Honour has come from home (Akwa Ibom State) for notable Nollywood actress Ini Edo. It has pleased the governor Udom Emmanuel to reappoint the actress of vast credit as Special Assistant (SA) to the Governor on Culture and Tourism.
The actress had held that position during Udom’s first term tenure, but a confirmation of her reappointment was announced during the week. It was an excited Akwa Ibom native, who took to her social media handles to announce her reappointment on Monday and to thank God and the governor for considering her worthy for a reappointment.
This was how Ini captured the moment on her Instagram page, where she also assured of her commitment to accomplish much more during her second leg as SA on culture and tourism: “Grateful to God and my Boss, His Excellency, governor Udom Emmanuel for the reappointment to serve in the tourism sector of our dear State. I look forward to great accomplishments and milestones in this new era. God bless Governor Udom Emmanuel. God bless the Great State of Akwa Ibom. God bless all my brown sugar family for your constant love and support. Everything good thing will come to those who trust in the name of the Lord.”
With this re-appointment, Ini has made it two, the number of Nollywood celebrities that have so far been appointed SA in this dispensation. The first was Bobby Uchechukwu Micheal, who was in June appointed Special Assistant to the Imo State governor on Entertainment
Considered the pearl of Nollywood, acting comes very naturally to Ini. She has always loved acting right from when she was a child. She said she grew up with a healthy appetite for movies and movie stars and had exhibited flair for acting and singing in church, in early school and at home.
However, what she never imagined was that she would take to acting full time. But today, acting has become something of a full time job for Ini, who cuts a swath among the industry’s recognisable faces. Indeed, the petite built Ini is today ranked amongst the notable actors in Nollywood.
Humble, jovial and unpretentiously friendly, Ini says her rapid rise, as a screen actress, is not difficult to explain. Contrary to expressed views that hers was an overnight success, Ini says she worked hard at arriving at where she currently sits in moviedom. She wouldn’t agree that ‘it just happened for her’ as some people have suggested, but says that it is something that she has been working hard at since she made up her mind to engage the acting runway over a decade ago.
Her journey to the top began in 2000. This was when a friend invited Ini, whose early acting influences include the acting diva Joke Silva and Liz Benson, for an audition exercise somewhere in Aba. The producers of the movie Cassandra-child of Destiny were in town and were in search of talents that would give life to the script.
Ini was in school then— University of Uyo studying theatre arts. Soon as she got the invitation, she journeyed to Aba for the exercise; she was auditioned and considered for a role in the movie. She stayed on and featured in two other movies, but with time, she realised that she needed to concentrate on her studies or else she will be distracted.
Even her parents whom she described as liberal and educated (her mother is a teacher) were worried that it was going to affect her education. So, she heeded the advice to face her studies squarely, which was why she returned to school to round up her studies.
Two years after, precisely in 2002, Ini returned to the turf now to take on acting roles. And since she set out, there have been no stopping the talented Efik lady, who was a year older in April.
Her first movie appearance on her return to the turf in 2003 was a minor in Thick Madam. Though her appearance in that movie didn’t particularly make Ini a stunning actress, her efforts there made her emergence noticeable. It positioned her as a fitting compliment to most of the sectors male (lead) actors outside the usual faces.
Indeed, that outing also confirmed that Ini, who can pay any amount to have her favourite food Edikan Ikong on the table, was ready to be employed by producers, who wanted not just a new face, but one who could bump easily into roles. The jobs came tumbling in and as they did, Ini grabbed them.
A lead actress in so many hit movies, Ini has featured in countless movie productions including Face of Beauty, Eyes of the God, Last Game, Desperate Billionaire, Uyai, Casandra, World War, Knocking on Heavens Door, Millionaires Daughter and I Will Take My Chances, Unforseen and World Apart.
In fact, members of her fans club say they still hold fond memories of her performance in World Apart, her first lead role in the movies and Unforeseen, where she was cast a triplet. They allude that those movies rank tops amongst her most challenging movie run yet.
Described by her fans as one restless acting spirit with a supreme sense of self-confidence, Ini declared that acting has been so rewarding. She says that it has not only made her famous, but it has opened windows of opportunities and have provided for her to pick up ‘little bills’ that she would have relied on others to pick for her.
But asked what challenges this has posed for her, Ini says her challenges as an actress are daunting. She explains: “your fans and producers want the best from you always and the society especially young ones look up to you for direction. So, one has to work assiduously so as to be above board on and off stage.”
Given another shot at life, Ini, who considers herself her most prized possession and who spends her off acting periods watching movies and listening to music, says she would love to come back an actress. The actress who abhors dishonest people also disclosed that she would not have been happier in any other profession.
“No regrets at all. I don’t even brood over problems because the decision to tread this path was mine. But really, this has been fulfilling and rewarding. I am grateful to God for his mercies and kindness,” she surmised.