MY ONLY REGRET IN LIFE – Saint Obi
Saint Obi’s rise as an actor, to put it mildly, was meteoric. However, it was his being focused, hardworking and diligent that actually paved the way for him. Along God’s grace. The handsome, hunky and humble, actor whose real names are Obinna Ifeanyichukwu Nwafor recently let AZUH ARINZE into his privacy and the outcome is served here, unedited for your reading pleasure. Enjoy…
This is a nice apartment that you have got here.
How does it feel to have risen this far within so short a time?
It feels good. And shows that God is not only with one, but is also smiling on one. It also shows that one has seen God’s favour. That all the hardwork, patience and perseverance are now paying off. I feel great.
And the journey. How did it start?
It started long ago. 1988 to be precise. I think my debut as a professional actor was in Behind The Clouds. My first home video was Opa Williams’ Without Love, followed by Goodbye Tomorrow. My impact wasn’t felt that much with those works until Sakobi, a Zeb Ejiro production came. Sakobi really opened the floodgate for me.
Can you tell us your other productions, your favourite also and then why?
I’ve also taken part in Heartless, Enemies, The Assignment, Danger Zone, Golden Fleece, Never Again, Deadly Proposal, etc. My favourite, for obvious reasons, is Goodbye Tomorrow.
Okay, tell us more about yourself.
I am Obinna Nwafor. I’m from Mbaitoli in Imo State. I come from a family of nine, eight girls and one boy. My only regret in life is that I don’t have a kid brother. My father, Melford is late. My mother, Milicent is based in Jos, though she is out of the country right now. She is into fashion designing. My father died in 1987. I’m 6’2 tall. I love basketball a lot. I attended St. Paul’s Township School and Zang Secondary Commercial School, both in Jos, Plateau State. I did Theatre Arts at the University of Jos. I finished in 1991. I speak Hausa fluently. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. And I won’t say that I womanise. I love eba served with egusi soup. What again? I think I’ve said all there is to be said about me. Abi something still remain? (General laughter).
So, why Saint Obi instead of Obinna Nwafor. Are you not proud of your name?
I am. It’s just that I find Saint Obi more convenient and easier to pronounce. I’ve always said it anywhere that my name is Obinna Nwafor. I had to go for Saint Obi because I see myself as a selfless person; an unselfish person. Saint Obi is easy to catch and pronounce. It is also more artistic.
Apart from basketball, which other things appeal to you?
I love music. Just any music. It could be 2 Pac, it could be Celine Dion and it could also be Bright Chimezie. Just any music that sounds good.
How rich is Saint Obi?
Just as rich as the man next door who can buy a bottle of Fanta, without batting an eyelid.
You have always spoken well of Zeb Ejiro. What could be responsible for that?
(Smiling) Zeb Ejiro is my mentor. He contributed a lot to my present status. In fact, we are working jointly on a project as I’m talking to you now. He’s been a very good friend and brother to me.
Will you marry an actress?
It depends. If love catches up with me there, why not. I follow my heart when it comes to love.
Why do actors/actresses’ marriages always crumble so easily?
I don’t know. But maybe people in those marriages can tell better. Mine certainly will not go that way because I don’t believe in single parenthood.
Tell us some challenges you have faced as an actor
There are many of them, but the craziest, I think, is sleeping with a live cobra on the set of Sakobi. Men! The experience was “outta” this world. It was scary and fearful.
Apart from acting, what else do you do?
I’m also into business. I’m the CEO of Agwhyte International Ltd.
As an actor, what is your own definition of acting?
I see it as impersonation. Trying to be what you are not.
Your role models?
Sean Connery, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Clint Eastwood.
Do you hate anything about yourself?
Yes, my being too nice. Maybe that’s why I’m a Saint. I’ve learnt that if you are too nice, people take you for granted and for a ride. You see, a friend while travelling to Europe in December 1996 needed some money which I gladly obliged him. He promised to send the money through the Western Union Money Transfer and till date, I’ve not heard from him, not to talk of him returning the money. It’s not fair.
Who could that be, if we may ask?
Oh! I don’t want to go public with his name. I’ve left him and his conscience to decide.
You tend to play too much of lover boy roles. Why?
That’s not true. I’m a versatile actor. I was a Catholic priest in Narrow Escape, a mad man in Just A Mission, a gangster in Benita and…Another thing is that I don’t determine which roles I play. The producers do. But that is not to say that I’ve not been careful not to duplicate my roles.
Are you still eyeing Hollywood?
If God says yes who am I to say no?
You sound Biblical. Are you born again?
It depends on your definition of born again. I trust and believe in God. I also pray daily because I believe in the efficacy of prayers.
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