The Nigerian entertainment industry was thrown into mourning when a popular scriptwriter, director and producer, Chico Ejiro, passed away on Christmas Day. He was said to have suddenly died at about 2am. Ejiro, who was popular for movies such as ‘Silent Night’, ‘True Romance’, ‘Blood Money’ and ‘Night Bus to Lagos, was said to be recovering from an illness and had just finished shooting a movie.
Meanwhile, his colleagues, friends and fans have continued to pay tributes to the prolific filmmaker.
In an interview with Saturday Beats, popular actor, Kanayo O Kanayo, stated that Ejiro ‘led the pack in Nigerian film production’. He said, “He was an asset to the community of filmmakers and remained relevant to the industry until his last moment. In fact, I saw the picture he was said to have posted (on social media) two days before his death. That means he was still active.
“We have lost a colleague and team player. The industry will, no doubt, miss him monumentally.”
Actor, Mike Ezuronye, also maintained that the story of Nollywood would be incomplete without including the late Chico Ejiro. He said, “It is shocking. You cannot write the story of Nollywood without putting the name of Chico Ejiro in it. He was a visionary and icon who also made a lot of icons. He was a forerunner and we are going to miss him. His name would definitely be written in the good books of Nollywood. He was part of those who brought Nollywood to the fore. Chico Ejiro is gone.”
On his part, veteran actor, Bob-Manuel Udokwu, described Ejiro as an Iroko (large hardwood) tree in Nollywood. He told Saturday Beats, “I am totally shocked. Apart from being a colleague, Chico was also a friend. I had worked with him in the past. This is a big loss. Chico was not one to be in a dull place. He was a quiet person but when he was with his friends, it was all about fun and laughter. There is really so much to say about Chico. He was a likable person. One could not be around him and not be happy. He was a good fellow to be around. His contributions to Nollywood were enormous. I wasn’t the one who named him ‘Mr Prolific’. He was like an ‘iroko’ tree. He was diminutive but very huge in the industry. It is indeed a huge loss.”
Popular actress and filmmaker, Uche Jombo, took to her Twitter handle to mourn the filmmaker. She wrote, “I am saddened by the death of a senior colleague. A big brother, friend and of course, one of the pioneers of the home video industry, that has now come to be known as Nollywood. Rest in peace Chico Ejiro. Such a devastating news this Christmas.”
In a similar vein, screenwriter and filmmaker, Chris Ihidero, took to his Twitter handle to pay tributes to Ejiro. He wrote, “One of Africa’s greatest filmmakers has died. I saw him just three weeks ago at a showcase at Genesis Cinemas in Lekki (Lagos). Travel safe, oga Chico Ejiro. You played a very important (role) in what has become the most phenomenal filmmaking tradition worldwide. May the heavens welcome you.”
A filmmaker, Imoh Umoren, also wrote, “Rest in peace, Chico Ejiro. This is the guy who inspired me the most as a filmmaker. His work ethic was unmatched and he was one of the pioneers of the industry we have now. Thanks and goodbye.”