Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Nollywood Death That Hit me the Hardest - Rest in Peace Muna Obiekwe


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Well By now you have all heard that My one and only and favourite Nollywood veteran actor Muna Obiekwe has died. I have been so numb to this news since Sunday 18th January 2015 that the news reached me that he had died. I ask why why why Muna, why didnt you speak to your colleagues or reach out to your fans - More people Loved you than you would ever know. I started watching Nigerian movies in 2002 and Muna was the first actor i completely fell in love with his acting. In those days, While everyone was ohhing and ahhing about RMD, Ramsey and Emeka Ike, I was totally hooked on Muna like a high schooler.
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The first movie i watched with him was "Not Man Enough"  as well as "He Lives in Me" both movies with Genevieve. He had the best on screen chemistry with Genevieve especially when it came to romance and I was totally hooked borderline obsessed with the dude. My all time favourite movie with him i will say is Warriors Heart (which the marketers later changed titled to "Destiny Call / Return to Destiny) again with Genevieve - yall know i love my village set movies. No actor kissed better on screen than Muna. And when it was with Genny, girrrlllll, you better find his movies and watch em. 
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Everyone (especially on the blog i use to belong to called naija rules) knew how much i adored and loved me some Muna and till this day i still love me some Muna. I adored him from head to toe including his finger tips (yass, it was that deep - crazy me i was always oohing and ahhing of his hands and nails), so you can imagine how utterly distraught i was when i heard it on Sunday Jan 18 around 6pm that he had passed. And then we had one idiotic imposter playing with our emotions saying he was not dead, and me hoping it was true he was not dead. But unfortunately he was truly dead after i confirmed. I didn't sleep a wink Sunday night. Its still surreal and just unbelievable. Shock is an understatement.
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Below are a few details about his death (source/credit IEntertainment)

Muna discovered his kidney problem a long time ago but like most people, he thought he could manage it. He ignored the pain and continued working without paying much attention. According to a close source, he only took his drugs and medication once in a while as ‘Muna never believed the ailment could lead to his death. He believed he would survive it like he did the gunshot and death of his parents. He was not a man given to worrying about things. He believed it was not a coincidence his parents named him Munachimso, a name which means God is walking with me.’ The kidney problem persisted and Muna was eventually forced to seek the help of a doctor in a Lagos. The doctor gave him a ray of hope. 
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He assured Muna that his worse fear of Kidney transplant might not happen if only he could do up to 20 dialyses. Vera Kanu, a mother figure to him in Nollywood confirmed our findings, “I was with him to the last hour. He was to do up to 20 dialyses; the doctor said if the dialysis improved his condition, the worse would certainly be over. He will be okay only if he stays away from alcohol but you know our artiste” she concluded. Muna braced himself, kept the doctor’s appointment, spent money he had and some he didn’t have but unlike his many past pains he had survived, this one proved different. This one stretched the limit of his human endurance. This one threatened his life in a way that it had never been threatened before. This hit him with so much pain that he slumped in his home, went unconscious and he eventually gave up the ghost when he was on his tenth dialysis. Our source continued “the dialysis was expensive for Muna. He was doing two in a week sometimes. And he would need blood injection on each occasion. 
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Each appointment was costing him between N250, 000 to N300, 000; money he did not really have to spend. His health was eating deep into his purse yet Muna refused to go cap in hand begging for alms. He was a private guy who didn’t want the press or his colleagues to feast on his pain, and cast aspersions on Nollywood’s industry of beggars’. Vera, his godmother corroborated the point. “He was managing it on his own. As a matter of fact, he has been managing it for a while until Ejiro Okurame and I came on board to help. We were combining resources to help him but there was very little we could do to save him. We had to enlist the help of Patience Ozokwor and Kanayo O. Kanayo (KOK) at a point. They rendered the help they could until he died.” Contrary to many reports Muna was not ready to beg or raise money because he was too ashamed of what his colleague or press will say. “The guy was private. He kept to himself a lot and most importantly, kept his private life private; for instance, many people did not even know he was married with two children. Such was his life. He didn’t want press or his colleagues to start prying. He was particularly afraid of the press, hence his shutting his colleagues out of his pain. He knew if some Nollywood people got to know about it, the press would also get to know. He refused to beg to save Nollywood’s image, he in-turn, lost himself.” A Nollywood star told us the press needs to take it easy with stars, “we are human too and like every other person, we have our pains. The press needs to be less judgmental. If he wasn’t too scared of the press, perhaps, he would have reached out for help.” 
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Shortly before his death, Muna summoned enough courage despite his private nature and contacted Nollywood actress and former beauty queen, Ibinabo Fiberesima. He however, promised to get back to her, perhaps to discuss details of his deteriorating health with her but fate struck a fatal blow and he never did. As much as causes of some ailments are mysterious, not a few people in Nollywood believe Muna brought the pain upon himself and he was a victim of a demon he couldn’t deal with. Muna was a chain smoker and heavy drinker. Despite his condition, multiple sources revealed he was still consuming alcohol on a regular basis. “Everybody in the industry knows Muna drinks a lot; even when he’s shooting in the North, he has a way of finding alcohol,” a Nollywood source told us. Muna was said to have taken heavily to alcohol after he lost his parents in a ghastly motor accident. ‘As a matter of fact, he was supposed to be in that car with them but by stroke of luck, he wasn’t and was spared. Afterwards, Muna took solace in liquor but that never affected his job. He was just like Sam Loco; he could drink the whole sea but when he hears the director shout ‘action,’ he gets into character. 

Muna was a method character despite his flaws’ our source reveals. Speaking on the drinking habit despite his ailment, his godmother, Vera Kanu said ‘It’s not like he drinks heavily like you guys said. He drank but not as you are putting it,” she said with an emotion-laden voice. Speaking further, “Muna even called me during the holiday that he is now okay and ready to work so I should start bringing jobs because I was his producer. I told him thank God and that I would start as long as he does not do what the doctor told him not to do, which was drinking. The problem came back and he has been on it since then till he died.” Another thing many people do not know about him again is that he was one of the three busiest actors. The other two are Mike Ezuronye and Yul Edochie. Muna is also the first cousin of Yul Edochie, that makes him a member of Pete Edochie’s family.
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I don't think any Nollywood death has hit me as hard as this death of Muna, I never even imagined someone i never met death will hit me this much. It hurts and it hurts so bad. What saddens me the most about all this is the fact that he entertained us so damn well, yet on the private side he was going through so much pain and kept it a secret and didnt share with any one to help him, that is what hurts me the most about his death. The loneliness he must have felt. THe what ifs and the woulda coulda shouldas and how all this could have been avoided with just a bit of help.
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I Wanted to talk more about the Nollywood Actors Guild - but not today. I dont have the temper today. In summary all i willl say is the Guild should take care of actors and develop a mandatory health insurance for all actors where all actors contribute to it monthly or quarterly just like they would monthly for their car insurance This loosing of our best due to health issues is becoming too much. I dont want to hear of any more deaths from nollywood again. All you actors should love care and be your brothers keeper.
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Rest In Peace Muna. I will forever love you and forever miss you. Thank You for entertaining us all these years and giving us your best.
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ps: several years ago hanging amongst my friends and family, they all simultaneously asked (while teasingly laughing)  if they could borrow all my Munas movies from my video library (yes Muna had his own special shelve just like Genny), I looked at them with a side eye, mschewwwwwwed, looked in the sky, shook my head and just walked away. Like are they seriously trying to test me or something. 
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REST IN PERFECT PERFECT PEACE MUNA OBIEKWE
I WILL MISS YOU SO TREMENDOUSLY.
YOUR SURVIVING FAMILY ARE IN MY PRAYERS FOR THE LORD TO GIVE THEM STRENGTH AND COMFORT DURING THIS DIFFICULT TIMES.
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yall know what i will be doing this weekend, #MunaMoviesMarathon with my box of tissues and wine, starting with Warriors Heart (aka Destiny Call)
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