The 32-year-old Nollywood actor Osita Iheme, popularly known as 'Pawpaw' has talked about why he is still single.
The Mbaitoli, Imo state-born actor, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the African Movie Academy Awards, and was also conferred with the award of the Member of the Federal Republic in 2011 by President Goodluck Jonathan, is indeed one of Nigeria’s most creative actors. In an interview with Inside&About Magazine he talked about his personal life, career, Nollywood, ambition and legacy. Read excerpts from the interview below:
Your stage name “Paw-paw” brought you to limelight and you became a household name in the Nigerian entertainment industry. Looking backwards, did you foresee your good fortune today?
I have always been a very optimistic person. I may not have seen how far I could go but I knew something great was coming. I can’t really tell you this is how far or this is how I knew it was going to be, but like I said, I had always believed that something great was around the corner.
Growing up with your stature, did you ever feel bad whenever you moved with your age mates?
No! No!! No!!! I have always seen myself as a leader especially when I am around my age mates. I have always put up a bold front because I am a bold person. I have been able to conquer and overcome the challenges that are around me irrespective of my nature and other things about my physical stature. I have been able to set aside anything that could bother me and moved on. I didn’t allow anything to really bother me while I was growing up.
You have been in Nollywood for over a decade and have carved a niche for yourself. What is your “magic wand”?
The only thing I can say is that in whatever you do, just remember that God is the greatest. Always give credit to God for your success; believe that you can’t achieve anything worthwhile without the grace of God. I believe that my magic wand is just the grace of God. There is nothing else, no extra ordinary or special thing. In addition, I am a very hardworking person. I try to focus with determination to deliver on my tasks. I see the grace of God supporting me.
What was your childhood dream and at what point did you give it up for acting?
I have always known as a younger person that I had a flair for acting. I was always involved in drama during our church block rosary. My performances then have always been adjudged as above average. My friends have also attested to my acting prowess. These experiences made me to develop a keen interest in acting. I also got my inspiration for acting from watching movies. I do really enjoy watching movies. These boosted my self-confidence and made me believe that I could really act in movies. By the grace of God everything is now history.
Your ability to play the roles of an adult and a child effectively in the movies you featured in speaks a lot about your professionalism. How are you able to do that?
This is just raw talent. It is what gives a good actor an edge. It enables him to be versatile and creative. These enable him to effectively interpret theater roles excellently. In my case it has been a good mix of talent and versatility.
Looking at the Nigerian film industry, what is your assessment of story quality, plot development, directing and the deployment of digital technology?
Yeah! Yeah!! We are moving forward. Where we are now is not where we were years ago. At the moment I can emphatically tell you that we are making good progress. Our technical expertise has improved as well as our acting. We have been involved in a lot of activities which include seminars and capacity building for film actors and new actors. The rate of production of new movies is still high. Now more movies are premiering at the cinemas. The Nigerian entertainment industry is indeed a million dollar industry. It has also become a rewarding venture for all the stakeholders.
To what extent has Nollywood played the role of rebranding Nigeria?
Nollywood is a great brand ambassador of Nigeria. Nollywood has really showcased Nigeria’s positive influence in the African continent. Through Nollywood you can see not only Nigeria but the entire African culture. So far, Nigeria has benefitted in a lot of ways from Nollywood because a lot of people have been gainfully employed through it both home and abroad. A lot of people are also being sustained through Nollywood: the marketers, the actors, make-up artistes and many others.
What are you not happy with about Nollywood?
There is no reason for me not to be happy with Nollywood. I am happy with Nollywood. We are making great improvements in the industry and I am really excited about this outcome of events.
It is a common thing in Nollywood for actors and actresses to be involved in acting, directing and singing. Are you part of this trend?
You cannot really stop anybody who wants to express himself or herself. People have diverse talents inside them. As they try out several things they are able to perchance discover their core competencies. So I don’t think it’s bad for anybody to diversify into some other things. Entertainment is vast, so anybody can do anything they want to do. I would quickly support such venture as long as they excel.
What is your opinion about Nollywood actors and actresses new interest in contesting for political offices; are you nursing any political ambition?
Definitely Yes! I am nursing a political ambition. I am hereby using this medium to let my colleagues know that we are the voice of the masses. People believe in us and it is high time we joined politics and start contributing and making changes. We can no longer keep watching from the sidelines. We have to be involved in the politics of this nation so that we can better the lot of the populace. We need to prove that we can change things. You cannot be a change agent if you are not involved in what is going on. So I support my colleagues; I support any entertainer who ventures into politics. I don’t think there is anything bad in it. It is a welcome development for us in the entertainment industry. I am also positive that my dream will come true someday.
Your stage “twin brother” Aki is married. How soon would we see you walking down the aisle with your better half?
By the special grace of God, God will bring the person around. I am yet to find anybody at the moment.
What would you like to leave behind as a legacy?
I would like to inspire people. I want people to take a cue from me and not give up on themselves. I want to see myself as someone people will walk up to and say “you made me do this, I did this because you did it”. I want to be a role model and a mentor.
What do you have to say to your millions of fans out there?
I promise to keep the flag of excellence flying. I will never disappoint you all. I will keep on bringing out more products for them to enjoy.
Thank you for your time.
The talented Nollywood actor was recently spotted at the Adoration Ministry, Uke recently.