Fast-rising broadcaster, writer, actor, and producer, Moses Akerele, in this interview with TONY OKUYEME, talks about inspiration behind The Campus Prodigy, his career as broadcaster and actor, among other issues
Who is Moses Akerele?
I am lover of arts, a media personality, with a blend of experience cutting through different aspects of media and arts. I am a broadcaster (TV and Radio), event host and organizer, writer, actor, content writer, and producer.
You were at the University of Benin where you ran one of the most respected programs called Campus Prodigy. What really inspired this?
The need to appreciate young people, give hope and also inspire many others. In school, I met many talented young people, super creative minds, exceptional talents that the world did not know, even people their immediate environment barely knew them, no one appreciates them, no one buys or pays for their arts, no one took interest in what they do and their lives, most of these people were doing things as great as what the most celebrated people in the world do, it felt like lights under a bushel and I just wanted to do something for them, I wanted to create a platform they could own, a show that sells them to the world, a platform they can come and talk about their crafts, their lives, a place where they are celebrated, I just really wanted to give something to those people who do not allow the “I am too young factor”.
Another reason, however, was the yearn to put out an idea I woke up to one morning, a part of me really wanted to start a production, I just couldn’t keep calm when the idea popped, it was time to do something with what I had.
How were you able to combine this with your studies?
I multi-task a lot, I started working even before I gained admission into the university, and had to shuttle both. So, Campus Prodigy wasn’t something I thought was going to be difficult to pull, but, it was different and it came with its own challenges, time, funds and all, but when you want to do something sometimes, you go all out, especially when it burns deeply in you. So, there was no giving up, I just had to plan, strategies and work out the best ways to achieve what I wanted.
My studies suffered a little at the beginning, when I sunk totally into this new idea I had, but I guess I balanced it in the long run.
What were the challenges you faced being a student working on a project like that?
Manpower wasn’t exactly a problem, but I was scared to build a proper team because we were all schooling (everyone’s first priority) so I didn’t want to burden anyone too much and I had to do a lot of the things by myself, I remember editing some of the episodes myself, designing the fliers and all, but I still had a few good people who were always there for me. Ayobami Ogungbe of Bami Photography, my photographer friend that I converted into my official DOP and assistant producer, Leroy Uwaifo of KAPictures assisted me mostly with editing, Mrak A collections made sure I always had clothes to wear on the show and a few others came through with cameras when I couldn’t afford to rent.
So, fund was another challenge, I funded the project solely and sometimes my sister had to send me some money, once I had to travel to shoot in other campuses outside mine, I was so broke I had to run to my father to get some cash, there were times I shot episodes I ended up not using because I couldn’t afford the needed equipment and our improvisation failed… Every production has challenges; those were a few we had to face.
Would you say it yielded the expected results?
Not exactly the utmost result as we are actually still working, but yes, it did yield result as expected.
I was able to shoot my first season after nursing the idea in my head for a year. It was accepted, I had testimonies, and it started to sail in the direction I wanted. Many people wanted to be featured on it, people from outside my school; many people believed more in what they were doing, some people got inspired to start using their talents. So, yes. Thanks to my team and every guest I had on the show.
Given the success of the programme, it arguably made you popular. How did you cope?
Somehow I tried to keep it away from my most immediate environment; my class, I just shot, released episodes, had a few friends to help with the campaign on social media and I carried on like nobody knew what I was doing until one day, one of the most respected lecturers in my department referred to me as Moses Akerele of Campus Prodigy. At that point I realised people were watching, I started getting feedbacks, referrals and invites form other campuses.But prior to that time I had been actively involved in social activities in school, I was quite known so this was just an added feat, but my best way managing whatever came with it was to just act like it wasn’t even me doing this thing they were talking about.
You have also carved a niche for yourself in broadcasting, having worked with Rhythm FM/STV, UNIBEN FM. How has it been?
Beautiful, trust me there is nothing as beautiful as living your dreams. Honestly, I had a passion and I just followed what called me relentlessly. I am a very persistent person so I was never going to give up on what I have loved growing up. The first time I had to read the news or broadcast anything was in my primary 3 and it was beautiful, so growing up to live the dream feels fulfilling.
About carving a niche, I believe people have something spectacular to them and when they stay true to it and themselves it just stands them out, nothing beats being real, it works.
How did you become an actor?
I read that an international TV series was coming and auditions were going to hold, but I got the information late. So I watched the space often, one evening, I saw another post that the firm that organized the audition was having an open day where people can just come and have fun with them, I went there to unwind, but I got bored and made a move to speak to the MD about my interest in acting, he looked at me and decided to give me a trial, asked if I would audition, this was around 8pm, I shot my shot, and after series of screen testing… I got my first acting role as KHALIL in MTV Shuga Season 6.
After that, I got a few more acting jobs and that was the beginning of another phase I have waited to begin as I have always loved to act, I just felt it was time and that one conversation with Emma Uduma began that journey.
What are your expectations?
To enjoy it all the way, be exceptional, to grow, carve a niche and explore the world of acting well. I don’t want to be an actor that you’d just tag an actor because I am on screen running lines sometimes, I want to be referred to as an actor in every sense of it, one who knows and practices the art well enough.
You are one of the winners at AFRIFF acting class that will be going to Paris next year to study. What are your expectations?
To learn more honestly, it’s a holiday off work to study and show myself more approved, I still don’t know how it happened, but it did and I have intentions not to let myself down nor Hilda Dokubo (My facilitator) or the entire AFRIFF team.
AFRIFF was an intense five-day training but I learnt a whole lot, I was brushed up, many things I knew or had an idea about was defined and I can only expect much more from a six weeks long training. I expect an environment where I can grow, learn, unlearn and relearn a lot to polish this craft then return to put all I have learnt I use.
How would you describe yourself?
I like to refer to myself as a goal getter. I’m very dynamic so you’d probably never “see me coming,” but Moses is readily a blend of cool, calm, crazy, happy, energetic person.
Any plans for marriage?
Yes of course! Ha-ha-ha, they want grandchildren in my house o.
Exploring the power of Arts in Medicine
Arts in Medicine Fellowship, an integral part of the Arts in Medicine (AIM) project of Tender Arts Nigeria, held its maiden workshop in Lagos recently.
Supported by United States Consulate General, Arts in Medicine Fellowship, according to the founder, Tender Arts Nigeria, Mandela Washington Fellow and also the project lead for arts in medicine in Africa, Kunle Adewale, seeks to foster relationships between artists, clinicians and those in medical field.
“It is centred on capacity building and collaboration amongst Young professionals in arts and healthcare and persons in their mid-career.
“Our focus at ‘Arts in Medicine’, include civic leadership and engagement, social innovation and design thinking, arts workshops and exhibitions,” he said.
He hinted that with his experience, witnessing how arts help the sick, he found Suzzane Farrell’s words that “The Arts are the hospitals for our soul,” to be very true.
“There is increasing evidence that the display of visual art, especially images of nature, can have positive effects on health outcomes, including shorter length of stay in hospitals, increased pain tolerance and decreased anxiety. The idea that art may have potential positive benefits in healthcare is not new and has been recognised by artists and healthcare professionals alike.
“I was inspired to start using creative engagements (Creative Arts) as a therapy and create awareness on chronic illness such as Sickle Cell anemia and Cancer. I also use art for mental health working with patients in Nigerian Psychiatric Hospital.
“I have witnessed how patients are being treated badly in the hospitals by staff and caregivers. There are countless encounters with parents who are depressed and are hopeless because of the chronic conditions of their children.
“I am passionate about how arts can be used to transformed healthcare experience. I believe art is the hospital for human souls. I am using arts to build relationships and positive connections, creating space for healing, happiness and hope for patients and their caregivers in Nigeria.
With the Arts in Medicine Fellowship, we intend to provide arts-related Workshops, civic engagement for Professionals, Patients, their Caregivers, and Staff of healthcare organizations/institutions.
‘Arts in Medicine’ recognises the integral role of the arts in healing the spirit and transforming the healthcare treatment experience. It’s been proven that creative outlets help to reduce stress, anxiety, boredom and the perception of pain. Creative engagements through Arts in Medicine Project include: fine arts workshops and group art activities, where no past artistic experience is necessary for participants (Medical Personnel).”
He added that he believes the future of Africa is bright when “young people innovates and creates sustainable projects through creative engagements. The reality of Africa we envision lies in the expression of talents of empowered young people who are driven by a formidable force to make change at all cost.”
Speaking further on how he came about the idea, he said: “In 2015, I had a privilege of travelling to the United States through Mandela Washing Fellowship a flagship program of President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI).
My host institution was Tulane University in New Orleans; it was there that I met the Director for Arts in Medicine Tulane. We had an interesting conversation about some of my Arts projects in Nigeria and how she is managing the art programs at Tulane Hospital. Today, that professional encounter has helped me to scale up the Arts in Medicine program in Africa through collaboration with other healthcare centres and the support of the United States mission in Nigeria.”
While Arts in Medicine Project was launched in November 24, 2017, Arts in Medicine Fellowship was officially launched in Lagos Nigeria penultimate Sunday, at National Sickle Cell Centre Lagos Nigeria.
Dignitaries at the event include the Public Affairs Officer, United States Consulate General Lagos Nigeria, Darcy Zotter, who was distinguished guest of honour, the National Director and CEO Sickle Cell Foundation Nigeria, Dr. Cecilia Ogun, Chief Medical Director Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital Yaba Lagos, Dr. Bunmi Omojowolo Chairman, Nigerian Medical Association, Mufu Onifade, Deputy Director, Curatorial Services National Gallery of Art, among many others.
Adewale also hinted that Arts In Medicine Fellowship will be an annual event and would run for seven weeks.
Speaking at the inauguration, the Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Consulate General, Lagos, Ms. Darcy Zotter, expressed optimism that the initiative will go a long way in improving the quality of lives of the participating patients.
“The Arts in Medicine initiative is yet another example of projects that support U.S. Mission Nigeria’s goals. The U.S. Mission to Nigeria’s Public Affairs Sections makes available grant and funding opportunities to carry out projects of this type, which have social impact.
“We are happy to support this project which seeks to transform healthcare service delivery and healing through the arts. Creative arts programs can help patients work towards recovery in an effective and enjoyable way,” Zotter said.
Nollywood stars in God’s Vineyard
Call them legends of Nollywood and you are stating the obvious. At various point in the evolution of the industry, they ruled the screen. Today, many of them now work for God. TONY OKUYEME, LANRE ODUKOYA and ADEDAYO ODULAJA profile these star actors
It is not for nothing that Zack Orji is as highly regarded as he is in Nollywood and beyond. An actor noted for his impressive delivery of roles and impeccable diction, Orji has been active long before the advent of Nollywood. Apart from acting, Zack Orji is involved in many things and preaching the gospel is notable among them and people have spotted him in cities such as Abuja, Nasarawa and Makurdi doing the work of the ministry.
Widely known as a gentleman without blemish, many say that must have weighed heavily on his decision to become a worker in the Vineyard of God. Speaking in an interview, Orji, said: “I’m also an ordained reverend, a pastor so I get invitations to minister in different churches both within and outside Nigeria. I didn’t set out to be an ordained reverend. My bishop probably got inspired by God to ordain me.
I worship with Power Line Bible Church under Bishop Lawrence Osagie, and he ordained me in 2012.” He disclosed that even before his ordination, he had been receiving invitations from different places to come and minister. “So when the offer came from my bishop to ordain me, I didn’t reject it. I took it whole heartedly and I get excited when I have opportunity to speak to people, inspire them and draw them closer to God.”
Many observers of Nollywood and beyond cannot stop being surprised with the case of Majid Michel, easily one of the best actors in Nollywood in the last decade.The Ghanaian actor, who has already been invited to many churches in his native country as well as Nigeria to preach, first shocked people by saying he will no longer accept kissing roles in movies as taking on such roles may affect his new assignment as a minister of God. While speaking further during an appearance on Bryte FM in Ghana, Majid, who talked about being addicted to masturbation before his encounter with God, said the decision will help him take the gospel to the end of the world although he said he should not be judged by the characters he played in movies.
The actor who boasts of the skill set, grit and looks for the Casanova roles for which he is widely regarded, has stressed that he is now truly born again and is a servant of God. His response was in reaction to critics who dismissed his claims of being a pastor as a ploy to preserve his popularity among movie fans in the continent.
Majid, who is now fond of preaching and writing about his new-found state on social media in recent times, said his motive was not to seek the attention of anyone.While quoting directly from the scriptures weeks ago, he wrote via his Instagram account: “Am I now trying to win the favour and approval of men or that of God? “Or am I seeking to please someone?
If I were still trying to be popular with men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.” Except there is a drastic change in his ways, it looks like Majid is now solely focused on working for God and spreading the gospel to as many as possible.
Arguably the most notable female artiste yet to be part of Nollywood in history, Liz Benson is a true screen goddess. She used to be the toast of many lovers of Nigerian films and TV series, heralding the stage long before Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade and the rest came along.
Her journey into stardom began with featuring in the popular television soap, “Fortunes” in 1993 where she played the role of Mrs. Agnes Johnson. Apart from “Fortunes” which ran for at least two years on NTA, she acted in various TV serials and movies before hitting it big with the coming of Nollywood. In 1994, she acted in Glamour Girls, one of the blockbusters of the early years of Nollywood. The movie, which also featured the enigmatic Eucharia Anunobi, turned Liz Benson into a star.
Having been a part of movies since long before the advent of Nollywood thus, Liz Benson went on to thrill Nigerians for many years, becoming a part of the childhood of many Nigerians who are now in their 30s before disappearing in late 2000s.
Liz Benson later got married to Pastor Great Ameye of the Freedom Family Assembly International Church. With the church based in Jesse, Delta state, it explained why she went off the radar and not even featuring in a few movies in the last few years has been able to put her back firmly on the minds of industry followers. But being married to a pastor and ordained an evangelist in the church means she runs the church with her husband and makes her busy with the work of the kingdom.
Sylvester Madu might not be as popular as many on this list but those who followed Nollywood in the last 15 years or more would remember the man who had a reputation for playing tough characters. That was then as the man later quit acting for good to become a full time pastor in a Christ Embassy branch located at Eric Moore Road in Surulere, Lagos. Today, he bears a different toga, one that is very different from that of the bad boy characters for which he was widely known in movies like Sound of Poverty, Power of Trust, Scent of Passion, Margaret Thatcher, Holy Cross and The Sheperd.
Kenneth has been a born again and a pastor for a long time and his journey towards this course started a long time ago as a young man worshipping in Christian Pentecostal Mission (CPM). He later married the daughter of the mission’s General Overseer but the marriage crashed not long after, leading to a divorce. Known for his role in the movie, Living in Bondage, the actor and lawyer won the African Movie Academy Award on a Special Recognition of Pillars of Nollywood among others and he has said not even divorcing his wife has affected his work as minister of God in anyway. He might not be in the CPM where his former father-in-law is the GO but he continues to serve God in different capacities while also remaining active in Nollywood.
One of the true veteran actors of Nollywood, Larry Koldsweat, is best known for playing devious characters in most of the movies he acted in. After starting out as a singer who later joined the music band of the Nigerian Army, said he is no longer involved in Nollywood. As a grandfather, he believes he quit when it was time to give way to younger elements, saying: “I quit from the industry (Nollywood) about six years ago because I have the call of God in my life, I am now a pastor.”
Hilda Dokubo is arguably one the Nollywood actor who took the art of crying effortlessly to a new height, something the younger ones have not been able to replicate years after. Now based in Port Harcourt, the actor is said to have gotten closer to God as she leads women who go round churches, organisations and areas to preach the word of God. Speaking in an interview not long ago, the CEO actor who is planning to go into full time ministry soon, said: “You know I’m a Christian, I’m born again and I’m a minister (of God).
There is no missing Gloria Doyle, the fashionable actress who also sings. The happy-go-single mother of three has impressed with her crazy outfits and hairdo but today she says old things are passed away and everything about her has become new. Being the founder of The Glory of God’s Oath Ministry and Daughters of Shalom, an interdenominational single parent support ministry has not stopped her from saying she would go nude for $20million.
On the confusion her manner of dressing and avowed life as a minister of God, she said in an interview: “I think I know more of the Bible, I’m spiritually conscious, I’m spirit filled, I’m born again, I speak in tongues but that does not make me any less than a showbiz person. I don’t think anyone has ever caught me naked anywhere but I think I’m a very sexy person.”
This is the man reputed to be the producer of Living in Bondage, the movie believed to have kick-started the birth of what is today known as Nollywood. Today, he is no longer active on the movie front but he still calls himself an actor and a preacher of the gospel. With the explosion of the movie, and by extension, Nollywood in 1992, he hardly features in movies now but only appears by special arrangement. According to him, his participation in the movie industry was just a matter of chasing one’s hobby but he is now fully immersed in spreading the word of God and giving motivational speeches as well as being the author of many works of Christian literature.
From Nollywood to God’s Vineyard
Long before Tonto Dikeh came on the scene, there was an intensely controversial actor, a female known as Eucharia Anunobi. Some of the reasons for the controversial stance are the roles she played in many movies including the popular Glamour Girls and her manner of speaking her mind.
That explains why it was with shock that many of her fans received the news that Eucheria Anunobi has become a born again Christian. In fact, story of her conversion remains one of the most-talked about in Nollywood, especially with her standing as a controversial actor.
The ordination of Eucharia Anunobi as an evangelist, which reportedly took place at the Fresh Oil Ministry in Egbeda, Lagos on a Sunday in February back in 2012, was carried out by Pastor Psalm Okpe along with other men of God. The ordination, coming just months after she made the announcement that old things have passed away as she had turned a new leaf and given her life to Christ, was as unconventional as most things that have anything to do with Eucharia are. It does not matter that now bearing a collar has not done much to reduce her nature as a flashy and daring woman.
Eucheria, who reportedly bought a brand new BMW X5 just weeks after her ordination, has had to refute reports that she has abandoned acting for acting. According to her, she has only had to be more careful and choosy in accepting movie roles. Speaking to New Telegraph in response to questions based on this story, she said: “I don’t know why people get the impression that when you are a pastor you are not supposed to have a career.
As far as I can remember, most, if not all, reverend fathers (catholic priests), reverend sisters are all degree and masters’ degrees holders in one career or the other; and they are all continuously schooling, just like I am also schooling as it were. And they have their careers.
“For instance, most Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) pastors, starting from Baba Adeboye, are doctorate degree or masters’ degree holders and they have one career or the other, one business or the other. “So, I wonder why people make it look as if because you are a pastor you would not have a career.
To be a minister in the house of the gospel of Jesus is selfless service. It is not something that you do and should be paid for as a career.” The Abuja Connection actor added: “So, I think it is wrong for somebody to think that because I am a minister of the gospel, therefore I have stopped working as an artiste.
No, I have not stopped working as an artiste. It is a gift from God. Don’t forget what the Bible says in the book of Proverbs chapter 15 verse 16 that ‘The gift of a man makes the way for him.’ It also applies to the woman. When I was called on the 17th of March, 1997, I had already become a mega movie star. So, when my God Almighty, Yahweh found me in the movie industry, he found me a glamorous, wonderful, elegant, beautiful looking woman.
So, I am not going to throw away the gift and the platform he gave to me. As a matter of fact I finished from a movie production about two weeks ago.” Asked if she would have taken part in the movie, Glamour Girls given her present status as a minister of the gospel if she could turn back the hands of time, it was an answer expected of the vintage Eucharia Anunobi. “Yes, I would have done it, because acting is not your personal life, it is your career. I they give me the role of a prostitute; I will do it, because it is a gift from God.
I am not a prostitute, neither am I a thief. I am only acting the role. So, for me, I would act any role, but of course, I don’t believe in undue exposure which does not add any meaning to the movie, that makes no sense. Acting is meant to portray real life. So, I can act any role, but undue exposure, I would not be part of it.”
BBNaija 2018: I only had one-night stand with you – Rapper, CDQ Olowo replies Ifu Ennada
Nigerian entertainer, CDQ Olowo, has responded to Big Brother Naija’s housemate, Ifu Ennada, saying he only had a one-night-stand with her.
Yesterday, Ifu Ennada had called out the popular rapper, accusing him of dumping her after sacrificing so much for his music career.
She claimed the singer forgot about her after attaining stardom.
According to Ifu Ennada, she was just 17 when she “sponsored” CDQ, gave him money meant for her handouts, school fees, and also gave him tickets to VIP event. Only for her to be used and dumped.
She said it was not about the money but about the sacrifices she made for him.
But reacting to Ifu’s claim, the musician described her as a one-night-stand, asking her to seek for promo the right way instead of talking “bullsh*t.
CDQ Olowo wrote on his Instagram, “I’m a self made. Dm or contact my management if you need free promo not by saying bullshit (sic).
“You were just a one night stand.”
Metro and Crime14 hours ago
I married my sister to obey God, avoid divorce –Brother
Saturday Magazine14 hours ago
FESTUS KEYAMO: My poor parents flew like king, queen to witness my SAN award
Features14 hours ago
Doctor by day, robber at night
News16 hours ago
Police arrest mastermind of Imo bank robbery
Politics21 hours ago
APC reconciliation: You’ve my full support, Oyegun tells Tinubu
Show Biz14 hours ago
NIGERIAN MOVIE STARS WHO APPEAR RICH BUT AREN’T
Politics14 hours ago
No president has done as much as Buhari for Nigeria –Etiebet
News15 hours ago
Ozubulu massacre: My life under threat from faceless people –Witness