This is going to be a very long story because it’s a never-ending story. First and foremost, I read film. I left school in Jos to come to Lagos to find greener pastures. When we went to school to read film, nobody believed that anything good will come out of it, because it’s not like today where filmmaking, acting or music has become a cash cow. In those days, if you went to read theatre arts, people laughed at you because they felt like it was people who didn’t have the capacity to read sciences or some other courses that read theatre arts and because before that time, no one had really made it big in the field. In fact, when I went to school, one of my father’s best friends asked me what production was? So, when I left that school and I came to Jos, the idea was to be on the television format, but the only big organisation that would have absorbed most of us when we left school was NTA. There was no other broadcast station and there were very, very few filmmaking organisations in Nigeria and that time, NTA had an issue with the government. The issue was government embargo on employment. So, from 1987 to 1990, there was no employment for anybody. What it meant was that most of us who went to school to read film or theatre arts were jobless at that time.
I broke down after that. Where I was squatting, my colleagues and my uncles could not now see somebody who had made such success begging for N1,500 because they took me to the hospital and after a weekend, my bill was N1,500. N2,000 was actually my hospital bill. I sent a message to him, at least, from what I ought to earn, but you won’t believe he sent me that money as an IOU. All together, it became N3,500, and that became a problem for us because he started urging me to start the part two. It was while I was writing the part two that I sent for somebody that someone introduced to me. So, he came to do the subtitle for part one. Being a young man who was very impulsive, Kenneth Nnebue was saying we should wait until we finish the part two before he can pay me my entitlements. I almost agreed, but one of his brothers who was handling his account told me that if I didn’t collect my money from this man, that I may not get it and as at this moment, I was not able to enter vehicles freely because this is not just a star! It was a star that was associated with an evil thing. Those days when morals were very high, people could stone you because you were associated with occultism. It was a problem for me getting transport. I was begging this guy to give me money, even if I had to do taxi instead of buses, but he didn’t understand what I explained to him. So, I pulled all the scripts I was writing and locked them in my uncle’s office and I said to him, you’ll give me money, at least for me to rent a one room apartment for myself and do transport. So, foolishly; I’ll say foolishly because maybe if it was today, I’ll still keep at it and wait till whenever the part one is finished and then if we have to now call our ancestors or call our village people to come and beg him to give me my money, because the money was too much and I worked for it. I became too hot tempered and then when I now left him, he gathered the cast and crew and began the part two and they purported to kill Paulo in the film. That’s what happened. Now, while that thing happened, one of the marketers in Onitsha who could not get delivery of products he had ordered over the months walked up to me and said, “I can give you money to make another movie”. He went to the village to look for me and my parents sent the message across to me and I went to Onitsha with Kanayo O. Kanayo. So, he was now doing Circle of Doom with me. Now, because Living in Bondage 2 was in Lagos, I took Circle of Doom to Aba to go and get Gringory Akabogu and Lizzy Ovueme, Jegede Sokoyo and a lot of other people that I brought in then. We went to Aba to make those films, but he was waiting for me to finish part one of Circle of Doom so that the day I will release it, based on the success of Living in Bondage, part 1, he will send me out of the market. So, he was waiting patiently till I finished Circle of Doom. I finished Circle of Doom and then I announced my release date. He announced his release date on the same day, but you see, I am a creative person and God was on my side. So, what I decided to do was to move all my cast and crew and staged a live show at Bolingo Hotels. So, the whole Onitsha came to Bolingo Hotels and I released my film there and it became an instant hit. That’s why it’s been like we were fighting, but it wasn’t a fight.
Yes, let me also mention that Nneka The Pretty Serpent, you wrote also, which was true, that after four years, when I was not paid again, we ended up for the first time in the police station. It was the task force, because God had given me some access to the president that time. That was through Abacha’s wife, the first lady, Mrs Mariam Abacha. So, from her office, I got a letter instructing the task office to investigate this matter and because that was when I went to do Amina for them. So, when those things were happening was when they got to know that I was not playing. So, in anger, they wrote that letter, but you know, the task force carried my friends and the story went out and they claimed that they made another film called Battle of Musanga, with the money and that’s why they couldn’t pay me. I was thinking that after that they’ll pay, but they didn’t still pay. But instead, what they gave there was a bounced cheque. I just have to say this because this one has to be on record, not that I finished this story and I’m not going to mention that. So, after that, I made Brotherhood of Darkness and you see, for every film I make, there is an underlying reason why I make them. I don’t tell stories just because I want to make money, I tell stories because there is something I want to predict or something I want to show people. But Living in Bondage, a lot of people knew that you can actually go to God and He frees you and to the glory of God, after that film, a lot of people left the occult. The occult wrote me 13 letters. If you don’t remember, they wrote me 13 letters on how I will die, but I’m still living. So, people who would see me would know that I’m still alive by the grace of Jesus and nothing else. So, when Merit could not shout Jesus and died in the coven, a harlot shouted Jesus and lived. It was a pointer to those who were in the place that you can actually be saved by the name of Jesus and so I achieved that and I moved on. So, for Brotherhood of Darkness, I was in my house one afternoon, it was a Sunday and I was watching a TV broadcast of an evangelist who was just coming up newly. That was in 1995 and then I saw where a man of God was performing miracles and he said prophetically, whether it was staged or not, that someone in that particular audience was a woman who was married, but was sleeping around and she was pregnant and the child she was carrying does not belong to her husband and if she didn’t come out, she will die. And the whole place was geez! Nobody was making any sound and true to what he said, a woman rose up and was begging and came out and the whole church began to beg the man of God and in an attempt to have mercy on the woman, this man of God brought the woman to the centre stage of the podium and stretched a hand towards her protruding belly and was doing all those signs in the air as if he was pleasing the baby, and after a few minutes of incantations and prayers, he just told the usher to take the woman to the bathroom and by the time she came out, it was jubilation that she just had a miscarriage. I couldn’t stand it. Immediately, my spirit said to me, a sacrifice of an unborn child had been performed. Which woman would surrender her baby for sacrifice? It’s a very costly one if you even think about, so my mind began to fire. As a filmmaker, my spirit was boiling, the scripture took me immediately to 2nd Corinthians 11, from 13 to 15 where He said, “We should not mind these people because even Satan himself must credit himself as an angel of light”. Therefore we cannot look at this man because they too can also masquerade themselves as the apostles of righteousness. You know I’m paraphrasing it, so that became the theme of what I was going to make a film on.