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Nollywood: Lack of financial mgt, endowment for arts blamed for high mortality rate

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Enugu govt to give Mr. Ibu, Junior Pope befitting burial

In the last 10 months, Nollywood has lost some of its best performers to the cold hands of death, the most recent being the demise of comic actors who have made many homes happy as a result of their brilliant acting.

More telling is the deaths of three comic actors between January and March 2, 2024.
On 4 January, 2024, the death of Nollywood actor, Chief Deji Akinremi, popularly known as ‘Olofa Ina’ was announced. He died at the age of 73.Many in Yoruba genre of Nollywood are familiar with thespian dexterity of late Adedeji, as his acting combined sobriety with comicality that made the man to stand out.
Before establishing himself in the world of theatre, Baba Olofa Ina founded the Olofa Ina Theatre Group in 1972, making significant strides by pioneering the staging of epic histories of Yoruba Warlords. These productions were recorded by Nigerian Television, Ibadan in the 70s.
Some of his notable productions included Ija Omode, Idaamu Otunba, Ewe Orun, Kabiyesi Olodumare, Mayegun, Ejo Ngboro, Lisabi Agbongbo Akala.
Again on 1 March, 2024, the Nollywood industry mourned the loss of Quadri Oyebamiji, affectionately known as Sisi Quadri. His death came a day before Mr Ibu’s death was announced.
Known for his versatility and remarkable contributions to Yoruba movie industry, Sisi Quadri’s passing left a void in the hearts of many as he died on Friday, March 1st, after a protracted illness.
Quadri entered the movie industry in 2002 in a movie called ‘Koto Aye,’ directed by the late Alhaji Ajileye. He was well known for his role in the movie “Seniyan Seranko,” which was released on December 4, 2004.
Sisi Quadri distinguished himself through a unique acting style, often portraying characters, who were known for their sharp-tongued wit and mockery.
He was also an entertainer, Master of Ceremony (MC), and content creator, who became popular after he began skit-making with a colleague Funmi Awelewa.
Sadly a day after Sisi Quadri’s demise, the death of popular Nollywood actor, John Okafor, known as Mr. Ibu occurred. He died on 2 March, 2024 after protracted illness. He was said to have died of cardiac arrest.
In October 2023, the actor revealed that he was suffering from an ailment that threatened to amputate one of his legs. He said he was struck by the problem while on a movie set with other Nollywood actors and actresses.
Mr. Ibu had appealed to his fans and the public for prayers and financial assistance to cover his medical bills. He also shared a video of himself lying in a hospital bed, expressing his fear of losing his leg.
Mr. Ibu had acted in more than 200 Nollywood movies including Mr. Ibu (2004), Mr. Ibu 2 (2005), Mr. Ibu and His Son, Coffin Producers, Husband Suppliers, International Players, Mr.Ibu in London (2005), Police Recruit (2003), 9 Wives (2005), Ibu in Prison (2006) and Keziah (2007). Just last week, another actor and comedian, Amaechi Muonugor, passed after a long battle with kidney failure.

Last year, Saint Obi, Ojo Arijafe popularly known as Fadeyi Oloro and Murphy Afolabi died and Nigerians were still shocked by this harvest of deaths when the new year 2024 witnessed the ripper’s hands again.
Experts and Nigerians in general have long lamented the absence of proper financial management by these actors, who during their hay days had made good fortunes, while others decry the lack of national endowment for the arts or any financial platform that can help artists in distress.
Last year, the commissioner for Arts & Culture, Ekiti State, Prof. Ojo Bakare Rasaki, and Jahman Anikulapo looked back on the reason for the stall of the National Endowment Funds for the Arts.
In the Holding Talks interview session, the commissioner, Bakare, earlier stated that Ekiti State had entrenched in its 2023 budget an endowment fund for the state’s creative sector, which can provide creatives grants, loans and other intervention funds to stage plays, produce films among all else in the sector.
He said the Ekiti example can be replicated at the national level, where the struggle for the provision of an Endowment Fund has been stalled for decades.
Since the establishment of the 1991 Act for the provision of a National Endowment Fund for the Arts in Nigeria, discusses towards the achievement of the fund have yielded no results.
Bakare, who served on the committee for the Endowment Fund for the Arts in 2018 described it as fruitless. This situation, he blamed on tussle amongst artistic associations on which group is the lead to the push for the fund.

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Though he was, according to reports, already undergoing radiotherapy and chemotherapy at the UCH, because of the serious nature of the ailment, he may require further treatment abroad. And once again, it was time for artistes to begin to move cap in hand seeking for financial assistance for someone, who has devoted the most of his life to the service of his nation

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