Tough Africans

How Mr Ibu succumbed to death – Manager, Don Single Nwuzor

“Death ends a life, not a relationship.”

This timeless axiom by an American author, Mitch Albom aptly captures the true feelings of Mr Ibu’s manager, Don Single Nwuzor, who’s still battling to come to terms with the reality of the actor’s death.

The renowned comic actor died last Saturday, after a protracted illness at Evercare Hospital, Lekki, Lagos.

His exit somewhat sent shock waves through the entertainment circuit in Africa and beyond.

Nwuzor, who worked with the late actor for two decades said he’s battling to believe that the celebrated actor is no more.

In a telephone conversation with Saturday Vanguard during the week, Nwuzor described the actor’s death as ‘painful’, adding “ Up till now, it’s still like a dream to me.”

According to him, he signed the late actor to his company after he returned from Ghana, where he attended a musical concert alongside Aki & Pawpaw and Genevieve Nnaji.

While he was  back in Nigeria, Nwuzor was attracted to an advert done by Mr Ibu, which had to do with a man who contracted Gonorrhea.

The advert, he said, was so real that Nwuzor had to reach out to a frontline movie director, Andy Chukwu, who gave him Mr. Ibu’s telephone number. 

Recall that Andy wrote and directed the hilarious movie, “Mr Ibu’ that brought John Okafor to the limelight, and perhaps, earned him the nickname ‘Mr Ibu. His bumbling titular character in the movie became a benchmark for Nigerian comedy.

How Mr Ibu succumbed to death

Narrating how Mr Ibu succumbed to death, Nwuzor said while he was alive,  he used to make a video call with the actor on a daily basis, but on that black Saturday, they couldn’t do so.

“Everyday, I used to make a video call with him, but on that black Saturday, we didn’t do so. But when I called his wife, Stella Okafor and she didn’t pick my calls, I became worried. Later, I saw about four missed calls from her. Immediately I sensed something was wrong with Mr Ibu. When I called her back, she told me that the doctors had asked her to leave the ward, while they were battling to stabilize him. Hours later, she called me again, saying they were taking him downstairs with oxygen all over him . At that point, she linked me to the doctors, who narrated what happened to him,” he recalled.

Why he was hospitalized again

On why Mr Ibu was hospitalized again after he was discharged early this year, Nwuzor said it was for the treatment of bed sores.

“I was excited when he was discharged from the hospital early this year. But he went back as a result of treatment of  bed sores,” Nwuzor said.

He described the deceased as one of the most hilarious entertainers you would ever come across in Africa.

“He showed it during his last days. While in his hospital bed, Mr Ibu would try to make a joke of everything. He was always telling me that whenever we traveled out of the country, people usually said negative things about Nigeria. And that he had a desire to portray Nigeria in a good light.

Interestingly, he said that Mr Ibu never got tired of posing for shots with his fans whenever he travelled abroad.

“He was a crowd puller. He put smiles on the faces of many homes in Africa and beyond,” Nwuzor added.

He, however, thanked Nigerians who contributed their widow’s might to support the actor when cried out for financial assistance. He also called on President Tinubu to consider honouring Mr Ibu by giving him a posthumous national award.

Nwuzor said the late actor desired to be honoured by the federal government. He also called on the government of Enugu State, to endeavour to give scholarships to Mr Ibu’s children who are still in school.

The late comic actor came into prominence in 2004, after starring in the movie “Mr Ibu”, which tells the story of the eponymous single father and his son as they journeyed through life, getting into a series of tricky, and hilarious, predicaments.

Meanwhile, the family is yet to release any statement, announcing the late actor’s burial arrangement.

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