Eventually, he lived to bury some of those rumour mongers before he finally passed on. I don't know how the rumour was manufactured, but all I know is that, it was the handiwork of mischievous people. I did not even travel out of the country for the last six month, not to talk of getting myself involved in an illegal business. If I had travelled out of the country during that period in question, then, people would have confirmed the rumour as truth. But I didn't. To stem the tide, I had to run to my mother to prepare her mind ahead of the rumour, so that the mischief makers didn't succeed in killing her for me.
Music and movie-making
Music and movie making are inter-related . Once you are talented you are talented in every word of it. However, my music is not a direct response to my rumoured demise. The music have been on ever before the rumour emanated. I just had to extract one or two things from the rumour to make up my music.
Nkem Owoh and the character, Osuofia
Nkem Owoh is the man behind the camera, while Osuofia is the man in front of the camera. Osuofia happened to be a character, a brand name if you like. Just as you would want to know the difference between Nkem Owoh and 'Ukwa', Nkem Owoh and “Igbudu”or, Nkem Owoh and 'Agbaba.” If I'm assigned to play any role I do so to the best of my ability and knowledge. I interpret such role in a way that achieves believability and my fans appreciate it. I'm happy people are accepting what I am doing in the movie world.
If you compare the various stages of our development, I will say yes. At least, I am not complaining. As I am making a lot of people to be happy, somehow, I should be happy myself.