By BENJAMIN NJOKU
‘I will be storming Switzerland on Monday, for a preaching engagement. And when I return to the country after one week, I will move to Calabar, where I’m expected to minister in five different churches.” This is the intriguing new life of Zack Orji since he found Christ. And this has indeed reshaped his life, and taken the shine off him as a thorough-bred actor and film producer.
He’s surely living it to the fullest despite any push back he might have been receiving from society.
The actor, who has acted in over 200 Nollywood movies is proud to tell anyone who cares to listen that he’s a product of God’s grace. He’s one of those rare actors who have shunned the red carpet, Nollywood parties and tightly packed schedules to win souls for Christ.
After he was ordained reverend in 2012, by Bishop Lawrence Osagie of Power Line Bible Church, the handsome actor has not looked back in his quest to work in the vineyard of God. Since then, Zack has functioned more as a minister of God, than his face has adorned the screen again.
In fact, every now and then, the actor moves from one church to the other within and outside the shores of the country, preaching the gospel of salvation. He had preaching engagement in various churches such as Shepherd House Assembly in Makurdi, Lafia, Abuja and the diaspora.
Like most of his colleagues, including Iyabo Ogunsola a.k.a Efunsetan Aniwura, Eucharia Anunobi, Charles Okafor among others, Zack has dedicated his time to preaching the gospel of good tidings across the nations of the world.
Right now, the dream of star of “Glamour Girls” becoming a full minister of God became a reality after he was officially ordained pastor by Bishop Lawrence Osagie. He had continued with his inspirational style of reaching out which has exposed him to frequent travelling all over the world, preaching the word of God.
The actor seems to be growing stronger and deeper in faith. “I’m still winning souls for Christ,” he responded, while in chat with our reporter at the weekend. No doubt, he’s getting busier every passing day with the work of God even as it’s affecting his acting career.
But Zack, however, believes that both acting and winning souls for Chris are a calling. “Each of them is a calling. We use our work as celebrities to also minister to people.”
“ In 2002, I was in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I went to worship in a church on a Sunday there. When I entered the church and the congregation recognized me. I was sitting at the back but when they sighted me the youths raised me on their shoulders, and carried me to the altar.”
“That was how the pastor knew I was around. But he said one thing that amazed me – that Nigerians don’t know what their films are doing for them. He said that they use our films to preach to the people in church,” the actor said.
But aside preaching the word of God, Zack Orji has also made his mark as a front-line actor in Nigeria. Only recently, he added singing to his trade. For the actor, he’s a product of God’s unstoppable grace.
He acknowledged this rare gift last year, when he reminisced on his journey into Nollywood, and his meteoric rise to the top.
Sharing his success story on the Whatsapp group, Filmic, Zack said “When I reminisce on my journey into Nollywood, and my meteoric rise to the top, I always come to the conclusion that it was by God’s unstoppable grace.”
God, he continued “used a group of young, creative and good-natured such as Matthias Obahiagbon, Emmanuel Oguguah, Obi Osotule and Ken Madiebo to give me my first shot as a professional actor.
“My friend, Ekenna Igwe introduced me to Matthias among others to help me source Shea-nuts and Cocoa. They had just finished the script of a movie titled ‘’The Unforgiven Sin.’ I expressed my interest in starring in it. They listened to me, took a good look at my person, and without hesitation gave me the script to read for the leading role.
“When I returned after three days, they assigned the character Chuka, the leading role to me. That first shot they gave me earned me a nomination for Best Actor in the first movie awards( THEMA AWARDS ). It shot me into the limelight and made me one of the most sought after actors in Nollywood.”
“Thereafter, my first opportunity as a producer was also given to me on a platter of gold by Cosmos Ndulue, the CEO of Contec Ventures Ltd, the company that marketed “The Unforgiven Sin.” The same Cosmos Ndulue recommended me to Dozie Eriobu of Infinity Merchants a year later; and, stood as my guarantor when I needed N500,000,00 to complete the shooting of my own movie ‘’Return To Kazondia’’ in 1997. “
“Since then, by God’s unstoppable grace and enablement, I have created opportunities for at least 5,000 young people desirous of a career in film making and music to receive free training in Acting, Costume Designing, Script Writing, Cinematography, Film Production and Vocal Development through the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and my former church Powerline Bible Church, where I was in charge of Youth Development.”
“Some of these youngsters have turned around to employ me in their movie projects. I’m here today because they were there for me yesterday,” he wrote.
Zack revealed that he has mentored many young ones both in Nigeria and beyond. Some of these young ones have turned around to employ the actor in their productions. His humility, patience and acting skills have been his mainstay in the industry. Since breaking into the industry, after the role he played in his debut movie, “ Unforgiven” in 1991, Zack Orji has remained the preference of many film producers and directors till date. His fans are still talking about the role he played in that early 90s movie, “ Glamour Girls.” Many would argue that the history of Nollywood today cannot be complete without the mention of Zack Orji who has been described as exceptionally gifted and talented Nigerian actor. He is a true legend, creative, and prolific with over 200 Nollywood movies to his credit including Above Death, Unforgiven Sins, Games Women Play, Zonal Leader, All My Life, Head Gone, Three Wise Men, Beson’s Villa, Half of a Yellow sun, Bridge of No Return, Mama Africa, Heritage and several others.
Unlike other born-again actors who turn down certain roles considered to be contrary to their faith, Zack Orji accepts any role assigned him. He believes that an actor is an interpreter who interprets a drama and who should fit into any movie role. After a while, the actor staged a comeback to acting recently, featuring the new edition of Oasis : The Enemy Within.”
Interestingly, music runs in Zack Orji’s family. While his son, and his wife, Ngozi are singers, Zack recently delved into music. And he’s on the verge of releasing his debut single, which is a gospel song.
“Singing runs in my family. My wife is a singer as well as my son. I also sing,” the actor enthused.
Being one of the prides of Nollywood, Zack Orji has paid his dues. His advise to budding actors is that they should discover where their talents are and build on them.