Nollywood filmmakers, fans pay tribute to veteran actor, Mr. Ibu

Filmmakers, industry watcher and fans of Nollywood have continued to pay tributes to the late veteran actor John Okafor, popularly known as Mr Ibu.

Okafor who had been ill since 2023 reportedly died of cardiac arrest at 62 on Saturday in Evercare hospital in Lekki, Lagos State.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that industry stakeholders, eminent Nigerians, including President Bola Tinubu, were among those who have mourned the late thespian.

However, amidst the shock, fans and filmmakers, especially those that have worked closely with Okafor, have extolled the life and times of the comic actor in the Nigerian film industry.

While some continued to buzz social media with posts of scintillating memories of the actor, others who spoke with NAN on Sunday said his exit has created a vast vacuum in the entertainment Industry.

Blessing Ebigieson, National President of the Association of Movie Producers (AMP), said although Nollywood was currently mourning, the passion and resilience of the late actor would not be forgotten in hurry.

“Mr Ibu fought to stay alive, his friends also fought for him, everyone donated to make sure that he stayed alive but when God says it is time, nothing one can do.

“It would have been fine if he stayed alive after all the stress and pains he went through, but who am I to question God.

“We have lost a veteran and this is very heartbreaking to us; may his soul rest in peace.

“I pray his family come together as one in this trying period and let the man rest in peace,” she said.

Also, Emma Eyaba, Chairman of the Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN) FCT chapter, said the late actor played key role in the progressive trajectory of Nigerian film industry and would be greatly missed.

He said Okafor was passionate with his job even in his down-moments, adding that he was supposed to feature in the sequel of the 2001 Nollywood classic ‘Issakaba’, where he was among the cast.

“You know he has been away from the public for some time now as he was recuperating and still receiving treatment.

“He was trying to get himself back before that attack came again, and unfortunately we lost him.

“He was supposed to be part of shooting of ‘Issakaba’ , a film in which he featured 23 years ago, but because ill health, we could not even have access to him,”he said.

The late actor’s fan on X (formerly twitter) @Adele_lide said : “Rip to the finest actor of all time.You made our childhood memorable.

Also, @Probal_Labs wrote: “This is a major loss. Amazing childhood memories watching his movies.May his soul rest in peace.”

Another fan, @Kontrolla19 wrote: “The most funniest man in Nigeria is dead. RIP legend.”

NAN reports that John Okafor, born on October 17, 1961 in Nkanu West Local Government of Enugu State, was an actor, singer and comedian, acclaimed to have appeared in over 200 Nollywood films.

He is well known for the ‘Mr. Ibu series’, which include Mr. Ibu (2004), Mr. Ibu 2 (2005), Mr. Ibu and His Son, Coffin Producers, Husband Suppliers, International Players, Mr. Ibu in London (2005).

Some of his iconic films include Police Recruit (2003), 9 Wives (2005), Ibu in Prison (2006) and Keziah (2007).

Okafor also ventured into music for a short period of time, as he released his debut songs titled “This girl” and “Do you know” in October 2020.

In October 2023, Okafor revealed that he was suffering from an ailment that threatened to make it necessary to amputate one of his legs.

He said he was struck by the problem while on a movie set with other actors, and appealed to his fans and the public for prayers and financial assistance to cover his medical bills.

In November 2023, he underwent a leg amputation, as his family said the amputation was done to keep him alive and increase his chances of recovery (NAN)