National Theatre Complex’s atmosphere in Igamu, Lagos, was filled will despair, grief and solemnity when Nollywood paid last respect to late movie producer, Chico Ejiro.
The group of mourners which consist of family members of the deceased, colleagues, friends and well-wishers who wore in white outfit exhibited sadness while the event unfolded. It was just a night of paying tributes and rendering songs to honour the late movie producer and director, Chico Ejiro.
Ejiro died on December 25, 2020, from seizure at 57 years. After he died, his elder brother, Zeb Ejiro, revealed that he would be laid to rest in his family compound in Ozoro, Delta State.
But as his burial rites nears and in a bid to recognise Chico’s numerous contribution to the advancement of Nigeria’s film industry, family, friends and colleagues trooped to the National theatre, to pay their last respects to the departed soul. It was indeed a night of tears and great testimonies about the life of the late movie production guru.
The event kicked off at 4 pm and was anchored by Segun Arinze. In attendance were great nollywood practitioners and stars like Richard Mofe-Damijo, Hon. Desmond Elliot, opa Williams, Keppy Ekpenyong, Lancelot Imasuen, Zik Zulu Okafor and Francis Onwochei.
Others were actress Ada Ameh, Uche Uwuji, Fred Amata, Emeka ossai, Alex Eyengho, Mahmood Ali-Balogun, Paul Obazele, Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, Bond Emeruwa, Agata Amata, Victor Okhai, Fidelis Duker, Eeddy Lawani, DG Censors Board, Alhaji Adedayo Thomas and GM, National Theatre, Professor Sunday Dada and other dignitaries.
Famous gospel singer, Sammie Okposo made the crowd cry when he rendered Chico’s favourite song, ‘Aka,aka Ya” during praise and worship session. After that, friends and colleagues paid tributes to the late film producer.
While eugolising his virtues, Hon. Desmond Elliot labeled Chico as an awesome film maker that inspired a lot of movie stars while Zik Zulu Okafor said Chico epitomised the creative genii of the start of Nollywood and the survival spirit that motivated their artistic race.
While recalling how her husband died in her arms, Chico’s wife, Joy said: “This is still a rude shock! We had a lot of plans for christmas, we spoke a lot about how the day would go. We were recounting how God has been good to us this past year and how grateful we are to be alive. I never knew it was going to be my last midnight gist with my love.
“You died in my hands Chico, and left me confused and devastated. I ‘m consoled by the beautiful life you lived and the impact you made in the movie industry and all that crossed your path. in all, I thank God for giving me the opportunity to spend the last 26 years with you. You were a selfless man who was a wonderful husband and a great father.”
Zeb Ejiro said: “You were not just a wonderful brother, you were my closest confidant. You were not just a gift to the Ejiro family, you were a great gift to the creative industry, to Nigeria and indeed, the world. No matter how angry you were, you would always come back to say ‘let’s move on’ irrespective of what may have transpired . You were a rare poster child of peace.”
According to Zeb, while he set the bar in Nollywood, Chico was instrumental in raising it to a new and very high level. He said: “God used you to discover a generation of motion picture practitioners through your stunning number of movies, thereby creating avenues for people to be gainfully employed and enabling them to put food on their tables.”
The event reached climax with a documentary on Chico. The documentary was put together by his friends in the industry and it was titled, ‘Mr. Prolific.”