Chico and Zeb Ejiro
Zeb Ejiro, the elder brother to the late Nigerian filmmaker, Chico Ejiro discusses his brother's life in this Sun News interview.
On Wednesday, February 20, all roads will lead to Ozoro, Delta State for the final homeward journey of late moviemaker, Chico Ejiro a.k.a Mr. Prolific. Indeed, it was with shock that Nigerians and the motion picture industry globally woke up to the shocking news of the sudden and shocking death of the Isoko-Delta State-born filmmaker and CEO of Grand Touch Pictures who passed on after seizures and complications related to hypertension on Christmas Day 2020, four days after his wife returned from the US where she had been tending their sick son for the last two years. In this chat, his elder brother and mentor, legendry filmmaker, Zeb Ejiro shares his time with the legendary filmmaker.
What really happened, how did he die?
My brother we are still in shock! He was here with us but now he is no more. It was on Christmas Day, December 25, 2020. His demise followed complications arising from high blood pressure for which he had been treated. He had returned delightfully to the only business he was so passionate about and had concluded his movie shoot barely two days before Christmas. His painful death was a tragic drama that took less than 10 minutes and there was silence.
What kind of a man was Chico Ejiro?
Chiko was my younger brother. He was the best younger brother anybody could have. He was very supportive and my best friend, they called us twins. He was somebody that was always by my side and always willing to help. I am going to miss him a lot. In fact as I speak to you I am battling to come to terms with what has happened. He was a great guy with a large heart. Every Christmas he brought Christmas gifts to all family members. He was that generous and always there to make sure that family, friends and colleagues in Nollywood were happy. Chiko was someone who no matter how angry he was would always come back to you and say ‘lets move ahead’ no matter what could have transpired, nobody can step up today and say Chiko was my enemy. He was one great and wonderful guy.
As his elder brother, what would you miss most about him?
I am going to miss him a lot! It is not easy losing your immediate younger brother who was so vibrant. But like I said, he was so supportive. He is the first and last person I call everyday no matter what corner or part of the world I find myself; we talked everyday. I am going to miss him, the family will miss him and the industry is going to is him. Chiko was someone who worked so hard to raise the industry. I tell people I discovered the bar but Chiko took it to a new level by raising the bar. God used him to discover a whole generation of thespians. He made avenues for people to put food on their table. The industry will definitely miss him because nobody has done the awesome number of movies he did. The industry will miss him and I will miss him greatly; all creative people will miss him.
What were his unfulfilled dreams?
He was working on so many projects but one major one was the remake of Silent Night, a blockbuster he made so many years ago. It was a monster hit featuring Segun Arinze, Ramsey Noah and Joke Silva. We were working on it and it was going to be huge! He just signed a contract with Nevada Bridge TV to remix some of his works.. He was working on that when he passed on. Like I tell people, his death is not the end of the story. Chiko will be in peoples living rooms of people across the world through his works especially Silent Night which is coming back bigger and better and of course, he did all the arrangements on the ground before God called him so it is for us to pick up from where he left off.
When was the last time you spoke to him, did you have any premonition that something untoward was about to happen?
I was on location shooting the last part of my trilogy, Sakobi Returns and he was on location shooting a movie as well and we were talking often. I would ask how he was doing and he would tell me he was doing well. But he complained of weakness but he promised me he would be able to pull through so we were talking frequently. There was no premonition. I didn’t see it coming; nobody saw it coming! That is why everybody is so shocked! I thought he would survive it. It is so difficult talking about him. Sometimes, I still refer to him in the present tense because I just can’t wrap my mind around the fact that he is gone. I am still battling to come to terms with the reality on ground
He was a great Nigerian who contributed immensely to the growth of the motion picture industry. Any plans to immortalize him?
He would be immortalized; that is just it. I can’t say precisely how now. I am presently concerned about how to give him a befitting burial and after that we shall know how to navigate forward. However, I can tell you categorically that he would be immortalized. My heart is broken. I want to thank The Sun Newspapers for this opportunity to talk about my brother. I want to use this opportunity to thank everyone across the world that have been calling including family, friends, colleagues TV stations and radio stations all over the world including Europe, America and even Asia. In fact I never knew he was that huge until his death! I am consoled by that because it means he touched many lives and made his mark. I am so proud of him that he was my younger brother. He came he saw and he conquered; veni vidi vichi. He has left a very huge impression in people’s hearts.
Source: Sun News