Steve Ahanonu, aka Ngada, has been a Nollywood actor and an entertainer for 16 years now. In this interview with BLESSING UTIN , he gives an insight into his background, achievements, his view of the challenges in Nollywood and also advised upcoming artistes. Excerpts:
Give us an insight into your background?
I am from Anambra State, Ozubulu, Ekwusigo LGA, eldest of two male children. I wanted to become a priest of God. I started acting from my school days as a king. I was also a choir master and I danced very well. I saw entertainment as a passion. Though I was born into a poor family, but by God's grace I am somebody today.
How many years have you been in the Industry?
I Started Nollywood on 8th May 2000. I am 16 years plus. I started as a crew member. My first movie was 'My Throne.” I acted as a crew member as well as an assistant Props and set manager which was directed by Andy Amanechi. I was introduced into Nollywood by my classmate, Mark Collins Chidebe aka Mr China, the producer of 'A cry for Help' who later became a director and an executive producer. I have acted more than 200 movies such as I played the role of a father in 'Aki and Pawpaw', the role of a king in 'Good mother' and acted as a barrister in 'Osuofia in London' the second most popular Igbo film and lots more. I am also a writer.
What are your experiences in Nollywood?
My experience as a beginner was challenging because I didn't have the script by heart. People like Andy Amanachi encouraged me and I picked up. Some of the roles were challenging because I have played the role of a pastor, prophet, native doctor, amongst others, which have won awards, like Sins of Omission. When I came in as a comedian, it was a challenge to me. My first comedy movie was 'Akirika' and later 'Aki na Ukwa' as Ngada and 'Mr Ibu' amongst others. It was so challenging but once someone is talented, you are talented; Talent is God's gift once am on set, my character isn't me anymore but the role am playing. My latest movie is 'The Return of Shina Rambo', I was cast midway but I played up to season 18 and the continuity, “Shina Rambo Reloaded”.
Apart from entertainment, is there something else you are into?
I have a programme I am handling because of my passion for the youth. This project started from 2011. I pick talented youths in music, dance and acting and I project them. A lot of them have passed through me and today they are stars. Presently, I am sponsoring a gospel music for one of them. At the moment, I am handling a talent-hunt project with Enugu State Government, endorsed by National Youth Congress which is coming up in 2017. That will be a competition among youths in different areas of entertainment which will end with prize giving and award night
From your view, what are the challenges Nollywood is facing?
There is no support from the government. Also, we are not organized. There is an issue with the executive but with the help of the care taker committee, Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), headed by Steve Ebo, things have amended and we will see if government will come to our aid or otherwise, Nollywood is going backwards. Another challenge is about watching foreign movies. After Hollywood is Nollywood but people prefer to watch the 3rd to 10th as the best but the world rated Nollywood as the 2nd in the world. The challenge is that people don't buy movies, they don't patronize us and they don't encourage us. This doesn't help the marketers who are our sponsors. I urge Nigerians to practice our tradition and leave watching others. Just like the former governor of Anambra State, Ezeife, 1 will say, “think home philosophy.” Come back and build your home and we will be happy.
What is your advice to upcoming artist?
To the upcoming artiste, know sincerely who you are, where your talent lies, pray to God and follow it. There are different fields of entertaining, know the area that you belong; not everyone must act. For you to excel as a movie star, you must be humble, obedient, sincere and hardworking. These will take you to the top
As a result of not been frequently seen on movies, your fans are asking if you are still acting?
To my fans, you are asking if I am no longer acting. I am fully back, Open your eyes and watch my movies and you will enjoy me again and also keep watching Nollywood.