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Saint Obi: Sad End Of Naija’s Action Hero Actor

by Newstimesafrica

Late Saint Obi

It was on Tuesday morning last week that movie buffs woke up to a disturbing story about the death of veteran Nollywood actor, Obinna Nwafor popularly known as Saint Obi. The story was reported by emdeedavid.com. with the headline: Former Nollywood Actor Dies in Jos, family hides news from Public.

The information in that story revealed that it was on Monday , 7th May 2023 that news filtered in of the death of  Nwafor who allegedlly passed on after  some months of going back and forth to the hospital treating an undisclosed ailment. It added that the deceased sister, Mrs. Felicia Jofu is deliberately keeping the news away from his friends and the public and that it is not clear that Nwafor’s ex wife, Lydia has been informed. The story said that the actor actually died on Sunday and that the following day, his body was taken to the morgue at JUTH.

Though the news made the rounds to some extent but since no concrete information was gotten by the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) and from Nwafor’s family, not much attention was paid until a close friend of Nwafor and veteran actor and movie producer, Zik Zulu-Okafor confirmed Nwfaor’s death in a long piece on thefrontierng.com titled, Between Saint Obi’s Marriage and his death’ that Nigerians now began to believe that truly their action-hero actor of the 90s, has died. Okafor penned his tribute on May 15, 2003. Since then, tributes have been pouring in from top actors as well as well-wishers from other sectors. He was aged 57.

Written in an emotional prose format, the lenthy but interesting piece by Okafor zeroed in on the belief that Nwafor’s woes began when he married his ex-wife, a top shot with a telecoms company and the many battles he faced on the home front and health challnges.

Part of the story reads thus:

About mid last year, however, Obinna took ill. But he told no one. He simply became scarce. He was in and out of hospital, we would later learn. He sold two of his three big SUVs to take proper care of his health and to acquire six camry cars he’d use for Uber. But his vanishing health continued unabated. He seemed to have a premonition of his own passing as he wept repeatedly about not seeing his children. He emaciated. Life took a grim picture. When I saw him by chance in January 2023, the dude called Saint looked 15 years older than his age. His macho cut had shrunk. His fat wallet was gone. What was left was only his fat will. His eyes seemed lost in their socket. This would be the last time I would see him.

Saint snuck out of Lagos to hang in with his sister in Jos. He told no one.

But a month ago, in April precisely, the once delightful actor who brought joy to many a home broke his icy silence. He called our mutual friend in US to give him a devastating message. He was on a deathbed, he said and wanted our friend to pray for him. “It’s not looking good, pray, pray for me”, he appealed passionately.

His next call came on May 1, 2023. This time to his mentor, the man who made him a star with his productions, Zeb Ejiro, OON. He told him with a wavering voice that he had had three surgeries but was still in hospital in Jos. He averred again that his situation was not looking good, that he is also in a deep pain, distressed that he could not see his children. But still he begged him not to tell anyone about his ailment. Such was the life of this creative hermit, a lonely trouper.

I was the first to hear the news of his death late on Sunday, May 7. Having confirmed it, I called Zeb Ejiro. “I have a very bad news my brother, Zeb”, I began.

“What is it, what is it, Zik Zulu?”, he asked anxiously. “A big star has fallen in Nollywood”. Zeb broke down in tears. I hadn’t said who it was. But sobbing helplessly now, he said, “Don’t tell me it is Saint Obi”.

Sadly, Zeb was right.

May his soul find peace.


Obinna Nwafor who hails from Mbaitoli, Imo state was born in 1965 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State but grew up in Jos, Plateau State. He is a graduate of Theatre Arts from the Unversity of Jos and served his mandatory NYSC in Markurdi, Benue State. He is the seventh child and only son in a family comprising eight females. He joined Nollywood in 1996 and featured in blocbusters as State of Emergency, Festival of Fire,  Heart of Gold, Goodbye Tomorrow, Sakobi, Wanted Alive, Royal Palace, Executive Crime, among others. He produced his debut movie, Take Me To Maama but released in 2003. He did TV commercials for Peugeot. He was also a footballer manning the goal post at a division three level in Plateau State.

Note; As at the time of writing this piece, an official information about his death is yet to be released by his family and the Actors Guild of Nigeria.

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