Muna Obiekwe’s Death: How Alcohol Triggered His Renal Ailment

imageBefore the death of popular Nollywood actor, Muna Obiekwe on Sunday, January 18th, 2015, he had been described as a cat with nine lives. Many around him were confident that he would survive the ailment just has he had always survived the life-threatening situations around him. As we all are aware now, the fair-skinned actor who has been described as ‘very nice’ didn’t survive.

After his death, iEntertainment’s investigation revealed that Muna discovered his kidney problem a long time ago, but like most people, he thought he could manage it. He ignored the pain and continued working without paying much attention. According to a close source, he only took his drugs and medication once in a while as ‘he never believed the ailment could lead to his death. He believed he would survive it like he did the gunshot and death of his parents. He was not a man given to worrying about things. He believed it was not a coincidence his parents named him Munachimso, a name which means God is walking with me.’

The kidney problem persisted and Muna was eventually forced to seek the help of a doctor in Lagos. The doctor gave him a ray of hope. He assured Muna that his worse fear of Kidney transplant might not happen if only he could do up to 20 dialyses. Vera Kanu, a mother-figure to him in Nollywood confirmed our findings, “I was with him to the last hour. He was to do up to 20 dialyses; the doctor said if the dialysis improved his condition, the worse would certainly be over. He will be okay only if he stays away from alcohol but you know our artistes,” she concluded.

Muna braced himself, kept the doctor’s appointment, spent money he had and some he didn’t have but unlike many past pains he had survived, this one proved different. He reportedly slumped in his home, went unconscious and eventually gave up the ghost when he was on his tenth dialysis. Our source continued, “The dialysis was expensive for Muna. He was doing two in a week sometimes. And he would need blo*d injections on each occasion. Each appointment was costing him between N250, 000 to N300, 000; money he did not really have to spend. His health was eating deep into his purse yet Muna refused to go cap in hand begging for alms. He was a private guy who didn’t want the press or his colleagues to feast on his pain, and cast aspersions on Nollywood as an industry of beggars.

Vera, his godmother corroborated the point. “He was managing it on his own. As a matter of fact, he has been managing it for a while until Ejiro Okurame and I came on board to help. We were combining resources to help him but there was very little we could do to save him. We had to enlist the help of Patience Ozokwor and Kanayo O. Kanayo (KOK) at a point. They rendered the help they could until he died.”

Contrary to reports, Muna was not ready to beg or raise money because he was too ashamed of what his colleague or the press will say. “The guy was private. He kept to himself a lot and most importantly, kept his ife private; for instance, many people did not even know he was married with two children. Such was his life. He didn’t want the press or his colleagues to start prying. He was particularly afraid of the press, hence his shutting his colleagues out of his pain. He knew if some Nollywood people got to know about it, the press would also get to know. He refused to beg to save Nollywood’s image, he in-turn, lost himself.” A Nollywood star told us the press needs to take it easy with stars, “We are human too and like every other person, we have our pains. The press needs to be less judgmental. If he wasn’t too scared of the press, perhaps, he would have reached out for help.”

Shortly before his death, Muna summoned enough courage despite his private nature and contacted Nollywood actress and former beauty queen, Ibinabo Fiberesima. He however, promised to get back to her, perhaps to discuss details of his deteriorating health with her but fate struck a fatal blow and he never did.

As much as causes of some ailments are mysterious, not a few people in Nollywood believe Muna brought the pain upon himself as he was a victim of a demon he couldn’t deal with. Muna was a chain smoker and heavy drinker. Despite his condition, multiple sources revealed he was still consuming alcohol on a regular basis. “Everybody in the industry knows Muna drinks a lot; even when he’s shooting in the North, he has a way of finding alcohol,” a Nollywood source told us. Muna was said to have taken heavily to alcohol after he lost his parents in a ghastly motor accident. ‘As a matter of fact, he was supposed to be in that car with them but by stroke of luck, he wasn’t, and was spared. Afterwards, Muna took solace in liquor but that never affected his job. He was just like the late Sam Loco-Efe; he could drink the whole sea but when he hears the director shout ‘action,’ he gets into character. Muna was a method actor despite his flaws,’ our source reveals.

Speaking on the drinking habit despite his ailment, his godmother, Vera Kanu said, “It’s not like he drinks heavily like you guys said. He drank but not as you are putting it,” she said with an emotion-laden voice. Speaking further, she said, “Muna even called me during the holiday that he is now okay and ready to work so I should start bringing jobs because I was his producer. I told him thank God and that I would start as long as he does not do what the doctor told him not to do, which was drinking. The problem came back and he had been on it till he died.”

Another thing many people do not know about him is that he was one of the three busiest actors. The other two are Mike Ezuronye and Yul Edochie. Muna is also the first cousin of Yul Edochie, so that makes him a member of Pete Edochie’s family.


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