The Nigerian movie industry has indeed come a long way with many great talents who are still alive or either passed away but have contributed vibrantly to the growth of the industry which has now emerged as one of the highest employer of labour.
The month of August, will always be a month many Nollywood practitioners will always remember after the sudden death of veteran actor, Sam Loco Efeeimwonkiyeke better known as Sam Loco, shocked the industry in 2011.
Efe was born in Enugu, the son of Arase Efeimwonkiyeke, a warder. His father was of Benin ancestry who worked in Eastern Nigeria and his mother was a petty trader who sold bean cakes (Akara). He spent considerable part of his childhood in the town of Abakaliki in present day Ebonyi State. He lost his father when he was in elementary school; Efe then spent more than the normal years to obtain an elementary education because he had to help his mother in her trade in order to earn income for the family.
In elementary school, he was a member various groups including a drama society that performed a rendition of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar at an Eastern regional arts festival in Abakaliki, the play came last in the drama competition but Efe was noted as the best actor which earned him a scholarship to complete elementary school. After finishing elementary school, he attended various secondary schools and was active in the drama society, organizing a performance of The Doctor in Spite of Himself and a play called Vendetta. After secondary school, he was a member of a traveling theatre group and played soccer earning the moniker locomotive later shortened as loco.
While at the University of Ibadan, he was part of a performing arts group, he later started a theatre production company with a friend. In the 1980s, Efe started auditioning for roles in TV and radio. He was a cast member of the Oyo State radio stations production of Two Just Men and Fun Time. He was in television shows, Wind vs Polygamy, Eruku and the soap, Turning Wheel. In the 1990s, he was a cast member of the sitcom, Ripples. The late actor has featured in many uncountable movies and will forever remain a true legend of Nollywood.
Since his demise while on movie location, the industry has not been able to produce a vibrant character to fit into his shoes both in terms of spoken words with the use of rhymes and his comic role interpretation which always keep many audience laughing and trying to get few of his words to infuse in their daily interactions but his contributions will never be forgotten.
Rest in Peace Sam Loco Efeeimwonkiyeke, five years gone, your memories still lingers in many hearts. Share your story.