How Nigerian artistes are affecting lives with their talent and wealth

Source: NGOZI EMEDOLIBE - Nigeriafilms.com
Source: NGOZI EMEDOLIBE - Nigeriafilms.com

4/5/2012 7:11:15 PM -

Finding fame and fortune takes series of painstaking activities, but leaves a lot of expectations on the artistes. Recognising that no artiste can actually get to the peak of his or her career without the fans, society has a way of looking up to these talents to give back to their communities. Some are doing so by committing personal funds to social, religious, medical and political causes, while others have done so by organising specialised charities to pursue their causes while lending their celebrity status to solicit for funds. However, some who are notable in their act, are not doing anything at all! NGOZI EMEDOLIBE takes a look at Nigerian artistes and what they are doing to help humanity.

Oby Edozieh
Actress and producer Oby Edozieh is the brain behind Oby Gold Cancer Foundation, which is committed to bringing awareness about the cancer scourge in Nigeria. Although she is not interested in finding a cure for the disease, her foundation wants to sensitise Nigerians on the plight of cancer victims and the simple steps that can forestall the invasion of the disease. In view of this, she has been collaborating with corporate bodies and government agencies. Aside holding sensitisation workshops and seminars in this regard, she recently produced a movie, titled Save Our Souls, to primarily drive home the fact in the country. The scenes of the movie which are yet to be released show the pains associated with cancer. She is doing this in recognition of the fact that ignorance has killed many victims. “I discovered that ignorance is a greater killer than cancer. It is ignorance that is killing most people. Most people hardly go for medical check-up. Early detection is the best thing. Every three months, every six months, one should be able to go for a check-up. You should have your own doctor. There’s no extra-big fee attached. You are just checking up. It’s when you check and there’s a problem you can talk about excess money. But to check your body, for a doctor to check for lumps and all that, I don’t think the money is so much that people can’t afford it. When cancer is detected on time, the chances of survival are higher”, she says about why the Oby Gold Foundation is more concerned about awareness.

Uche Jombo
Uche Jombo, by virtue of her rise in Nollywood through writing and acting is more in tune with breeding talents in her line of activity, which is why she has launched Uche Jombo and You, a forum that grooms youths on how to become successful in the movie industry. With Uche Jombo and You, Uche hopes she would be able to pass across the lessons of success, which helped her become who she is in the industry, especially to the youths yearning for opportunities. But the forum has largely been dormant with very limited activities. Although Uche is currently promoting her latest work, Damage, its trailer shows it has nothing to do with the cause she seems to be fighting in the community.

Stephanie Okereke
Actress and producer, Stephanie Okereke identified Vesico Vaginal Fistula, VVF as a debilitating condition amongst Nigerian women in the northern part of the country, which led to the formation of Extended Hands Foundation. She has been working with the support of international agencies to bring the condition to a reasonable control through awareness. While it may be difficult to quantify how much in terms of financial resources have gone into the project, the actress has been traveling extensively, meeting with First Ladies in some Nigerian states where the condition is prevalent. In 2006, she was invited to Sierra Leone for the opening of Aberdeen Fistula Hospital. The United Nations also invited her to participate in the mission in Liberia to campaign against rape, where she visited the fistula hospital there. Lately, she produced a movie with the same theme, which is yet to be premiered. But between working for the plight of VVF victims, Stephanie is also extending hands to aspiring youths who want to take up careers in the movie business through the Del York International programme in conjunction with the New York Film Academy.

Omotola Jolade Ekeinde
The actress is championing her social cause through her NGO which is called Omotola Ekeinde Youth Empowerment Initiative, which organises empowerment lectures and programmes for youths in Nigeria. Eminent Nigerians like Prof Pat Utomi and Honourable Abike Dabiri, have been brought in to give empowerment talks to youths during their seminars and workshops. According to Omotola, her concentration on youths stems from the fact that they are the future of the society. “My passion and vision about life cannot be so hard to know after all this, you have only one life. Be happy, make others happy, Do what is right, and live your dreams. All religions encourage this, it is a sure way to make other people happy and the sad thing is that these children did not put themselves in that condition they met themselves in that condition because of some people’s mistakes”. In January, Omotola took her campaign to several homes for the destitute in Lagos, where she made donations of cash and gift.

Ini Edo
Ini has not registered an NGO, but she works in partnership with many agencies to bring succour and hope to the less-privileged in the society. She does this by gracing events that have charity undertone. During her recent birthday celebration a few months back, Ini Edo who is also a UN Ambassador to Youths on Habitat, celebrated with homeless kids at some charity homes in Lagos, where she doled out gifts and cash in the company of some NGOs she has been working with.

Julius Agwu
Perhaps Julius Agwu is one of the first stars in the entertainment circle, who made the bold initiative of showing compassion to the less-privileged. Even when he had not made it so big, it was a usual practice for him to mark his birthday, as well as Valentine’s Day with children at charity homes. He is also one of the few showbiz personalities who stake a percentage of his earnings on charity. He has been doing a lot with his Julius Agwu Foundation, which is one of the reasons he is respected amongst fans and owners of charity homes in the country. On his passion for charity, Julius had this to say: “I love children a lot. I get them involved in anything I do. At a point, I took a decision to give back to the society part of what it has given me. Some of these children yearn to live, but do not have the opportunity. This informs why I visit the motherless babies’ home and the homes of some less privileged in the society. I chose February 14, the Valentine’s Day, because of the kind of love I feel it signifies. It is not just love for the mundane or boyfriend and girlfriend”.

Mercy Johnson
As Mercy is now married, perhaps part of the goodwill she would bring to matrimony would come from the prayers of her fans whom she is touching through the Mercy Johnson Foundation, which is concerned with making sure that underprivileged children get back to school. So far, Mercy has launched series of sensitisation workshops and visitations, each time doling out gifts like stationeries to the school pupils. She is doing this, according to her, in recognition of the benefit of education in the life of every Nigerian citizen. “Yes, I have been doing it for years now without making noise. Some people know about it while some don’t. But the reason I am making this public is just for one reason, and that is for the people who have been supportive. I want them to know what we are doing with the money given to us for these children. I just want these people to know that it is not a Mercy Johnson thing. So, if you see me driving a posh car, you will be able to say or defend me, knowing that the money sent to us is well used for its purpose.”

Rita Dominic
Rita Dominic does not run an NGO, but she has been active in drawing attention to the plight of the less-privileged with her star-status. She has participated in many charity walks and causes on different aspects of human development. Not too long ago, she partnered with Institute for Governance and Social Research, alongside other known faces to do charity works in the country much like her counterparts in Hollywood. Though she has not ruled out the possibility of owning an NGO that would pursue a cause, the Imo Stateborn actress says she is comfortable directing her energy towards supporting others for the time being.

Jim Iyke
Jim may be involved in sundry controversies but he has not hidden his love and passion for children. That was why it did not come as a surprise when he launched an NGO to help facially-deformed children. The NGO through Jim Iyke Foundation has been raising and disbursing funds to children who need corrective surgeries since 2004, and has on its board of trustees, one of the wives of the former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar. Jim’s passion for children in need of facial corrections, stems from a sad encounter with a helpless family who had such a misfortune,’ prompting me, to start thinking of what could be done to bring joy to faces of such people.’ In recent times, however, certain voices have been calling for a probe of the activities of this NGO alleging that it may not be disbursing all that it is getting in this course.
Jim Iyke

Ada Ameh B
enue State born Ada is ‘concerned with giving the girl-child a second chance at re-discovering herself’. After having a child at an early age as a result of peer pressure, Ada feels it is time to encourage girls who may have towed the same path as hers that there is a chance to be great again in spite of the challenges, using herself as an example. To make this work, she has been working with agencies and governments to encourage girls, especially in her home state, Benue.

Nkiru Sylvanus
She is the Face of Hope, and as the name applies, she is an ambassador of a project that helps realise the hopes of youths, as regards pursuing career in the movies. Nkiru does not have an NGO, but she works in collaboration with agencies in this regards. According to her, her job specification includes going to give talks and success tips to children dreaming of becoming movie stars. “It is my duty to tell them that everything is possible, that if it happened to me, it could also happen to them”.

Aki And Pawpaw Foundation
Chinedu Ikedieze and Osita Iheme have jointly carved a charitable cause with their stage name, Aki and Paw Paw. The Aki and Paw Paw Foundation is involved in charitable works, aimed at giving back to the society. Through their foundation, the diminutive duo have been rising in defence of children who form bulk of their fan base. As ambassadors of a brand like Ok Sweets, loved by children, they spend time every Children’s Day and Christmas distributing gifts to children. Incidentally, not much seems to be happening from the music stars that apparently make more money from their shows and endorsements. In Nigeria, the top music stars like P Square, D’Banj, Don Jazzy, Tuface and 9ice have nothing to prove as commitment to their works in terms of charity, though the P Square duo defended the action thus: “When we do charity, it is between God and us. It’s like someone who is fasting and you tell everyone. You have to keep it to yourself.” Although Tuface owns the Tuface Idibia Reachout Foundation while Don Jazzy was initiated into the Hall of Fame of the Charity Lounge, the activities of these as regards charity are yet to be made manifest.


Uche Jombo

Uche Jombo, by virtue of her rise in Nollywood through writing and acting is more in tune with breeding talents in her line of activity, which is why she has launched Uche Jombo and You, a forum that grooms youths on how to become successful in the movie industry.

With Uche Jombo and You, Uche hopes she would be able to pass across the lessons of success, which helped her become who she is in the industry, especially to the youths yearning for opportunities. But the forum has largely been dormant with very limited activities.

Although Uche is currently promoting her latest work, Damage, its trailer shows it has nothing to do with the cause she seems to be fighting in the community.


Stephanie Okereke

Actress and producer, Stephanie Okereke identified Vesico Vaginal Fistula, VVF as a debilitating condition amongst Nigerian women in the northern part of the country, which led to the formation of Extended Hands Foundation.

She has been working with the support of international agencies to bring the condition to a reasonable control through awareness. While it may be difficult to quantify how much in terms of financial resources have gone into the project, the actress has been traveling extensively, meeting with First Ladies in some Nigerian states where the condition is prevalent. In 2006, she was invited to Sierra Leone for the opening of Aberdeen Fistula Hospital.

The United Nations also invited her to participate in the mission in Liberia to campaign against rape, where she visited the fistula hospital there. Lately, she produced a movie with the same theme, which is yet to be premiered. But between working for the plight of VVF victims, Stephanie is also extending hands to aspiring youths who want to take up careers in the movie business through the Del York International programme in conjunction with the New York Film Academy.


Omotola Jolade Ekeinde

The actress is championing her social cause through her NGO which is called Omotola Ekeinde Youth Empowerment Initiative, which organises empowerment lectures and programmes for youths in Nigeria. Eminent Nigerians like Prof Pat Utomi and Honourable Abike Dabiri, have been brought in to give empowerment talks to youths during their seminars and workshops. According to Omotola, her concentration on youths stems from the fact that they are the future of the society.

“My passion and vision about life cannot be so hard to know after all this, you have only one life. Be happy, make others happy, Do what is right, and live your dreams. All religions encourage this, it is a sure way to make other people happy and the sad thing is that these children did not put themselves in that condition they met themselves in that condition because of some people’s mistakes”. In January, Omotola took her campaign to several homes for the destitute in Lagos, where she made donations of cash and gift.


Ini Edo

Ini has not registered an NGO, but she works in partnership with many agencies to bring succour and hope to the less-privileged in the society. She does this by gracing events that have charity undertone.

During her recent birthday celebration a few months back, Ini Edo who is also a UN Ambassador to Youths on Habitat, celebrated with homeless kids at some charity homes in Lagos, where she doled out gifts and cash in the company of some NGOs she has been working with.


Mercy Johnson

As Mercy is now married, perhaps part of the goodwill she would bring to matrimony would come from the prayers of her fans whom she is touching through the Mercy Johnson Foundation, which is concerned with making sure that underprivileged children get back to school.

So far, Mercy has launched series of sensitisation workshops and visitations, each time doling out gifts like stationeries to the school pupils. She is doing this, according to her, in recognition of the benefit of education in the life of every Nigerian citizen.

“Yes, I have been doing it for years now without making noise. Some people know about it while some don’t. But the reason I am making this public is just for one reason, and that is for the people who have been supportive.

I want them to know what we are doing with the money given to us for these children. I just want these people to know that it is not a Mercy Johnson thing. So, if you see me driving a posh car, you will be able to say or defend me, knowing that the money sent to us is well used for its purpose.”


Rita Dominic

Rita Dominic does not run an NGO, but she has been active in drawing attention to the plight of the less-privileged with her star-status. She has participated in many charity walks and causes on different aspects of human development. Not too long ago, she partnered with Institute for Governance and Social Research, alongside other known faces to do charity works in the country much like her counterparts in Hollywood. Though she has not ruled out the possibility of owning an NGO that would pursue a cause, the Imo Stateborn actress says she is comfortable directing her energy towards supporting others for the time being.


Nkiru Sylvanus

She is the Face of Hope, and as the name applies, she is an ambassador of a project that helps realise the hopes of youths, as regards pursuing career in the movies. Nkiru does not have an NGO, but she works in collaboration with agencies in this regards. According to her, her job specification includes going to give talks and success tips to children dreaming of becoming movie stars. “It is my duty to tell them that everything is possible, that if it happened to me, it could also happen to them”.


Ada Ameh

Benue State born Ada is ‘concerned with giving the girl-child a second chance at re-discovering herself’.

After having a child at an early age as a result of peer pressure, Ada feels it is time to encourage girls who may have towed the same path as hers that there is a chance to be great again in spite of the challenges, using herself as an example.

To make this work, she has been working with agencies and governments to encourage girls, especially in her home state, Benue.


Oby Edozieh

Actress and producer Oby Edozieh is the brain behind Oby Gold Cancer Foundation, which is committed to bringing awareness about the cancer scourge in Nigeria. Although she is not interested in finding a cure for the disease, her foundation wants to sensitise Nigerians on the plight of cancer victims and the simple steps that can forestall the invasion of the disease. In view of this, she has been collaborating with corporate bodies and government agencies.

Aside holding sensitisation workshops and seminars in this regard, she recently produced a movie, titled Save Our Souls, to primarily drive home the fact in the country. The scenes of the movie which are yet to be released show the pains associated with cancer. She is doing this in recognition of the fact that ignorance has killed many victims. “I discovered that ignorance is a greater killer than cancer.

It is ignorance that is killing most people. Most people hardly go for medical check-up. Early detection is the best thing. Every three months, every six months, one should be able to go for a check-up.

You should have your own doctor. There’s no extra-big fee attached. You are just checking up. It’s when you check and there’s a problem you can talk about excess money. But to check your body, for a doctor to check for lumps and all that, I don’t think the money is so much that people can’t afford it. When cancer is detected on time, the chances of survival are higher”, she says about why the Oby Gold Foundation is more concerned about awareness.


Jim Iyke

Jim may be involved in sundry controversies but he has not hidden his love and passion for children. That was why it did not come as a surprise when he launched an NGO to help facially-deformed children.

The NGO through Jim Iyke Foundation has been raising and disbursing funds to children who need corrective surgeries since 2004, and has on its board of trustees, one of the wives of the former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar. Jim’s passion for children in need of facial corrections, stems from a sad encounter with a helpless family who had such a misfortune,’ prompting me, to start thinking of what could be done to bring joy to faces of such people.’ In recent times, however, certain voices have been calling for a probe of the activities of this NGO alleging that it may not be disbursing all that it is getting in this course.

What is in this world better than a man loving a woman.
By: FRANCIS TAWIAH (Duis