Dearly beloved, having being anointed last year, I’m now being officially ordained with ministerial licence and collar. Giving me the right to carry out episcopal duties as a minister of God under the fold of the ministry as an evangelist. This is happening this morning, Sunday, the 5th of February 2012, at the fresh oil ministry int’l church. This is really the Lord’s doing and it’s amazingly wonderful! God is awesome’.
The above were the words of Nollywood actress Eucharia Anunobi on her facebook wall, which makes her the first Nollywood act to achieve that feat.
More Interviews from Eucharia Anunobi from the Internet.
Nollywood seems to be taking a revolution with ‘IJE’, ‘ANCHOR BABY’ and some other movies that are rebranding Nollywood. In the movies you have participated in do you think they are worthy of rebranding Nigeria?
Yes Absolutely, I’ve always said that whether we like it or not the stories we tell in our movies since we actually started has always been our story in different forms; the stories of ritual, people who are non-conformist, kidnappers. So definitely, we’re rebranding Nigeria but first of all, we cannot rebrand if we don’t appraise the things that we have on ground and know we got a lot of dirt and to sweep it out we got to showcase them to tell people that this things are not good. So obviously, when we’re done with this and people have come to realize them like all this internet fraud is not right, we start rebranding. When you want to start rebranding, you must give people thanks for them to have things to do. I’ve always given kudos to all the producers who have brought money to put up this industry but we need government to come in and now by the grace of God, I heard not too long ago that the President of this country has given out some money to the industry, now they’re thinking. Whether we like it or not, everybody cannot be in the banking industry, everybody cannot be a doctor or an accountant. There are millions of people that the entertainment industry employ; the camera men, personal assistants, lighting men and editors. So tell me if this industry was not in place, where would we all be? It is better and high time that the government realizes that this industry is too big and would incorporate so many other people that rather would have been on the streets and cause havoc. For me, when you say you want to rebrand Nigeria, they should appraise the fact that they need to pump in money so that sucks in all the restless youths, and all of us as we’re all gearing to go. We got talent so if you don’t cap us and put us down in a place there’s nothing we can do about it, they’ll just be on the street looking for things to do.
Do you think President Jonathan will live up to his promise, based on the fact that previous promises have failed?
The thing about life is that faith is believing in the things you’ve not seen and hoping that they’ll come to pass. So well we have faith and believe that he’s promised and we’ll pray. What we should do is pray that he puts those things into his sect because whether we like it or not, we have to realize there’s spiritual power because the bible says ‘We fight not against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities of darkness’. So whether you like it or not there are powers of principalities and darkness who are dream killers, so we want to say that this dream should not be killed by putting up our prayers, going down on our knees in our homes, offices and wherever we are that that which he has uttered will come to pass because sometimes when you utter your dream, the dream killers will kill it. There are evil forces and people who don’t want this nation to go higher than this, maybe because they’ve already sold their soul to Satan and if you don’t pray against them, they’ll hinder the promises he has made
You have experienced all sort of controversial issues in the last few years, how do you live and cope with all that?
If you talk about the news concerning my divorce case, well because I’m a celebrity, they have to talk about it so I don’t see the big deal about it as I’m not embarrassed about it and there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. I’m not the first one to get divorced and I don’t think I asked for a divorce so I want to believe that I was the best wife and best mother that any man can get; It’s just that anyone could marry the wrong guy or girl. So maybe in my case I just married the wrong guy and I pray that very soon I’ll get the right guy and all these things would come to an end because for me I’m straight.
So you’re looking forward to another marital experience?
Absolutely because our God says we should not be alone.
So how soon is that?
As soon as the right man comes along. I don’t want to get entangled with the one that’ll bale off with my things again.
So looking at your recent pictures, and seeing the changes in appearance, how trim you look, I was wondering, how did you do it?
Thank you. If I understand you correctly, I take it you’re saying I look good and beautiful. (General laughter) Well, first and foremost I am a health conscious person even though I know that a while ago I might have put on some weight. Sometimes if you are emotionally down you might put on some weight and coming from the point of view of having had a baby, which is not an excuse, I put on weight. Then I breast-fed for a while though. I was alone and lazy about my health you know, but one day I woke up and I said ‘hey, what is happening? Why will I put on weight? ’ I can’t claim to be health conscious and teaching others to be health conscious yet allow myself to get out of shape. You see the nature of my job allows no place for sloppy appearance. So I had to wake up from the slumber and take the bull by the horn. I had to stop some of those funny eating habits like taking all that chocolate, ice-cream , nkwobis and ise ewu , you see I have a sweet tooth but I had to put a stop to all that, because I realize once you get older some of those bad habits can come back at you with terrible consequences.
So after being out of the picture for sometime, what was the motivation to come back and take it up from where you left off?
Well to me I want to say that the quest for knowledge, in a bid to better my self was the motivation that led me to take time off in order to come back a better actor. This is necessary if one must attain the peak of their chosen field of endeavour. I have always tried to let people know that you can not be a proper actress or ‘actor’ in quote without having a good education. Because as an actor or actress you must be intellectually sound in order to properly understand your role and character. If you are not educated you will not be able to interpret properly your character and as a result will lack the confidence and bearing to properly portray your role. Definitely, acting is not for people who are not educated. Yes you might have the talent but there’s only so far your talent can go. So for me by the grace of God, having education and believing so tenaciously in education have put me where I am today. And for me it’s part of it and when you said I took time off, I know that I have showcased that overtime with education, so I give God the glory that thousands and million of parents when they see me, they say ‘oh my God I want my children to speak English the way you speak‘, people say ‘I love the way you walk‘, ‘I love the way you get your head up high you have got charisma‘. These are the qualities I have learnt over time and they are all coming from schooling and from a good heart. If you don’t have good education some of this finer attributes of life will be taken away from you. And these are what are needed for the next level, which is where I am heading.
Of course, there’s been a lot of talk in the media about Eucharia being an evangelist and preacher. Did you ‘turn to God’ as it were, because of certain emotional or psychological challenges you faced?
Well let me give you a precise date I gave my life to God. That was 25th of March 1996. And that was four years before I got married. That means I have been born again for more than a decade. So it’s not about turning to God now, I didn’t ‘find’ God now. And if anyone turns to God because of certain challenges, once those problems are solved, you will return to your previous ways, which is obviously not the case with me. I realised long time ago that there are a lot of negative spiritual forces that operate in Africa considering our ancestral religious beliefs. Some of us are not even aware that almost every family in Africa has some sort of tie with spiritual forces, either by way of seeking protection or for fortification, done on their behalf by their forebears. If this problem is not taken care of, it will definitely continue to affect people and they will begin to wonder where they went wrong. It’s the reason you see some people are never able to handle wealth, or relationships or family. So of course having realised this a long time ago, I decided to break with this bond. And being an evangelist today means I have been in the ministry for a while before coming out to evangelise. And this gives me joy because life is transient so the succour we should truly seek is the fellowship with God. And I want to declare here that I am shamelessly in love with God.
How do you reconcile your flashy ways and your assertion that you are a born-again Christian, bearing in mind the stereotypical image of a ‘born again’ Christian especially around these parts? Let me ask you, have you seen God? Or do you have an idea of God? From what I gather and from what is obtainable from the Bible and even from what surrounds us, God is beautiful. And of course His children ought to reflect that beauty. Besides, Christianity is not really about the physical look of one tying a scarf and portraying ‘religion’. You do know that ‘religion’ and ‘Christianity’ are two different concepts. So it’s not really about looking tattered or unkempt in order to impress people with your piety. At the same time it’s not about trim nails or long hair or any of that. It’s really about what’s inside. But to me, you cannot proclaim the God of beauty, the God of order and look tattered because my God is the epitome of excellence.
What’s your take on the recent bill prohibiting same sex marriages and civil unions in the country?
I’m excited about this, I’m so excited. Before I answer this question, I’ll share something with you. Sometime ago around September, I was given a script to familiarise with for a movie. The movie was about homosexuals, lesbianism and you know, name it, and I was like ‘Hey! Who is going to do this’? (Laughter around) you know. I just trashed it immediately. But the producer called me afterwards on my thoughts and I told him straight away I wasn’t going to do it. He pleaded with me to reconsider as I was ordained to preach a message through that movie. However about two months later, I just picked up the script, which fortunately had not been destroyed, and read it and I noticed that yes the character was bisexual and all that but eventually she became a pastor going about converting everyone she had ever ‘initiated’ into the act of lesbianism. So it was really about the message. So yes, back to your question, I think it is awesome and this re-inforces my pride in my country and I say kudos to the national assembly. For once at least, we have shown that we are a nation that fears God. Let me tell you, the act of homosexuals, bisexualism and the like is purely satanic and from the pits of hell. This shows that Satan is seriously at work in this world and that the entire world is under spiritual manipulation. Soon it will be bestiality if care is not taken, so yes it is a wonderful bill and I urge everyone to pray against this trend.
In your movies, you are prone to portraying certain characters; domineering, regal, and sometimes downright bossy. Do you feel regularly typecast by producers and or directors?
Well I want to say I’m one lucky ‘actor’ and I’m versatile and I have played all kinds of roles so I wouldn’t really agree that I’m typecast. But when you look at if from the Nigerian context, especially from the point of view of the producers, you’ll find out that certain characters played by actors make certain movies successful therefore making it commercially viable to reproduce same. So of course, it’s not that an actor can’t play other challenging roles, but when you have this situation where one movie becomes popular and commercially successful because of the type of characters displayed, then you will agree with me that other producers will want to simulate the same pattern. Then of course as far as I’m concerned we are not paid well. Any figure under a million is really nothing to boast about to be sincere. If you say okay I’m not doing just any movie if it doesn’t fit my standards, (and I don’t even know what standards they mean), you’ll find that you’ll probably wait a long time before you get jobs. So imagine if in that situation you are paid maybe eight hundred thousand naira for your last job. If you factor it in that you have to pay the rent, take care of utility bills, education, feeding, taking care of the ever growing relatives and dependents and probably maintain the lifestyle or at least appear to maintain the lifestyle society expects you to maintain, then you can see that it is difficult to be picky about roles. Then again, everyone has their own peculiar attributes and physical make up that mainly determines the kind of roles you play. So if I get roles bordering on the attributes you mentioned, it’s because I believe I have that carriage, confidence and regal bearing that can adequately do justice to that character and in general the movie. And of course one can always enliven even the same flat characters with creativity because really it depends on who’s interpreting because there are intelligent stars and sorry to say there are the dumb stars.
Looking at the state of the Nigerian movie industry now, what would you say is not working right? Well I would like to remind you that the Nollywood that you and I know is individually financed. Only individuals who have the foresight and the belief in the industry have been the ones that have brought money to do that which you and I watch. There has been no government support in any form to do big budget movies and individuals too have not ‘come together’, like five people, two people joining financial muscle together in doing something. It’s always been a one man thing you know, this one person thing. How much can one person really do? What is needed to do really big budget movies is when two or maybe three people can come together and say, ok, ‘you bring 10million‘, I’ll bring 10 million, we all bring ten million then we can acquire all the high tech equipments and do a very serious movie that can match any acceptable standard. Without this, we probably can’t move very far especially with the technological hindrances that has been crippling the industry for a while now.
So essentially money is the problem?
Oh yes, money, money, money and when I say money I mean money because in truth we have the right people to do the job but if you don’t have the finance there is nothing you can do about it. Think about it, if you want to build a house, you can have a good design but when you don’t have the money to buy the materials your dream is just going to be hanging on paper. You know that overtime we have professionals coming out in the industry, we have the best hands who can hold their own anywhere in the world, but we do not have the financial wherewithal to do the job, the enablement. We are talking millions of naira, or dollars as the case may be.
So fill us in on what you’re up to now.
Well for now I’m in school pursuing my Masters degree in Social Works in the Lagos State University, Ojo. And I oversee my many business interests because I have always been trying to make multiple streams of income and have been doing that because you can’t wait in one place and expect one brook to feed you. I have also tried to enlarge my coast and I’m working on a couple of movies which will soon be released. And to every one of my fans, I can’t be where I am without their love and I must say that as much as they love me they better start loving who I love and that’s God. And let me use this medium to say that I might have stepped on somebody’s toes, you know, maybe someone has been slighted by what I had done, you know called me on the phone and I have not responded or anything, I just want to apologize and say that I love them all.