The theatre and Nollywood community was thrown into mourning last Tuesday with the news of the passing of one of Nigeria’s gifted stage and screen actors Mike Obi Nkemakonam Odiachi. An actor of vast credits, Odiachi acted in a number of critically acclaimed stage and screen productions and featured on television and radio commercials reportedly died on Monday evening, February 15, 2016 at the General Hospital, Ikorodu, Lagos State.
Although the Odiachi family of Ogbeawo, in Ugbomanta quarters, Asaba, Oshimili South Local Government, Delta State which announced the untimely passing of Odiachi, did not disclose the cause of his death. But a close family source said the actor has been “ill for sometime now”.
An astute artiste whose talents saw him practice as an actor in all genres of theatre, Odiachi is best remembered in his role as Innocent Man in Igodo, a pioneer adventure movie. He performed and toured with the National Troupe of Nigeria in Ahmed Yerima’s Attahiru, but his most memorable theatrical adventures were in his days as a member of the Anansa Playhouse in the 1980s.
Influenced by great theatrical minds like Bassey Effiong, Barclays Ayakoroma, Rowland Henshaw, Richard Mofe Damijo, Ehi Omokhuale, Francis Onwochei and Ngozi Nwosu, Odiachi decided on a professional career and headed for the University of Ibadan (UI) to study Theatre Arts. At UI, Odiachi was an integral part of the movement for a relevant Nigerian students theatre practice in Nigerian Universities Theatre Arts Festival (NUTAF). It was no surprise therefore that he was an active member in the movement that led to the formation of the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP).
He became the Chairman of NANTAP Lagos chapter in the year 2000. Mr. Odiachi was a pioneer member of the cast of the world famous Story produced by BBC World Service, where he voiced the Linus Igbokwe character. Odiachi would forever be remembered for his stage interpretation of ‘Odewale’ in Ola Rotimi’s The Gods Are Not To Blame.
In a bid to be closer home and also nurture a better film industry, Odiachi moved his base from Lagos to Asaba. Before his death, he had taken part in over 80 movies, television series (including Super Story, Scam Files, Lekki Wives, etc) and several critically acclaimed stage plays.
A statement released by the family indicated that a service of songs and artistes night would be held in his honour on Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at his residence at New Covenant Estate, Ayeberi, Gbaga Junction, Off Ijede Road, Ikorodu, Lagos State. The statement also indicated that his remains would thereafter leave Lagos for his hometown for final funeral rights. Mike Odiachi is survived by an aged mother, a wife, children, brothers and sisters.