•Uduaghan, others pay tributes
By SAM ANOKAM and OBASI AGBAI
Veteran Nollywood actor, Enebeli Elebuwa is dead. He passed on Tuesday night at an Indian hospital in New Delhi . He was 66. According to an online site, Nigeriafilms.com which gave the name of the hospital as Asian Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS), New Delhi , Elebuwa was admitted in a Lagos hospital in 2001 when he was reported to have had partial stroke but was unable to get adequate treatment there.
Early this year, he attended a miracle service at Dr. Sigh Fireman’s church in Surulere and was reported to have walked only to claim weeks after that his healing was fake. This raised a lot of controversy about the state of his health which the pastor, however, defended. The Delta State government relocated him to an Indian medical facility in Abuja when his condition was deteriorating in Lagos before the same government flew him to India where he finally “checked out” Tuesday night. In between, Nollywood Diva, Stella Damasus, was reported to have moved him to a private hospital in Abuja as well as paid the bill.
Elebuwa, who hailed from Utagba Uno, Delta State, passed on shortly after the death of another veteran actor, Pete Eneh, who was amputated few weeks ago in connection with diabetes. Elebuwa featured in over 125 movies. He would be remembered mostly by a popular advert in the mid 80s discouraging young Nigerians not to travel out of the country in search of greener pastures but to stay and salvage the situation. And that earned him the sobriquet, ‘Andrew.’ Commenting on the tragedy, prolific actor and director, Charles Inojie who confirmed the death of Elebuwa on his Black Berry broadcast said: “ It is sad that Nollywood left some of our colleagues to die the death that are avoidable. If he had got the right medical attention, the ailment wouldn’t have deteriorated.
He was down financially and that incapacitated his receiving medical attention when needed. We, however, thank the Delta State government for flying him to India, but he did not become a citizen of Delta State on a sick bed. Government did not have to wait till situation gets out of hand before acting. This is a man that served his state and country selflessly. It is just unfortunate. The saddest thing about the demise of the award-winning actor is the fact that he probably originated from the wrong country. A country where individuals who through their personal endeavours earn respect for their nation are seldom recognized.
As a young man, Elebuwa had the option of taking his talents elsewhere but he chose to stay back and develop his country. How much has his country given him in return is one question we must continue to ask our leaders on a daily basis. May his soul rest in peace.” Cerebral actor, Emeka Enyiocha also, said: “Well, there is nothing much to say about it. Infact, I don’t have anything to say dead men, because when they were alive, they needed our help but we all turned our backs on them including me. So, what am I commenting? It is no longer necessary.” Meanwhile, Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan has commiserated with the Elebuwa family and the entertainment industry over the tragedy, saying that his death was “painful and saddening”.
In a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Sunny Ogefere, the governor said that he was shocked that the concerted efforts made by well- meaning Nigerians to save his life did not yield the desired result. “I am particularly touched because as a renowned Deltan and talented Nollywood actor, Elebuwa still had a lot to offer to Delta, to Nigeria and the entertainment world”. “I recall that the thespian came to limelight in the 80s when he played the character, Andrew in the Federal Government campaign to get Nigerians to believe in Nigeria.
And since then, he remained dominant in the entertainment industry”, he added. Uduaghan said that Elebuwa was full of life until he had to battle with some illness unsuccessfully. He prayed God Almighty to grant the family, Nigerians and the colleagues in the entertainment industry, the fortitude to bear the loss.