Don’t Live Your Life to Impress Anybody But God
Emeka Rollas is one of the leading names in Nollywood. He has moved from being an actor to a producer, director and a lot more. Now, he holds a big spot, as the President of Actors Guild of Nigeria and has a year of good works to show for it. He tells Tosin Clegg what they are doing to provide medical support to veteran actors, among others How I Became an Actor
In 1997, I came in contact with a Lady called Nonye Okechukwu. Then she was a costumier in Onitsha and she took me to an audition at Mike Ori Ihe Dim Ma of blessed memory and Mr. Felix Okolo a Movie Director from Onitsha cast me in my first movie, Hilda De Mighty Woman. It was produced by Sympathy Unadike and shot in Lagos. I have featured in many films such as Narrow Escape, Hilda De Mighty Woman, My Cross, Not my wealth, Jesus Will Come, Anointed, Insiders, Challenge, Prodigal Son, Holy Ghost Fire, Naomi, Douglas My Love, House Party, Oh Woman, House on Fire, Heart Attack, Civil War, Beyond Belief, Women of Substance, Widow, My faithful friend, Inheritance, Buried Emotions, Sleeping with the Enemy, Igede, Last Warning, Search, Internal Heat, Scorned, Squad Gang 5, Engagement, Patience, Oath Brothers, Helpless Billionaire, just to mention the ones I can remember.
Aside movies, I’m also into other things
I’m the Managing Director of Rolling Pictures Ltd and Booben Rolling Pictures Uganda Ltd, a movie production company that also offers public relations/advertising consultancy to clients in the private and public sectors of the economy. Prior to this position, I rose through the ranks to become a renowned actor, producer and movie director in the Nigerian movie industry, where I spent a major part of my adulthood. I held several positions within the Actors Guild of Nigeria and Nollywood in general. I became President at the time God wanted it, after contesting for 12 years. It’s been tough because the Guild has been down for five years with a leadership crisis. But after one year in office, we have been able to stabilise the Guild. At least, all the state chapters in Nigeria have one united Guild.
Before we were saddled with the responsibility of governance, the Guild was in total disarray
As we assumed office, we didn’t waste time; we hit the ground running. In the eight months of our administration, we produced the first ever AGN mobile application with payment gateway for dues and new members registration. We introduced the group accident insurance scheme, and over two thousand members have enrolled.
The Guild has challenges at the moment
And that’s because members were not properly taken care of before now. We are still resetting the foundation of the Guild and as regards the issue of ailing actors. We just set up the Actors Guild of Nigeria Foundation and Mr. Segun Arinze is the chairman of the fundraising event for the foundation coming up soon.
A lot is going into supporting old actors
Veterans, who have contributed to the development of the industry, most times do not have anything to fall back on after so many years of service. Some move on to other businesses or sectors while the faces of others varnish with time. In the recent past, the Guild has lost prominent veteran actors to serious illnesses due to certain medical conditions which could have been averted if there was a medium or platform set aside to harness the strength of the association to fund medical treatment of our own or a source of funding by philanthropists or Nigerians to help rescue their legends. Actors like Enebeli Elebuwa, Justus Esiri, Arshely Nwosu, Dave lhesie, Sam Loco Efe, Muna Obiekwe, Peter Bunor, Prince James Uche, and a host of others have been lost due to certain medical conditions. Their souls are resting in the bosom of the Lord.
We are working on better wages for actors
As affiliates of Federation of International Actors (FIA), we are working assiduously to stem the problem of low wages for actors in Nigeria. A committee is already working on actors wages. There is dignity in our job here in Nigeria. The Pay TV stations are taking actors for granted. Just look at the case of Uncle Victor Olaotan, a.k.a Fred Ade-Williams who was involved in an accident over a year ago. Now his pictures are already online for help. How can this be? And how can we help many others who have laboured for various stations to make money globally? I advise all actors to join the union so we can fight our collective rights. Recently, we just hosted Mr. Andrew Proger, Chief Executive Officer of British Equity Collecting Society and we discussed all of these.
Emeka Rollas is a gentleman
And I live with a philosophy of ‘don’t live your life to impress anybody but God’. I was born on 19th may 1969 to the Ejezie family of Afam Eziani Ihiala in Anambra State. Started my primary education at Holy Trinity Primary School, Kano in 1974 and later went to a seminary school in pursuance of becoming a Priest of the Catholic Church. My love for the Arts made me join a young theatre group in those days called ‘Resident Theatre Group’, led by Emmanuel Emeka Eni. I later went to Federal Polytechnic Oko in Anambra State where I graduated in Mass Communication with upper credit in 1993. Married to Ngozi Chinasaokwu and we are blessed with seven wonderful kids Blossom, Onyx, Amanda, Emmanuel, Fedora, Victor and Humphrey.
The Guild has lost prominent veteran actors to serious illnesses due to certain medical conditions which could have been averted if there was a medium or platform set aside to harness the strength of the association to fund medical treatment of our own or a source of funding by philanthropists or Nigerians to help rescue their legends