John Okafor, popularly called Mr. Ibu, is a Nigerian Nollywood actor and comedian who rose to fame in 2004 after he starred as the main character in an eponymous film, Mr. Ibu. He is one of Nigeria’s most talented comic actors.
His acting is often characterized by stupidity, hilarious imbecility and a sharp disconnection from reality.
John Okafor was born on October 17, 1960, and hails from Umunekwu village in Eziokwe, Nkanu local government area of Enugu State.
Mr. Ibu has seven siblings: 4 brothers and 3 sisters. Having lost his father at an early age, John Okafor had to earn his living by doing various odd jobs, such as selling firewood, hair dressing and butchering animals.
According to him,
“I didn’t attend primary school because in my time, there were no primary schools. From elementary school which stopped in 1974, I went to secondary school in Sapele. After that, I went to Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Enugu for my tertiary education. I did part-time there because my father died early so there was nobody to train us.”
According to the actor, his acting career began in December 3, 1978, when he started as continuity in movies.
“The issue is that I had never seen myself coming in front of the camera. I was initially involved in Continuity, not until the directors and producers started persuading me to come on board to act. They saw my interpretation of movie roles to be better and more original. It wasn’t as if I was running away from acting, I only wanted to specialize in my Continuity job, being behind the cameras. So at a point I started acting once in a while. I later asked myself, ‘Ibu, wetin you dey wait, go and concentrate on the thing’. So I took the advantage of the opportunity from my Producers and Directors who loved me so much.”
Although, his role in the movie Mr Ibu officially earned him the name, John Okafor said he had already adopted the name from his grandfather whom he says was his mentor and inspiration for doing comedy.
From 2004 till date, Mr Ibu has starred in more than 200 movies including Mr Ibu (2004), Mr Ibu in London (2004), Police Recruit (2003), 9 Wives (2005), Ibu in Prison (2006) and Keziah (2007).
John Okafor, got married to his longtime girlfriend and mother of his children, Stella Maris, in June 2015. Before then, the two had been married traditionally but never wedded in a church.
This is after his first marriage crashed. Mr Ibu had accused his ex-wife of killing their son and wanting him dead. He also accused her of kidnapping his 2nd wife (then girlfriend) and his 2 year old son who died 10 days after he paid an undisclosed ransom for their release.
Mr Ibu has won awards for Best Comedy Drama, African Magic Viewer Choice Award and other International awards
In 2014, he signed an endorsement deal with MerryBet and also with GoTv.
He was also awarded the Best Movie Actor of the Year award, 2014, by the Peace Ambassadors Of Nigeria. He has also received Nigerian Goodwill Ambassador Awards.