There is never a dull moment with comedian and actor, Victor Osuagwu. With him, one has to hold one's ribs tightly, or they would fall off! Osuagwu's every word and actions are tailor made to make people laugh.
I came to the film industry in 1997, The first film I featured was Evil Passion 2. I produced it in 1994 while I was in school when the UNIBEN strike kept everyone at home. We call it PP (private practice) finding a way to get (extra) money. In that 1994, the strike kept everyone in Lagos so we had to look for a way to survive and we have to meet one of our old school mates Sydney Idiala who was the one in charge of that particular production. He was producing and coordinating the production for KBN production. We were doing the auditioning for the Evil Passion 2, I think that was the first job I did.
Do you have any formal training in the arts?
I studied Theater Arts in the University of Port-Harcourt. I have always known that I have the talent because it is a bubble. It bubbles inside me it is just for me to let it manifest. I started in the church from my childhood. I attend Anglican church so there is usually this anniversary that comes every year and there are usually competition on drama, dance and some other things to make the day. I am always involve in this but my church comes first. I continued in it till my University level. Also, all that I was taught in the University was in line with what I am doing.
Now that actors and actresses are launching musical careers, do you have plans in that dierction too?
When I come out with my own kind of songs it is going to be bombastic, like my friend Nkem Owoh. This was why I told you that entertainment is too wide. When you are not doing other things, you can be doing other things also. Infact, I have almost ninety something tracks, if you want me to sing one for you, I will. It could be funny, out of place but then it is part of entertainment. I might not be doing it to make money, but I want people to enjoy the other part of the (entertainment) world.
Do you also produce?
Yes,the movie Love in High Place, I am the producer of that film.
How long have you been married?
It has been a long time. I don't even know exactly the time because my present wife now, we courted for a very long time. We started our friendship right from 1990, we were seeing ourselves as husband and wife not even boyfriend and girlfriend. I met her while I was still in the University and she was in SS1. I have been watching her since she was a little girl. I saw the homeliness in her and I told her that I am not going to go out with her but that I want her to be my wife. But then, she was still playing the girls' stuff and I was still playing my normal school thing. I left her to grow because I know what I wanted.
What prompted you into opening a restaurant?
I like food and believe that a lot of people outside there people are hungry. They need a place to eat. You see, one of my slogan is the 'native pot'. To be candid with you, it has always been a part of me. I wanted to have a business, a restaurant, a saloon or two other things that have to do with hospitality business. As I was working, money was coming in; I was at the same time looking for a good location for it. As event unfolded, I saw this place and I rented it for the restaurant.
How has the Restaurant business and why the name Angels Kitchen?
It is lucrative because when there is fuel strike people must eat, even when there is an impeachment, people must chop. To tell you the truth, I came into this business because of the love I have for it. It is from my daughter's name Angel. I just love that name, I gave her Angel. It just flows when you call that name Angel's Kitchen.
Back to the industry, why don't we have Nigerian films winning awards internationally?
We are still living in ignorance, because only a few people know what is happening outside here. A lot of us have gone to film festivals. I do not know the result but I know that each time a Nigerian film appears in any competition, there is always a controversy. The controversy have been, how did this people make their films because a Nigerian will stand up and tell them that this particular job was done in seven days with only one camera. Oyibo man wey dey there go think say we are mad. A film takes the white man almost a year to do and we do our own only in five to seven days with only one camera. It is amazing. I have a lot of confidence in this industry but we only have to take it easy.
Are you saying artistes are not doing enough?
I love Nigerian artistes. I am not particular about anyone. Do you know why I love Nigerian artistes, they are talented. The problem with them is that we are still doing buying and selling. By the time we break in the home video as a business, you will know where we are going. We have talented people, is it in music? Eighty -five percent of music played on radio are Nigerian music even on televisions. We are celebrated outside the shores of this country in Cameroon, Senegal, Ghana and Europe, we are celebrated. People appreciate our work.
Are new talents being given enough space to express themselves?
The system in Nigeria has been using old ones instead of the upcoming ones. In government today, they keep going back to the old stuff. They believe that the young ones cannot make it because even if you give to the young ones, they will just chop money. The old ones dey chop but they know how to hide am. All this old ones they use, there is nothing again in their head, I am just telling you the truth. The brain has gone weak. There should be training the new comers. It is also very wrong when they say that they are still using the old ones because they are using new people and new faces come up everyday. Story sells a work but you can also watch a work because the character you love is involved in it. The marketers know the strategy they use in getting their money back. They cannot spend 5million without getting it back, so they know the market strategies to get their money. As an actor, you are contracted to act a particular role and what happens to the market is their business. The truth is that, we keep preaching that the new one should come.
The way forward for the industry?
One of the greatest problem is the sponsorship of the home video. For years we have nobody expect the marketers who have been putting their money into sponsorship. By the time government brings in their money, there will be much progress. We thank God that this industry have put food on so many people's table today. Some of us are millionaires today. There is a breakthrough. It is a very big opportunity for employment. If government invests in the industry, there will be much money to employ more people inside the industry. So we are asking government and corporate bodies to come in. It should not be only for the marketers only because they have been trying and you can't forget them in the development of the film industry.
If you are not an actor what would you have been?
I could have become an architect. It was my first love when I was in secondary school because I passed through technical school, that was my first dream. My friends looked at me and said Victor, any thing you just do, people will laugh. What do you do? You have to channel yourself to that thing and each time you want to do otherwise, you find out that something is pushing you to that thing you are meant to be.
What is your philosophy of life?
Man na mumu. Do not ask me why because I cannot tell you. To be candid with you, Man na proper mumu.
Filmography: Adam Goes To School, Agaba, Awilo Sharp Sharp, Church Committee, Fools, Fork Up, He Goat, Headmaster, Ijeuwa The Boxer, Lion Finger, Love In High Places, Million-Million, No Shaking, Oke Belgium, One Dollar, Our Daily Bread, Safe Journey, Shakara, Slow Poison, The Man, Thrift Collector, Touch And Follow, Trouble Maker, Uncle Wayward, Vineyard, Men On The Run
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