Saint Obi (Real name: Obinna Nwafor, born on November 16, 1965; Age: 58 years old) is a veteran Nollywood actor, movie director, and producer best known for his role in the movies Sakobi and Festival of Fire.
Saint Obi has been an actor since the early days of the Nigerian movie industry and is widely credited as one of its pioneers. As an actor, he was renowned for his excellent portrayals of tough character roles, which is possibly why he is called the Nigerian James Bond. Learn all there is about Saint Obi as you read further.
Saint Obi is 58 Years Old and Hails from Imo State, Southeast Nigeria
Obinna “Saint Obi” Nwafor was born on November 16, 1965, in the Southern Nigerian city of Port Harcourt, Rivers State. However, he is an indigene of Okpa in Mbaitolu Local Government Area, Imo State. His father, Chief Melvin Nwafor, was a titled elder in Igboland, and his mother, Millicent Nwafor, was a school teacher. Their child Saint Obi was the only son among the couple’s nine children.
Although the several biographies written about him did not say when Saint Obi and his family moved from his birthplace in Port Harcourt to the Middle belt city of Jos, Plateau State in Nigeria. There, he picked up the Hausa and Yorùbá languages, which were awesome additions since the actor already spoke Igbo and English fluently.
Saint Obi and his siblings attended Zang Secondary Commercial School in Plateau, Jos. He later proceeded to study Theater Arts at the University of Jos. He graduated in 1991 at the age of 26. At this time, although it was rare for a grown Nigerian man to decide. Thus, Saint Obi chose to go into the fledgling Nollywood industry and make his mark. According to the actor, he was inspired to be an actor after watching foreign action movies as a young boy.
Surprisingly, The Name ‘Saint Obi’ Is Only a Monicker
In case you didn’t know, the real name of the actor isn’t Saint Obi. The ‘Sakobi’ actor was born Obinna Nwafor. While nobody knows the exact origin of the nickname, it has evolved to be his professional name. The most likely answer for how the nickname came about is that he got it from friends while still in college. The name has made him a household name among old Nigerian movie lovers.
Saint Obi’s Movie Career Began in 1995
In 1995, Saint Obi took his first steps on the journey to be an actor. He began by auditioning for several movie and television roles. He gained some success after he was selected to feature in a 1996 Peugeot car commercial that aired on NTA for a very long time. That one commercial gave Saint Obi a break he needed to get a foot in the industry door. Soon after, many top movie producers began to approach him, including Zeb Ejiro and Opa Williams.
Meanwhile, in an exclusive interview with online media, the actor outlined two reasons behind his choosing acting as a career. First, he said, was his childhood dreams and ambitions to be like the actors he saw on their tv screens. His second reason was to stay away from crime and to become a rich man without needing to bribe anyone.
The first movie that marked his industry debut was ‘Without Love.’ In his prime, Saint Obi played mostly tough guy roles. Alongside Hanks Anuku and Jim Iyke, the 6-feet-2 actor shone brightest in movies that portrayed him as a gun runner, thug, local hero, fighter, gang member, and similar roles. This earned him the title ‘Nollywood James Bond.’
Saint Obi has featured in no less than 90 movies as a lead actor. Most of these movies were released between 1996 and 2007. They include ‘Last Party,’ ‘Candle Light,’ ‘Goodbye Tomorrow,’ ‘Sakobi,’ ‘Final Whistle,’ ‘More Than a Woman,’ ‘Executive Crime,’ ‘Heart of Gold,’ ‘Festival of Fire,’ and many others. Some actors he has worked with include Hanks Anuka, Rita Dominic, Olu Jacobs, Ini Edo, and more.
Saint Obi’s Movies and TV Shows include:
- Blue Sea
- Candle Light
- Check Point
- Crime Planner
- Dapo Junior
- Executive Crime
- Goodbye Tomorrow,
- Heart of Gold,
- Sleeping With the Enemy,
- State of Emergency,
- Street Fame
- Take me to Maama (as a director and producer)
- The President Must Not Die
- War Front
Saint Obi’s efforts have not gone unappreciated and have landed him plenty of awards in Nollywood throughout his career. Some of them are:
- ‘Best Actor in Nigeria’ at the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAAs)
- ‘Best Actor in Africa’ at the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA)
- ‘Most Prominent Actor in Nigeria’ at the City People Entertainment Awards
- ‘Best Actor in a Leading Role at the Nollywood Movie Awards (NMAs)
Where is Saint Obi Now?
Saint Obi is one of the few actors who have mastered their craft to the fullest. He was one of Nollywood’s finest and most well-paid actors in his prime. And yet he quit. For years, there was no movie or television that featured him anywhere, and fans wondered why. When asked about it, Saint opened up and shared that he only decided to quit acting to focus on movie production and distribution.
He started up a consulting firm and movie production company called Agwhyte International Limited. He aimed to begin to groom and nurture new talents in the industry. According to the veteran thespian, many of the newer Nollywood actors lacked the passion for turning a good movie into a great one, so he decided to fill the mentorship gap. He also runs a nonprofit organization called The Saint Obi Foundation.
The actor also took a break to produce his first movie, ‘Take Me to Maama.’ He worked with established actors like Rachel Oniga, Ebi Sam, Enebeli Elebuwa, and Nse Abel. The movie became the very first Nigerian production to receive an international endorsement from Coca-Cola. With a net worth of over $7 million, Saint Obi is one of the most successful actors to have come out of old Nollywood.
The Thespian is Presently Going Through a Messy Divorce
Saint Obi is estranged from his wife. The actor got married to Lynda Amobi in December 2006 in Anambra State. The couple was admired as one of the most private Nollywood couples in the industry. But that was until recently when it was reported in February 2022 that Saint Obi had filed for a divorce from his wife on the grounds that she made an attempt on his life.
Further research on the issue revealed that Lynda allegedly conspired with her two brothers to beat up the actor to the point of hospitalization. It was also reported that she held the children hostage with armed police officers, so the actor had no access to them. Counter reports from Lynda’s camp say that she only beat her husband up as retaliation for the physical assault that she experienced at his hands.
The case is still in court, and at the moment, they have separated. Further details about the case progression will be updated here as necessary. The case is reportedly being held up by Lynda as she has refused to show up in court. The presiding judge, Justice Omotayo O. Majekodunmi, has issued a bench warrant for her arrest.
Saint Obi is Blessed with Three Children
Although his marriage leaves much to be desired, some good also came out of it. The 58-year-old actor and his estranged wife had three children: Two sons and one daughter. His first son was born in 2008 and is 16 years old presently. Unfortunately, there isn’t much known about the kids, not even their names. The actor likes keeping his family out of the spotlight.