NOLLYWOOD Founder, Bob Ejike’s latest video FIRE has gone viral on Instagram. The London-based Nigerian producer, director, actor, writer and musician who started the world’s third biggest film industry had recorded four singles and two videos Fire, Do Me, Forever More, and Save My Soul, after his friend, prolific film director, Chico Ejiro took ill and died while they were working on Ejike’s film. Fire is dedicated to Chico Ejiro.
Bob Ejike who has performed in 21 countries including USA, Dubai, Italy, and the UK was astonished at the unprecedented number of likes FIRE generated. Speaking telephonically on the development, an excited Ejike said, ‘I have 330 music videos on youtube and have recorded over 500 singles, that’s more than any Nigerian artist living or dead, but I have never experienced such a Tsunamic effect on my works. Initially, I thought it was a generational issue as most people of my generation hardly stream or even like music online, but I am glad I have finally overcome the generational discrepancy after 45 years of blood and sweat’.
Bob Ejike who served the Italian Embassy in Nigeria as Media and Language Consultant, was a lecturer and member of the Italian diplomatic missions in Dubai, and Uganda where he also worked with that country’s government on developing indigenous motion picture and music. Ejike’s draws his profound experiences from starring in, scripting, and soundtracking 120 films and 3 major soap operas (Basi and Co, Candlelight and Nollywood Scandals, presenting NTA Channel 5 Tropical Rhythms and writing the Sunday Sun column Klieglights By Bob Ejike, every Sunday.
During his stay in East Africa, he created the Professor Bob Ejike Foundation for Performing Arts (Probe), which owned five recording studios that aided indigent artistes, and worked on a number of international movies and built a cultural bridge that led to various forms of artistic exchange between Nigeria and Uganda, helping to popularize Nigerian films, actors and musicians in East Africa.
Bob Ejike was so popular in Uganda that his concert with Aki and Pawpaw pulled a larger crowd than Ekon’s. Why did he choose Uganda? ‘Firstly, the Nigerian music had been replaced by new forms and clearly artistes who had been there before this novelty and used to melodic serenity felt out of place in the new mostly noisy genre that had gained prominence and dominance. I wanted a peaceful and quiet place where people are open and appreciative to a variety of art forms, not a monotony, and music is still played with natural instruments, not computer alone’ Ejike replied.
The multitalented artiste whose vocal abilities were developed by Reverend Chris Okotie, (whom he still names as his musical mentor), fingered his greatest achievement as writing the first known Nollywood film, Echoes of Wrath ( NAFEST Award winner, featuring Richard Mofe-Damijo), which launched the third biggest film industry in the world.