Thirty years and counting to forty in Nigeria's audiovisual industry: most spent at the country's Nigerian Television Authority (NTA). He retired into Nigeria's growing movie industry, Nollywood. Enebeli Elebuwa a seasoned actor, talks about his role as "Andrew" in a campaign to improve Nigerian patriotism, which is suspected very low in the 21st Century. Many Nigerians yearn for better lives in Europe, America or Asia. Enebeli advises Nigerian greener pasture seekers in Europe, America or Asia illegally: sometimes dragging the image of the largest black nation on earth into mud.
"Men I'm checking out. I'm tired of no water, light, and no good roads. You can't even find a bottle of soft drink." These words characterized Enebeli's one man act, "Andrew", posturing at the Muritala Mohammed International Airport right on national TV, 1984.The military administration had just toppled the elected government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Nigeria's Executive President of the Second Republic, 1979- 1983.
Enebeli believes soft drinks are available now, and we can buy. But the point he made then was, "… one could move out to other places for experience…good for everybody to know what obtains in other lands…so that you can work to see how you can change your environment."
He asked the audience, "Those other countries you go to, who made them what they are?" The audience answered, "People!" So he said, "Now we are going to stay here and make this place a better place to live in."
"For what? Some of us go out to do 419(fraud in Nigeria parlance) and bring us bad name." He met young men who swore, "I beg nobody goes out to do genuine business o!" Certainly referring to illegal emigrants, who might have been fooled that the streets of Western countries are paved with gold.Enebeli apparently referring to a Nigerian's recent boxing prowess in America, says some "Nigerians are working…and bringing a good image to this nation…"
Enebeli frowns at qualified Nigerians who beg to survive on the streets of Europe. He wonders what to do to convince them to return home. He is really worried that children are trafficked, out of Nigeria. "If you tell a group of people now: we're going to take you to Belgium…Germany they will sell everything and follow you….Those of us who have been there know it is not easy for a black man to survive in a Whiteman's land. Even with your qualification, they'll still ask you to sit for some exams, and you'll not even get the job. But if you are in your country… qualified you get the job. I'm recognized everywhere in Nigeria. If I go to Hollywood today, it will not even be easy for me as an actor, unless they call me to come and work for them. And that they will have to arrange!"
The Impact of Corruption in Nigeria.
"We can stop that corruption. Who are the corrupt people?" He shoots back: "We are the corrupt people. And we can see each other!" So "Andrew" came at the right time in Enebeli's thinking, but he wonders if it came to early too. Because the Nigerian emigration for scarce greener pastures seem to have worsened the past 20years.
"Andrew" saw Africans in a documentary headed for Europe from Algeria. They lived in huts worst than those in African villages. We need "…to do more awareness….After all the Jews are everywhere…but they protect themselves everywhere they go." Enebeli thinks economic conditions do not really force Africans out. "Some people say they don't get jobs…If you don't have criminality in your blood, will you leave your own country … to steal in another place... We are setting our own time by other people's time in Nigeria. There are so many jobs in this country, our people are lazy."
On Western Reparation for Enslavement of the Black Race.
Nigerian ancestors suffered slavery? No excuse for criminality, because the image of the black race is at stake. There is need for social re-programming to control emigration. Nigeria should rather have ambassadors, than criminals. After all there are British, German and Belgian prostitutes, so why should Nigerian women prostitute on the streets of Western countries.
Colonialism brought cultural brainwashing. African Nubians showed the black race was responsible for Egyptian civilisation.They were kind and tolerant towards strangers, and those they trusted hunted and drove them into the wilderness. "Now if we meet the Nubians they are all half-castes, because they inter-married…."
Let's ask: "Are we human beings or animals? Do we feel inferior to the rest of the world? Yes we feel inferior to some because of slavery. Look at what they did…when they finished with slavery: they became our colonial matters, and went they left neo-colonialism."
Enebeli Eneboluwa fitted the Andrew character in that campaign during the Buhari-Idiagbon military regime. It was strongly against social indiscipline. General Mohammadu Buhari (rtd), the leader then believed, if Nigerians gathered and sold firewood they were not unemployed. Illegal Nigerian emigrants seem unaware of that, because they dream of driving jeeps and living in big apartments. Enebeli believes strongly in his contribution as a reluctant "Andrew" who finally decided to stay put and make Nigeria a better place. Lets' hope the incumbent; President Yar'ardua will rely on such patriotic individuals to run Nigeria.
Veteran actor, Enebeli Elebuwa, has died in an Indian hospital.
Elebuwa, who died on Tuesday night, had been battling the effects of a stroke for sometime and undergone treatment at some hospitals in Nigeria before being moved abroad.
The illness had kept him bedridden for sometime.
Elebuwa was well known for the role he played as Andrew in a campaign by the Federal Government in the 80s to discourage Nigerians from fleeing the country.
The immediate President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, Mr. Segun Arinze, confirmed Elebuwa’s death on the telephone.
He said, “He fought gallantly. He was a great actor. We all called him Andrew but unfortunately, he has checked out.
“We thank the Delta State Government which stood by him. We also thank the Delta State Commissioner for Tourism, Richard Mofe-Damijo, for his efforts.”
More details later.
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RIP...you'll finally rest. God gives and takes. May the good Lord give his family and all Nollywood members the fortitude to bear this loss. It is well.