By Tony Ogaga, Damilola Fatunmise and Rita Okoye
Indeed it was with shock that the entertainment industry received news of the passing of frontline moviemaker, Chiko Ejiro, yesterday, Dec. 25, Christmas Day plunging the industry into mourning again for the umpteenth time this year.
According to reports, he died around 2am in the morning after experiencing a seizure believed to be a heart attack.
One of the pioneers of Nollywood when it kicked-off in the early 90s, Ejiro mentored a generation of movie makers, actors and actresses and was the brain behind movies like Silent Night, Blood Money and Deadly Affair, among others.
Nicknamed Mr. Prolific, he directed over 80 movies within a five-year period and the exact number of movies he has worked on as either director, producer, or both is unknown but in the neighbourhood of hundreds as of 2007. He was profiled in articles in The New York Times and Time Magazine in 2002.
And ever since his sudden and shocking death, tributes have been pouring in for the creative whom it is reported died just after wrapping up work on his latest movie project.
He was a Godfather to so many – Shan George, actress
I am in deep shock! Chico Ejiro was Godfather to so many including me. He is the definition of the word legend. His sudden departure is painful beyond words. I am in pains and tears; may his soul rest in the bosom of Lord.
He was a father – Yul Edochie, actor
The loss of Chico Ejiro is a big shock to the movie making industry. Chiko Ejiro dead? He was so full of life. In fact, with this huge loss, I am not in the right frame of mind to speak. He was a father to us all.
That’s all I can say. I am overwhelmed with shock.
I’m devastated-Anita Joseph, actress
This is so heartbreaking. I am devastated!
He was a true star maker-Sam Olatunji, movie director
He was a great man, one of the guys that strengthened the growth of Nollywood. A true star maker, a true true Mr. Prolific. He made a lot of stars and was one of the blockbuster moviemakers. He was accessible, humble, humane and a man with great sense of relationship.
This is indeed a painful loss- Engineer Joseph Odometer, O’Jez boss and Nollywood patron
What a way to start Christmas! I still can’t believe it. I am blinded by shock! How did it happen? It is so painful I am speechless. Chiko Ejiro was one of the pioneers that gave us Nollywood and transformed it into a global brand which has earned Nigeria much respect and recognition globally. This is such a great loss. When I heard it I couldn’t believe it. I am speechless.
Nollywood will miss him-Tee Mac, flutist
I am shocked and my condolences go to his family. He was a great film director and Nollywood will miss him.
He was extra-ordinary-Ambassador Blessing Ebigieson, actress, producer
He was an extraordinary filmmaker one of Nollywood’s finest. His movies where very impact full. He was very friendly and always called me one of his best sisters in Nollywood. He was a very active member of AMP as vice president of Association of movie producers Nigeria; he will greatly be missed and remembered by his great works.
He was a legend – Nani Boi, actor
I never got to meet Chico Ejiro but I remember while growing up, I used to buy any movie he directed. He was such a legend and actually made some stars in Nollywood. He was a legend no doubt who influenced millions of Nigerian youths. It is so sad and unfortunate that he didn’t live long to enjoy what he planted. May God welcome him to paradise. Amen.
My sympathy goes to his family – Amara Maduka, actress
I just heard of his passing and my heart goes out to his family in sympathy because I know how difficult it is to lose a loved one. He was one of the people who put Nollywood on the world map and it is really a big deal for the industry to lose him. I really thank him for entertaining and teaching us. Growing up, I have always been a fan and an admirer of how he interprets his art. I pray he finds peace and for God to console his family.
Omotola Adebayo, actress
Today we honour Chico Ejiro by profoundly feeling and expressing our loss but also by remembering an amazing person who has played a unique and special role in the entertainment industry. I grew up watching his creativity and I feel the loss greatly because I didn’t get the opportunity to work with him before his departure to the great beyond. My heart and condolences goes to his family. Rest among the angels great legend!
Emeka Rollas-AGN president
I just learnt of his death. The news is so devastating. I don’t know the cause of his death at this point in time but will get back to you. This is a big loss for Nollywood. I am in great shock!”