Ugbomah bids entertainment bye, needs N50m for treatment abroad
The name Eddie Ugbomah cannot be forgotten easily in the Nigerian and African movie industry, especially with iconic films like The Rise and Fall of Oyenusi (1977), The Mask (1979), Oil Doom (1980), Death of a Black President (1984), The Boy is Good (1982), Omiran (1986), among others. These films signposted happenings in the 1970s and 1980s, aside foretelling some of the things to befall Nigeria as a nation.
Encouraged to filmmaking by the statement of the late American actor, Charlton Heston, during the premier of Ben-Hur in 1959 in Lagos, Ugbomah has for the past 53 years been into motion picture business, where he made his impact felt in the industry. Though sad that government is not paying the desired attention to his numerous projects on Nigerian history, culture, movies and also the entertainment sector, as it is done in other climes, the filmmaker has made up his mind to quit the scene. He is not doing this out of anger, his usual stock-in-trade, but rather so he could seek a cure for an illness that has caused a malfunction in his left ear and eye.
The Delta State-born traditional chief has since mid last year been in and out of hospitals. He is now a regular visitor at Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), where it was diagnosed that he has nervous neck and head pains, and needs to travel abroad for a more comprehensive treatment.
While expressing discomfort on his health, he notes: “At 78, it is not easy to bear such excruciating pains. I have been advised to go to specialist hospital abroad, where head and neck gear are available. The trip and treatment would cost ₦50 million, because I need to go with a nurse. I do not have cancer, typhoid or malaria, but excruciating pains around my neck and to make matters worse, some of the drugs LUTH gave me have finished. I cannot even find them to buy in any of the pharmacies from Badagry to Mile 2.
“With my condition, I cannot be active again in the entertainment industry. I must say I have done my best and I am handing over the baton to the old, middle and young stakeholders.”To raise funds for his treatment, the music and movie aficionado, who has 37 different life and professional awards, apart from the Federal Government’s honour of Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) bestowed on him, reveals that he abhors begging or appealing for people to help him. He instead wants to sell his partly competed building, launch some of his other works, which include his autobiography called Eddie by Eddie, his 45-minute video documentary, This Is Eddie, and re-launch of two of his classic films Black President and Black Gold, which are transferred from celluloid to HDV and DVD format for cinema and home shows among others.
He notes: “I do not like the idea of begging or appealing method for help. No, I will not do it, but would prefer to sell my extra unoccupied house, launch my autobiography that took me 25 years to write called Eddie by Eddie, launch my 45 minute video documentary – This Is Eddie. I have just transferred two of my classic films Black President and Black Gold from celluloid to HDV and DVD for cinema and home view. I want to also hold exhibition and induct new members into the Movie and Music Hall of Fame.
“With the above events and the support of spirited Nigerians raising N50 million will be easy. I do not need to go cap in hand begging because the proceeds from the intellectual properties would cover all that.” He explained that sale of his intellectual properties would hold early April 2019, and has called on Nigerians and everyone, who claims to love him to celebrate him now that he is alive and not close the streets partying when he is gone. He commends his social media friends and many kind-hearted Nigerians, both home and abroad, saying they have been praying for him and also sending their widow’s might which has helped him get his expensive drugs.
Shedding more light on his condition, the irrepressible Ugbomah states: “It is not easy to be old in this country and I thank God my kids are financially helping me to get my drugs and also encouraging me to carry out my exercises. I want to be celebrated now that I am alive. What is the noise when a man is dead? So, let us make these events happen. The books and films are ready, while the documentary is in the post-production stage. The documentary will be of great value to our universities and those interested in the history and politics of Nigeria.”