Veteran filmmaker, Eddie Ugbomah dies at 78

Eddie Ugbomah
Eddie Ugbomah

Veteran filmmaker, Eddie Ugbomah, has died at the age of 78.

Ugbomah, born in July 1941, was a veteran filmmaker during the 70s and 80s.

Director General, National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), Adebayo Thomas, firmed the death of the veteran filmmaker on Saturday.

Ugbomah, who received a national honour from the federal government for his works, died after a long illness.

In recent times, he had pleaded for help to raise funds to treat a brain ailment.

He was scheduled for surgery on Monday.

In October 2018, his family first sent out an appeal for fundraising revealing that he was suffering from high blood pressure.

Ugbomah was a Nigerian film director and producer. He had directed and produced films such as the ‘Rise and Fall of Oyenusi’ in 1979, ‘The Boy is Good and Apalara,’ a film about the life and murder of Alfa Apalara in Oko Awo, Lagos. The plot of some of his films are loosely based on real life events, The Rise and Fall of Oyenusi is based on the career of a notorious robber, Ishola Oyenusi.

Ugbomah, a native of Village Ashaka area Aboh in East Ndokwa, Delta State, Local Government, grew up in the Obalende and Lafiaji area of Lagos. He was educated at St Matthias, Lafiaji, Lagos and City College school. He traveled to London for his college education and attended various colleges studying journalism, drama and later film.

After studies, he worked with BBC and also played minor roles in Dr.No, Guns at Batasi and Sharpeville Massacre. He was a member of an Afro-Caribbean drama group and directed some of the group’s plays such as ‘This is Our Chance,’ play staged at the Stoke Newington Theatre Hall. He returned to Nigeria in 1975 and was involved in concert promotion before starting Edifosa, a film production company.

Ugbomah’s films usually tackled contemporary social and political issues. In 1979, he produced Dr Oyenusi, the film’s plot taken from the headlines is about a notorious robber, Ishola Oyenusi who terrorized Lagosians in the early 1970s. The film also delved into the menace of armed robbery in Nigeria. Oyenusi featured Ugbomah as the lead actor. Ugbomah’s next film, the Mask, released in 1979. The film’s material was based on looting of Africa’s artefacts by colonizers and the quest to return those artefacts back home. In the Mask, the protagonist Obi, played by Ugbomah tried to sneak into the British Museum to steal the Benin ivory mask and return it to Nigeria. Some critics likened the character of Obi to James Bond.

Ugbomah’s career flourished into the early 1980s producing such films as Oil Doom, Bolus ’80 and The Boy is Good. Most of his films were shot in 16mm with the exception of The Mask. Later in his career Ugbomah turned to Yoruba video films.

In 1988, he was appointed chairman of the Nigerian Film Corporation