BY ‘SEGUN ODEJIMI
You’re not about to read a poem. So keep calm and continue fanning yourself in this heat. It is also not one of those breathtaking eulogies. Not because she doesn’t deserve it and much more, but because – if it is a worthy enough excuse – spending a huge chunk of my day searching for fuel and running after frustrating technicians to come and fix my already lamenting generator has sapped all the creative juices out of me as I write this piece.
So, since I can’t find all the right verses to put together, I will tell a short tale of how I “met” Amaka Igwe.
I had met this legend in dozens of people before I had the chance to get within 20 feet of her. She had influenced several people who were influencing me. Back then at the University of Ibadan, most of the guys who were the writing dons had taken instructions at the Amaka Igwe Studios. I had also spent years watching Fuji House of Commotion wondering who the genius behind that crowd-puller was. I saw Checkmate too. But back then, I was still fooling myself into believing I was going to end up flying planes around the world for a living.
So, after I had gotten my head straight, you could imagine the awe I felt in me when it turned out I was about to be employed at Q Entertainment Network, the TV channel she was working on when death showed up. Ropo Ewenla, another serial life influencer, had encouraged me to apply for the position of Creative Artist at Q. After all, I was only a bloody presenter at a radio station in Ibadan.
The night before my departure for Lagos, we were downing bottles at the Staff Club, UI. Mr. Ewenla was, in his own way, prepping me for the “interview” I had the next day when he mentioned that this great woman also owned Top Radio, Lagos.
“Are you freaking kidding me?”
As if this woman couldn’t get any bigger in my eyes.
Anyways, on that fateful Monday in February 2014, I headed for Lagos, carrying only one bag pack filled with pride at the fact that I was about to be a staff in the great Amaka Igwe’s new TV outfit thereby getting an opportunity of a lifetime to learn from the master.
If I had known she would pass on barely three months after I started working for her at Q, I would have probably walked up to the gate of her house which was located in the same estate as Q and AIS and demand that I talk to her. That’s true, despite the fact that I was working for her, I actually never met her one-on-one before she passed. The day she stopped by at the office, while everyone including my present boss (he was also my boss then), Chris Ihidero, went to talk with her, I was too star-struck to descend the stairs.
Yes, those are the real stars of Nollywood. Not the bleaching, red-carpet crazed lot claiming that title. Amaka Igwe changed Nollywood and fought with her blood to ensure it remained sane.
She’s been gone for two years and the question that remains is, “Who will fill her void in the industry?”
Never mind answering. Some voids are simply too massive to fill.
Rest on Mama Ruby.