By BENJAMIN NJOKU
He’s popularly called Nollywood bad boy, and his actions say it all. Jim Iyke came into limelight riding on the crest of controversy. In fact, since he came into prominence in 2001, featuring in over 200 films, Jim Iyke has always been in the news for the wrong reasons.
After his alleged beef with Emeka Ike, another controversial actor over an actress in 2008, and the grave allegation levelled against him by actress, Ini Edo’s ex-husband’s former wife, Ruth Okoro that he wanted to date her following his desperation to have an American green card, Jim Iyke has not stayed out of controversy.
The actor’s controversial lifestyle has continued to reek to high heavens and he’s not giving a damn. Yet , the Enugu State-born actor is largely considered as one of Nigeria’s finest actors who has not allowed his lifestyle to overwhelm his acting career.
But whichever way you want to look at it, Jim Iyke’s name is synonymous with controversy. His recent arrest at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, for allegedly slapping a Dana Airline worker, only reminds one of the adage that ‘a leopard hardly changes its spots.’
As usual, Jim Iyke made headlines in some national dailies, and despite his efforts to refute the report, it’s only natural that the actor’s fans would prefer to believe lies than to take sides with him. He received an endless amount of backlash on social media for the alleged action. He later apologized to the management of the Airline. But interestingly, Jim Iyke is one that cannot be tamed or ignored even as he can drum up controversy at the slightest provocation.
The bad boy actor is not a stranger to controversy. Fans are still buzzing about his widely publicized break up with his Jamaican girlfriend, Keturah Hamilton. Between 2009 and 2014, Jim Iyke was over the moon following Keturah’s love for him. In one of his interviews then, Jim Iyke revealed that he was trying to show the world the real him, aside from what they see on the screens. “Yes, it is true. I have found the woman of my dreams and we are in love in totality. She is the embodiment of all that I have been looking for – a tall, pretty, exotic and supremely intelligent woman,” he was quoted as saying.
However, soon after the Nollywood bad boy made this open declaration of love for the Jamaican damsel, he broke her heart without repairs. The aggressive actor reportedly fought the Jamaican model and actress in public following allegations of flirting with other girls. He was filmed in a public, where he was having verbal fight with the model who accused him of ignoring her and flirting with other girls. The brawl was aired in his now rested ‘Jim Iyke Unscripted reality TV series.’
Their romance was described as one of the ‘strongest’, even as Jim Iyke revealed his plans to walk down the aisle with the Jamaican damsel, having travelled round the world with her. But it never happened as the playboy actor ended their six year-old affair in a most devastating manner, leaving his once loved Jamaican beauty heartbroken. “He had told me a number of times that in Keturah, he had found “a perfect mate – someone who was “sexy, intellectually curious, exotic and edgy” devastated Keturah recalled then. Jim ‘bailed’ out of the affair and appeared to have acted out some of the elements in their joint reality show “Jim Iyke Unscripted.” However, while Keturah was disappearing from the scene, Ghanaian actress and a mother of a set of twins who also featured in “Jim Iyke Unscripted”, Nadia Buhari surfaced from nowhere. And like Keturah, Jim was all over Nadia, as their romance was also celebrated on social media. But when many thought the lovebirds would be getting married soon, the unexpected happened and Jim was forever beaten to the game by another smart man who snatched the love of his life away from him.
That was not all. Just before the actor took a break from acting, a PR Manager, simply known as Baudex, accused Jim Iyke of not paying for the services he rendered to the actor. The said Baudex who claimed to be the actor’s social media PR Manager, alleged that the actor owed him some amount of money which he refused to pay, stating that Jim decided to block him on his social media applications because he was avoiding his calls to ask for the balance of his money. The allegation was one of the many controversies that have trailed Jim Iyke’s acting career. It has equally endeared him to many admirers.
Then, it was one trouble after another. But the one that really hit the actor most was the case of the daughter of a Lagos-based businessman who claimed that Jim Iyke impregnated her. Her pregnancy became a subject of controversy, even after the father reportedly made the lady confess who was responsible for the pregnancy. She still claimed she had been having a secret affair with Jim Iyke. Also, there were the N15 million fraud allegation, which went viral on social media, as the actor was dragged to court then and the news of Jim being beaten by military men in Cameroon . These were controversies that could not tame the most daring actor in Nigeria.
On the N15 million fraud allegation, which he settled out of court in 2012, Jim blamed the case on himself. In his words, “I stubbornly refused to iron things out. But the lady in question is my sister’s best friend and we have sat down like a family and settled the issue out of court. “
While the ripples generated by the fraud allegation had hardly died down, Jim was embroiled in yet another fresh scandal that almost ruined his career. This time, he was attacked by his fans following his august visit to Prophet TB Joshua’s Synagogue Church of All Nations, in Lagos, in search of deliverance from ‘demonic spirits.’ Feeds received then from online media of the Synagogue Church Of All Nations revealed that popular Jim Iyke had just been delivered of an evil spirit while attending the church. Immediately, social media caught fire. As dramatic as the video was, far reaching comments greeted the announcement. While some congratulated the actor on his new found salvation, others dismissed it as a mere ‘act’. Some even went as far as saying that the whole story was stage-managed, while some questioned the genuineness of Prophet Joshua.
While the drama lasted, the actor was busy sharing his experience on Twitter, even as singer Dencia also tweeted on the subject of ‘false prophets. But few months later, the actor denied the incident, claiming that his quest to find healing for his ailing late mother took him to the church. Responding, Prophet TB Joshua said, “ The young man was busy defending himself on social media.”
But despite the controversies, Jim Iyke still ranks among the top and most successful Nollywood actors. He’s a style icon and every ladies man. While he has since gone underground after so much troubles, the aggressive actor hit the headlines again, embroiled yet in another controversy that has left much to be desired. It all goes to say that Jim Iyke is not only a product of controversy, he is also proudly Jim Iyke.