Actor, model and entrepreneur, Prince Oluebube Eke speaks about his career and marriage to singer, Muma Gee
Was acting your childhood dream?
Yes, I have always wanted to be an actor. The opportunity came up after I completed the National Youth Service Corps programme in Port Harcourt, and I started from the Rivers State chapter of the Actors Guild of Nigeria. From there, I moved to Enugu, then to Lagos. Here I am now.
Can you share some of your childhood memories?
My childhood was awesome. Being the last child of the family also came with its challenges though. All my six elder brothers wanted me to wash their clothes, wash the car, and do other household chores. However, I enjoyed my childhood because my brothers always watched my back, and people never molested me. I also learnt fast because my brothers taught me out of their experiences.
What were some of the earliest challenges you faced when you got into the industry?
I had to work hard, but I do not see that as a challenge; I see it as one of the necessary stages I had to go through before getting to the height I was aspiring for. And at the earlier stages, the roles were not coming frequently because nobody knew me, so I had to attend a lot of auditions.
People believe that Lagos is the headquarters of the Nigerian movie industry, why did you decide to kick start your career in Port Harcourt?
You are right. In Port Harcourt, things were not really happening, and we barely went to location to shoot. And that was why I left for Enugu. In the early 2000s, there were more activities in Enugu than Lagos.
Who gave you your first opportunity when you moved to Lagos?
The first movie I shot was Indecent Proposal, and the person that gave me that opportunity is called Fred Mayford. At that time, he was a production manager. But now, I think he is a director and a full-fledged member of the Directors Guild of Nigeria. He was the one that encouraged me and gave me my first role in Lagos. I also give kudos to the likes of Andy Chukwu, Andy Amenechi, Tchidi Chikere, and a host of others.
What are the most enduring lessons you have learnt in the entertainment industry?
Not all that glitters is gold. Sometimes, things are not the way they seem. You should always be focused, and do not let your stardom get into your head. Believe in yourself, and even when you face storms, keep sailing, and somewhere beyond the storm, you will find calm.
You are seen as one of Nollywood’s bad boys; how did that reputation come about and what has been its impact on your career?
To be honest, today’s youths love you more for the bad things you do in movies. The die-hard fans I have today are those ones that tell me they like the way I handle guns in movies. I think that reputation has impacted on me positively. However, I tell those youths that I’m just acting.
How do you get into character before going on set?
Every natural actor should be versatile. In movies where I play lover-boys, I try to do it well too. I always put myself completely into the characters I am required to play, and in some instances, I spend some time with bad boys.
Have you had any encounter with real bad boys, and how did that play out?
I was kidnapped in December 2015 and I was with the kidnappers for 12 days. When they abducted me, they did not know I was the one because I was driving a vehicle with tinted glass. It was later they realised that I was an actor. They told me they like my films, and that actually made them not to be too rough on me. Even when I tried to escape, they did not kill me. One of them told me if not that he likes the way I play bad boys in films, he would have killed me. I think God used the bad boy roles I play in movies to save my life.
However, that is an ordeal I do not want to think about again. It was at the height of the harmattan period and I was tied to a tree for five days. When I tried to escape, they broke my head and I bled for five days without treatment and good food.
How much has recession affected Nollywood?
The recession has affected everything!
How have you been coping?
The Bible says that ‘darkness shall cover the earth, but on me his light will shine’ so I am not moved by the economy of the world; I operate by what the Bible says.
Do you have other sources of income?
I am a model, I’m a co-creator of an arts academy which is duly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission; I am also a contractor.
What kind of contracts do you carry out?
I am a general contractor. I can supply you anything as long as it is not contraband.
What does your arts academy do?
It is called Gee Klips Arts Academy, and the reason for creating it is to give back to the society.
Is it free?
A lot of people have talent, but do not have the platform. We train people in acting, make-up, cinematography, editing, etc. Apart from the registration form, you will also pay a moderate amount for the training.
Have you undergone training yourself?
Yes, I did a course at the New York Film Academy. The training was awesome, and it has really opened my eyes to some other things I did not know about before.
What’s the latest project you’re involved in?
My movie, Wasted, will be premiered before the first quarter of the year runs out. Jerry Amilo, Kevin Ikeduba, GT Christopher, and others featured in the movie.
In the course of our conversation, you have quoted the scriptures a number of times. How religious are you?
I am not religious; I am a born-again Christian, and Christianity is a way of life. I believe in the word of God and what it says about me.
What is the nature of your relationship with Muma Gee at the moment?
I am no longer married to Muma Gee, and that is it.
Is that official?
I do not have to tell you if it is official or not; I just want you to have it at the back of your mind that I am no longer married to Muma Gee
Considering that the Bible frowns at divorce, how do you reconcile being a born-again Christian and divorcing your wife?
The Bible gives a reason a man is justified to leave his wife.
That’s infidelity; is that what happened with you and Muma Gee?
I am not saying that is what happened.
But does your reason for leaving her align with what the Bible says?
When it gets to the time I am officially divorced, I can answer this question. I can’t answer it now.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you?
People judge you wrongly when they do not even know you. When the issue between Muma Gee and me happened, people said many horrible things about me that are not true. A lot of people think that Muma used to be the breadwinner of the family, but she was not. Now that we are no more, I’m still waxing strong; even doing better. Those things do not bother me though.
You show so much love to your kids, and they are still young, how are they coping in all of this?
I love my children to a fault. They inspire me a lot; I want to be a wonderful father for them, and I will be. At their age, they should be with their mother, as she is the one that can properly take care of their upbringing. All I need to do is play my fatherly role.
Some ladies must be eyeing you, and now that you’re single, what’s your next step?
Some people have been asking if I will get married again. I am still in the healing process. Some people feel that we might still come back together, but I do not believe that. It is one step at a time.
If you are to take the plunge again, considering what you’ve learnt in this marriage; what kind of woman will you be going for?
Some people say celebrity marriages do not work, but that is not true. Some people who are not stars are worse; it is just that they are not known. It is just unfortunate that I was with someone who was never ready for marriage and did not respect the sanctity of matrimony. Many of those girls pretending to be nice out there are wolves in sheep clothing. It is not just about getting married again; I also have to work on myself. I do not have to completely blame the other party; I also have my faults. I work on myself all the time and try to get better.