For some time now, prolific actor Enebeli Elebuwa, has been bedridden with stroke. His ailment has been a matter of public interest as his colleagues in the industry try to raise funds for his welfare.
Enebeli’s health, at a point, was so bad that he was rumoured to have been taken to an herbalist in his home town, somewhere in Delta State. He also at a point sought “miracle healing” at Pastor Sign Fireman’s church, Perfect Christianity Mission in Surulere, and was allegedly healed until he cried out that the online video of him walking in the church was not genuine. In one of the latest efforts to save him, the African Independent Television showed him on the hospital bed, asking well meaning people to assist him financially and in any other ways.
From the time of Chris Erakpotobor, popularly known as KK Shanana, Erakpotobor died many years ago after a prolonged battle with stroke. Like some of his colleagues who fall into a similar category, he died, without money to either take care of his personal needs or cure himself of his illness.
Early in 2012 also, popular dramatist, James Iroha of The Masquerade fame, died after a long battle with glaucoma. Although his children have allegedly denied the report that he died in penury, Iroha was said to have suffered high blood pressure and blindness that kept him at home for many years. Many people believed that he deserved more than he might have had at the time of need.
Joe Layode, is currently one of those trying to keep head above water. Layode was at several times rumoured dead. But the actor who has paid his dues in the industry may be alive bearing his cross somewhere all alone. A few years ago, when this correspondent ran into him at the Lagos State University, his condition at the time was nothing to write home about. Layode became popular as Teacher Garuba in the rested drama series, Village Headmaster.
Nollywood actor, Prince James Uche, is said to be bedridden with diabetes and hypertension. The latest to join the infamous list of popular artistes struggling to survive is Yoruba actor, Ahmed Oduola, also known as Dento. Dento has been struck with stroke for some months and has also cried out for help. About a month ago, people attending to his needs said he requires about N250, 000 for the post-treatment. While many would wonder why a veteran artiste would request for a “meagre” N250, 000, the fact remains that he would not have asked if he was not in need of the money. The consolation also is that a good number of people have come to his help.
Pirates feed on their works with impunity. As soon as a new film is released, the pirates grab it, dub it and, as the saying goes, ‘spoil’ the market for them. When marketers then have problems, they are transferred to producers and actors, who bear the cross of penury. Some actors and actresses recently got displeased with the trend that they staged a protest against piracy in Lagos.
The artistes’ dilemma is compounded by poor marketing ethics, poor distribution system and a dwindling economy affecting the capacity of many people to buy films.