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AMAA throws up Africa’s screen leading men


OC Ukeje

The nominated African screen and acting first ladies were on the spotlight last week. This week, the follow spot turns to the screen leading men, who by reason of the mention they received at this year’s nomination event of the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), have been admitted into the unofficial club of the continent’s leading actors.

Make way for Richard Mofe Damijo (Cross Roads), OC Ukeje (Potato Potahto), Chris Attoh (Esohe), Vuyo Dabula (Five Fingers For Marseille), Sam Dede (In My Country), Sani Bouajla (The Blessed Vost), Frank Donga (Hakkunde) and Orus Mampofu (Lucky Specials), who are competing for the coveted award of the actor in a leading role category of Africa’s notable global reward scheme for filmmakers- AMAA

Richard Mofe Damijo (Cross Roads)
Approachable, quintessential, magnetic and immensely talented actor, Richard Mofe Damijo or RMD for short, played senior detective, Kilanko, in the crime drama by Seyi Siwoku, titled Cross Roads. The deft interpretation of the role by the Warri, Delta State-born actor earned the one-time recipient of the AMAA best actor award a nomination this time.


If the actor, journalist, publisher, lawyer, public relations practitioner and former commissioner for Culture and Tourism under the Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan administration gets the AMAA jurors nod, it will be the second time that the multi-award winning actor, who had received the AMAA life time achievement award, will be winning the coveted best actor crest.

An actor of vast credit, who has signed a few works as producer, RMD is undoubtedly one of the top rated and one of Nigeria’ top celebrities. A world-class material, he has had a remarkable career as an actor and has indeed enjoyed super roles on stage, on the movie turf and outside the turf. Born on July 6, 1961 in Warri, the actor’s actor schooled briefly at the Roman Catholic Mission School, Warri and the famous Midwest College. At the wake of the indigenisation policy, little Richard was sent to the Anglican Secondary School, Okpara Waterside and then to St. Patrick’s College, Asaba.

Upon completion of his secondary education, RMD proceeded to the University of Benin, graduating four years later with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Arts, majoring in Dramatic Theatre and Criticism.

OC Ukeje (Potato Potahto)
OC Ukeje is in nomination for the leading acting crest of this year’s AMAA’s for his believable interpretation in Shirley Frimpong Manso’s romantic drama, Potato Potahto. His surreal performance in that engaging drama, which also stars notable actors, such as Joke Silva and Joselyn Dumas, earned the multi- award winning actor the deserved nomination.

Past winner of the rested Amstel Malta Box Office (AMBO) reality show and the AMAA for Promising Actor, OC has grown far above his reality show winning to become one of Nigeria’s notable screen personalities. Indeed, his artistic contributions, other than his winning AMBO, is making a way for him in Nollywood and beyond. From his screen debut, White Water, ‘OC,’ as the Marine Science graduate of the University of Lagos is also called by close friends, has been having a steady run in the movie and observers believe it wont be long before the product of the New York Film Academy and star of Sarah Blatcher’s Ayanda finds a spot in a Hollywood movie.

Chris Attoh (Esohe)
Ghanaian actor, on-air personality, show host and producer, Chris Keith Nii Attoh, is in nomination for the leading actor crest for his role in the epic movie, Esohe. Married at a time to screen actress, Damilola Adegbite, Chris is famous for living delightfully the role of Kwame Mensah in the popular Nigerian soap, Tinsel.He has featured in other television and movie projects, including Flower Girls, Love and War, Six Hours To Christmas, A Trip to Jamaica, Single and Married and An Accidental Zombie.

Vuyo Dabula (Five Fingers For Marseille)
South African actor, Vuyo Dabula, who is famous for featuring in the popular South African series, Generations, played the lead role in the cowboy movie about an outlaw that returns home after 20 years on the run. The Legacy star’s deep interpretation of the role is the reason the jury nominated him. Star of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Vuyo said the cast and crew spent several gruelling weeks in a small town near Aliwal North, filming the refreshing South African Western that is reputed as one that will give the African child a new superhero.

Sam Dede (In My Country)
Tall, dark and well built, Achibi Sam Dede is in nomination for the leading actor crest for his deep portrayal in the epic drama by Frank Rajah Arase, In my Country. A Senior Lecturer at the University of Port Harcourt and at a time- Director of the Rivers State Tourism Board, the Rivers State-born actor, director and producer is one deep actor that is rightly respected for being steady, clear and reliable.

Whenever he takes a movie run, the movie crowd’s cheer at him, saying it is his undeniable charm and strong screen and stage presence that turn them on.Perhaps it is such qualities that has not only set Sam apart from the rest, but has also placed him among the most significant figures and brightest stars in the Nigerian and by far continental acting galaxy.

An actor, who believes in a credible commitment to ethical practices, Sam was admitted to study Theatre Arts at the Department of Theater Arts, University of Benin, graduating with a Bachelors degree, with specialisation in acting and directing. It was in Benin that he said he stepped deeper into the world of acting.


However, from Benin, he was posted to Jos, the Plateau State capital, for the national youth service programme at the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA). At the end of the service, he returned to Port Harcourt for a postgraduate degree and much later a doctorate in Theatre Arts and was later engaged to teach acting, voice and speech pattern at the university, a job he still does till date.

Frank Donga (Hakkunde)
Although popular as Frank Donga, Frank, who was christened Kunle Idowu by his parents, is in nomination for his steady interpretation of the role of Akande in the drama, Hakkunde.An Agricultural Science graduate of Olabisi Onabanjo University, who also holds a Masters in Animal Genetics from the University of Ibadan, Kunle rose to fame through the web series, The Interview, on NdaniTV about a job seeker.

That effort earned him a nomination at last year’s edition of the African Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA) as best actor in a comedy.A journalist, comedian and photographer, he has risen to become a must use for producers who want to have a believable comic performance in their movies.

Others in nomination are Orus Mampofu (Lucky Specials) and Sani Bouajla (The Blessed Vost).

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