Bob-Manuel Udokwu is a Nigerian actor, director, producer and politician. He came into limelight after starring in the Nigerian TV series, Checkmate from 1991-1994.
Altogether, Bob has about three decades of professional media experience. He is one of the pioneers of the Nigerian movie Industry, Nollywood. Also, he is an award-winning actor, and has starred in hundreds of Nigerian movies.
Udokwu is the longest anchor of the popular reality TV show, Gulder Ultimate Search (2007-2011). He also received political appointments in his state of origin, Anambra State.
Bob-Manuel Udokwu Background
Bob-Manuel Obidimma Udokwu was born in the 1960s on 18th April, in Enugu State. He is the second son and fourth child of six children. He was born to Late Geoffery Nwafor (civil servant) and mother Ezelegbo (a petty trader). Udokwu is from Nkwelle-Ogidi, Idemmili North LGA of Anambra State, Nigeria.
Bob-Manuel began his education at St. Peters Primary School, Ogbete Enugu (now Hillside). Later on, he moved to Oraukwu Grammar School, Anambra and subsequently, University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State in 1986.
At the University, Bob started with a one-year professional training as an actor before moving to study B.A in Theatre Arts and graduated in 1991. Next, he proceeded to the University of Lagos, for a Masters degree in Political Science majoring in International Relations.
Also, he had his National Youth Service in Ibadan, Oyo State. As a Corp member, he served as the Coordinator of the NYSC Theatre Group between 1991 – 1992.
Bob-Manuel Udokwu Personal Life
In March 1999, while Bob was doing his Masters at the University of Lagos, he met Cassandra Chibubem. Few months after they met, they got married. Today, their union is blessed with two children, a daughter and a son.
Bob-Manuel Udokwu Early Career
For Bob-Manuel, acting was innate; he only went to school to hone the skill. He began to act from primary school, and in 1972, he got more popular in primary six. After leaving secondary school, he became more serious with his acting. Later on, he joined some amateur theatre groups and became a guest presenter on FRCN, Enugu.
Then, in 1986, he was admitted for a certificate program in Uniport. Next, he was awarded Best Student Actor of the Year (Second Runner-up) in 1987. As a result, he moved on to earn a degree in Arts (B.A). As a student, he became the National President of the Nigerian Universities Theatre Arts Students Association (NUTASA) in 1989. Before the end of his tenure, while preparing for one its general programs, Bob-Manuel was informed about an upcoming soap opera. He auditioned and eventually got a role in the Nigerian TV series, Checkmate.
Checkmate was written by Amaka Igwe and sponsored by Lever Brother Nigeria. From 1991 – 1994, Bob played the role of Richard Haatrope in the TV series, Checkmate. He starred alongside Francis Agu, Mildred Iweka, Richard Mofe Damijo, e.t.c.
Subsequently, he made a debut in the movie, Living in Bondage (1992). Next he began to feature in other films such as When the Sun Set (his first romance role), Evil Genius, e.t.c Also, he has starred with several A-list actors like: Ramsey Nouah, Kate Henshaw, Patience Ozokwor, Pete Edochie, Genevieve Nnaji, Desmond Elliot, Omotola Jalade e.t.c
Some of the films he has starred in include;
- Living in Bondage, 1992
- Circle of Doom, 1993
- Black Maria, 1994
- Rattlesnake, 1995
- Most Wanted, 1998
- Tokunbo, 1999
- Camouflage, 1999
- Outkast, 2001
- Mothering Sunday, 2001
- Valentino, 2002
- Old School, 2002
- My Girl, 2002
- Evil Doers, 2002
- Christian Marriage, 2002
- Beyond Altar, 2002
- The Omega, 2003
- Saved by Grace, 2003
- Rejected Son, 2003
- Market Sellers, 2003
- Magic Love, 2003
- Cry No More, 2003
- Because of Love, 2003
- My God, 2004
- Risky Affair, 2004
- The Good Samaritan, 2004
- Years of Tears, 2004
- Campus Edge, 2004
- Broken Edge, 2004
- Power Brokers, 2005
- Games Women Play, 2005
- Blind Obsession, 2005
- Atonement, 2005
- Pastor Deinde, 2005
- Soul Engagement, 2006
- One-bullet, 2006
- Pays to Serve, 2006
- Evil Desire, 2006
- Beyond Dreams, 2006
- The Key for Happiness, 2007
- A Time to Love, 2007
- Lion’s Den, 2007
- Cover Up, 2007
- Adesuwa, 2012
- Seed of Problem, 2016
- Impatience, 2017
- The Diamond Secret, 2018
Awards And Recognition
Bob-Manuel Udokwu is an award winning actor who has also been recognised both within his state and the media industry. For instance, he was honored with a traditional title. Eze Chukwuemeka Eri (A king in Anambra), conferred on him Onye Anagba Nkili (Someone that people rush to behold) in 2015.
Also, he has received the following awards;
- Student Actor of the Year (Second Runner-up), University of Port-Harcourt, 1986
- Best Actor in a Supporting Role ‘Checkmate’ Thelma and Reel Awards, 1998
- Special Lifetime Achievement Award, African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), 2014
- Best Nollywood Actor, Karifest Award, 2014
- Excellence/Man of Honour Award, National Grammar School, Enugu Old Boys Association, 2014
- Best Actor, GIAMA Awards, 2014
- Best Actor, Best of Nollywood (BON), 2014
- Award of Recognition as Outstanding Figure & Role Model for the Youth, Anambra State Students Association, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, 2014
- Creative Professionals Awards, Anambra Book and Creative Festival ANBUKRAFT, 2016
“The fastest or easiest way to be recognised as a theatre practitioner, back then and now is to be in front of the camera.”
“Every endeavour you take brings a new experience.”
“We shouldn’t be talking about competition in the African movie industry, rather we should be talking about collaboration because there are many stories to be told in Africans by Africans.”
“The rest of Africa should be grateful to Nigeria – Nollywood- for telling the African story and making it big around the globe.”
“Make the best of every moment you have and have the best of every moment made.”
“…Human nature is basically exploratory. That which you seek to hide is that which the world seeks to discover.”
“Where non-professional who have the capital run an industry, mediocrity thrives.”
“Life is meaningless, especially if you cannot use your God-given potential to affect your environment positively.”
“As a Nollywood actor, I can appear and disappear in movies but I don’t do all that by myself. Technology makes it possible. Today, there is technology available for everything, so farming today shouldn’t be with machete and hoes like our forefathers did.”
Entrepreneurial Lessons From The Life Of Life Bob-Manuel
Refreshness and Uniqueness
Bob-Manuel Udokwu is unique and never tired of bringing up new concepts. According to him, his talent and creativity is like that of a phoenix, who always bring out something new. Despite all of his achievements, he believes there are grounds yet to be covered and the best is yet to come.
To remain successful, we must not see our accomplishments today as the best we can achieve. As long as live keeps evolving, we must desire to stay relevant to the process.
Image Credit: Instagram, global ex. mag., my joy online, twitter.com.