I can forsake acting for heaven-----Emeka Okoro
GIVEN his looks and the fact that he is a household name in Nollywood, Emeka Okoro would hardly appear to anyone as a serious Christian, not to talk of being conscious of rapture i.e the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Not only does he fear missing heaven, he is watching over his shoulders to ensure that when the bell sounds, he would reign with the Lord as according to him, he is working very hard to overcome his weakness, which is falling for the temptation from the flesh.
He has vowed not to be derailed with overtures of the daughters of Eve, even as he once again confirmed the prescence of homosexuality in Nollywood. “Yes, weakness in the sense that now, any woman may just want to tempt me. I wouldn't want anything that would probably put me on the lane of women, cult, homosexual etc because a lot of people are into it in the industry. So, I try to avoid anything that would make me inadequate in the sight of God. If it means not working so as not to miss heaven or if you don't want to give me a role, I don't care as long as I protect my integrity. It is God that makes a man. God gives you what He wants to give you.”
Okoro looks tough and because of his looks he has been cast in many movies as a bad boy. But on a close encounter with him, one would be amazed that behind this tough looks is a soft mien. He tells you he doesn't drink, doesn't smoke and he is happily married to beautiful Jane Okoro, an amiable lady from Akwa Ibom State. Emeka is from Oboro in Ukwuano Local Government Area in Umuahia, Abia State. He tells http://nollywoodgists.com what fascinated him when he first saw Jane.
This guy is not acting just because he has flair for it. He studied arts in the University. “I read Theatre Arts at Lagos State University. Today, I'm an actor and I also have a media outfit. I'm a dual person, although I'm not actively into my media business,” he says.
He had a wonderful childhood. And some of the experiences he had then are still etched in his memory. “My childhood wasn't at a particular place or state because I followed my father around. I lived with my dad and he was not always at home. He had hospitals and he was always on the move. Anytime he went to another location, I was always following him. So, I was not the home type. I never really grew up at home. He was a medical doctor but he is late now. I was so close to my father and growing up was interesting. I lived in the boarding house while in the secondary school. I attended Government Technical School, Ohiafia, Abia State. I was indeed close to my dad.”
How about your mummy?
My mum was always visiting my dad. We were not really together. I was more with my father.
They were not living together, were they divorced?
No, they were never divorced.
Can you relive life on campus?
My campus life was interesting as well. Of course, you know how Lagos is. It was fun. I was opportuned to be part of the integral university life. I went through school and the school went through me.
Is that where you met your wife?
(Laughs). No, I didn't meet my wife there. I didn't meet her on campus. We met on set as matter of fact. One day, someone invited me for a TV soap, when I got there, I saw her and admired her face, you know.
Was she an actress?
That was just the first and the last she did.
You stopped her from acting?
No, I did not, it's not as if I stopped her but naturally, she just fizzled out. We just saw that day, then we got acquainted. We started talking and became friends. We never knew it was going to lead us to the second stage but along the line, it started graduating. We became more intimate and one thing led to another, we became close friends and then the affair began to sizzle. We started talking marriage, so we started staying together for a while. We stayed together for about two years.
You mean both of you were living together?
That's right, we lived together for a while and planned our marriage. Then went to our parents, informed them about our intension and they were all in support. So, when it was time, we regularized the deal.
Where is she from?
She is from Akwa Ibom State.
When you first saw her, what fascinated you?
Well, it was her intelligence.
I mean what fascinated you before you discovered that she was intelligent?
Oh, I saw a fine face, but then, that was not the issue. In the course of interaction, I started finding out more about some interesting aspects of her like smartness, intelligence, and I also found out that she had the fear of God and also, that human respect, that was what endeared her to me.
Didn't her people frown at the idea of their daughter marrying an Igbo guy?
Funny enough, I didn't have that experience.
Did your mother accept her?
My mother? Before we got married, my mum had died, but then, I had hinted her, you know, so she was expecting to see her but eventually, it didn't come to pass. But my dad saw her and liked her.
For how long now have you been married?
We got married about two years ago.
How does she feel about some of the romantic roles you play in movies?
Well, there was this anxiety at the initial stage, but as time went on, she adjusted to it and subsequently became so used to it and took it as part of my business. We've never had any squabble about what I do on set because she sees it as my business and of course, you know, behind camera, there are usually many people watching. So, one cannot do something funny. She saw it from that point and then took her mind off all of that.
When you are not acting and you are not busy what do you do to unwind?
I watch television, I am not a very out going type, most times I stay indoors with my wife.
Do you go clubbing or partying?
I don't go to clubs except when invited. I am not the party type either.
Are you sure your wife is not missing out?
Anything she says we should do we do. She is happy with the kind of life we live so there is no problem.
You are an actor now but what would you have opted for if you weren't into acting?
Like I said, I'm a dual personality in my business. I'm into media, I majored in media so that is what I'm into and that gives me so much inspiration.
How do you see Emeka Okoro in the next decade?
Emeka Okoro is going to be one of the business moguls, I'm serious. I have a focus. I'm visualizing a lot of things I'm going to do in the next ten years. Movie wise - producing, directing, then in the media world, I already have my foundation, I have already laid a foundation and it's picking up. So, I see an empire of businesses coming up (laughs).
When did you have your first kiss?
First kiss? Waoh, can I remember that? If I tell you anything I'll be telling lies.
Despite being married, a lot of babes would still be winking at you, don't they?
Yeah of course, it's quite natural.
How do you keep them at bay?
That is where one's social ability comes in. I have this social thing about me, I'm diplomatic in life, I know how to handle babes, I mean I have come a long way, you know how it is now! I know the right words to use; I don't discourage you, inasmuch as you want something out of me. When I look at you, I look at your eyes, I know where you are coming from and where you are going. I know how to toast babes, I have come a long way in that. So, I also know how to keep them at bay. I don't kind of play you down and just push you off. I ensure that I'm friendly with you and at the same time I would be showing you that something is not clicking, it's not going to work out. But at the same time, the person would be satisfied, she would be fulfilled.
What's your worst fears?
I have this adversity for poverty. That is what I dread so much. It is something that I would not like to come close to me. So, I try to fight it as much as possible. So, I don't want poverty.
But you have not suffered so much before or experienced poverty, so why the fear?
Yes, I have never been in perpetual penury but along the line, you know, when I came to Lagos, something that happens when the source is suddenly cut off. You have been depending on someone and suddenly the source is cut off. You have never really had the chance of standing on your own, and your source of livelihood is cut off, it takes you awhile to stand. That was what happened to me. I started like that and it was as if I was in the dark trying to grow up, trying to stand. So, it took me quite awhile. I went through difficulties and I didn't find it funny. When my dad died, there was nothing and I was looking for someone to help me but nobody was there to assist. So, I had to help myself to get to where I am now.
What misconception do people have about you?
Because of the kind of roles I play, some people would look at me and say: 'this is a bad guy! This guy is a hard guy but I am not a bad guy.' Funny enough, I'm a very quiet guy, I don't need to blow my trumpet anyway; people who get close to me usually say so. I don't need to say it but I'm a quiet person, I'm responsible, I stay away from anything scandalous.
Do you smoke weed a little, maybe to be high when necessary?
I don't smoke. I have never taken Indian hemp before.
But you smoke in movies, yet you say you don't smoke?
Yeah! I do that in movies because you just have to make it look real. But I don't smoke. I probably take alcohol once in a year. If I'm caught drinking, it would not be more than once, twice, three times in a year. And that could just be one bottle, when my friends say 'old' boy take now, take.' Then I would just take a bottle so that they would not say I'm trying to behave like a saint, even though I'm trying to be responsible, but I don't want to paint them black. So, apart from that, I don't take alcohol because I don't feel like taking it.
Define your style?
I don't like following the crowd. I try to create my own style, I try to wear what I like, what I want to wear and not because that is what everybody is wearing. Before I choose any style, I would always want to know why I must wear it, whether it is good for me. If it is not good, I try to find what is good for me. I don't like following everybody's opinion in style. If an outfit fits me, I wear it, I don't care if it is an old thing. If it is okay for me and I think I can go for it, I go for it.
What is that fashion accessory you can't do without?
I can't do without sunglasses, I can't do without perfumes, and my perfumes must be designers' because it gives you a class and lasts long on you. And basically what I have been using is Calvin Klein. I can't do without wristwatches, I can't do without good shoes and my shoes must be designers'.
When you are down, how do you derive inspiration?
I do that through prayers, I'm born again and I'm close to God, I was the one that made my wife the kind of born again she is right now, I mean the intimacy she has with God.
Anybody looking at you won't believe what you are saying?
But it is true. Sometimes, I see myself as a CID for God. People don't see it but I do because it's all over me. You only see it when you are closer to me or when I have close interaction with people. But I love God, I try to respect God, I try to fear Him. I believe strongly that there is an end to this race, so it gives me courage not to miss rapture because of the truth I have known. I read Bible and the spirit of God tells me the truth.
You believe in rapture?
Big time! I believe in it. That makes me very cautious of what I do. It is not as if I'm a saint but I know that this thing is going to happen. So, as a married man if, there is anything I know I shouldn't do, I would try and avoid them. I know I have my weaknesses and I always tell God to help me watch my weaknesses so that at the end of the day, nothing would derail me from making heaven.
You just mentioned weakness, what is that weakness you have been trying to curb?
Yes, weakness in the sense that now, any woman may just want to tempt me. I wouldn't want anything that would probably put me on the lane of women, cult, homosexual etc because a lot of people are into it in the industry. So, I try to avoid anything that would make me inadequate in the sight of God. If it means not working so as not to miss heaven or if you don't want to give me a role, I don't care as long as I protect my integrity. It is God that makes a man. God gives you what He wants to give you.
How do you see the near naked dressing of our ladies?
I call it the spirit of the end time (laughs). It is the spirit of end time really. There are certain things that were talked about in the Bible that cannot be helped. When Bible says in the end time you would see immorality increasing, definitely, you can't avoid it manifesting in the lives of the young girls. So, I'm not surprised when I see these things happening because the Holy Bible had already said it.
Doesn't your wife wear skimpy stuff for you?
Why not? She wears skimpy things at times, after all she is wearing it for me. I mean it's for me. I sometimes encourage her, I say 'look, I don't like all these covering. Wear what I want you to wear, appear good for me because I love fashion a lot.'