Prince Ifeanyi Dike, actor, producer, TV presenter and businessman, may rightly pass for the proverbial cat with nine lives. Twice he’s undergone a kidney transplant – and on both occasions he came out victorious. For the first time and like never before, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Actors Guild of Nigeria, opened up on his brave battle with death as well as his miraculous healing by the Almighty. This was on Monday, July 25, 2016, during a courtesy visit to YES INTERNATIONAL! Magazine office. The trio of AZUH ARINZE, FEYISAYO TEJUOSHO and AWELE OJEH listened and captured his interesting story. Enjoy…
What has been happening to Prince Ifeanyi Dike?
Of course, a lot has been happening to Prince Ifeanyi Dike. You know that Prince Ifeanyi Dike is an actor, a businessman, a TV presenter… I have shows currently running on NTA Lagos every Tuesday, Viewers Delight, on NTA Channel 10, 7:30-8:00pm to be precise, where we promote businesses, talk about people; you’ve been a guest on the show and I also just directed a movie titled Frenemy, which is going to hit the market very soon. We are into a lot of things that would put food on our table and make sure that the family is well taken care of.
As one of the pioneers of what is today being celebrated as Nollywood, how do you feel about what is currently going on there; people are complaining that things are no longer what they used to be?
Well, when people complain, I ask them: what is their contribution? It is not a question of complaining, it is about what you have contributed. People should come out from the toga of complain, complain. You have to know what you have contributed to now start demanding or asking what the industry will give to you. Like I always say, people talk about the Actors Guild here and there. But you ask: how many of them have even paid their dues to be members of The Actors Guild? Because it’s not all actors that are members. Some people think they are too big for the Actors Guild and we are just watching them. It is after becoming (members) that they will now say what has Actors Guild done for them. Some popular people; I keep saying this year after year; now, you might also say that there is a leadership crisis. But to us in the Actors Guild, we don’t see any leadership crisis. The sheep know who their shepherd is, and we are not interested in bantering words or trying to join issues with people that I call the conmen of Nollywood; they would want to deceive the masses based on their popularity, to ensure that they reap where they did not sow. It’s so sad. But very soon, a clearer picture of Nollywood will be seen and people will know who to rely on.
For a very long time now; in fact, for years, there’s been this intractable war between Ibinabo Fiberesima, Emeka Ike and co. Those of you who constitute the Board, what are you doing to resolve that issue so that AGN can be united?
No. 1, Emeka Ike did not contest in any election. We have said that for the umpteenth time, but we have found out that a section of the press has decided to keep running on that. How can I come and claim the MD of YES INTERNATIONAL! Magazine when I am not even a member of YES INTERNATIONAL! Magazine? So, it is so unfortunate that people still describe the man as the president, which is not even possible.
So, as the Chairman of the Board, who is the president of AGN?
Ibinabo Fibresima, Chief Ibinabo Fibresima. She is the president, and it is only when election holds that we will now have a new president or maybe she will rerun.
Lately, most entertainers have been having issues with their health. You also had a kidney issue, went to India, had a transplant, came back and you’ve been bubbling. Some people are also having challenges in Nollywood, particularly now; more so with the recent case involving Leo Mezie, the actor. Why do you think more actors, more entertainers are having this issue with their kidney?
Point of correction, not only actors have kidney problem. Go to any dialysis clinic, you will see traders, children; you will see different people doing dialysis. It’s just that they are popular. People that are not known do dialysis everyday and kidney problem is not only for the entertainment industry, it’s everywhere. Sometimes you tend to wonder what is the cause of kidney problem, of which we have narrated the cause…
Can you shed light on the true cause?
You have to always drink enough water, you have to give time for yourself to rest, you have to check your blood pressure to ensure that your blood pressure does not get to a level that it starts affecting your health and other organs in the body. Because once your BP gets to the roof, the system will start crashing like a computer. It will now start looking for things to destroy in the system. Another one is salt intake. Also, we should take rest seriously. In fact, if Nigerians go to America with this strength that we have, we will be doing 9 jobs. Another thing is protein. Don’t consume too much protein because high protein is not good for the kidney. Also, we should shy away from analgesics.
When you had this issue, it was like the heaven will fall, people were running around, trying to save your life. How do you feel now, after everything? Moreso, because after you came back, the thing relapsed again?
First of all, I thank God and I give thanks for the prayers of a lot of people, because you can even have money and not survive it. So, you need an extra divine favour to survive such encounter. God was on my side totally, because there are so many things I am still yet to do and I will like to do. Also prayers work wonders. If you are prayerful, you are free-minded, you try as much as possible to free yourself from a lot of troubles, free your mind and take life easy… I also want to thank my lovely wife for being there, because if she wasn’t there, I tell you, I don’t think you will be talking to this man now. Because my wife was 100 percent gidi gbam by my side. That’s how they say it. She stood gidi gbam by my side. She was supportive, she was wonderful, and if there is anything like the best wife around, I think I will continue to give her the title till the end of my life. So, it was an experience that really showed me a lot of things about people. It is only when you are down; people you don’t even think can come to your aid will just help you and those that you have faith in would come and look at you and say sorry and you know that sorry does not heal sickness, it doesn’t do anything; when you say sorry, you also do something (laughs).
How much do you think you would have expended to get back your health? Rough estimate…
I can’t lay my hands on that. A lot of funds went into it, but let’s just say it ran into millions.
All the while you were bedridden, till you got back on your feet again, was there anytime you asked yourself questions like ‘is this how I will die?’ ‘Is this the end of the road for me?’
No! When I was in India, I saw white people, Indians, I didn’t see any black person. So, I said maybe I am even dead already because these people are strange. Another thing again is to go to the right hospital. Not every hospital in India is a good hospital. People tend to make that mistake. There are good hospitals that you can go to and there are public hospitals too. But if you happen to enter the wrong hands, you are finished. You have to get to know the hospitals. Another thing is that once you are sick, don’t try to save money, always go for the best and not the cheaper alternative. While in the ICU, there is a drug they give – anti-rejection injection drug and you are supposed to take a number of dosage to ensure you don’t come back. But the drug is too expensive and you must take it. One is close to a million and you have to take like three…
One thing you have refrained from talking about is who gave you the kidney. Was it your brother, sister or wife or you had a donor?
Yes, I had a donor and it is always very unique not to mention your donor. But I would say the donor was a relation of my wife. You know when you have this kind of issue, people start looking at you somehow. But the young man that gave me his kidney is a relation of my wife. That’s why I said my wife is a wonderful person.
Prior to your in-law donating the kidney, were there people you had approached and they turned you down?
Let me tell you something, if I ask you to give me your kidney, you can’t give me. It’s very scary. That is why anybody that has given you one, has given you life. That is why I think kidney donors should be treated specially. Do you know what it means to give an organ? In the process, some people can die. But somebody says I don’t want you to die, I will give you my kidney.
At the end of your operation, when you got back on your feet, what was the first thing you said to God, how did you show appreciation to God?
You see, it’s not good to pay lip service. I went to church, did the normal thanksgiving, but anybody expecting me to call a big party is wasting his time because the drugs that you are going to be taking for the rest of your life is quite expensive. After that, I thanked God, and listened to the advice of the doctor, all the do’s and don’ts.
With what has happened, it’s clear that God loves you. What more do you want Him to do for you, other than saving your life?
As a human being, there is no how you will not want things from God. You always pray for more. You should always pray and thank God and ask for more, but one thing I pray for is for God to associate me with good people, because if God associates you with good people, you would always overcome.
So, what would you say has been the greatest lesson that all the travail has taught you?
One thing it has taught me is that people should not look down on anybody or write off anybody, because I remember when I was sick, some people were just preparing for their own funeral, not mine. When they look at me, they will say well, he is nearly gone. It’s funny that some people that told me sorry are already dead. I’m telling you. It’s not a funny thing. Now, Leo Mezie is down, people are trying to raise money for him, some people are even doubting whether the people are genuine. For goodness sake, people are trying to do something, what have you done instead of to criticize anyone that tries to raise money for him? Even if the person eats the money, God will judge the person. Do you know how many people got money from other people with my name and never gave it to me?
Are you a stronger Christian now by virtue of what you’ve gone through?
For Christ’s sake, what do you call Christianity? To live a Christ-like life. And to love your neigbour as yourself. I am No. 1 in that.
It is one thing to have survived two kidney transplants…
It’s not easy…
Usually, the survivors are expected to live on medication for life and most of the medications are very, very expensive. How have you been coping?
It’s not easy. In fact, if your drug is finishing, your heart would be skipping, because you have to replace them and they are very expensive. When I came back, I started work immediately. I am a workaholic, I enjoy working and another thing is you have to be very, very careful that your drugs should not finish. Now, with the Dollar rate so high, it’s very hard to afford drugs. That is why this Dollar rate is affecting most transplant patients in the sense that no pharmaceutical company in Nigeria caters for the drugs; they have to be bought outside the country.
Each time you hear the sad news about somebody with kidney failure or transplant dying, does it worry or bother you?
No, it doesn’t. I want to say this to all kidney transplant patients in Nigeria: God can still do miracles. But know that once you have done kidney transplant and the doctor tells you please, make sure you take your drugs regularly, know that you have a foreign body in you. It is not your own, directly from God; nobody should tell you that it is brand new, either after praying and tell you to stop your drugs. Like I said, don’t misquote me: our God can replace anything, but you see, our God also gave the knowledge to all these doctors to be able to do the transplants. Because knowledge is power and the Bible says “my people perish for lack of knowledge”.