Fans have criticized Nollywood for allowing popular comic actor, John Okafor, aka Mr Ibu, to beg Nigerians for financial support and prayers as he faces the possibility of having his leg amputated.
On Wednesday, October 18, 2023, there was a viral video of the actor celebrating his birthday with some of his family members in a hospital while soliciting for assistance. IN the video, Okafor said, “As I speak to you, I am lying down in the hospital; the medical director of this hospital said if the next procedure does not work, my leg has to be cut off.
“If they cut off my leg, where do I go from here? Please pray for me; talk to God Almighty, and I don’t want my legs to be cut off.”His daughter, Jasmine, added, “As a family, we want to appeal that at this point, people should come to daddy’s aid and rescue. In the past two weeks, daddy has been very down, so we took him to the hospital. I have been sorting the bills, thinking I can do it alone.”
This elicited different reactions from fans of the actor, who felt that Nollywood was not doing enough to ensure the financial security of veteran actors. Mr Ibu’s colleagues were also criticised for their little involvement in lending a helping hand.Reacting to the viral video, controversial actor, Uche Madagwu, said, “Nollywood actors, especially the wealthy ones we call legends are always quick to spray money and donate cows at colleagues parents’ burial ceremonies, but slow to assist them when they are alive and need help.”
Similarly, controversial Tiktoker, Martins Otse, aka Very Dark Black Man, said, “I am ashamed of Nollywood because they are supposed to have a structure put in place to take care of veteran actors. At this point, Nollywood ought to be paying veteran actors.”However, other actors condemned the critics and called for support for Mr Ibu. Reacting to Very Dark Black Man’s criticism, actor, Kanayo O. Kanayo said, “Gaining traction with someone’s misfortune, handicap and ill luck is wicked. Give, if you have to, without calling for the attention of social media. One Very Dark Man calling top actors shameless is unruly and attention-seeking. Mr Ibu, please get well soon.”
On her part, actress, Omah Nnadi, said, “Oh this guy (Very Dark Black Man) shut up and say what you know. Who told you the Actors Guild of Nigeria is not doing anything? You are beginning to sound stupid.”
Online critics also knocked popular musician, Peter Okoye, aka Mr P, after he posted the video of Mr Ibu soliciting help from the public on his Instagram page.
He wrote, “I am pledging my support for him 100%. My dear colleagues, friends, family and fans, please support him in any little way you can.”
Reacting to the post, an Instagram user, Iyayi Faith, said, “Public donation for Mr Ibu is a shame to the industry.”
Another fan simply identified as Ayotunde said, “To be frank with you sir, only you should be able to foot this legend’s bill. I am sure the required funds are not up to your shows/concert abroad.”
However, when our correspondent reached out to Mr Ibu, his daughter, Jasmine, insisted that they were not granting any interview. Our correspondent also reached out to the AGN President, Emeka Rollas, but the calls were unanswered.Speaking in a video on Instagram on Friday, the AGN’s Director of Communications, Kate Henshaw, said, “We want to set the record straight over the public outcry that the guild and his colleagues have abandoned him at his point of need. We have been at the forefront of providing necessary support for Mr Ibu even before his health condition was ever made public.“We have had to task members privately to help in providing assistance towards the intervention. We do not make public any form of assistance to our members.”