Nkem Owoh is a Nigerian actor and comedian born in Udi in Enugu State, Nigeria.
He attended both his primary and secondary schools in Nsukka, Enugu. He also started his tertiary education at the University of Ilorin, Kwara state and completed it at Institute of Management Technolgy (IMT), Enugu, where he graduated with a degree in Engineering (Electrical). Even though he studied Engineering, Nkem Owoh opted to pursue a career in acting upon graduation.
He has so far risen to become one of Nigeria’s foremost Nollywood actors and has played the male lead role in so many Nollywood flicks. Talking about movies, Nkem Owoh, or Osuofia as he is popularly called, hit astronomical heights in 2008, when he won the African Movie Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. He is married to Ngozi Nkem Owoh.
Nkem did not just start big time acting. It came from a disappointment of some sort. Even though he began doing some radio and television gigs while in the university, he had hoped to practice engineering. Immediately after leaving youth service, Nkem Owoh initially worked with WACO Engineering. But thankfully (as he would later find it to be), he was laid off after one year in rather unfortunate circumstances. That became the best thing that would ever happen to him as it opened up room for him to get involved with radio and television, which became his launch pad.
To Nkem Owoh, acting is a natural talent, something he was born with. He began acting when he was very little – in primary and secondary school. He would act in school plays and dramas. It was a talent he knew he was born with right from the start. And today, it is virtually impossible to mention great actors in the vast Nigerian movie industry (Nollywood) without the name Nkem Owoh coming to mind. He has an apt funny personality and combining that with his natural flair has made Nkem Owoh one of the highly ‘sought out’ character interpreters in the industry.
Nkem Owoh starred in the 2003 Nigerian Comedy, ‘Osuofia in London’ which became the most outstanding movie he did as it brought him international recognition. Nkem Owoh has featured in over 80 movies to his credit, which include his first movie – the 1987 ‘Things Fall Apart’ where he was a supporting cast and acted alongside the legendary Pete Edochie. Other movies include: Ukwa (1995), Long John (2002), Police Recriut (2003), My Own Share (2004), John and Rosekate (2007) and many others.
Nkem Owoh’s appearance in the movie The Master (2004) – a movie about advance fee fraud (419) raised a little dust as he played the character of a scammer who learnt the trade and became a scam architect, duping greedy and gullible white men, after he was duped himself. The soundtrack for the movie, “I Go Chop Your Dollar” which he performed, was banned by the Nigerian anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
Nkem Owoh was also in 2004 banned by the Association of Movie Makers and Producers, alongside most of the A-list actors and actresses for charging exorbitant appearance fees and difficult contract demands. However, the ban was lifted in 2005.
In November 2009, tragedy struck for the family of Nkem Owoh as he was kidnapped as he was travelling to the eastern part of Nigeria. With a ransom of N15 million slammed on his head, it seemed the end had come for the popular actor. However, Nkem Owoh was released after his family members were alleged to have parted with the sum of N1.4 million.
Arrested in Netherlands
In 2007, Nkem Owoh was arrested and jailed in Amsterdam, Netherlands on suspicion of lottery fraud and immigration violations. He was arrested when the Dutch cops raided an event were he was billed to perform in a musical show but was released almost immediately. The raid was as the result of a 7-month investigation by the Dutch police dubbed “Operation Apollo”.
Nkem Owoh Dead?
Nkem Owoh disappeared from the public limelight for a while in December 2008. Then rumours picked up that he had passed on after a drug overdose just a month after his movie award win. Another version had it that the actor had been convicted somewhere in the Arabian desert for drug trafficking while still others said that he was kidnapped and beheaded in Russia. Just like other stars that have been killed on the internet, Owoh had to make a public appearance before the press to dispel the rumours.
Nkem Owoh, who is married to Ngozi Nkem Owoh and has two beautiful daughters is said to be worth $3.9 million.