John Okafor, aka Mr. Ibu, will forever remain a beloved figure in Nigeria and Africa at large’s entertainment landscape. His comedic prowess and ability to bring joy to people's lives  made him a household name.

John Ikechukwu Okafor, popularly known as “Mr. Ibu”, was a Nigerian actor, producer, writer and comedian. He was born on October 17, 1961, in Nkanu West, Enugu State, Nigeria. Okafor was considered one of the most talented and influential comic actors in Nigeria’s Nollywood film industry.

Mr. Ibu discovered his passion for acting and comedy at a young age. He began his career in the entertainment industry as a stage actor, performing in various local theater productions. His exceptional talent for comedy and his ability to make people laugh soon gained him recognition and applause.

In the late 1990s, John Okafor made his debut in Nollywood, Nigeria’s burgeoning film industry. He quickly became known for his comedic roles, portraying eccentric and hilarious characters. His unique style of comedy, characterized by exaggerated facial expressions, body language, and witty dialogue, endeared him to audiences across Nigeria and beyond.

One of Okafor’s most notable roles was in the movie “Mr. Ibu” released in 2004, which earned him the nickname that he is now widely known by. The film was a huge success and further solidified his status as a comedy icon in Nigeria. He went on to star in numerous other successful films, including “Keziah 1&2 ”, “Police Recruit”, “9 Wives”, “Mr Ibu 2”, “Mr. Ibu and his son”, “Coffin producers” , “Husband suppliers”, “Ibu in Prison” and many other movies.

Apart from his film career, Mr. Ibu has also ventured into other areas of the entertainment industry. He has appeared in television series, hosted comedy shows, and performed in comedy skits. He was known for his ability to captivate and entertain audiences with his unique brand of humor.

John Okafor’s contributions to the Nigerian entertainment industry have not gone unnoticed. He has received several awards and nominations for his outstanding performances, including the African Movie Academy Award for Best Actor in a Comic Role, and many other awards.

Despite his success, Okafor has faced some personal challenges. In 2019, he spoke out about a health scare he experienced, which led to false rumors of his death circulating on social media. In October 2023, he later on revealed that he was suffering from an ailment that threatened to make it a possibility of amputating one of his legs. He revealed that it struck him while he was on a movie set with other Nollywood actors. He appealed to his fans and the public do prayers and financial assistance to cover his medical bills. The video that went round of Mr Ibu was so pitiful as he was on a hospital bed showing fear of the amputation that awaited his leg. Fortunately, the Aboubakar Bukola Saraki Foundation paid off Okafor’s entire bill. After the successful amputation, he still couldn’t make it for after few month, John Okafor died at the age of 62, on Saturday 02nd March 2024 at the Evercare Hospital in Lagos, Nigeria, due to cardiac arrest.

John Okafor, aka Mr. Ibu, will forever remain a beloved figure in Nigeria and Africa at large’s entertainment landscape. His comedic prowess and ability to bring joy to people’s lives  made him a household name. He continued to inspire aspiring actors and comedians and left an indelible mark on the Nigerian film industry. May his departed soul rest in peace.

Delia Nyadi

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