Ojukwu, my hero–Osita, actor

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100 Nigeria’s Centennial Heroes Series

People have different ways of defining a hero.  I don’t have a personal definition.  But since you are asking me, I would define a hero as someone who stood out for people, who sacrificed for people, who suffered for people, who speak out for people, who guided people so well, who lead people.  Somebody like Nelson Mandela, I think he is a hero.  I would not hesitate in calling him my hero from a global perspective.  People have different perceptions of the way they see heroes.

In Nigeria, I would pick Ikemba Ojukwu as a hero.  Ojukwu tried a lot for his people, even though people are still criticizing him.  Even in death, he is still a hero.  Or let me say he was a hero.  He was one person who stood up and sacrificed his life to defend his people, who fought for his people, who spoke out against injustice, who spoke out to correct some issues that he felt was not good in his country.  He tried to call for unity and justice at a time when unity and justice were not forthcoming.  And he fought for it.  He sacrificed for it.  He spent his earnings for it.  I think he deserves to be called a hero, a Nigerian hero.

I was not around when the war broke out.  I was not yet born.  But I heard all kinds of stories about what our people went through during the Nigerian Civil War.  From what I heard and from what I read in history about Ojukwu, I think he should be called a hero.

He is not just a hero.  He is a leader.  He is a man who is courageous.  He is a man who is determined.  He is a man that you can follow and that is why he is a leader.  Ojukwu is an example of determination and courage.

Coming to acting, which is my field, I won’t say I have a particular hero.  But I like Richard Mofe Damijo a lot.  I like his acting.  He is somebody I look up to.  I like the way he acts and the way he carries himself, when he has to play a role in the movies.  He plays his roles credibly.  Among the female actresses, Genevieve Nnaji is also good.

I have not acted with RMD.  So far, no script has brought two of us together.  I am looking forward to the day we can act together.  That would be a great experience for me.  In every role I play, I try to do my best.  I have played in all kinds of movies, some of them challenging.  Movies like Criminal Law, Jadon, the Godfather, Rhythm of gods, Mirror Boy and so many others.

In Mirror Boy I was playing the character of a spirit who came in a human form to guide and lead somebody.  I played the role of a father to the boy.  I tried to put myself in that character, not to see myself as a human being in the movie because I was not.  The character was not a human being in the movie.  It’s a spirit that just came out to lead the boy to his destination.  It was challenging—the way I walked and talked.  I tried to put myself in that character.  Genevieve was good in the movie.  She did well.  All of us did well.

I thank God for the talent he has given me to act and make people happy.  Everything I am today, it’s all thanks to my movie career.  In terms of wealth, I am not poor.  I will say I am comfortable.  I try to invest.  I invest in real estate, I invested in human beings.  And for me that is the best investment you can have.  Investing in human beings.  What is called capacity-building.

Over the years, life has taught me to relax, to have patience.  Life has to taught to be on the move, to get moving to seek for whatever you want and not giving yourself limitations to say “this is what I can do and this is what I cannot do.”  With determination and faith in God, you can do all things.  Life has taught be to be focused and getting things done.

Right now, I have just written a book.  It was borne out of my desire to see myself as an inspiration to a lot of young minds.  And I want them to feel something that is coming out from me, something more thought-provoking, something that will keep them motivated and inspired to say that this is coming from Osita.  The writings came out from my life experiences.  I have always wanted to be a writer.  And the only way is to write.  So I decided to put my thoughts on paper.  If you have something inside you and you don’t bring it out, you don’t feel fulfilled.

I invited an artist to support the writings with illustrations that would suit the quotes.  So that when you are reading it, you will be able to illustrate it with the artworks.  It is a book filled with wisdom quotes based on what I have experienced in my life, in my day-to-day activities and being able to capture things the way it should be.

If you call me a philosopher, sure I will answer.  I am pushing the book all by myself. I am inviting the government, state government and its agencies to come into it and see that the book is distributed and people would be able to read it.

From my little experience as a writer, I can say that it is not easy to write at all.  Writing is a mental work.  It is very challenging.  It requires a lot of self-discipline, a lot of practice and a lot of determination.  It is very difficult to write, I must say.

I am not a fictional writer.  I write based on reality even though I work in a world of drama.  Drama is something else.  You can just wake up and start performing.  Drama is not you, it is a character that you are playing.  You get into the character and you start acting.  But in real life, you are not playing yourself.  If you are a child in a drama, in real life you are not a child.  You don’t need to behave like a child.  Yes, a lot of people mistake me for a child in real life, but that is their problem.  I am not a child.  I don’t think I look like a child.  I don’t allow that to bother me because I am not seeing it.  People can see me and take me as a child, but that person is not with his senses because from the way I dress, the way I look, I don’t think I am looking like a child.  People can meet me at first and have a spontaneous reaction of seeing a child but when they sit down and look very well, they would understand that I am not a child.

As an actor, I love to see myself as a professional.  Professionalism is being disciplined with your job.  When you are called to come out by seven o’clock, you are there on time to do your job.  You do your job, you rehearse, you read your script, you prepare yourself for the role. That is professionalism.  And being ethical about what you do.

For every kid who wants to be an actor, you have to look inside you and see what you think, what your instinct is telling you that you can do.  Some people are good in business and they just leave it and come and be a musician or an actor.  At the end of the day, they won’t make it. I think the first thing is to look inside you, listen to your heart and what it is telling you about who you are and what you would like to be.  The second thing is to attach yourself to that field you want to belong and seek knowledge of the field.  You have to pay your dues.  You have to go to school to seek knowledge.  That is very important.  Then you have to choose a role model, select the good actor that you want to emulate.  When you come on set you listen to your director, your producer.  Then of course, you have to do your homework.  You have to familiarize yourself with the script and rehearse.  I do rehearse at home in front of the mirror to see how well I play the role.  It all boils to hard work.  Hard work makes everything looks easy on screen.

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