No woman can take advantage of me–Emeka Ike

Sometimes, the best gossip and chat could be at the most unlikely places. SAMUEL OLATUNJI caught up with actor Emeka Ike at a joint in Ogudu GRA where they ‘talked’ over some bottles of beer. Of course, Olatunji stayed away from the bottles, but here’s the gist of the encounter.

Let me start from the obvious issue that you are passionate about - the Actors Guild of Nigeria matter. I have heard people say Emeka is bigger than this, but why are you insistent about it?
 Like you said, I’m actually bigger than this, but I am looking at the people I represent; the voiceless that I speak for. I speak for that man that cannot afford to pay for a press conference; I speak for the man who cannot afford to sit down and speak with you. That’s my interest in this whole thing

 Segun Arinze obviously has finished his tenure, so why can’t you simply go pick a form and contest?
 Pick a form from whom?

 From the AGN!
 Where is AGN? That means you have accepted that there is AGN. There’s no AGN. So, I should go and get a form from a man I said is not supposed to be president? Or a form from a Board of Trustees whose tenure has expired over four years, or a form from a cabal that has a draconian way of operation among innocent practitioners. They don’t have the right. You can’t give what you don’t have in law. So the law must be obeyed to the letter and if there’s anything like law, we talk about the constitution. The constitution does not recognize those people. So why should I go to them to obtain a form? The constitution empowered KOK (Kanayo O Kanayo) to conduct an election and it brought about a president, which is me!

 But I saw this coming. That was why I bought the form and I am ready to face them head on. I would never give in to them. My mission is to make sure I remove in totality the five people that call themselves BOT. They are going to be flushed out, and until they are flushed out, there can’t be a president. Not someone they appointed president when the court said go and have an election. So it’s a mayhem they caused and they can pay you people, press men, to be neither here nor there and you people dance to this side and dance to that side and make people unable to understand what is happening.

 It’s a function of legality against illegality. His tenure expired in 2008. The last function the court gave him was to appoint a committee to conduct election. So why should I go back to the man to collect form? Segun Arinze did not have a tenure. It was just a fraudulent arrangement and I keep saying these people are scallywags. They are businessmen using the corporate name of an association to run private business. Arinze happens to be one of the pawns on their chess board.

 They use him to play on everybody’s intelligence. So, there cannot be any issue saying Segun has finished his “tenure.” There was no tenure given to him by the AGM. The “tenure” was given to him by some businessmen that need his signature to activate some things in government. That’s why I can’t go to them and Segun cannot resign. Go and find out. He can’t go anywhere until this case is finished. There was supposed to be an election on the 21st and 23rd of November, but it didn’t hold and you people didn’t ask why. They would keep misinforming you people. I don’t understand why the press would decide to be illiterates instead of the elite.

 The court said they cannot have election or somebody would go to jail. There was a ruling. The last time, the court did not write it down, which was a mistake on the judge’s part. Can you imagine, how can you give a judgment and not write it down? But this new judge wrote down the statement and I saw it. We are not here acting film. We are in the court of law. When you say a thing, you follow it up. That was why they could say Emeka did this and the court said we should do this and we went against the court order and nothing happened. It was because that judge left room for that, but this new judge zeroed on it.

 Let’s look at the justice of the matter. The Judge said don’t conduct any election while I’m looking at the issues. Do you deserve to be a stakeholder or not? Do you deserve the position, the type of war you are waging? Are you capable and with the mandate constitutionally to do so? The court wanted answers to these questions. So if a man is asking these type of questions, why should people like you now be saying I am fomenting trouble? The man is only trying to redefine democracy.

 AGN said it wasn’t served the summons
 You see, they keep looking for ways to escape justice. How can you say you were not served when your lawyer was there? Didn’t your counsel represent you? Their counsel was in court so how could they say they were not served the summons? They are just looking for excuses. We served them duly. They are just looking for a way of running away from judgment. This is their problem. They know the law so much and they know how to twist the hand of justice in Nigeria. Justice in Nigeria is allowed to be delayed because of the constraints around it, filing papers and all that. But definitely you would have justice in a short time. They want to play around the judgment till the plaintiff is tired of the case and then walk away. Then they would say he is tired. People are cashing in on that possibility

 So there won’t be any election for now?
 The court said there can’t be any election until there’s a judgment on the matter. You look at it, it’s going to bring about anarchy by the time you have “two presidents” in court and “another president” goes ahead to conduct election and hands over to another person. It becomes tenuous ultimately. Let all the parties involved be present. After all some of them have taken some coins as salary and dividends from the president in the office. Let us all sit down and settle the matter, we can’t hand over to a body. We have to see the end of it. Let’s see who deserves to be the president according to what’s in the constitution.

 Is it a matter of the ruling of the court?
 On the 13th (of January) we are going back to court again. Definitely before the end of February, there should be a judgment or a pointer to a judgment. I heard these people are still rushing to see how they can do election. You know their own is just “let’s keep doing illegality” so as to be able to meet some certain governors to gain relevance. We know the games they are playing but we are just watching them. Let them continue playing. We are equally watching, nice acting, nice scripting, nice budgeting, budget for TV men, budget for press men and then getting to bury justice. It’s all right, let’s see how it ends.

 Has this not affected your career?
 Yes, it has. I stood up to fight the cabal and they turned around to give me negative press. They used the press against me and some other Nollywood stars. If you notice, anything written about any Nollywood star is either negative or extremely scandalous, worse than against musicians. It’s a ploy by some people to destroy the image of stars in the industry. Charles Novia predicted about two years ago that the likes of Omotola, Genevive, Ramsey Nouah will be shoved out of the system. That’s the tendency. So the cabal thinks that they are God. They think every artiste must bow to them and I’m telling them f*** you.

 They think I have to worship them to be somebody. I don’t need their money. I am a man of integrity and outstanding reputation. I am doing this for the masses, and if you won’t listen to the voice of the masses and you think because you have a few friends enjoying it then I should worship you, I won’t do that. They can go to hell with their endorsements. I don’t care. Do I look like I am not doing well? My TV shows are aired on metro stations all over Africa and my academy. You only know your own sponsors. You don’t know other people’s sponsors. They are fighting a man that is fighting the cause of humanity. So it is God that would determine. They can’t stop me .

 You have not been in the movies for a while now, what do you do?
 We all have not been in movies for a while, not me alone. Every other actor involved has not been in a movie for a while. They shut down Idumota, Pound Road and Creek Road. So no actor is making any movie any more. What you see now is people doing Part 1 to 6 of a particular movie and you don’t see heroes like us on such jacket. I act only Part 1 movies. Why will you tell me to act parts 1 to 6 of a movie? That’s being stupid. Maybe the new stars that can do anything to become stars, including sleeping with producers, buying them cars just to become stars in such movies do.

 You can’t see men like us do that. So many actors are not working. Not me, I have things going on. I have my business going on, my school, my academy, my projects. I’m working with different bodies and I don’t have to make that public. For example, if only ten students pay N200,000 in a term, that’s pretty good money. If you earn that three times in a year, you can’t be doing so bad. Beyond that, there are other businesses that I am involved in. So ends are meeting. We travel here and there and very soon you would hear about my academy big time in conjunction with Hollywood films. You would hear the big project coming on without any of these Nigerian local corporate bodies who think they are internationals because they can pay some artistes to be on their bill board.

 How does your wife feel about AGN and all these matters?
 She respects me. She respects my integrity. She sees the outstanding personality of a man who can stand and face pain, hardship and still be realistic, because what has to be has to be. I can still cope with the cause of the masses… with the feeling of the man on the street. She knows I have a program called Street where I rescue mental patients and I relate with them and rehabilitate them. She likes my commitment to humanity and she knows I can give my life for the cause of justice and humanity. She respects my person, she adores me and she sees me as a total man.

 But sometimes, do all of these not affect her?
 No, she encourages me to go ahead. She has begun to pan with my ideas, so when we come to an understanding and I see that there are ways that I can criticize, I will criticize them. Gradually she is seeing the salient issues of the society where people keep quiet just to get-by. Sometimes when we keep quiet generations unborn will suffer for that and it is not good.

 We never had men that stood their ground in politics for strong ideologies to be made and respected. We might never have a strong nation, unified nation. We might never have a business community, a prosperous nation. So we need to keep reviewing real issues and keep toeing the path of justice. It doesn’t matter the few people who say don’t worry, just go and do the rest, just follow the path of justice.

 How do you feel now that you have a girl child?
 Wow, so much love for the woman. I love and appreciate the girl-child more now than ever. I see mine and I love her and I wish her so much good. She makes me feel like a father again.

 How old is she?
 She’s still an infant

 Was it because you wanted a girl that you kept trying after three boys?
 That was what she wanted. They say what a woman wants you give her. I asked her what she wanted and she said she wanted a girl. I said okay you will get a girl now in Jesus name and she said amen. So we talked and we laughed about it and everything turned out well. Adura, Oluwakemi, you know, she is the most beautiful girl I have ever set my eyes on. She has my eye lashes and my type of lips combined with her mother’s lips. She is a beautiful girl in the making.

 Why did you name her Oluwakemi?
 Because I felt God has Kemi by giving me what I wanted, the way I wanted it. I prayed for male children initially. I said I don’t even want a female child, but I began to want one after my first child and He gave me that baby girl. He loves me so much. See the way he arranged my children for me, three boys… solid, smart, intelligent, the best boys, then He gave me a beautiful girl , Oluwakemi (o ke selese)

 Do you get scared or apprehensive about her?
 What is my business? You never born girl? Parents are supposed to bring up their child or their children in the way they are supposed to go and that’s what the Bible says. Bring up a child in the way you want him to go, so that when he grows he will not depart from it. That’s how my father taught me. He taught me integrity. He told me I should not touch any money that does not belong to me.

 That’s why integrity was start-up apparel, my coat and dressing right now. Definitely you bring up your daughter to respect herself, to respect her body. Yes, I know there are plenty of wayward girls out there. There are plenty of lesbians out there. God will help us to give her the right training, to know that she is a virtue to be respected by men and not be taken advantage of for money.

 Sometimes, do you worry that all the bad things you had done in time past would catch up with her?
 There is no way a young man will not have ex-girl friends. You must have girl friends. Growing up, especially if you are a Lagos boy, brought up in the city of excellence, you should know how to talk to girls. But regardless, you have to be brotherly with whatever you do and the more you respect yourself in a relationship, the more your ex-girl will call you after you break up for two years and she is married and ask you for advice in her marriage. There was a girl that told me “do you know I have three men in my life?” I asked who they are and she said Bill Clinton, Mike Tyson and Emeka Ike.

 I asked why and she said Tyson was a good boxer in those days while Clinton was the ruler of the world. Emeka Ike is one young Nigerian man that has captivated her. I showed her some integrity, how a man should really behave. A man should not run to a woman for financial support but a man should support a woman. When you have a problem I will assist you, but it’s not about jumping into a girl and taking advantage of her and run away to take another one. No, not my type of man.

 What do you think about fuel subsidy?
 Fuel subsidy is long overdue. The hullabaloo has been there before Jonathan came on board. We all know it’s been there. What I want Nigerians to first appreciate is that it wasn’t Jonathan that created this situation. What that means is that we are like cancer patients and it is either we get some medical attention or we die. We are between the devil and the blue sea.

 Let’s be realistic, let’s be objective, we are like sick people and we need surgery. That is the only way we can be free. In fact, Jonathan is saying let us remove this subsidy that is making a few Nigerians mega billionaires. Let us see if we can manage ourselves, incorporate our own refinery, employ our own people, refine our own oil, feed ourselves with the oil and export. Who will say that is not sound? I think they have read my interview in the past, I have always been talking about middle men. They have encroached on every aspect of our society. (Christopher) Kolade and his team should not take Nigerians for a ride this time around.

 Shouldn’t the president fix the refineries before removing the subsidy?
 With whose money? Your money or the partner’s money? Where is the money? The thing is that we can just say the government should augment salaries of workers.

 Do you mind buying PMS at N141 per liter?
 I have already bought a full tank but I know my brothers out there cannot buy it at that price. That is why government should please assist my younger brothers, my sisters in the village that traveled home for Christmas and cannot come back.

 What’s your relationship with Segun Arinze like?
 Segun is my friend o. You people keep asking this question. Segun is my friend. We met some days ago and we still talked and hugged. I like him, he is my friend but I am fighting this faceless board of trustees not him. My sister got married last December but I didn’t have his number otherwise I could have invited him. This is not about against Segun. I’m against some five men that used Segun to collect money that belongs to the masses and shared it. Emeka Ike is saying enough is enough, nobody is signing any money on behalf of the poor masses anymore. Any money spent on behalf of the masses must be accounted for.

 What do you still remember about your dad?
 I remember a man that was willing to give his life for humanity. He opened his door to everybody from his town and the generality of the public. He was a moralist to the core, even in the church, the Assemblies of God, he did his best. After he resigned as a church elder and treasurer, the church had to come and beg him. The church told him “No, you can’t resign as we need you here. We don’t have any other treasurer except you.” That means he was a man of integrity, a man they didn’t doubt when they kept money with him. That’s the legacy he bequeathed to me.

 Did he talk to you about women?
 Yes, he said he knew his son but before then, he tested me. There were days he would tell me to go and open the book of Ecclesiastes and bring money from there for him, thinking I would steal from him, but I didn’t. Unknown to me, he was testing me then. One day when we were having a family prayer he said, “there is one son of mine that I want to talk about here. I have tried him severally with money, if they tell me outside that Emeka Ike is a thief, I will say forget it, it’s not my Emeka. I don’t know about him and women o, I don’t know if he likes women o, I don’t know about fighting o. Even though he is a stubborn boy, when it comes to integrity and accountability, he has it.”

 How did Yaba College of Technology shape you?
 There I learned to be the hip-pop loving boy. Yabatech was an experience for me to learn. I had to deal with some difficult lecturers who looked down on me and said ‘ ma ba aye e je’ and that means they will spoil your life.

 Was that where your rebel mien originated?
 My what?

 Your rebellious spirit…?
 No, I reject that in Jesus name if you use that statement for me…
 No, what I meant is your going against the norm
 Watch the word you use. When you use the word norm, that means acceptable behaviour. Now when you say a man is against anti-social norms, you don’t label him rebellious.

 What about your outspokenness?
 Yes, I was outspoken at college and quite active. I participated in agitations to correct social wrongs. That is the mind set I got from Igbobi College and Yabatech. Fela is dead, Gani is dead, Saro-Wiwa is dead, Sunny Okosuns is dead. Who is talking about human rights anymore. Nobody. What we have now are charlatans. When the governor of Lagos State, His Excellency Fashola mounted the mantle of leadership, we saw the way he was going and we saw that he meant well for Lagosians. We did not criticize him. Today it is clear.

 What would you do if you were not an actor?
 An engineer. Maybe I could have tried to incorporate an engineering firm. But I think it would have been very difficult to work with any big engineering firm. So I could have hustled to raise some money to come up with some small scale engineering products because my project in school had to do with a paint-making machine which looks like a sewing machine, but it’s not. It could make any type of paint depending on what you want, whether it is emulsion or others. So, if I wasn’t acting I could have looked for a way to partner with some engineering companies with the hope of making these things happen.

 What has acting cost you?
 It has cost me my privacy. Yes I’m famous, but I used to cherish my privacy. I’m violated by the day and some people I hardly know use my name in bad light and bring up scandals about me for their own needs and purposes. You can choose to write about scandals about me for the purpose of increasing your patronage. It has equally been a blessing, a blessing in disguise. Like I was in Liberia the other week and I was more celebrated than their football star, George Weah. I’m not kidding you.

 They said I am one of the Nollywood stars that made them watch Nigerian films. Some people can love you so much because of what you do while some others can hate you out of jealousy even when they don’t know you. They just feel you are too much. Even when they don’t know you, they start plotting your downfall and scandalizing you. The other day, somebody accosted me on the street and told me he knew me in Jos and I said I was sorry that I never lived in Jos.

 He felt I was lying. Something more serious happened in the United Kingdom. I was on a job and this man came from nowhere with the mind of running me down, claiming he knew me in Port Harcourt. He tried convincing the people there that I’m just one small boy he knew from Port Harcourt. I didn’t stay in that place as Emeka Ike. Even my town, I haven’t stayed there for more than a month before. So that’s the part I regret about acting and stardom.

 I have had this discussion about women, e don tire me sef. Am I a dummy? I’m not a dropout. I’m not an actor that sits down and waits for one woman from Abuja to come and dash me money. That’s why some say I’m arrogant. I am not arrogant. I’m just a man that works hard for his money. I don’t believe that a woman would give me anything. If a woman is giving me anything, we are business partners, so I don’t fall into that category at all. No woman can take advantage of me. Even before I got married, I never liked a lady because of her money. She didn’t have to be a daughter of a rich person. All I was after is the good girl in you.

 Are you saying since you got married, you have never wanted a ‘sister’?
 Sam, what I can deduce from this interview is that somebody sent you to come and find out something hidden abi? I’m beyond that level. They are small fries.

 What other businesses do you do?
 I have a secondary school and I also have an academy that trains Nigerian youths in entertainment viz cinematography, acting, directing and others. We will be doing something in Ghana very soon and you will hear about it.
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