Friday, August 12, 2011


On Sunday, August 7, Sam Loco Efe, legendary Nollywood actor-cum-comedian, may have decided to pull one final stunt on a stage he bestrode with ease or he caught a glimpse of heaven while sitting on a chair in his hotel room at Owerri, Imo State. It was not until hours after his reported demise that the controversies died and it was confirmed that the man, who came into limelight when he was voted best actor for his role in Langbodo - Nigeria’s only drama entry for FESTAC ‘77, was truly gone.

Justus Esiri, Nollywood actor, who first met Efe that same year, remembered his performance with fondness. “He was exceptional,” he said, while reminiscing on the over three decades of friendship, as well as Efe’s stellar acting career, that was borne that year. “I saw him last two months ago… I think he’s one of the best we’ve ever had from this country. He was so multi-talented,” Esiri said of arguably one of Nigeria’s most gifted actor for both television and stage drama.

Like the many Nigerian languages he spoke fluently, Efe could interpret different roles with ease. For every Nollywood, television soaps and theatre follower, he literally lit up every stage and screen with each role he played. For John Njamah, actor/director, renowned for his role in Amaka Igwe’s Checkmate and then Fuji House of Commotion, Loco Efe made acting easy for those who worked with him. “(Although) he jokes a lot, for him, work is work, fun is fun. There’s no dull moment with him. When he wants to be serious, he is serious. He enjoys what he does,” said Njamah, who holds fond memories of the man who played the role of his father in the 2004/05 Nollywood movie Wounded Apple. We had such as spark on set, it was amazing,” Njamah reminisced, while encouraging young actors to focus more on improving their art like Loco Efe did throughout his long career, adding that they should also learn from his ingenuity, discipline and hardwork.

President Goodluck Jonathan, Lagos State governor Babatunde Fashola and Segun Arinze, President, Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), were among those who paid tribute to the late actor who got a post-humous award at the recently held City Peoples Award ceremony. Arinze, described him as an extraordinarily gifted thespian whose mastery of his craft on both stage and screen was unrivalled. Arinze, like many of his contemporaries, grew up watching the late actor in drama programmes on Nigerian television.

A versatile actor, script writer, singer and director, the Edo-State-born actor has featured in numerous television and stage theatre dramas. Efe, who was educated at the University of Ibadan, formed the Overamwem National Theatre Group which won laurels on stage plays in 1969. He won the Best Veteran Actor Award at the 2006 Nollywood Foundation for Excellence (NOFFEX) awards in Owerri, Imo, where incidentally he met his last days. 

“I’ve told people that anytime I die, in my epitaph, just write something there: this man lived so well that even in death, the undertaker is very sad,” the legendary actor reportedly said in an interview with some months ago.

Sam Loco Efe was aged 66.

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