Interviews

Star actor, OSITA IHEME speaks on first book, Inspired 101 – Denies finding love

MOVIE star, Osita Iheme, MFR, is now an author! Pawpaw, as he is fondly called, recently released his first book. Entitled Inspired 101, he told ENCOMIUM Weekly what inspired the motivational publication he started two years ago.

Osita Iheme also debunked rumours that he is in love with a Ghanaian lady, explaining he only worked with her in a movie…

 

You recently released a book entitled, Inspired 101. How did you become an author?

I read a lot of books. So, I got inspired by some of these books and also some societal challenges that affected me personally. Inspired 101 is basically a compilation of inspirational/motivational quotes. It took me about two years to put this together.

Is this your first book?

Yes, it is.

So, it’s more of inspirational nuggets?

Yes. Like I said, there are a lot of challenges we go through that require words of inspiration to help people carry on. That was why I came up with Inspired 101, which I spiced and blended with some artistic visuals.

You said you wrote Inspired 101 in two years. When exactly did you start the project?

I started it in 2012 and completed the book in 2014.

Are you a self publisher?

Yes, I am. But there are some that the Federal Government wants to give out to Junior Secondary School students through Universal Basic Education (UBEC). Those ones are being published through African First Publishers. The rest would be published by my company.

When are you launching Inspired 101?

Actually, the main purpose of the motivational book is not just to launch it and make money but to make sure it gets to the target audience, that’s junior secondary school students.

How many pages?

It’s 101 quotes in 110 pages.

How has it been in terms of acceptance?

It has been good. Many are recommending it to parents and students.

Are there more books to come from Osita Iheme’s stable?

Yes, by the special grace of God. I am already working on another book entitled, Fasten Your Seat Belt. It’s also a motivational book.

In one of your movies, African Tallest Man, you and Chinedu Ikedieze (Aki) were offered a book contract. Have you always been dreaming to author a book?

That’s more like it. I love reading. I love books because readers are leaders.

So, writing won’t come in the way of your acting?

There is no way writing will stop me from my first love, acting. I only write when I’m less busy. I won’t put all my time in writing. It is just a passion. It is what I love doing.

We learnt the late Dimgba Igwe was one of the veteran writers who inspired your book?

Yes, he was my mentor. I was so devastated when I heard about his death. It is so painful for Nigeria to lose somebody like that, but there is nothing we can do than to pray for the repose of his soul and the family he left behind. I was really in pain because he was part of Inspired 101. I wanted to present the book to him only to hear he has passed on. I really wept for him. They have to preserve his many legacies. And good a thing, his best friend and partner, Mr. Mike Awoyinfa and many others who know his worth and depth of his intellect won’t allow him to die. For me, Uncle Dimgba Igwe lives on.

What is your other passion?

I want to inspire and make people happy. I want to see people being able to achieve their dream. That is why I founded a platform called African Inspired Movement. It is one of the projects tied to the book. It is an empowerment initiative.

How are your other businesses doing?

Very well.

What about your real estate venture?

It is also doing well. We thank God. We are working hard to achieve what we want. It’s all about happiness. You have to fight hard to achieve anything that keeps you happy.

Have you completed your Lagos twin duplex?

I don’t really want to talk about it. It’s not an issue to be discussed now, but I believe business is going on beyond my imagination.

And your acting career?

It’s also fine. I’ve been shooting a lot of movies. I won Africa Magic Viewers Choice Award (AMVCA) Best Actor, Comedy. It’s no mean feat, considering where it’s coming from.

You were certainly elated by this rare honour?

Yes, I was. When you are adjudged the best in Africa, nothing is greater than that. So, I was delighted. It made me feel I’m on top of my game. I indeed feel appreciated by this singular honour and well deserved elevation.

People have not stopped talking about your national attire to the awards.

That’s true. I wanted to stand out in my agbada since it was African. And not a few applauded my unique dress to the prestigious awards. I represented my people well.

What are you doing for your country having bagged the MFR national honour about two years ago?

That’s exactly what we are doing with Africa Inspired Movement. We mentor young minds, help them to achieve their dream. Some of them whose parents can’t afford to send to school or train in vocations, we assist them realize their ambition from the little we have. It’s service to the nation and mankind.

What then is your dream for Nigeria?

I want to see my country achieve greatness. I pray Nigeria achieves all of its desire. We are the giant of Africa and indeed the Black race.

Any word of advice to President Goodluck Jonathan?

Please, remain focused. Nigeria is a great country. Your position is not an easy one. So, I want him to be true to himself and achieve his dream for Nigeria. He must not allow critics to distract or weigh him down. If he thinks that people wouldn’t criticize him, that means he doesn’t want to do his job. But I know Mr. President is equal to the task despite the current challenges frustrating his efforts.

How is Aki and Pawpaw Foundation doing?

Aki and Pawpaw Foundation is doing fine. It has not been easy. We are doing our best, though we don’t publicise all we do. A lot of people have benefitted from the foundation.

You’ve got some sponsors?

Yes, but not as many as we want. So, we are using this medium to appeal to well meaning Nigerians and indeed Africans to join us to better the lives of the less privileged. This way, we would create a better place for ourselves and children.

What about your annual quiz competition for schools in Imo State?

It has been on for about five years now. We give out books and other educational materials to schools. We also give cash prizes to support schools. We intend making it a national programme. We don’t have the capacity to reach out to schools outside Imo State for now.

Not long ago, it was reported you have found love?

I didn’t fall in love with anybody o.

What then happened?

I only acted a movie with a Ghanaian actress, that’s all.

That made you think about going Ghana.

I can’t think about going to Ghana if I have not seen anybody to marry there. Of course, you can marry anywhere you locate your partner. But for now, I’ve not found love in Ghana. It is just that I acted with this lady and we were so close in the movie that people imagined I was dating her.

Who was that?

Nana, a Ghanaian actress.

On what set was that?

It was a Peace and Love Prodution, a indigenous Ghanaian home movie.

So, you have not yet found love?

Not yet.

What would you be looking out for in your would-be woman?

That’s not a matter to share with the public (laughs).

What’s your future like?

Much as we cannot accurately predict the future, I thank God for positioning me at the place I have always wanted to be. I thank God for life. The future is bright. I see a future where I will help a lot of people, motivating and providing them with what they need to survive. And by the special grace of God, He will give me the power, the capacity, the resources, financially, spiritually and emotionally to be able to handle that because that is my dream.

 

–  UCHE OLEHI

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