EXCLUSIVE: NOLLYWOOD WAR? "I AM THE FATHER & ORIGINATOR OF NOLLYWOOD." NOT LIVING IN BONDAGE PRODUCER

PROF. BOB EJIKE
          • Do directors sleep with female actresses for roles?
          • Who created Nollywood?
          • What will he do if wife places him in a dilemma over his job? See eye popping replies!
Some of you might not know Bob Ejike, especially if you are born in the 90's. But he, along with the likes of Majek Fashek, Alex O, Blackky, Daniel Wilson, Oritz Wiliki, Ras Kimono, etc, ruled the Nigerian musical airwaves in the late 80's. We have gone to unearth his relevance in this era and he reveals stuffs that will simply get you thinking again.
In this exclusive interview he granted zeeny360, Bob Ejike discusses controversial matters on the Nollywood, Ugawood scenes as well as why he can divorce his wife! It's serious, controversial and fun! Cool
  • Eze Victor
    Eze Victor

    It's a pleasure having you on zeeny360.com. 

    Can we get to meet Bob Ejike? Who really is Bob Ejike?

     
  • Bob Ejike
    Bob Ejike

    Bob Ejike is an artiste, a multifaceted artiste, an actor, writer and musician who utilized the totality of his talent to create platforms for other artistes to find relevance and professional fulfilment. These platforms are Nigeria's Nollywood and Uganda's Ugawood.

     
  • Eze Victor
    Eze Victor

    Really? Many have often associated you with just music. Can you tell us about your influence in Nollywood and Ugawood?

     
  • Bob Ejike
    Bob Ejike

    In 1982 I made the first Nigerian commercial film in home video format, featuring Richard Mofe Damijo, and we won that year's National Festival of Arts and Culture. Thereafter, from my village Oba, Idemili South LGA of Anambra State, we released a commercial comedy series called Okpuru Anyanwu, so we were the first to commercialize drama in VHS tapes and make a success of it. It was this success that was borrowed by Chief Kenneth Nnebue in making Living in Bondage. I just saw him take the National Award for starting Nollywood and people who were watching Okpuru Anyanwu ten years before Living in Bondage are applauding. That's Nigeria for you.

     
     
  • Eze Victor
    Eze Victor

    Interesting. Are you stating that you and not Chief Kenneth Nnebue should be credited with starting Nollywood?

     
     
  • Bob Ejike
    Bob Ejike

    I made films ten years before Living in Bondage so it is for you to work it out. I am not standing against anybody but it would make sense if that award was giving for the most popular early movie and not for starting Nollywood because I am the father and originator of Nollywood.

     
     
  • Eze Victor
     
     
    Eze Victor

    Looking at what has become of Nollywood today, will you express satisfaction? Is this where you intended it to be?

     
     
  • Bob Ejike
     
     
    Bob Ejike

    Nollywood has grown to provide hope, jobs and businesses for millions of Nigerians, besides giving home entertainment to Sub-Saharan Africans and the Diaspora and most of us it has given black people a strong voice in world media and provided us with the opportunity of telling our own story from our own perspective and presenting our true reality to the world against the background of racial bigotry.While there is still much room for improvement, let us not forget to celebrate the third biggest film industry in the world because we built it with bare hands and without support from anywhere

     
     
  • Eze Victor
     
     
    Eze Victor

    Some have complained that the marketers cum producers determine what stories are acted and who acts, and this has watered down outputs of movies in Nigeria. What is your view on this?

     
     
  • Bob Ejike
     
     
    Bob Ejike

    He who pays the piper dictates the tune. We can only hope that the great corporate bodies in Nigeria will invest in Nollywood and that other groups interested in protecting the quality of art will do more than just criticize our works, that they should pool capital into the industry and pragmatically change this despicable trend

     
     
  • Eze Victor
    Eze Victor

    Looking at the popularity of Nollywood, why do you think the corporate bodies are dithering on investing "capital into the industry?"

     
     
  • Bob Ejike
     
     
    Bob Ejike

    I have been in the entertainment industry for three decades, it is only in the last three years that we started hearing of endorsement of artistes by corporate bodies. So bigger things are coming.

     
     
  • Eze Victor
     
     
    Eze Victor

    That is optimism on your part...

     
     
  • Bob Ejike
     
     
    Bob Ejike

    To be an artiste and not lose your mind you must be very optimistic

     
     
  • Eze Victor
     
     
    Eze Victor

    lolzzzzz. Laughing No doubt. There is this concern that many have alleged about. It has been said that some producers and directors, choose to sleep with some of the actresses, especially upcoming actresses before being given roles. What has been your experience as a seasoned Nollywood artist?

     
     
  • Bob Ejike
     
     
    Bob Ejike

    Nigeria is listed among the most corrupt nation in the world not because of the amorous activities of Nollywood practitioners but because of massive looting of public treasury by trusted office holders and an unimaginable level of moral depravity. I don't know in which sector of the economy women are not giving something to get something. Let's not make Nollywood the scapegoat.

     
     
  • Eze Victor
     
     
    Eze Victor

    But does it really happen in Nollywood?

     
     
  • Bob Ejike
     
     
    Bob Ejike

    No producer asks a talented artiste to take down her knickers before going on set. If a director says you must sleep with him before getting a role it means you can't act so you should look elsewhere. I for one have never known any producer that sleeps with actresses as a precondition for roles, such a producer would never make success

     
     
  • Eze Victor
     
     
    Eze Victor

    Your works in the entertainment industry seems to have a strong footing in Uganda. Can you shed light on your Uganda affiliation?

     
     
  • Bob Ejike
     
     
    Bob Ejike

    I have been called the Nollywood Ambassador because beside being a founding pioneer of the industry I also took it upon myself to propagate the artistic renaissance around the world in order to get a global audience for the industry, so I first went to Europe where I worked as a lecturer and I had frequent public lectures and screenings and interviews with newspapers and journals and Tvs, and I spent about ten years in Europe propagating Nollywood before I was invited to Uganda to help develop the Ugawood emergent film industry. My mission was to help replicate the Nollywood experience in East Africa. I spent 6 years in Uganda and travelled around the entire area. by the time I left to Dubai four years ago Nollywood was the number one font of entertainment in the whole of East Africa and Uganda had a viable film industry

     
     
  • Eze Victor
     
     
    Eze Victor

    Really impressive. How would you compare two the industries, Nollywood and Ugawood?

     
     
  • Bob Ejike
     
     
    Bob Ejike

    There is no room for comparison. The east Africans still do not know that it is a crime to pirate an artiste's work, so they just copy people's films on CDs and write the titles with a marker and hang them in the shop fronts. They load the artiste's songs in computers and dub out for whoever wants to buy. (laughs)Laughing

     
     
  • Eze Victor
    Eze Victor

    Waoh! Isn't there a law in Uganda governing piracy?

     
     
  • Bob Ejike
    Bob Ejike

    We pushed for a law and parliament made one but because virtually everyone is a pirate it was politically unpopular for the law to be ratified. I think it has been ratified now but it will take another 20 years for it to sink in that piracy is a crime

     

    Something else I did a lot in East Africa was sing and I made several albums in their styles of music

     
     
  • Eze Victor
    Eze Victor

    You just talked about NollyWOOD, UgaWOOD. There is also BollyWOOD, I think GollyWOOD. The first we knew was HollyWOOD. What is it about this WOOD?

     

    Couldn't you and others who shaped NollyWOOD have chosen another identity devoid of WOOD?

     
     
     
  • Bob Ejike
     
     
    Bob Ejike

    Without much polemics let's just take the Wood to mean film

     
     
  • Eze Victor
     
     
    Eze Victor

    The first experience some of us had about you was with your music. What happened to your music career as a singer?

     
     
  • Bob Ejike
     
     
    Bob Ejike

    Seven months ago I released an album entitled Infinite Youth, with a hit video called Darijimi, both went straight to the charts and Darijimi became an anthem. Am surprised you don't appear to have heard it

     

     

     
     
  • Eze Victor
     
     
    Eze Victor

    Please tell us about your Uganda music experience. Also, do you think you have done enough for Nigeria as you have done for Uganda in the area of music development? 

     
  • Bob Ejike
     
     
    Bob Ejike

    In Kampala I opened the Professor Bob Ejike Foundation for Performing Arts, a sprawling villa overlooking the Lake Victoria where artistes of all kinds could come and relax and meditate and create their works. We also had outlets for marketing and we launched many young acts that are now great performers in the region. I have also invested a great fortune in Nigerian music but mainly in projecting my own music. I intend with God's help to recreate such platform in Nigeria when I return home before the year's end.

     
     
  • Eze Victor
     
     
    Eze Victor

    How would you rate some of the music stars in Nigeria. Do you think they are being professional enough with the way they produce music?

     
     
  • Bob Ejike
     
     
    Bob Ejike

    Great improvement has been made and I am proud of the present crop of musicians who took our mantle. What they lack in creativity they made up in commerciality so let's be glad that people are making a fortune where we used to crape out a living, but it is my duty to make the industry make both sense and groove. 

     
  • Eze Victor
     
     
    Eze Victor

    Are you a family man? If yes, how do you juggle all these activities with your family responsibilities as a husband and father? 

     
  • Bob Ejike
     
     
    Bob Ejike

    I am married to the arts, every other thing comes next and those around me know that and so it's been a smooth ride. 

     
  • Eze Victor
     
     
    Eze Victor

    Would you consider yourself a handsome man?

     
     
  • Bob Ejike
     
     
    Bob Ejike

    I think it is immodest for a man to see himself as handsome and such degeneration into narcissism can lead to self destruction.

     
     
  • Eze Victor
     
     
    Eze Victor

    Really! Does it hurt to admit? In any case, how do you cope with some of your female fans who want more, perhaps a relationship with you?

     
     
  • Bob Ejike
     
     
    Bob Ejike

    I am not a pimp but a performer, again I am not just an artiste but an artistic technocrat, so I always keep a mien that demands seriousness. I am an engineer of artistic platforms and I am dealing with the problems of a race so I want to be taken seriously.

     
     
  • Eze Victor
     
     
    Eze Victor

    We believe Bob Ejike would sometimes get exhausted. Hope I'm correct. When you aren't working, how do you get refreshed and relaxed when exhausted?

     
     
  • Bob Ejike
     
     
    Bob Ejike

    I enjoy reading and am a bookworm. I love the biography of great people so I read all that I find. I enjoy cycling, swimming, walking and flirting online

     

    I also love watching movies and documentaries, especially biographies, but essentially I am a loner. I don't drink, smoke or go to bars.

     
     
  • Eze Victor
     
     
    Eze Victor

    Interesting, dead or living, which two would you consider your icon in the entertainment industry?

     
     
  • Bob Ejike
     
     
    Bob Ejike

    Most of my icons are dead actually, Michael Jackson, Fela Kuti, Mariam Makeba, James Brown, among the living are Prince, Chris Okotie, R Kelly.

     
     
  • Eze Victor
     
     
    Eze Victor

    What is your advice to young artists on how to succeed in a country like Nigeria drawing from your vast years of experience in the industry?

     
     
  • Bob Ejike
     
     
    Bob Ejike

    They should come to Bobijik Studios, 35 Cole Street, Ikate, Surulere, Lagos from November or meet me in facebook and I will direct them on how to succeed, but not to go to anybody else because most people they will meet are rogues waiting to rip them off.

     
     
  • Eze Victor
     
     
    Eze Victor

    Alright. On a lighter note...

     

    We like to present a dilemma.

    What will you do, if your beloved wife walks up to you and says: "Bob, you have to choose between me or your career in the entertainment industry! No negotiating about this, choose now!!" What will you do?

     
     
  • Bob Ejike
     
     
    Bob Ejike

    I would divorce her without a second thought

     
     
  • Eze Victor
     
     
    Eze Victor

    OMG! We really hope she doesn't give you such options, ever! Laughing

     
     
  • Bob Ejike
     
     
    Bob Ejike

    I started art before I learnt to speak and the art is the only life I know

     
     
  • Eze Victor
     
     
    Eze Victor

    We really want to express our thanks for agreeing to this interview within such a short notice.

     
     
  • Bob Ejike
     
     
    Bob Ejike

    Thank you

  •  
     You can connect to Bob Ejike via his official links https://www.facebook.com/drbobejike & http://twitter@bob_ejike 
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    & Join Eze Uwaezuoke Eze Uwaezuoke's picture on fb.com/groups/zeeny, Let's Talk!: DO YOU THINK MOVIE DIRECTORS SLEEP WITH FEMALE ACTRESSES FOR ROLES?

     

     

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