Meet Nollywood Stars | 13 March 2009 03:41 CET



On November 28 last year, popular actor and singer, Enebeli Elebuwa was attacked by a young man; identified as Dike; who tried to pluck his left eye, allegedly to make him blind. The attack left Elebuwa with a major injury such that he could hardly see until many good Samaritans home and abroad came to his aid.

The 62-year old entertainer was however sighted at a film location recently as he was preparing for shooting. He had been invited by Daddy Ejiro, the casting manager of the movie, Tears for Tomorrow to star in the movie, alongside Chief Alex Osifo, another top actor and a Nollywood star.

Asked if his health would allow him play the role, an elated Elebuwa told that he is now hale and hearty, and can resume his acting career despite his predicament.

“Tell them I'm no longer bedridden, I'm now as strong as a bull and I can now continue my work. Although I am yet to see clearly with my left eye, I can now go on working” explained Elebuwa who expressed his gratitude for all those who rallied round him and prevented him from going blind.

However, when asked about the allegation that he has a son in the Nigerian entertainment industry, the ailing actor denied, saying he has never abandoned any child in his life, but he quickly disclosed a son whom an Igbo woman (Ngozi) had for him in 1974. He has since then not set his eyes on the boy and the mother, since both left his brother's house 35 years ago.

In this interview conducted at the location of the soap, Tears for Tomorrow, Elebuwa who hails from Upkane in Otagunu local government area of Delta State spoke on his career in music and acting, noting that he would never stop singing praises to Jesus Christ, his saviour:

Three months after the attack
Until now, I've really not been doing anything because I am just recovering from a serious attack. Someone attacked me with a weapon, purposely to remove my left eye or to kill me. But I thank God, I still have my eye intact, although with some discomfort. I can work now as you can see I was invited to play a role in this movie. I am not blind but I can't see very clearly.
The guy stabbed me in the eye. But many people, locally and abroad, have offered me support. I am now okay and strong. I've just started working and I am not bed ridden. It's just that I can't see clearly with the left eye but I'm getting healed and ready to work now.

About an unclaimed son
I don't know about any son in the movie industry, I don't know who that is. The rumour I heard was that somebody said because he looks like me, then, he is my son. But I don't know of any woman that I ever befriended or married that bore me such a son. Even if his mother told him that I abandoned him, he should have come to me to let me know I'm his biological father.
I mean I've never abandoned any child in my life. That is the funny thing. In 1974, I lived with a woman called Ngozi; she had a baby boy for me whom I named Odinegwebana. I just returned to the country then and I asked the lady to stay with my brother. But before I arrived, my brother had kicked her out, claiming that she started messing around with people in the neighbourhood. That was the last time I saw her. But the boy was born in my house on January 4, 1974 and I took many photographs of him, which I still have today. So I don't know of anyone else who can claim to be my child. I have met many young men on this job who called me father. But if anyone of them is my biological child, he should come up to me and tell me who his mother was, and how he got to know that I'm his father.

Going into music
I 've been in showbiz before I went into civil service. I was in Sunny Okosuns band in the early days. I hailed from a very poor family. My father died before I came to Lagos and he died when I was just ten years old. I was left with my mother and other relations who did not really care about me. So I came to Lagos in search of job.

I was once a singer (1969) for Victor Olaiya's All Stars. Then we used to play at Crystal Garden after rehearsing somewhere at Obalende. I was not being paid at that time so I had to take a job as civil servant. I was working for the NTA and I was happy that I rose to the post of TV director before I retired in those days. I play jazz. Although I started with RnB. But my American experience actually made me to understand Jazz more than any other genre of music.

Producing an album
I will not dabble into producing an album on Jazz, because it won't sell. But I enjoy Jazz as a musical form for the soul. But if I would ever produce one, it would be on Gospel music. Not that I am born again as many people would say, but because I am a follower of Jesus Christ and I hope to follow him to the end.

All I believe about following Christ is for man to change his values of old. I found out
that more than 200 years ago, a man came for the sole purpose of saving men. He never wrote anything down on all that he did, rather people wrote about him, recording all his good works. People wrote about how he backed up his mission with miracles to prove he power of God in the lives of human beings. So I then decided that if I don't sing praises in honour of such a man, then I must have made a mistake in my lifetime, and I must have wasted my lifetime in this world.

The most important thing for me is to sing my praise songs for Christ in my privacy. I do this because I love it but not necessary to produce an album. I'm not doing this because I expect riches or any earthly gain, but because I know and believe He would save me. I have discovered that everything about this life is vanity. So if I worship Christ in my own crazy way, people should not blame me.

Tears for tomorrow
I'm happy to be associated with it because it is a beautiful story. This is the role of the young girl who has to fight injustice at all costs. We need heroes and heroines like that who can bring hope to our society. I love the play and the role they gave me. I'm expected to uncover crime in the soap.

TV Soaps
The first soap I did was Mirror in the Sun. I played in the first three pilot episodes and eventually I worked as an assistant producer/director in the soap. I had to leave the role I was given to enable me concentrate on production. I have been part of so many productions and I may not be able to remember all that now but recently I was part of Heaven's Gate, produced by Zik Okafor.

The first one I acted in was a film (celluloid) called Dinner with the Devil. It was produced by Sanya Dosumu in 1974/75. I played the role of a police officer investigating a crime and I can remember that I featured in other major films including Bisi Daughter of the River by Jab Adu and Eddie Ugboma's Oyenusi. When we started home movies, I featured in Journey To Hell. I cannot remember all but there is this particular movie titled Dark Goddess, which featured actress like Regina Askia and others. I have since done many others. I have been in the home movie industry since.

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