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Yul Edochie: Nollywood’s prince charming trends as activist

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If you carry out a poll and want fans of the Nollywood industry to pick a notable actor who has been vocal and has stood up for the vulnerable, especially since the COVID-19 lockdown began, 95 per cent of the pool result would undoubtedly go to the handsome actor and acclaimed social media activist, Yul Edochie.

The former governorship candidate in the 2017 Anambra State election and son of veteran actor, Pete Edochie, has become very vocal on social media, taking up the state and society, especially on issues affecting women and those categorised as the vulnerable.

Yul constantly shared his opinion on Twitter and whenever he tweets, he gets a groundswell of likes, re-tweets and comments, mostly commendations from followers who are impressed with his standing up for the vulnerable.

The actor, husband and father sparked a delirium recently when he stood up for the women folk. He got his followers excited when he advised men against asking their wives to forgo their dreams and concentrate on building a home. Rather than marry a career woman and force her to stay at home, the right thing to do as the actor admonished men, was to “allow their women go after their dreams and build homes.”

According to him, women deserve to be successful and achieve their dreams too. This was how he put it on Twitter and got so many likes and retweets: “Don’t marry a career lady and force her to stay at home. You fail am bros. Women deserve to be successful and achieve their dreams too.

“If you don’t want your wife to work or do business, simply marry the one that doesn’t want to do anything. You’ll have a great life together.”

Then COVID-19 came and there was a lockdown and fans of some notable celebrities, including those of the junior Edochie, took to the social media to pressurise them into giving relief materials to cushion the effects of the lockdown.

His initial appeal was for the federal government to “provide a relief package for Nigerians, even if it is N50, 000 per person” and later he turned to well-meaning Nigerians, especially acclaimed billionaires, to give cash to Nigerians to help them survive during the period lockdown.

When pressure by the fans mounted, Yul charged out on Twitter and this time, it was to their tents, he told the fans, insisting that celebrities don’t owe them anything. This was how the actor, regarded as a strong critic of the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, expressed his anger: “Is it by force to give you? Do we owe you? Won’t you allow celebrities rest? We are all in this lockdown together. Send your account details to President Buhari; tell him you haven’t received your share of the proposed giveaway from the federal government!”

The subsequent tweets of the actor turned politician were to challenge the authorities to do more to alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians who need to survive during the lockdown.

Popularly known as ‘Odogwu Nteje’ (strong man of Nteje) and reputed as the first Nollywood actor to vie for an elective office at the governorship level in Nigeria under the Democratic People’s Congress Party, he is a native of Nteje in the Anambra State.

Christened after the popular Russian actor, Yul Brynner, the star of acclaimed movies, such as The Lamb, Two Can Play The Game, Pleasure and Crime, Innocent Pain and Testimonies of Pain, the last of six children born to Chief Pete Edochie studied Dramatic Arts at the University of Port Harcourt. He joined Nollywood shortly upon graduation in 2003, but he had his break in 2005 when he starred alongside big names, such as Justus Esiri and Enebeli Elebuwa in The Exquirers.

Yul later rode into prominence after he featured alongside Genevieve Nnaji and Desmond Elliot in a 2007 movie, Wind Of Glory, and the debonair actor has since then starred and directed numerous movies, including such hit flicks as Beautiful Soul, Lonely in Paradise and Shadows of Dust, and still finds time to act, even though he admits that activism and politics have taken a better part of him.

He said, in reaction to the complaints by fans, that he may not have time to concentrate on his acting career, especially now that he is interested in politics and activism, adding: “I don’t think there is anything to worry about, as my involvement in politics and activism will not stop my acting career at all. I intend to combine both roles effectively.

“But if it is impossible to combine both, I will gladly give up acting for the period that is required of me to serve in any capacity. But there will be nothing that will be so tasking that I won’t find time to do some acting. I should be able to manage my time.

“And I really don’t see anything wrong in an entertainers going into politics. I believe that entertainers also have a right to contest for public office like every other citizen of Nigeria. So, I think the fact that I am an actor is a major plus and not a setback.”
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