comic actor, John Okafor, aka Mr. Ibu, in action will agree that he is a
talented comedian and one of a few Nollywood practitioners that are
naturally cut out for the roles that they play in the movies.
to his fans that he does not only live by making other people to laugh
away their sorrows; he is also humour personified.
to laugh, he has had cause to be unhappy, even bitter, on some
grind with the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba. He was so
bitter that he almost instituted a court action against the management
of the hospital.
matter was actually between the Paediatric Department of the hospital
and me. It was in 2011. My wife and our two-year-old son had been
kidnapped. After I paid the ransom demanded and they were released by
the kidnappers, I returned to Lagos from Enugu.
ill. He was diagnosed with inflammation of the liver. The hospital
suggested that he should be scanned. At the same time, I was informed
that I could take my son out of the hospital to get the scan done
elsewhere. But the same people later declined, saying that everything
had to be done in the hospital because he was too weak to be taken
was no electricity in the hospital. When I asked if there was no standby
generator, they said there was no fuel in it. I offered to pay for fuel
only to be told that the man that operated the generator was not
around. When I left the place and got back later, the man still had not
returned. Then I was advised to write an application and to submit to
the admin department.”
found that there was nobody to receive and treat it. While he was
waiting, he was told that his son’s condition required blood
transfusion. The actor did everything possible to ensure that the ailing
boy was given treatment at the hospital, but his efforts were in vain.
Finally, the little boy gave up the ghost.
the doctors came to me and, without even sympathising with me, asked if
I could release my boy’s corpse to him so that they could cut it open
and use it to teach other medical students. In that moment, I felt like
committing murder for the first time in my life.
the hospital, he was shocked. He said it was actionable. I told him that
I was ready to take the hospital management to court and sue it for
$100 million in damages because my son’s death was caused by the
carelessness of the professionals whose duty was to save his life. But
my lawyer advised me to let go”.
has been publicly embarrassed by fans at different times and in several
places. “I quickly forgive them because I was the one that looked for
trouble in the first place. On one occasion, somebody came to me and
said, ‘Ibu, because of what your jokes have done to me and my family, I
promised God that anywhere I meet you, I would slap your face.’ I told
him them to go ahead. Then he slapped me so hard that I couldn’t see
clearly for two hours,” he says.
a popular and relatively comfortable Nollywood actor. It is doubtful
that, given a choice, he would have given up acting for any other
career. Going down memory lane, the actor reveals that he used to be a
boxer and a Karate practitioner. Admitting that only a few people are
aware of this aspect of his personal history, he says, “I practised
Shotokan Karate for 16 years and I was a member of the Karate Federation
of Nigeria. I happen to be the first instructor that was teaching
Karate in federal government colleges in Nigeria.”
a man enjoying a blissful marriage. But, asked if he ever had a
girlfriend before he got married, he replied, “I had problems with my
relationships with women. Each time I had a new girlfriend, other men
would always take her from me. Whenever I fell in love with a girl,
somebody would snatch her from me. But I don’t fear any sense of loss
because I married the best woman on earth. My wife is a former beauty
queen. She was the winner of the 2004 Face of Imo beauty pageant.”
happily married, women have not stopped coming to him for a date. “I
don’t woo them, though. They are the ones chasing me. That is part of
the price I have to pay for being popular.”