Kudos, knocks trail friends’ reactions to Saint Obi’s last days
Ever since the news of the death of veteran actor, Obinna Nwafor, aka Saint Obi, made it to the public domain, it has continued to attract intrigues and controversies.
Initially, the news of the actor’s death was not known until days after it actually occurred. He was said to have died on Sunday, May 7, 2023, but many of his colleagues and fans only got to know about it on Thursday, May 11. Even then, someone who claimed to be his relative debunked the news, and claimed that the late actor was still alive.
Obi’s colleagues reached out to by Saturday Beats refused to confirm his death, claiming that his family was in the best position to do that.
However, when it became obvious that the ‘Sakobi’ actor had passed on, many of his colleagues began speaking up about their last interactions with him. This was even as many of them stated that they had lost contact with him for some time. Known to be an intensely private individual, Obi was said to have kept to himself, and did not share details of his ill health with friends and colleagues.
In an article that went viral earlier in the week, a filmmaker, Zik Zulu Okafor, who stated that he was ‘close pals’ with the late actor, claimed that Obi’s marriage to his estranged wife, Lynda Saint-Nwafor, altered the course of his life.
The post read in part, “I tell Saint’s story here with painful tears in my eyes, because he was a star; one whose life turned out a gleam of irony.
“Yet, it was this stardom that fetched him his much professed financially strong and powerful wife.
“And their wedding, that solemn ritual of love would drastically alter the cause of his life and tragically yank him off the creative community that threw him up for the wife to capture and indeed conquer.”
According to Okafor, the late Obi did not tell many of his friends that he had got married when he did. He further said that after his marriage, Obi distanced himself from friends and retreated from social circles.Okafor added that as Obi went on to have three children, none of his friends were invited for their christening or birthday ceremonies.
The filmmaker continued, “But, more tragic was the fact that his marriage did not only take Obinna away from his friends, it took him away from Nollywood. Saint stopped acting, absconded from his career and perhaps his calling.”
He also alleged that Obi suffered harassment in his marriage. Recounting an encounter he had with the late actor, Okafor wrote, “He said, ‘I don’t know why my wife’s siblings see me as a gold digger. They confront me, harass and fight me in my own matrimony. And, my wife did nothing to stop them.
“By the next visit, the Saint returned with a deep cut from a knife on his left eye. His wife’s brothers, he said, scaled the wall of their house to attack him.”
Recalling his last encounter with the late thespian, Okafor wrote, “When I saw him by chance in January 2023, the dude called Saint looked 15 years older than his age. His macho cut had shrunk. His fat wallet was gone. What was left was only his fat will. His eyes seemed lost in their socket. That was the last time I saw him.”
In a twist of events, Obi’s siblings have, however, distanced themselves from Okafor’s claims. In a statement released on Thursday, May 18, and signed by his sisters, including Freda Nwachukwu and Chinyere Obichuku, they wrote, “Our attention has been drawn to the publication by one Mr Zik Zulu Okafor concerning the death of our son, Mr Obinna Nwafor, popularly known as Saint Obi, and the accompanying negative commentary portraying his widow in an unfair and most defamatory manner. This is in no way, shape or form an accurate portrayal of the Lynda that we know and relate with.
“The Nwafor family also views the said article by Mr Okafor as sad and most unfortunate. It was neither written in consultation with any member of the family nor authored with our consent or authority. We totally disassociate ourselves from it.
“The views and allegations contained therein are entirely the opinion of the writer. They are false, malicious and insensitive to the wife, children and entire family he left behind.
“This is a mourning period for the family, and while we appreciate the condolences of friends, fans, and well-wishers, we ask that the family’s privacy be respected at this time.”
A respected journalist, author and close friend of the late actor, Azuh Arinze, also stated that Lynda was not ‘what some people are currently projecting and portraying her to be all over the social media’. In an article posted on social media, Arinze, who is a former Editor of Encomium Magazine, Yes International! Magazine, wrote, “We learn every day. And the latest lesson I have learnt is never to allow any issue—whether minor or major, but especially when not life-threatening—to linger unnecessarily between one and one’s close friends. If star actor, Saint Obi, and I had quickly resolved that minor issue concerning his family, I would have known that he had taken ill. Sadly, it was the same merciless illness that eventually claimed his life. So, I blame myself and will continue to regret that.
“I also would like to dole out portions of the blame to Saint and his wife, Lynda for their inability to amicably resolve their differences as a couple. As a friend to both of them, but especially Saint, everything would have been better managed and handled. Saint had his shortcomings, like all mortals. Same with Linda. The mother of three, however, is not what some people are currently projecting and portraying her to be all over the social media. At least, I sat and listened to both parties before things got out of hand.”
An actress, Ann Njemanze, was also of the opinion that Okafor’s article was ill-conceived. In a post titled, ‘Apology to Saint Obi’, she wrote, “If you can hear me, brother, please forgive us for what we have become. I honestly cannot believe what has gone on about you since you passed. When I read Zik Zulu’s narrative of what he called your life, I was speechless. That write up, which came too soon after your death, when so many people had not even heard of your passing, is the reason for the perceived right (of so many) to dissect your marriage on social media after your death. That marriage that produced children who are still alive. The Internet that never forgets will keep the memoirs till the children can access their ‘wonderful thoughts’ of how he lived his life.
“These friends who find it so easy to run to social media to describe your relationship with your siblings, wife, in-laws; I wonder what the point is? To wake you up? To tell the world that we should rally round, carry placards and hound those they alleged caused your death? I cannot believe all of this. When they die, what will be said of them? If it were outsiders spreading these, that would be tolerable, ignored even; but they call themselves friends.
“Rest on, Saint. You have left this world of pain and hypocrisy, where those dying in their filth grow strength from other people’s demise.”