I can never live apart from my husband — Ngozi “Ije Kpums” Nwosu
She is unmistakably the most visible cross-over artiste Nollywood has produced to date, having starred severally in English, Igbo and Yoruba movies. She cut her teeth as an actor in the first ever movie made in video in Nigeria; “Living in Bondage”, where she did absolute justice to the mischievous character “Egomen”. Since then, she was never found wanting in spinning surprises with her role interpretation. Her high point came in the evergreen comedy movie “Ikuku”, playing the character of a local fair weather chic; “Ije Kpums”, the name that stuck to her like white to rice for a very long time. Ngozi Nwosu is her real names, and acting is her vocation.
Ngozi seem to have a thing with character interpretation that makes her stand out. In her words, “I try to bring out the best anytime I am giving a character to interpret”. Your Citytracker encountered the likeable and easy going actress in Lagos last week and in her usual character, she let it all out. ENJOY:
Rumours are rife that your marriage collapsed because your husband was intimidated by your profile
That is nonsense… the rumours are not true.
What kind of job does he do?
I can't answer that question.
Was he uncomfortable with the fact that you were a public figure?
I can't answer that?
Why did you think the union broke up?
I don't know. All I know is that I was married for three years and it did not work out for us.
How many children did the union produce?
What do you have to say about the talks that actresses don't stay in marriage for long?
It is nonsense. If there is bound to be problems in marriage, it can happen. It does not matter the kind of job you do. Whether you are a banker, an actor, a chartered accountant or a lawyer. When marriage does not work, it does not work, period.
It is ironic that when an actor suffers setback in his marriage it makes headline news. Why are people not talking about the fiascos that politicians and their siblings call marriage. Which they contract with millions of Naira and do not last for one month. What of the unions that other professionals contract that fails? Is it only the actor that causes his or her on marriage to suffer hic-up? These people are just being hypocritical.
Are you planning on remarrying?
I don't want to talk about it
I have my reasons for asking
Do you want to “toast” me?
That possibility might not be overruled.
Seriously I think you are still very eligible.
The norm today for Nollywood actresses is to chase foreign based spouses. Have you given that a thought? What if a foreign based cute Nigerian guy proposes to you?
I won't say no to it. But I would've done a proper investigation of his pedigree. I cannot also marry a man who will keep me here in Nigerian while he lives abroad. It is either he comes back home or I go to live with him there. I can never live apart from my husband.
Most of my desperate colleagues have fallen victim to the mischievous ones amongst these foreign based husbands. Some of them come with the intention to deceive. They keep one wife abroad and keep another in Nigeria.
I am not asking anybody not to marry a foreign based Nigerian guy. All am against is unnecessary craze to chase them about. Most of these girls marry these guys just for the purpose of showing off to people. They are not interested whether the guy is a fraudster or a jailbird. In most cases when they eventually go to meet the man there, they get stuck.
I heard you left Fuji House of Commotion.
Yes. I am no more part of the programme.
I and the producer, Amaka Igwe disagreed on the fee I am asking for. She does not think I deserved to get what is accruable to me despite all the money she makes from the series.
She proved to me that she was only interested in bettering her life and cares less about others.
You are a very versatile artistes. But despite this, your appearances in Yoruba movies are very limited.
It is the Nigerian thing. People must question your modus operandi, even when you want to be seen as just a human being, who is not interested in tribal sentiments.
Nollywood has been comatose for a while, what have you been doing?
I have always been a strong believer in the saying that when one door closes, another will open. The lull in the industry afforded me the opportunity to exploit my other abilities. The fruit of that adventure is a radio drama programme which is being sponsored by Onga and syndicated in radio stations all over Nigeria.
There are talks that Igbo films are to be re-introduced, how do you feel knowing that you cut your teeth in acting in an Igbo film
First of all let me say this that the problem of the average Igbo man is that he chooses not to be focused. We should all go and hide our heads in shame. Let's face it, right from inception of the Yoruba movie industry, they set out to make Yoruba language films and they have not deviated till date, and they are still improving in the quality of their films, without even the though of deviating.
Would you believe that the same Kenneth Nnebue, who started this Nollywood revolution with an Igbo film; “Living in Bondage” was the one sponsoring Yoruba films then? Look at what is happening today. Kenneth Nnebue made a mark with “Living in Bondage”; an Igbo film, he left it and went for English language films, since then, nobody thought of going back to the basics. Is it not a shame on us. We Igbos… we like to copy. Copy cats. We feel whatever we lay out hands to do we do it better than everybody. We feel, if we start producing English language films, we can do it better that the white man, which is a big lie.
Believe me, if our producers had stuck to making Igbo language films and kept improving in quality, they would not have hit this crossroads, where they are now stuck, because they want to conquer the world when they have not even conquered Nigeria.
You can never portray the white man's culture better than him, just like the white man cannot portray the African culture more than the African.
I am not saying they should not produce English films. But it must not be done to the detriment of films with our mother tongue.
What do you have to say about efforts to revive Nollywood?
First of all they should go back to the drawing board. Presently Nollywood is one big fragmented industry with guilds, but no unifying umbrella body to monitor their activities.
This issue should be thoroughly considered and dealt with. Let us formulate a system whereby an umbrella body is established that the guilds would be answerable to.
Talk about all your experiences in the different roles you have played
I made my mark in character interpretation in “Living in Bondage” where I was fondly called “Egomen”. When I acted in “Ikuku”, I was called “Ije Kphums” and the name overshardowed that of “Egomen”. One thing about the characters I play is that I try to enter into them. Whatever character I have played had always stuck in the mind of fans, because whatever role I am given, I bring out the best in me to do it.
Look at Fuji House of Commotion for example. The character of “Peace” that I played stood out and helped to give the show a household name.
I learnt you are now a born again Christian. How is your Christian life?
Yes. I have been a born again Christian for a while now. My Christian life is wonderful; the Lord has been good to me.
Describe your commitment to faith, especially your prayer life.
“Ah! No…no ask me-o. God know say I no dey pray too much”. But that has not stopped him from blessing me. As you can see I am the apple of His eyes.
Send a message to upcoming girls who desperately want to act.
Yes of course. I have noticed that they are not only desperate but dangerous also. My advice to them is to follow their dreams. There is no short cut it the promised land here. It is not by sleeping with men. You need to work hard to be the best, that way, opportunities would chase you to the pinnacle of success in the movie industry. It might take a while, but if you know your onions and work hard, you will get there.
Thank you for your time.
It is my pleasure.
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