Fabian Adibe, a veteran Nigerian actor who dominated the movie scene for nearly four decades, has revealed why he quit acting 12 years ago.
The actor and television personality who led Nigeria to her first Commonwealth Art Festival in 1965 began his acting career in 1987 in the acclaimed Nigerian TV series, “Things fall apart.”
He played the role of Ogbuefi Uzowulu and acted alongside Pete Edochie. His other co-actors, Justus Esiri and Sam Loco Efe, in the series are now deceased.
The 81-year-old actor, in an interview with a Nigerian travel journalist, Chinelo Okafor, said he left Nollywood because of “packaging.”
He said: “I left them (Nollywood) because one of their boys came and told me that they are starting a thing called ‘packaging.’ So I asked him what packaging is, and he said they would give you three scripts.
You will do two and get paid while the other would be for them. Why would you want me to do one for you for free? I said I wouldn’t? I told the boy I would not be part of that packaging.’’
Speaking of remuneration for the roles he played in the past, the veteran actor said that his contemporaries are being paid about N100,000.
He said it was a far cry from the N10,000 to N30,000, which he was paid in his heyday. He, however, added that in some cases, he even earned as low as N2,000.
His last known movie roles were in “Sister My Love,” released in 2006, and “Slave Warrior,” released the following year.
On December 1, 2013, the accomplished actor launched his first book titled “Mixed Grill” at 70.
Visual impairment, abandonment
The 79-year-old actor also claimed his colleagues in southeastern Nigeria abandoned him.
He said, “None of these people that are Onitsha traders that are in Nollywood, none of them have ever phoned me or asked where this man is. Some AGN friends call me even though they find visiting me difficult because they are in Lagos. But the ones that used to use me and that I made money for, none of them have ever called me or looked for me.”
In 2016, it was rumoured that the actor had a visual impairment. In an interview with the Nigerian Tribune, he disclosed that he needed N13 million for eye surgery.
The actor said his visual impairment had also affected his career for 12 years.
He said: “I have been out of work for 12 years, and then I told one of the Onitsha marketers that Adibe is now blind, and the marketer responded that he is not out to carry around a blind man. So I didn’t leave them because of this blindness, although the blindness started gradually. If I weren’t blind, I would still be doing the film, not for them, but for my first son, who is now an outstanding director in the industry.”
Mr Adibe featured in the Nollywood classic, ‘‘Living in Bondage,” released in 1993. The movie further thrust him into the limelight.
The actor is known for playing the role of an elder, king, father, father-in-law, and brother.
But, in most of his movies, he portrayed a man of integrity, that one elder in Nollywood movies who doesn’t support the evil tactics of the others.
He featured in over 300 movies, some of which include ‘Slave Warrior’ (2012), ‘White Kingdom 2’ (2014), and ‘Father’s (2014).
The revered actor also featured in foreign movies, including “Soweto,” a story about the struggle in South Africa, and “Mr. Johnson,” a Hollywood film.
The actor was a staff of the Nigerian Television Authority until he was retrenched on May 25, 1984.
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