From ZUMA filmfest, lifetime honour for Nollywood Veterans
It was before a quality crowd that the Chidia Maduekwe led Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC), organisers of the yearly Zuma international Film Festival, unveiled recipients of the special awards instituted to recognise practitioners who contributed in no small measure to the growth and development of the audio-visual industry in Nigeria.
The recipients Prince Jide Kosoko, Chiwetalu Agu, Usman Baba Pategi aka Samaja and Segun Aina Padonu aka Segun Arinze- all popular faces and long standing practitioners in the motion picture industry received the Long Time Achievement crest at the impressive ceremony held at the NAF Conference Centre and Suites, Abuja. The late Cinematographer Jonathan Amu received a posthumous award, while Alhaji Mohammed Labbo of the Nigerian Television Authority and Senator Philip Tanimu Aduda was recognised for their support to the NFC in the fulfillment of their mandate.
Celebrity salutes the practitioners amongst the awardees that have by this recognition been rightly admitted into the hall of fame for Nollywood veterans.
Prince Jide Kosoko
BORN into the Kosoko ruling house of Lagos and christened Abdul-Rafiu Adesina Babajide Kosoko, Jide Babs, as the actor of vast credit is fondly called, received the Lifetime achievement award for his contribution to the industry.
An accomplished actor and producer and a prominent member of a number of industry guilds and association, Prince Kosoko started acting in 1964, ten years after he was born. He said he was inspired to hop on the acting run way by the doyen of Nigerian theatre Chief Hubert Ogunde whose Noble Street Residence in the Yaba area of Lagos was just a stone throw away from their Queens Street, Alogomeji, Yaba, home. For the Prince, the more he watched the late doyen at work the more he was convinced that ‘it won’t be a bad idea try out acting as a profession.’
But it was one Dele Toyimbo, Jide’s neighbour at Queens Street and a member of the celebrated Ifelodun Theatre group that broke the ice for the mega star. Dele, aware of Jide’s interest, invited him to watch the Ifelodun Theatre group at work. Jide honoured the invitation and even attended more rehearsals without the consent of his parents. One day during rehearsals, he got an opportunity to try out what he felt was in built talent. He was auditioned alongside eleven other teenagers for a role in a drama series that was then running on NTA Channel 10 Victoria Island.
Expectedly it was Jide who eventually carried the day. He outshone the others and so he got the role on merit. Two days after, the young Prince was ready to mount the raised platform and he has remained on that raised platform till date.
VETERAN actor Segun Arinze received the Lifetime Achievement award at the event. He was the only recipient who personally received his award. No one does everything as an entertainer and does it so well like the former President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN).
In fact tagging Segun Aina Padonu is by no means an easy task for the method actor; show host, singer, voice over star, husband and father represents so many things to so many people. First known nationally for his portrayal of the role of ‘Black Arrow’ in that action movie of the nineties by Chico Ejiro titled Silent Night, Segun became noted as a singer with an irresistible voice, one whose hit track from his debut album as a singer Nwanyi Ganga was on repeat on radio.
However, with the emergence of the Nollywood, ‘Presido’ as Segun is also called, became Nollywood’s undisputedly ‘bad boy’ and the producer’s first choice for an actor who can add zest to a picture. And since he joined Nollywood, Segun’s rating has not dropped. The Lagos born actor is one of the not too many actors in the Nigerian screen acting space whose popularity is so overwhelming and whose simple precepts are roundly admired.
Usman Baba Pategi aka Samanja
Legendary actor, Usman Baba Pategi, popularly called as Samanja, was honoured with lifetime achievement award by the NFC. Son of the late Etsu Pategi, Samanja who is 77 years old and now visually impaired walked into national prominence and became a household name playing the dutiful, witty and one of the most iconic characters in the history of drama on Nigerian television ‘Sergeant-Major’ in the long rested Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) drama series Samanja, which ran for decades on national television.
An iconoclastic actor and Prince of Pategi who has had a rich acting career, the idea to create a mock military drama programme that will focus on the lives of Soldiers, off, on and in the barracks came shortly after the Nigerian civil war. But the inspiration as Samanja revealed came with his enlistment into the Nigerian Army in 1969. A former staff of the Public Works Department who had his early education in Pategi and later Ilorin Middle School, Samanja retired formally from the Army in 1985 and he returned to his former beat, but this time at the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Kaduna broadcasting station.
Star of one of NBC’s flagship drama programme of the 70’s titled Mallam Jatau Na Albarkawa, it was shortly after Samanja was delisted from the Army that he led a small team at FRCN and later at NTA to give life to the drama series Samanja, which as he reiterated was meant to enlighten the civil populace on military regiments.
A VETERAN actor, comedian and producer of vast credit, Chiwetalu Agu is clearly one of the leading names in the Nigerian screen acting space. Best know for his usage of specific language phrases in each movie he features in, the actor who joined Nollywood over three decades ago from an accomplished acting career on television made the list of recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award at ZUMA 2020.
Admired both at home and abroad for his unique interpretation of roles, movies that have benefitted from Chiwetalu’s engaging portrayals include Last Ofalla, Taboo, The Catechist, The Prince Must Die and lately Lost Okoroshi and Lion’s Heart.