Elitist filmmaker and accomplished journalist, Zik Zulu Okafor disclosed how his friend, the famous Nollywood actor Saint Obi died.
Saint Obi, who was born Obinna Nwafor, he died on Sunday 7th May 2023 in his sister’s house in Jos but the public got to know about his death a week later on 12th May because his demise was kept under wraps, allegedly as a result of some disagreements within the late prolific actor’s family.
However, Okafor, who was Obi’s friend and colleague for many years recently revealed what actually led to the actor’s death and the harrowing pains Obi went through in his marriage before his death.
In a piece titled “Between Saint Obi’s Marriage and His death”, the filmmaker stopped short of saying that Obi, described as “shy almost bordering on timidity and insecurity” died as a result of what he went through in his marriage, the many battles he fought there and the protracted illness that eventually took his life at 57.
According to Okafor, their wedding, that solemn ritual of love would finally alter the cause of his life.
“I tell Saint’s story here with painful tears in my eyes ; because he was a star, a super star whose life turned out a gleam of irony. Yet, it was this stardom that fetched him his much professed financially strong and powerful wife. And their wedding, that solemn ritual of love would drastically alter the cause of his life and tragically yank him off the creative community that threw him up for the wife to capture and indeed conquer,” Okafor said.
The filmmaker further narrated how Obi’s marriage not only took him away from his friends but also blunted his social life.
“Their marriage was at best a dramatization of love. It was quick. He barely told us that he found a wife. Then, the marriage happened. It was something of a mystique, only those involved understood the histrionics that played out. None of us who were his closest pals, who walked with him through the crucible to the crest of his career in Nollywood, none of us was invited. The distance between us and the guy I admirably called Saint of the Storm had begun. This gulf would widen with each year. We saw him perhaps once in a year after this marriage…
“But more tragic is the fact that his marriage did not only take away Obinna from his friends, it took him away from Nollywood. Saint stopped acting, absconded from his career and perhaps his calling,” Okafor maintained.
However, the filmmaker further revealed not only how the marriage took away Saint Obi from his friends, but also the cracks within the marriage and the many battles he fought because members of his wife’s family saw him as a gold digger who came into the marriage to exploit his wife, who was richer and working with one of the telecommunication giants in the country. He also narrated how his wife’s brothers inflicted “a deep cut from a knife on his left eye.” And his wife went to the police to defend her siblings.
“It took another three years for Saint to return to his homies. But when he did, some of the deeply disappointed ones sniggered behind him. This was because the simmering rumours of cracks in his marriage had hit home. And though secretive in his ways, he knew it was time to open up. And he did. ‘I do not know why my wife’s siblings see me as a gold digger. They confront me, harass and fight me in my own matrimony. And my wife did nothing to stop them. I work hard, I earn my money. I have never depended on my wife,’ he lamented, eyes blurred with tears.
“You could tell he was in deep pain. By the next visit, the Saint returned with a deep cut from knife on his left eye. His wife’s brothers, he said, scaled the wall fence of their house to attack him. They were captured by hidden closed-circuit television, CCTV, installed for surveillance and security, he revealed.
“He reported them at the police station and subsequently acquired a gun to defend himself. This effectively marked the beginning of the end of his marriage and perhaps Saint Obi’s long walk to a sad end. He moved out of his marital home to a new house to begin the reconstruction of his destiny, alone without his wife and worse still without his three beautiful children.
“Meanwhile, his wife went to the police to defend her siblings using her financial power to manipulate the cause of justice, Saint stated unequivocally. The wife also sued for divorce, not in Lagos, but in Ogun state.
“As Saint put it, ‘It was to make the journey difficult for me. But I will not bend neither will I break. I will fight with my last blood to take custody of my children. They love me and they know it will be hard for me to live without them. The divorce is not an issue. My marriage has long been over,’ he said with a mix of courage and a quaky heart that betrayed his distress.
Okafor also wrote about Saint Obi took ill mid last year and told no one about it and also how he sold his SUVs to take care of his health and acquire six Camry cars he would use for Uber just to make ends meet
“But his vanishing health continued unabated. He seemed to have a premonition of his own passing as he wept repeatedly about not seeing his children. He emaciated. Life took a grim picture. When I saw him by chance in January 2023, the dude called Saint looked 15 years older than his age. His macho cut had shrunk. His fat wallet was gone. What was left was only his fat will. His eyes seemed lost in their socket. This would be the last time I would see him.
“Saint snuck out of Lagos to hang in with his sister in Jos. He told no one. But a month ago, in April precisely, the once delightful actor who brought joy to many a home broke his icy silence. He called our mutual friend in US to give him a devastating message. He was on a death bed, he said and wanted our friend to pray for him. ” It’s not looking good, pray, pray for me “, he appealed passionately.
“His next call came on May 1, 2023. This time to his mentor, the man who made him a star with his productions, Zeb Ejiro, OON. He told him with a wavering voice that he had had three surgeries but was still in hospital in Jos. He averred again that his situation was not looking good, that he is also in a deep pain, distressed that he could not see his children. But still he begged him not to tell anyone about his ailment. Such was the life of this creative hermit, a lonely trouper,” Okafor concluded.
May the soul of Saint Obi rest peacefully with his maker. Amen