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SAYING FIRST HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO DAD After 21 Years, Emotional – Beauty Queen

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Jasmin

Jasmin Paul is beautiful. She is brilliant. And in testament to her beauty, she is the current Miss Numan, that sprawling town of the Bachama, a warrior tribe that was never conquered in all of her history, hence it has most befittingly remained the protective gateway city, so to speak, to Adamawa, from Gombe axis.

Jasmin is wearing the coveted crown after beating a bevy of other beautiful young ladies to the title. At 21 she is a charming second-year student of medicine in the University of Jos. However, her charm and effervescence were always dampened by one thing, she never met her father. All these whiles, she never knew who he was as her mother closely and protectively guarded it from her until such a time all the muddled-up issues pertaining to her paternity were cleared up.

Jasmin

 He parents had met in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria where they were both students and had related until about 21 years ago they went their separate ways on completing their studies. Thereafter, her mother, Pwavi, realized she was on the way. By the time she was born, they had lost all contacts. Then, telephony had not penetrated as it is today as there was no GSM yet. Her father, John, was all the while unaware of her existence having long relocated and settled in Lagos with a new family. Jasmin was made to believe another man, an acquaintance of the family, was her father. When the man eventually died, her mother was compelled to tell her the truth. Then John had become untraceable.

Jasmin was growing up into a beautiful but very unhappy young woman who occasionally slipped into moody spells that led to bouts of rebellion. Her mother intensified her secret search. Fortuitously, they reconnected through her mother’s younger brother who had met and befriended John in Abuja where he had later relocated, unknown to both something beyond the occasional drinks they shared as they hung out in the evenings, had connected them. Resemblances each saw on the other’s face roused their gnawing curiosity.

Daddy and Daughter

While to John his friend uncannily resembled this lady, one Pwavi, he had met and briefly befriended in Jos as a young graduate, his friend on the other hand never stopped marveling at the striking facial features his friend shared with his beautiful niece back home, Jasmin. Then they just voiced this out one day, only to realize their hunches were no mere curiosities but realities that were set to resolve in the most dramatic of ways.

When Pwavi finally reached John with the news of the baby, understandably, he received it with some shock and a tinge of little misgivings. He cautiously offered to accept paternity only after a positive DNA test. Meanwhile, Pwavi busied herself with the immediate task of raising her daughter, ensuring she lacked nothing she deserved and needed to grow into a happy and well-behaved child.

Jasmin

Jasmin however increasingly felt uncomfortable and secretly intensified her quest to track down her father. She neither knew his name nor what he ever looked like. Then an idea struck her. She would go to her mother’s Facebook wall and start looking at all of her male friends. She did this for years. Then somehow, there was a little improvement in communication between the two, John and Pwavi, as they became friends and followed each other on Facebook, after Pwavi had herself searched him out and requested.

“The day I saw his picture on my mother’s Facebook wall, I immediately knew I was looking at my father. My heart nearly jumped out of my chest in over excitement. I sent him a friend’s request and for six anxious months I watched it every day. He did not respond. Then one day after thinking hard about it, I sent him a message, ‘daddy hi’, and he immediately replied ‘I am fine my daughter’. I asked him how he knew I was his daughter, then he said he knew, just the way I also knew he was my father. Feelings! Blood! We mutually felt our connection.”

Being crowned Miss Numan 2020

Then he asked for her number and they started talking. When she told her mother she had found her father, she was surprised and also relieved. John, while speaking to Words and Shots said all the DNA test he needed was her picture. She not only looked like him she looked like his other two younger teenage daughters.

The long phone conversations did so much to assuage her feelings and but she was not prepared for what happed one beautiful afternoon, the day the doors of the office where she did her vacation job slid open and some people walked in. They had pretended to be clients and as she very courteously received them, she suddenly got to her father. She immediately froze.

Pwavi and John

Shock was an understatement. As she flew into his arms, she broke down in tears and cried her heart out, in grief for those shoulders she had not had to lean on in the 21 years of her life, and then in relief it was all over, as he would be there for her, for the rest of their lives.

So, earlier today, as she watched the clock and it struck 12 midnight, she dialed his number. He picked and she whispered, the first person to call him, and for the first time in her life, “Happy birthday daddy!”

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Emma Osita

    July 14, 2021 at 12:41 pm

    The girl is really beautiful.

  2. Emeka Uk

    July 14, 2021 at 5:31 pm

    What a wonderful story this is. And how lucky are they? Her mother deserves all the accolades for lovingly raising such a beauty with all the weight of secrecy and the associated guilt of keeping it from the other man. Until the DNA technology becomes available on the shelf so to speak, many fathers will remain impostors. Congratulations Jasmine

  3. _great_cee

    July 19, 2021 at 8:55 am

    An amazing story

  4. Janet Chizoba

    July 19, 2021 at 11:57 am

    Very interesting story, couldn’t drop my phone until I was done reading through…lol

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UGWUANYI IS MY DEAREST LEADER – EDOCHIE

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Veteran Nollywood actor, Chief Pete Edochie, has described the Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, as the dearest person to him among great leaders in the country and beyond.

The actor said this at his 53rd wedding anniversary held at The Base Landmark Event Centre, Enugu. Edochie, who said he is pleased with Ugwuanyi’s exemplary leadership qualities, described the event as a defining moment of his life.

The actor disclosed that he has the pictures of great leaders including the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the late Chinua Achebe, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, and Jerry Rawlings, among others, in his house and called on photographers to give him the copies of the photographs he has taken with the governor at different events.

He said: “In my house, I have the photographs of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and I. The photograph of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and I. Chinua Achebe, Jerry Rawlings and I, but of all these great names that I have mentioned, the dearest person to me is the Governor of Enugu State present here.

“But on several occasions, the photographers that normally take these pictures leave without giving me a copy. Any photographer that will be the first to give me the pictures of today’s event will receive a good prize from me?”

Gov. Ugwuanyi graced the event in the company of the deputy governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Barr. Ifeanyi Ossai; and former Deputy Chief of Staff, Imo State Government House, Barr. Chima Nwanna, among others.

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Entertainment

NOLLYWOOD LACKS STRUCTURE –EMEKA ROLLAS

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Emeka Rollas, the President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria

Emeka Rollas, the President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, tells BABATUNDE TUGBOBO about his career, Nollywood and other issues.

The Inspector General of Police recently directed that actors and skit makers who use police uniforms without authorisation should be arrested. What do you make of that order?

It is very easy for the Inspector General of Police to give such an order. I (once) had an interface with the IG through the force’s Public Relations Officer, and we discussed issues like this. We cannot shy away from the truth that before now, a lot of practitioners did not know the position of the law on certain things. However, ignorance of the law is not an excuse. It is time for producers and actors to come together and engage the police in discussions.

On the other hand, the police also needs to know that it is not enough to sit in their offices and only point out areas that affect them negatively. They should know that the industry has also promoted the police positively. It is important for them to engage practitioners and find out how we can promote them even more. In the United States of America, they (authorities) work hand in hand with Hollywood because they know it is a strong medium to propagate many things, even government policies.

You studied Mass Communication in the university. Why then did you venture into Nollywood?

While I was a student at the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Anambra State, I got to know about a club called ‘Attractions’, which is still in the school till date. Back then, we used to organise shows. I recall that I did a show then called ‘Rolling Beats Jeans Carnival’. It was the first of its kind in that school. When I left school, I did not immediately venture into acting, until I met a woman, Mrs Nonye Okechukwu, who is presently a costumier in Onitsha (Anambra State). She took me to the late Mike Oriedinma, who in turn took me for an audition. I was eventually given a role, and that was how my acting career started sometime in 1996.

You once stated that Nollywood is not a dump site for ex-Big Brother Naija housemates. Why did you make that assertion at the time?

It is not proper that people criticise Nollywood, yet embrace whatever comes to their screens via BBN. Some people like the things seen on BBN, but if an actor does any of those things, people will begin to shout. In BBN, the contestants are not trained before going into the house. If former housemates who leave the show feel that they want to become actors, then Big Brother should extend a hand of fellowship to the industry, instead of trying to use the platform to create ‘pseudo beings’ who fade away after some time.

Another season of the reality show is on. What measures has the AGN put in place to guard against what you spoke about?

There is not so much we can do, but we have standard practices. If anyone wants to join Nollywood, they have to follow the laid down procedures. There are some people who might have even won the competition but when we check their behaviour while on the show, we feel they don’t deserve to be welcomed into the industry.

We did it with Whitemoney (winner of the 2021 edition of the show). We checked his attitude right from the beginning of the show to the end. We then deemed it necessary to honour him with our membership. He is presently a member of AGN.

There seems to be a great influx of actors into the industry, with little or no experience, thereby causing roles to be interpreted wrongly. What steps is the AGN taking to correct this anomaly?

Anyone who is registered with the guild will have to undergo training before they can be recognised as actors in the industry. The training is done in different state chapters. After that, we have an official induction ceremony, before anybody can become a member. Also, we have categorised membership, where people go through internship while training. In the course of the training, they will be made to understand certain things about acting.

Actors and filmmakers have often lamented the lack of support from the government. In what ways has the guild solicited the support of the government?

One of the greatest problems of the industry is not just about government support. If one needs government money, one must stand on a structure. Nollywood, as it presently is, lacks structure. However, we are trying to structure our guild; not Nollywood. If we are able to structure the guild, we will lead the pack. Many of the people who call themselves ‘filmmakers’ came into the industry to act. But, because acting did not favour them, they began to diversify into other areas, such as producing.

If Nollywood’s structure were intact, it would be easier for the government to put in funding. The last time the Federal Government tried to support Nollywood was when former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration gave the industry a whooping N3bn. One cannot put N3bn into an industry that has no structure. Till today, nobody can give account of what happened. The Bank of Industry also came up with a fund, and outlined what needed to be done for people to access the funds. In the course of that, it was realised that majority of Nollywood practitioners did not have things they could use as collaterals.

How much did the AGN get from the N3bn released by Jonathan’s administration?

When they released the N3bn, the conditions attached to it made some people to be ineligible. Because of the criteria, many non-industry practitioners and even relatives of government officials access the fund. That was possible because there was no structure in place.

What informed your decision to contest the position of the national president of the AGN?

I have contested that position for 12 years but different things kept happening. I believe I have a date with destiny, and major aim is to change the narrative. For me, the motivation was to look at the system and see how I could contribute positively to it.

In what ways has this position affected your appearance in movies?

It has had a negative effect, because I don’t have time to be on location anymore. Except I decide to make out time. At a point in Nollywood, we no longer make films; rather, we strike deals.

What has been your most challenging moment as the President of AGN?

The biggest challenge was how to convince my members to be on the same page, and making the members realise how valuable they are. When evil prevails for a long time, people will take evil to be good. In Nigeria today, because corruption has been here with us for a long time, most people feel that is the norm. Actors have been deprived over the years, so many of them have normalised it.

At a time, you named Senator Elisha Abbo as patron of the guild, and this generated a lot of criticism because of the Senator’s negative public image. How were you able to appease disgruntled members?

I reached out to the people who were calling for my head. I also reached out to some senior colleagues, such as Joke Silva, Richard Mofe-Damijo, Segun Arinze and Okey Bakassi. We had a meeting and we decided that we needed to carefully look at what was happening, and through a public relations strategy, we were able to deal with the matter decisively.

Did you regret making that decision of nominating him?

I won’t use the word, ‘regret’. Perhaps, the word, ‘oversight’ is better. If not that I was under pressure at the time, I should have noticed that it was the same controversial senator. It did not occur to me (that he was the one that had been in the news for the wrong reasons after he assaulted a girl at a sex toy shop). It was our members in the North-East who presented his name to me. Because I was under pressure, the thing passed the committee level, got to me and I approved it.

Despite the public outcry, did you retain his nomination still as the patron?

No, I can assure you that he was not retained as an AGN patron.

What are the benefits that come with being the president of AGN?

In any position of leadership that one finds oneself, one should do well, so that the people that one serves will give good testimony about one. So, when one is contesting any other position, people will give testimonials that one did well in the previous position. At this stage, we are still building structures for the industry.

How were you able to unify aggrieved factions that existed before your emergence as president?

I give the glory for that to God. I actually prayed about it. In places where I was supposed to feel proud, I humbled myself. For the factions, I went to see them myself and spoke to their consciences to understand that we need to do this (build the guild) together.  Conflict resolution can only be achieved by a determined person. I was determined to make it work.

Sex-for-roles in Nollywood is a challenge that has refused to go away. How is the guild tackling this?

We have a dedicated email address and phone number, through which people can make complaints, whether it is about rape or any form of molestation. However, we have not been receiving reports from people, and I don’t know why. I had to even go to some states to investigate and find out if there was a problem. I also found out that some persons were framing people up, claiming it was because of sex-for-roles that they did not succeed in the industry. However, this phenomenon is not peculiar to Nollywood. It happens in other industries.

What movie shot you into the limelight?

I think it was My Cross, which I acted in alongside Liz Benson.

It is generally believed that entertainers can’t keep their marriages. How have you been able to maintain your marriage for close to two decades now?

I got married in 2003, and this will be the 19th year.  Marriage is an institution of God, and it is bound to be attacked. There is no perfect marriage anywhere. I made a decision that nothing will happen to my marriage. Even if it requires me to beg, I will do that to make it work. However, marriage failure is not peculiar to entertainers. I can give you examples of people who have successful marriages in the industry. Every marriage cannot be the same.

Having studied Mass Communication, did you at any point practise journalism?

I once had a brief stint with some ‘junk’ newspapers.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement as the president of AGN?

I don’t like to sound my trumpet. I will prefer that members of the guild speak for me. I have done many things silently, and when I begin to unveil them, people will be shocked. Some of the things we have done are our health insurance scheme, setting up a welfare committee, and a health management committee. I have also made the guild peaceful to the point that people now believe in the AGN.

How does the guild support ailing actors?

In the last four months, we have distributed over N6m (to ailing members of the guild). I keep telling actors that it is what one gives to life that it will give back to one. The period you were doing well, save up something, and guard yourself with different health insurance schemes. When you fall sick, it will definitely help you.

What is your best food?

My favorite food is fufu with okazi soup.

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Events

HOW WE CELEBRATED NIGERIA’S INDEPENDENCE IN 1960 –ENTERTAINERS

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Veteran Actors, Adebayo Salami, Lola Afolayan, Kola Oyewo and Jide Kosoko,

As Nigeria marks her 62nd Independence Day anniversary today, Saturday Beats speaks to some veteran actors, Kola Oyewo, Lola Afolayan, Adebayo Salami and Jide Kosoko, about their memories of the country’s Independence Day event and other issues

Veteran Actor, Kola Oyewo

 I have no regrets being Nigerian –Oyewo

Veteran actor, Kola Oyewo, has said he has no regrets being a Nigerian entertainer. He told Saturday Beats, “I do not have any regret or tragedy being a Nigerian entertainer.”

On his most memorable Independence Day celebration, he said, “On October 1, 1960, I was given a flag and a beautiful plastic cup and we feasted. I was in primary six at that time and that was my most memorable Independence Day celebration so far.”

Speaking on the current situation of the country, he said, “Nigeria can get better if the populace decides to bring people of integrity to lead us.” On the notable shows he watched while growing up, the actor said, “I watched Kola Ogunmola’s ‘The Palm Wine Drinkard’, Duro Ladapo’s ‘Oba Koso’, some of Baba Sala’s comedy, as well as Hubert Ogunde’s plays.”

He also spoke on what propelled him to join the entertainment industry then, stating, “Whenever we had a vacation in secondary school, I would join my uncle, who had a drama group called, ‘Oba Dramatic Society’, where we went to act in neighbouring towns and societies. By the time I finished secondary school, I joined Ogunlade Theatre and that was how I started my career in acting.”

On the notable changes that have happened in the Nigerian movie scene from then till now, he said, “When we started, we improvised a lot and plays were not scripted. The director would just tell us the story and paint a scenario for us and we would put our lines. We later started acting on television where we used to sing most of our lines.

“The people who worked at the TV stations told us to stop singing and be natural about our lines. So, we started deleting the singing aspect and said our lines instead. Also, when we started, there were no facilities to enable people to watch a playback. We would be playing and people would watch us at home.

“Later, we developed to the stage where we could record and play it later. Subsequently, film was introduced and we started taking part in celluloid films. However, video films took over because the cost of producing celluloid films was too expensive and that is how it has been evolving till today.”

Veteran actress, Toyin Afolayan, aka Lola Idije,

Independence Day celebration now less interesting – Afolayan

Veteran actress, Toyin Afolayan, aka Lola Idije, has said unlike before, Nigeria’s Independence Day celebration is no longer interesting.

In an interview with Saturday Beats, she said, “There has been a lot of difference in Independence Day celebrations. In the past, the celebration was an interesting one. Then, workers would not go to work and we would move around greeting one another.

“We would go to the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos, for the Independence Day celebration. Now, things have changed; it doesn’t seem like there is a celebration during Independence Day. People are just being grateful for life.”

On what she thinks about the country’s progression from independence till date, Afolayan said, “There has been civilisation unlike in the past when there was no social media. However, its progression has some negative impacts, which I pray that God should help us solve.

“The progress in the industry for me is in the area of production. We produce quality movies now, unlike before when everybody wanted to be producers. To produce a movie now, a good location, beautiful costumes and nice cameras are needed. However, in the past, that was absent; all we were after was educating people through our movies. I feel the government can be of help by giving grants and putting in place adequate censoring for our films.”

She also decried the increasing rate at which people desire wealth, which had affected the razzmatazz that come with Independence Day celebrations.

“Everyone has become a boss of their own; people who were in the boys’ scout and girls’ guild in those days were seen as worthy people and their mates would also crave to be in their position. Nowadays, people are after money. A 15-year-old child, who is supposed to be tutored, now believes he has grown and that his mates own a car,” Afolayan stated.

She also advised Nigerians to embrace peace, shun vote-buying and allow people to exercise their civic responsibility by voting for candidates of their choice.

“We shouldn’t vote for money but for our future and that of our children. We shouldn’t fight or cause confusion. People should be allowed to exercise their right and vote for whomever they want because we all are one,” Afolayan added.

Veteran Actor, Jide Kosoko

Nigeria will become great again –Kosoko

 Veteran actor, Jide Kosoko, has said he is positive that Nigeria will become great again. In an interview with Saturday Beats, he said, “I love that we remain a nation, our cultures are interwoven and we are married to each other despite all the odds we face.”

On the level of growth the nation has experienced since independence, he said, “I agree that things are not the way we expected them to be. Also, the government has not prepared for the continuous increase in population to ensure that every aspect of life is taken care of.

“Nevertheless, we have every reason to thank God for remaining a nation even though there are a lot of problems here and there. Let us be hopeful that our country will get its proper footing, especially when we put the right peg in the right hole.”

Recalling the Independence Day mood in 1960, the actor said, “That was the year I started primary school and it was called ‘infant one’ then. We were asked to hold the Nigerian flag, while the older ones stood in front of us.

“As an entertainer, back then when Independence Day celebration was approaching, we used to have a lot of activities. We took entertainment to the Bar Beach, Lagos, and various places where people gathered to celebrate and enjoy different acrobatic and masquerade displays.

He also spoke about the growth of the entertainment industry in the country, noting, “We are not doing too badly. Although when we started, the money we made wasn’t as much as what is being made or expected now, but we were happy doing it because it was more about passion. We built the industry gradually and I am happy the industry is growing, whether we like it or not. We are contributing positively to the economy of the country.”

He also spoke on the forthcoming elections, saying, “I will advise people to remain calm and let everybody choose whoever they like as their president. We should not fight nor quarrel over it and we should respect each other’s opinions.”

Veteran actor and filmmaker, Adebayo Salami, aka Oga Bello,

Nigeria is home, I’ll remain here – Salami

Veteran actor and filmmaker, Adebayo Salami, aka Oga Bello, has said no matter what happens in Nigeria, he will not leave the country. He told Saturday Beats, “When I think of Nigeria, what comes to my mind is that Nigeria is my home and I will remain here no matter what. What Nigeria is going through is normal because we are facing global problems like many other countries.”

On his most memorable Independence Day celebration, he said, “My most memorable Independence Day celebration was on October 1, 1960. I was on the street holding the Nigerian flag and I was given an egg.”

He also expressed optimism about the future of the country, saying, “Nigeria will get better. All we are going through now, the United States and Britain had gone through it in the past. So, we will also get there.”

On what spurred him to go into the entertainment industry back then, he said, “I only followed (my) destiny. I have always been drawn to culture since I was a child. There have been many changes in our entertainment industry in terms of technology, talent and creativity.”

On the song that comes to his mind whenever he thinks of Nigeria, he said, “Nigeria yi ti gbogbo wa ni (Nigeria belongs to all of us) by King Sunny Ade and other artistes.”

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