My ordeal in Europe

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It is troubled times for superstar actor, Emeka Ike, as he comes to grip with the recent loss of this father, a court case and the campaign to discredit him by brothers in same profession.

At the moment, there are several stories about his fight with Lancelot Imasuen, a Germany-based Nigerian movie producer; which has resulted in seizure of his (Ike's) personal belongings.

Apart from all that, he is slowly recovering from the one- year ban placed on him by movie marketers.

One year ban
Well, I did not put myself where I was. God places people in their positions. God has sustained me actually. I have been travelling, attending shows organised for us artistes abroad and I do have a company to run. So I have not really been idle although I miss acting.

Reasons for the ban
There were several reasons, although nobody has officially given us a reason. One was the complaint about laxity on the part of some artistes. Sometime when stardom gets into one's head, it can be very dangerous and negative. I heard some artistes come to location and give directors just one hour to finish their scene as they have to be in another location same day. I was not one of those who did that but a couple of us resisted it when the producers wanted to shortchange us as punishment for what others were doing. They felt the money was part of what was getting into the head of those who were giving them conditions. We were indicted for asking for what we think we are worth. The more popular you become, the more expectations the society places on you. It is beyond taking care of one's family. Our expenses go higher every day. We resisted although not officially because no one gave us the opportunity to speak before action was taken.

Current job
Yes, through my company. I have a full studio for editing and professional cameras for rent and some other basic equipment for film shooting. So, I may be out of acting but not out of work and as I mentioned earlier, I have been travelling around.

Trips abroad
Nigerians and Africans in Diaspora want to meet their stars that they have always been watching in Nigerian films and it's been fun to travel around Europe. Next week, I will be going to France for another of such. We are to be hosted by the Nigerian community and the ambassador. Meeting us is part of the programmes organised for the celebration of the Independence Anniversary on October 1. A couple of us will grace the occasion.

Sponsorship abroad
There are always rumours when someone is seen to be doing well. I merely went for a trip in Europe organised by Lancelot Imasuen. It was a trip around Europe, starting from Germany. Look at the posters (posters placed on the walls of his office building). I have sadly discovered that some people take advantage of the fact that people in Europe want to see us to exploit us. They plan shows, which they don't have enough money to carry through, and that was one of the reasons I walked out of the show organised by Lancelot. I called it off because I am a CEO of a company in Nigeria and I don't want to go to Europe and be messed up by some hustlers especially not a shoe seller.

The shoe seller
Lancelot organised the show in conjunction with one Nigerian who sells shoes in Germany. What they put into those shows cannot be up to two million naira, which is not up to what we get for some jobs here. Since I walked out of that show, Lancelot and his team have been spreading cheap stories about me. They did not meet the terms of the contract agreement. They promised to lodge us in a hotel and I asked for a five -star hotel. They only put us in a hotel for one day and starved us. The next day, they came to tell us that they have rented an apartment for us. They said they would send someone from their office to cook for us and that sounded appetizing. We moved into the house and three days later, we found out that one dubious Nigerian who has not paid his rent for years rented the house. What he does is to take money from visitors needing accommodation for a short while in Germany. That is the kind of dirty business they do and the landlord was coming everyday to knock on our heads. The third day, I asked who the Dutch man that has been coming to scream at us was and it was then that someone interpreted for me. The man said he keeps seeing strange faces in the house and he was going to call the police.

I had to call Lancelot and Everest (The shoe seller) to move us out of the place immediately. I told them that any negative publicity from that place would reflect badly on my country. They later put us in a house in Italy where if the owners of the houses hear car horns, they peeped out the windows ready to call police. How much were they going to pay me to go through all that nonsense? My business here makes money enough to live on so I am not that hungry. I called off the show because they were trying to treat me shabbily. The next show we are going for in France now, I had to tell them that they must get the Nigerian Embassy in that country involved or I would not be part of it . So if they mess me up, I will call the embassy to come and intervene. I am a proud Nigerian and whatever happens to me in Europe will reflect on my country.

He said he wanted to teach me a lesson and seized my things. I have, however, learnt my lessons well. Before I follow anybody out of this country, I must make sure everything is well planned. Now, our show in France, NIDO (Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation) is involved. They were here and I have asked them to draw up a proper contract.
But Lancelot is just living on people's glory. All the things they seized from me, they have not returned.
Court case (Sunday Sun report):
Well, the man arrested me illegally and I was detained for four days. They said I gave false evidence but the court has struck out the case. Mr Anthony Fumudo, the man fighting me over my father's land, is trying to take advantage of the connections he has. He was a former SSS boss and a leader of one of the Ijaw people's youth movement.

He was in the last constitutional conference so he has money to throw around. My father had been on that property before he stepped on it. Imagine that my father died of hypertension and the same week he died, that man arrested me. So, my father's corpse was in the mortuary and I was in detention. That is to tell you that the man is an oppressor and wants to frustrate me. He must stop treating me as a boy. I have reported all the threats to my life to the police and if anything happens to me today, he should be held responsible. He had better let the court handle the matter. God is taking his position and if they say the land belongs to him, I will pay his damages, he must stop using the police to threaten me. It's these big men who make the police dirty. They are being manipulated by all these men but he can't take my life. What is mine, I will stand by and no threat will shake me.

I am a Lagosian by birth and all my education was here in Lagos. I studied Mechanical Engineering in the university. We are nine in the family from the same parents; Elder and Mrs. Nicholas Ike. I recently lost my dad but my parents were the founders of Assemblies of God Church at Isolo. Now, we are all into our own thing now, all scattered into various professions.

Getting into Nollywood
Ernest Obi actually introduced me to Uncle Charles Owoyemi. Ernest was then on the set of Fortunes- a soap opera. He was my close friend and I wanted to act like him. I was very nervous and had lots of butterflies the first time I was auditioned but apparently I did it well because I was invited again after a week. That was the beginning and I have never looked back.
I started with Deadly Affair in 1984 although soaps were popular then. I have since done several films and have lost count of how many. I am a busy man and there was a time I worked non-stop. I don't go to clubs and don't spend time fraternising.

Being a father even as a playboy
I was telling my wife this morning that if she gets pregnant again, I would remove her womb (laughter). I am really scared to get her pregnant again. I have two troublesome boys but I love them dearly. It gives me an indescribable joy to watch them run around as Superman and Spiderman in my house. It feels good to have someone to leave your legacy for. If you have not tried it, you won't know what you are missing during all those lonely periods. As for my reputation as a playboy or ladies' man, it was never really on the negative side. I never really played around. I have not always got involved with ladies but I have tried to be a role model

Me and my wife
I shot a film, 7-12, and I had to take a loan of N3million naira from someone. I was so scared that I was going to church all the time, praying that all my investment would not go down the drain. I have to pay back the money and my father was not rich so I could not afford any loss. I was attending Fountain of Life Church then and one day Pastor Bimbo Odukoya said young men must preserve themselves for marriage. She said, "If you have too many girlfriends, you won't know when your wife passes by". It made sense to me and I parted ways with all my ex-relationships. So, that period I was in the studio editing and I have not had a bath for about three days when I looked out of the window and saw this beautiful half-caste in front of Tade Ogidan's office. She was so natural and she never had too much make-up on or the usual eye shadow that I see everyday. She looked shy with a nice personality. I saw all these without speaking to her. I sent someone to call her but I could not get to meet her that day.
Three days later I met her again at the same place but this time I went to meet her but I could not even introduce myself properly because I have forgotten how to toast a lady. They usually became my friends immediately but this one was not even my fan. I managed to talk to her anyhow and that was early 2000.

When did you get married?
We got married August 2000. When you meet your wife, you can't afford to waste time. No long courtship for me because I knew immediately that she would be my wife when I met her. I even asked her to marry me that first day but I guess she thought I was crazy. When I met her, it was really difficult because I had to travel out of Lagos immediately and I spent the next three months in different locations but something told me she would still be there for me when I got back.
On that first day, she told me she was too poor to be my wife and I was touched by her humility. As soon as I got back to Lagos, I went to look for her at the place she told me she lived. I was so tired of all the fake girls around me and she was like a breath of fresh air. One thing girls don't know is that guys know when you are fake.
Everything happened naturally and we fell in love. Her mum resisted our union at first because she felt her daughter deserved a better man but today everything is okay.

Five years in marriage
You need to see my wife dancing for me this morning at the balcony when I was leaving for work. I was playing music in my car and I just felt lucky. We are still the way we are five years ago even after two kids.

Afro and braided hair –any venture into music?
You know show business is dynamic. It's always evolving. I just want to look different but nothing to do with music. I just own a studio and we hope to produce music stars soon. I do play many musical instruments but I don't think I can sing well enough to be a musician. I will stick to my acting.

Going back to acting
Acting is what I know how to do best. I have not done anything else and no bank will employ me now because they will say they can't pay me. My fans have been calling and asking when I will be back. I look forward to going back and I will continue to give my best.