Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: Govt Should Reach Out to the Physically Challenged - Lizzy

Lizzy Anjorin is one of the Nollywood actresses whose works have received rare review in the year 2012. SAMUEL ABULUDE and KAZEEM YEKEEN, write on this pretty actress focusing on what she had been up to, her pains and gains as the year winds up.

She is one of the dazzling beauties among Yoruba speaking actresses of Nollywood. Lizzy who was formerly a model before joining the make-belief industry in 2002 surely would have taken to business full time if she was not into acting as we waited at her well furnished shop filled with assorted jewelries, clothings, wines and other household items for hours before the fair skinned lady from Badagry took time out to grant us the interview.

This graduate of Transport and Management Planning in her characteristic, down to earth manner informed us when asked on advice for upcoming artistes that she has more than seven businesses and urged newcomers to have a business of their own before joining the bandwagon of actors.

"I have more than seven businesses that I do. I have been doing business before I became an actress right from my secondary school days. I think it is inborn. You know my people (Badagry), we are very hardworking, loving and caring and we like business a lot. My advice for the young ones is that education is the best legacy. If you want to be an artiste, you must make sure that you have something that will be fetching you money", she said.

2012 was filled with mixed blessing for Elizabeth Ibukunoluwa Anjorin who is still counting her gains from her movie flick, 'Kofo Tinubu' having garnered four awards so far and thirteen nominations from the movie distinguished for being the best movie with a social message.

"Yeah... I am so happy because I didn't really expect it. I have won more than four awards this year. I won the 'Best Actress' in Yoruba movie at the Young Achievers Award, City People magazine, Black culture magazine and 'Best of Nollywood' BON Award.

When I was preparing for the film, 'Kofo Tinubu', I shared the idea with a marketer telling him that I had a good story at hand. We discussed for over two hours inside the car and after, I was shocked when he responded that the story was not good. Later, we embarked on doing the film and the rest is history", she smiled.

Lizzy who was introduced into acting by a friend, called She-Baby said she was almost deformed acting in 'Kofo Tinubu' but happy the role exposed her to the plight of the physically challenged.

She said, "'Kofo Tinubu' is a special movie. The crews and my co-actors enjoyed the shooting because it was funny. I played the role of an imbecile, a disabled daughter of a rich politician. Something however, happened to me after shooting one of the scenes. I felt some challenges on my neck and legs as I almost got deformed. I spent some time at the hospital.

Had it been that it was not my movie, I would have run away because after the first scene, I collapsed and was unable to do the second scene and I did up to fifty scenes. If I finish one scene they will tell me to go and rest. Whenever my director called me for another scene, I will tell my God that I was going for another war.

It was as if I should call another person to come and interprets the role for me but at the end, I did it. I thank God that when the film came out, it was a sell-out even at the cinemas at LTV 8 ground. Out of 10 movies viewing on that day, people came en masse to watch 'Kofo Tinubu'. We even needed a bigger hall as people were sitting on each other's laps just to watch the film. That was when I knew that God himself was really involved.

"After acting in Kofo Tinubu, I became aware of the pains and challenges of the disabled in our society. I sat down and thought that had it being that I was born like that, was that how my parent and workers would have treated me? Is this how my own biological parents would have neglected me because I am physically challenged? This made me always to remember those physically challenged children in the world and hat was how Lizzy Anjorin Foundation started. I have been to a lot of orphanages.

Sadly, Lizzy who has a 14-year old daughter lost her mother early this year and it appears she is still grieving from the loss as an only child. Midway into the interview, she began to shed tears when we asked what she would remember the year 2012 for. She said, "Actually, I started this year with tears and sadness because I lost my mother on the 2nd Sunday of January 2012. That is the day I will never forget in my life. It was painful for me because she was the only one I depended on in my life.

When I started 'Kofo Tinubu', I told her the story and she laughed. I was preparing to take the preview copy for her to watch before anybody but she couldn't wait to watch it. (She weeps). This was the right time for her to enjoy her child, her time to reap the happiness of her only daughter and now she is no more. My father died some years back. So, I dedicated this movie, my awards and, Lizzy Anjorin Foundation in their memories."

Shedding more light on her foundation, she lamented neglect the disabled children have received in the hands of successive governments. She appealed for more efforts by the government, corporate bodies and well meaning individuals. "When I saw those children, I felt sad for them, it brought memories of how my parents treated me in 'Kofo Tinubu'. But our government has forgotten to do something for them. Nobody has contributed neither given me money to reach out to these special people on the platform of my Foundation.

I have been spending my money travelling from one state to the other, one school to the other. I am appealing to the governments, mosques and churches to build higher institutions for these special people.

They cannot speak, hear, they don't have hands and some don't even have legs. Even if they eat, the food they eat will not digest. I saw a sixteen years old girl that looks like a three months olbaby. She has curly hair on her head like that of a baby.

The parents are not coming for them anymore. Even those people that are taking care of them, what has our government done to them? It is sad and yet we have billionaires in our society.

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