‘May you not plant for your enemy to harvest’. That’s a common prayer I only really understood after hearing the news that Ibinabo Fiberesima had been fired from being President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria while Emeka Ike takes over. Ibinabo’s story is not a day-old child at all. In fact, if it were a human being, it would be a pot-bellied man in his fifties because ‘matter full ground’.
Ibinabo’s sun rose on the Nigerian social scene quite early when she competed in the Most beautiful girl in Nigeria pageant and emerged second runner-up. She later contested in the Miss Nigeria pageant in 1991 and emerged first runner-up before she finally won the Miss Wonderland contest in 1997. The Irish-Nigerian beauty was welcomed with arms open wide into the Nigerian entertainment industry as she started a nightclub business before venturing into acting. Remember ‘Most Wanted’ ? (Nigeria’s version of American movie ‘Set It Off’)
As the years rolled by, Ibinabo Fiberesima went in and out of the Nigerian movie industry promoting various beauty pageants, falling in and out of love and raising her kids from various fathers. She was not exactly in the good books of many who described her as a haughty and conniving person. Some said that she was a very proud person whose beauty had gotten into her head. She had children for different men and was blamed for the crash of the Nigerian ‘Angelina Jolie and Brad pitt marriage’ of Nollywood actor Fred Amata and his TV girl/Motivational speaker wife Agatha.
Ibinabo Fiberesima and Fred Amata, however, claimed that Fred and Agatha’s marriage had been so over before they started seeing each other. While everyone was screaming ‘husband snatcher’ all over the place, she got pregnant for Fred Amata and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Zino (the youngest girl in the picture above). Their relationship later collapsed over lack of trust.
It was this sort of reputation Ibinabo Fiberesima had when she contested for the presidency of the controversial Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) The actors guild was at that time a mad house. Rivalries, money laundering and feuds were the order of the day. In 2012, she won the ‘botched’ AGN presidential election amidst mass opposition on the grounds that she was an ex-convict and a woman.
You see, in 2006, the ex-beauty Queen was involved in a car accident that killed a medical doctor Dr Giwa Suraj. She was allegedly driving her then-lover Dannie Wilson’s car and claimed that she was being pursued by suspected armed robbers. In a bid to escape the chase, she ran into some other cars and a total of 5 cars were involved in the accident in which she sustained injuries.
The sister of the deceased Dr Giwa had a different story. According to her, her late brother Dr Giwa was driving with his brother and another family friend in his car coming from a meeting in Ajah, but got held up in a traffic when this tragic accident happened. Ibinabo was said to have been drunk and overspeeding. Her jeep supposedly flipped and lost control, veering off her lane and jumping over the culvert that demarcated the road from incoming vehicles. Her car landed on Dr Giwa’s vehicle, crushing him to death. The State Vehicle Inspection Officers checked the brakes, the engine and all the mechanical and electrical workings of the jeep but saw nothing wrong with the jeep and concluded that the accident due to “OVER SPEEDING”.
The Doctor died at the scene of the accident. The jeep was on top of the Honda accord he was driving and they couldn’t save him on time because of the seat belt and the weight of the jeep. However, his brother and the other family friend in the car survived.
After the accident, Ibinabo was said to have left the scene without checking for any survivors. She took the license plate and registration out of the car and fled from the scene and that was considered “HIT AND RUN”. The people at the scene of the accident recognized her as Ibinabo Fiberesima and stated that “she was drunk.”
Dr Giwa’s bereaved family instituted actions against Ibinabo and she was sentenced to a ridiculous 3 months in prison and was asked to pay a N100, 000 fine. This leniency did not go down well with the deceased’s family who vowed to get justice for their brother.
Dr Giwa’s sister in her own account was quoted to have said that “Ibinabo was never remorseful. They brought her to meet with me shortly after my brother’s death in GRA Ikeja before my return back to the USA, but her only concern then was to drop the charges against her… I advised her to apologize publicly to the masses and to the family and throw herself to the mercy of the court (but) She said and l quote “I CAN’T DO THAT, BECAUSE IT’S GOING TO DAMAGE MY CAREER”. What an ego! She cannot apologize publicly, I feel like kicking her ass.”
Ibinabo did not allow this to deter her. She assumed office as the president of the actors guild of Nigeria in 2012 and served her first tenure to the satisfaction of her supporters.
As the 2014 AGN presidential election drew closer, Popular actor Emeka Ike with the support of the initial anti-Ibinabo caucus declared his intention to run for president. Nollywood veteran Clarion Chukwura also declared her interest in the position. While both contestants voiced out the ‘ex-convict sentiments’, Emeka Ike surprisingly blamed her for his failing marriage at the time. Clarion Chukwura also accused her of using the AGN to lobby for a political appointment during a visit to former President Goodluck Jonathan rather than ask for tax reduction and other favors for actors and film-makers so they could grow the movie industry. To worsen the matter, Ibinabo Fiberesima was appointed to the board of the National Council For Arts and Culture, NCAC, by President Jonathan shortly after the visit.
Ibinabo openly accused Emeka Ike of having a hidden agenda to make personal monetary gains from the guild. During an interview, she said “… his (Emeka Ike’s) agenda is focused on how much he can make from poor people that want to join the guild. You see that N5,000 or N20,000 they make? That’s salary and food for him. I’m so sorry but that’s just how low he is.”
In response to this, Emeka Ike once again pointed accusing fingers at a now newlywed Ibinabo. He claimed that she distracted him from his duties at home and his marriage (RME!). According to him, she was spreading lies about his marriage on social media.
Ibinabo responded during an interview saying: ‘Haa, that boy has gone mad. Me Ke? What is my business with him?’ I thought he lived in a hotel. He must definitely be on very cheap drugs. I don’t know why he keeps referring to me… He must be truly demented.’
Emeka Ike swore to win the 2014 AGN presidential elections but rather than defeat Ibinabo, the ex-convict got re-elected into office. All hell was let lose, she had stolen his birthright and he sued her to court for impersonation. He claimed to have won the elections but that she snatched the position from him.
While this drama was going on, Emeka Ike’s wife, Emma walked out of their 12-year-old marriage over allegations of battery by him. She had initially left the marriage two years ago, before seeking a divorce but was cajoled back. This time however, she was done for good. Of course, he blamed Ibinabo for this.
On March 15th 2016 however, a few days after Ibinabo made a very eccentric fashion statement at the AMVCA 2016, a high court judge in Lagos sentenced her to 5 years in jail for the 2005 ‘manslaughter’ of Dr Giwa. Almost one week later, Emeka Ike was declared the President of the AGN.
Emeka Ike was accused of setting Ibinabo up on a case that had already died down and privately plotting her return to prison. Emeka Ike responded to these claims saying:
“I should not be assumed to be happy with the present travail of Ibinabo Fiberesima… We are in court on the matter of our guild, the Actors Guild of Nigeria, not on the issue of death or motor accident. I don’t wish jail for her. Ibinabo has been impersonating to be the president. I am the president. I only want her to vacate the office. If she has a case and jailed for it, it has nothing to do with me…”
Her baby daddy Fred Amata was asked for his comment on the issue and he said: “I don’t want to comment on this matter for now. It is a sensitive family matter, please respect our privacy.”
As it stands, Ibinabo has been off the radar since the sentence was announced. Her son wrote an open letter to the public to help save his mother from jail. There are many questions flying all over the place as to whether she deserves to go back to jail again; and whether or not this is the work of her enemies at AGN. Yet, justice seems to have been served to the family of the deceased Dr Giwa who say Ibinabo got the celebrity treatment the first time the case was decided.
Dr Giwa’s family now feels satisfied at the serving of justice while Emeka Ike is set to assume the office of the President of the AGN immediately.
5-years in jail is some lost productive years. Will Ibinabo Fiberesima serve her jail term or will there be a miracle, say a presidential pardon? We watch as this story unfolds.