By Yetunde Oke
Saturday, 17th of October, 2023 marked the 62nd birthday of veteran Nollywood actor and comedian, John Okafor popularly known as Mr Ibu.
The actor was born on 17th of October, 1961 and hails from Enugu State.
After his father’s demise in 1974, he resided with his brother in Sapele, where he did menial jobs to pay for his education.
After secondary school, he was admitted into the College of Education, Yola, but pulled out due to financial difficulties.
He later enrolled in the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Enugu as soon as he was financially able to.
Mr Ibu was a film producer before switching to acting in 1997.
He has acted in more than 200 Nollywood movies including “Mr Ibu”, “Coffin Producers”, “Husband Suppliers”, “International Players”,” Mr. Ibu in London”, “Police Recruit”,” 9 Wives”, “Ibu in Prison”, “Keziah” and many more.
He came into limelight in 2004, after featuring in the blockbuster movie “Mr. Ibu” which gave him the popular nickname ‘Mr. Ibu‘. The movie made him win an award as the ‘Best Comic Actor in Nigeria’ at the Africa Movie Academy Awards.
He also won Best Movie Actor of the Year, Peace Ambassadors of Nigeria, 2014 and Awards of Excellence, Magic Lens Africa Film Academy, 2016.
Mr Ibu also ventured into music and on the 15th of October, 2020, he released his songs titled “This girl” and “Do you know”.
He, however, hit the headlines in March 2022, due to his deteriorating health.
Currently, the popular comic actor is bedridden and solicited financial help and prayers from Nigerians as he stands the risk of having his legs amputated.
In a video posted on his social media page, on 18th of October, 2023, Mr Ibu who spoke from hospital bed, said he needed prayers as he could lose his legs.
Reacting to his appeal, Former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, on 20th October, 2023, cleared all the medical expenses of the ailing actor through his foundation, Abubakar Bukola Saraki Foundation.
Following Dr Saraki’s kind gesture, Mr Ibu in a post on his social media page, on 30th October, 2023, said he has undergone five surgeries which were all successful.
He, however, stated that he is still recovering in the ICU, and is waiting to get stabilized so he could fly abroad for further advanced treatment.
Mr Ibu appreciated the general public for their donations as he added that he is counting on them for more prayers and unwavering support.
The actor is married to Stella Maris and is blessed with three children.
In another video, on 2nd of November, 2023, the ailing movie star has expressed his deep gratitude to his beloved wife, Stella, for unwaveringly standing by his side during this challenging time.
Speaking in his native dialect, Igbo, the actor imparted wisdom to the younger generation about the profound importance of choosing a good and supportive life partner.