By Nehi Igbinijesu.
Few knew him as “Andrew”. I did. And I will always remember that young Nigerian man whom Veno Marioghae advised in her music video, Nigeria Go Survive not to “check out’.
That man, Enebeli Elebuwa, a veteran actor, died at 66 at the Asian Institute of Medical Sciences, Faribad Haryana, New Delhi, India after a protracted fight with a stroke.
He made his first movie appearance in the 1974 celluloid film, Dinner with the Devil. He didn’t reach national acclaim until the late 70s with appearances in the national television series, The Village Headmaster which captured enormous viewership across the country for nearly two decades.
Enebeli came to be recognised by the character, “Andrew” which he played to portray the desperation and frustration of Nigerians seeking a better life abroad. Unfortunately, Nigeria’s fortunes had worsened when “Andrew” died, than in the SAP ridden 1980s when he wanted to “check out”.
With almost 140 Nollywood film appearances, his tragic demise and the circumstances that surrounded the time of his illness pose too many questions about our society’s comatose healthcare system. Enebeli turned to faith healing at some point in his fight to stay alive. But for the intervention of the Delta State Government that helped cover his bills, Enebeli, like others less fortunate, yet so talented, face an almost certain sentence meted to his kind by our polity.
I think “Andrew’s checking out” should stand for something.
In loving memory of Enebeli Elebuwa (1947 – 2012)