SUNDAY, APRIL 1 would be the turn of veteran Nollywood actor, Justus Esiri, to receive the prestigious O'jez Entertainment Award.
The monthly awards series that was instituted over a decade ago is honouring Esiri for his over three decades invaluable contribution to the nation's acting industry.
The event which holds every last Sunday of the month had to be moved by a week for some reasons, which the organiser, O'jez Entertainment Limited, says “was all for the greater good.” So instead of it holding on March 25, the March edition has been shifted to April 1 at the same celebrity restaurant, O'jez, inside National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos. Time is 7pm.
Chief Executive Officer of O'jez, Chief Joseph in a statement signed by his media Company, Media Image Managers, MIM, said Mr. Esiri deserves all the honours he can get “for being one of the pioneers of the nation's film industry in Nigeria. His role as the Village Headmaster in the rested TV serial The Village Headmaster, will remain fresh in the memory of Nigerians who were old enough to enjoy the programme back in the days. He is an actor's actor, Mr. Esiri, and like I always say, O'jez Entertainment Award is for exceptional people in the Nigerian society that have distinguished themselves in their chosen careers in life.”
The actor would be treated to great highlife tunes to be performed by the O'jez and Evergreen bands while comedians Elenu, MC Shakara among others will take turns to thrill the crowd. Awards compere and Nollywood comedy star Charles Inojie with his deft way, will make the evening a memorable one.
One of the world's oldest performing musicians, highlife veteran, Fatai Rolling Dollar will also be on the stage while energetic dancer, Awilo will thrill with his energy sapping dance steps.
Esiri, father of Afro hip hop star, Dr. Sid, in a statement accepting the awards, said he was indeed glad the honour was coming at this time of his career. “I have had many awards, in fact, so many I can't remember some but I cherish the O'jez Entertainment Awards because this is one man's own little way of recognizing and appreciating people and to think he has been consistent in doing this for over a decade now shows he has good intentions. I, my family and friends as well as well wishers will storm O'jez restaurant on April 1 to receive this award that is so dear to me. I thank the organizers.”
This is what Esiri had to say about his role in The Village Headmaster that brought him fame: “Before I featured in that programme, I never liked Village Headmaster because of the pidgin English. I was already in Lagos. One day I was at home when someone came to tell me that I should come for an audition for Village Headmaster because according to him, they had tried a lot of people and decided I should come.
At the National Theatre on that day, everyone was seated and they said they were going on location by the weekend. I had never seen the script before then, so I took it home and read it through. The location was in Badagry. On that day, everyone including Late Elsie Olusola, Kabiyesi Funsho Adeolu, Joe Layode, Ibidun Allison, Kabiyesi, Wole Amele, everybody sat down watching because I had not worked with them before. To my surprise, by the time I finished that sequence, they were all clapping.
“When I am on set, I am a very deep person because of the belief that words have life and must be given life. People appreciated the way I handled Village Headmaster. Then Supple Blues which was a different thing entirely.
Then Things Fall Apart. There was a time I was three times weekly on network television. That is why I feel very bitter that of all the programmes I had done, those who took part in Samanja that came from the North of Nigeria, those who took part in Masquerade and those who took part in other Yoruba programmes were given National honours while I have featured in several plays and have not been recommended. I am not judging them, I just feel bitter. It would come when it would. One thing I am happy is that people appreciate what I have done. One day a car was chasing me around and almost bumped into me when the woman in the car peered out of the window to tell me she was sorry but she had told her driver to chase me so she could tell me something and that is that you “make acting look like real life”.
The event is expected to start at 7pm.