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The New Masquarade’s Zeburudaya- Quintessential Chika Okpala

Some are born great, some achieved greatness and some other persons have greatness deposited in them. But one unarguable fact is that great people often achieve greatness whenever Providence thrust responsibilities on their shoulders.

Chika Okpala  (Chief (Zeburudaya Okoroigwe Nwogbo alias 4:30) is a triablazer when it comes to stage play, drama and general entertainment in Nigeria. He took the entertainment industry by storm in the 80s and 90s, when people watched the black and white television and guided it jealousy like their lives depended on it.

In those days, it was always a pride to own TVs and other electronic gadgets such as; the turn table, stereos, transistor radio sets, etc. People waited for programs on NTA where broadcast starts from 4pm or 6pm as the case may be.

Men, women, youths and children gathered around to see programs on NTA. One of such unforgettable programs is the play drama “The new masquerade”. A play which captivated, serenaded, thrilled and bounded families and friends.

People tell stories about the acting skills and analysed plots in the programs in the markets, schools, offices, and other social gatherings. Those characters were the first celebrities in the Nigeria entertainment industry. They interpreted their roles perfectly and made it look real.

Chika Ọkpala was born in Nnobi, Anambra State on the 10th June 1950. Immediately after the war, Ọkpala founded a theatre group known as Two Cities, through the help of his friends. They performed in different places in old Anambara State and beyond.

Between 1964-1972, Chika Ọkpala schooled at Prince Memorial High School Ọnịcha. In 1996, he obtained B.Sc from Enugwu State University of Science and Technology. In the New Masquarade Comedy on NTA, he performed a funny character who always speak pidgin and incorrect English grammar in a funny way.

Others he starred alongside with were:

  1. James Iroha = Giringory Akabọgụ.
  2. Lizi Evoeme = Ovuleria
  3. Claude Eke = Prince Jegede Sokoya,
  4. Romanus Amuta= Natty.
  5. David offor=   Clalus
  6. Chrisy Essien Igbokwe= Apena

Together with his pals, he established a theatre company, and the two of them gave performances around the state of Anambra, Enugu and portharcourt. Ọkpala has performed in different parts of Nigeria and abroad. In the 80s, he was part of Cockcrow at Dawn. The former President of Sierra Leone, Siaka Stevens invited him in 1986 to perform on stage in his country.

Okpala wrote several scripts for TV programs. One of his works called Ogologo Ndụ— Long Life was entered for the John Hopkins Award. He is also a recipient of several National Awards including the Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON), the Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR) and a national ambassador for POCACOV.

He also received a Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) award from the Federal Government of Nigeria for his contribution to the Nigerian entertainment industry. Okpala also won African Magic Viewers Choice Award for 2017 and Industry Merit Award on March 4, 2017.

Ọkpala was the ambassador for some pharmaceutic brands covering malaria and lepers’ drugs and an ambassador of the National Open University of Nigeria. He has other corporate endorsements including being the ambassador for an isiagụ brand.

Chika Ọkpala a.k.a Zeburudaya Okoroigwe Nwogbo alias 4:30 is a living legend. He came into the entertainment industry and revolutionarized it along with his colleagues some of whom have gone to the great beyond. He is indeed an Enigma, people still find it difficult to understand how he configured the English language with a strange gramatical malapropisms. He has equally tutored so many entertainers and gave them insights on sitcoms. (Sitcommedy)

Some of his filmographies include:

  1. New Masquarade
  2. Professor Johnbull
  3. Lion Heart,
  4. Phone swap.
  5. I believe

IMAGE: NewsNowNaija

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