Back in the mid-90s and early 2000s, Saint Obi was one of the most loved and famous actors in the Nigerian movie industry. Many referred to him as the James Bond of Nollywood and indeed he did fit in perfectly in all roles, and all genres of movies he featured in. A film was barely complete if the Saint wasn’t a cast in it. But despite enjoying such a good career, the Saint has since gone awol for a long period. What could have been the cause of the sudden disappearance of such a talented actor?
Saint Obi’s Rise As a Nollywood Icon
You can only be gifted in acting to get to the height Saint Obi reached as an actor. The actor really did get to the peak of his career. Back then, he was among few A-list actors getting many acting jobs to such extent that he even lost count of the movies he casts in one year.
Popularly known as Saint Obi, Obinna Nwafor started acting in 1996, after majoring in theatre arts at the University of Jos. His first on-screen appearance came the same year when he was cast in a commercial for popular car brand Peugeot. The commercial aired on Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) back then.
Following his skillful performance in the commercial, several filmmakers like Opa Williams and Zeb Ejiro made moves to have him cast in their movies. From this humble beginning, the veteran Nollywood actor went on to feature in over 70 films. Some of his best works were in:
- Blue Sea
- Candle Light
- War Front
- The President Must Die
- Crime Planner
- Goodbye Tomorrow
- Last Party
- Heart of Gold
- Executive Crime
- Festival of Fire
Saint Obi’s acting talent spilled in film production as well. He produced his first film titled Take Me to Maama, which he also starred in. The movie went on to become the first Nollywood film to get an endorsement deal. Popular soda brand, Coca-Cola endorsed the film which was also promoted and marketed by NTA.
Mr. Obi was active for over two decades and has a couple of award recognitions to show for his impressive works as an incredible actor. Some of these recognitions are:
- The African Movie Academy Awards – Best Actor in Nigeria
- City People Entertainment Awards – Most Prominent Actor
- Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards – Best Actor in Nigeria
- Nollywood Movie Awards – Best Actor in a Leading Role
Why Has Saint Obi Been Absent from Movies?
A few years ago, Saint Obi revealed that he was going to quit acting and it came as shocking news to all of his fans. Upon his announcement to stop acting, many assumed that his drastic decision was because of his inability to get acting jobs but he was quick to debunk such claims as he revealed that his decision was so he could focus on other aspects of his career.
As Nollywood grew bigger, Mr. Obi felt the industry did not grow better. He felt it slowly began to lose its touch and its actors gradually lost their passion. The actor expressed that the Nollywood he knew in the mid-90s and early 20s was way better than what it is now. He further stated that the industry’s financiers do not understand how the business runs and the government are not of any help to the industry.
Saint Obi also advises that the industry should involve more cinemas in showcasing their movies and it could help reduce the rate of piracy. In all, Mr. Obi has made it clear that he did not stop acting because jobs were not forthcoming but because he needed to try out new things, both in the industry and out.
Is There Hope Of A Possible Return?
Fans of the former actor have their fingers crossed on a possible return of their favorite actor and they might not have to wait for too long.
A while ago, Saint Obi hinted at a possible comeback to the job he enjoys doing the most. He promised he would be back to acting soon but not after he must have acquired enough technical knowledge as he has bestowed on himself the mission to restructure the Nigerian film industry.
What Is the Former Actor Doing Now?
Saint Obi may not be acting anymore but his presence is still felt in the industry. This is because he is now focused on producing quality films behind the scene. According to him, scripts still come to him but he voluntarily declines them because he is more concerned at delivering a well-deserving film than appearing in just any kind of movie that comes his way. The veteran actor is also hopeful that through his work as a scriptwriter and producer, he would reshape the industry to what it was known to be.
Quitting acting has since made Saint Obi focus on other aspects of his life. As an entrepreneur, he owns a number of businesses and he is also a philanthropist. Mr. Obi is the founder and CEO of Agwhyte International Limited. His company is focused on managing young acts in the entertainment industry. Agwhyte also serves as a music label, film production company, and consulting firm.
In addition to his career as a producer and entrepreneur, Saint Obi is also into music. In fact, according to him, he started as a singer before his acting career kicked off. His music video, “Imagine…the dream” went public in October 2017 and even though the song didn’t gain many views on youtube, the content of the music seems to torchlight some of the pressing issues in our society.
Other Facts we Know About Saint Obi and His Family
The veteran actor who hails from Okpa, Mbaitolo Local Government Area of Imo State, was born as Obinna Nwafor. The 58 year-old former actor was born in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on November 16, 1965. He was born into a family of ten, his father, mother, and seven siblings of which he is the only male child in the family.
Saint Obi is quite a private individual and that is why he succeeded in keeping his family life away from the media. The veteran is married to Lydia Saint-Nwafor. The couple got married in 2006 and have two kids together. Lydia is not an actress, she is a senior staff in MTN, a leading telecommunication company in Nigeria. She was appointed the post of Chief Technical Officer in 2011.