Saint Obi, Iyabo Obasanjo: Where are they now?

These people once thrilled Nigerians in their respective offices, but long after they left office and various vocations, not much has been heard about them again; ELEOJO IDACHABA writes.

Saint Obi

The history of the entertainment industry in Nigeria cannot be complete without Obinna Nwafor popularly known and addressed as Saint Obi, as he is one of the pioneer actors in what is today’s acting industry, having acted so far in not less than 60 movies. This Theatre Arts graduate from the University of Jos came to limelight through acting in 1996 and featured in several movies like Festival of Fire; State of Emergency; Narrow Escape; Crying Angel; Benita; Fantasy and a number of other movies.

Obi who reportedly announced his intention to quit acting years back after impressive outings said the decision was in line with his conviction to work on other aspects of his life. Although it was rumoured by his critics that the decision was because he could no longer secure acting roles, an impression he was quick to counter in defence of his intention. According to Obi, the current Nollywood is though getting bigger, it’s not growing better.

“The Nollywood I was part of in the 90s and early 2000 is no longer what it is today as promoters and government are not helping the industry,” he had said. Whether he is correct or not, it is left for practitioners and industry watchers to prove him right or wrong. While his career lasted, he won several awards like The Best Actor in Nigeria Award by The African Movies Academy; The Most Prominent Actor Award by City People Entertainment; Best Actor in a Leading Role by Nollywood Movies Award and a number of others. Since he took to the backstage of the entertainment industry years back for the other aspects of his life, not much has been heard about him anymore.

Iyabo Obasanjo

Mrs. Iyabo Obasanjo Bello is the daughter of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, but beyond being the daughter of a former president, she was active in politics and rose to become a senator to represent Ogun Central from 2007 to 2011 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Every attempt to return to the upper chamber in 2011 failed as she was defeated by Gbenga Obadara. Before then, she was involved one way or the other in the administration of her state, Ogun, under the administration of Gbenga Daniel as governor where she was the commissioner for health.

While in the Senate, she was the chairman of the health committee and member of the committees on security and intelligence, land transport, science and technology, education, national planning and inter-parliamentary. Many Nigerians can still recall that in April 2003, precisely on the day of the general elections that brought her into the Senate, her car was shot at. Luckily, she was not in the car but three adults and two children who were in the car that day died.

Many say, like her father, she is somehow controversial. For instance, in 2008, she came under the scrutiny of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for her role in the unremitted budgetary allocation for the Ministry of Health she supervised in the Senate. While others refunded the amount they allegedly shared among themselves and two former ministers were shown the way out of the cabinet, Iyabo said the nine-member committee she chaired lobbied the funds from the ministry. She also maintained that the money was spent on a conference on capacity-building some members of the committee attended in Ghana.

The matter got to a head one day when she was alleged to have escaped from her residence in Abuja by jumping over her fence on hearing that officials of the EFCC were at the entrance of her gate. In 2009, the case was thrown out of the High Court for lack of merit. She, however, described the allegation as sheer blackmail, saying all that was because she was the daughter of a former president whom the sitting administration was not comfortable with. Since then, it’s not clear where she is except for some controversial letters she was alleged to have written to her father about six years ago.

Kalu Otisi

Whenever the name Kalu Otisi is mentioned, what reminds one about him is that he was a broadcaster on the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) for many years where he was a delight to viewers in many homes as he read the network news @ nine. With a voice that reverberates through the tube in an alluring manner, one cannot but tune in to the end whenever he is on. That was Kalu Otisi on the screen. But for a long while after he took a break from the tube, he became the spokesperson of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), an agency of the government charged with the responsibility of training Nigerians in the oil and gas sector as head, Press and External Relations Unit. He carried on this assignment with a sense of vigour until he was replaced in 2016.

He is someone with a sense for details and excellence as he has no patience for shoddy jobs. This was one major area he had problems with some contractors who bid for jobs in PTDF. He is pleased whenever due diligence is carried out on any proposal to his office. His wife, Olamma, a chaplain who has spent the bulk of her life with him, said, “Kalu Otisi is my husband. He is ever so supportive and encouraging. He is willing to do anything that would empower and free me to be all I can be and fulfill God’s plan for us. He supported me to go to the Bible College where some other men do not see any sense in it. He is the best life partner ever.” However, since he left PTDF, where is he?Please this is featureShow quoted text