By Benjamin Njoku
Chika Okpala, popularly known as Chief Zebrudaya Okoroigwe Nwogbo alias 4.30 of the now rested sitcom that aired on the Nigerian Television Network, NTA, in the 80s and mid-90s, has dismissed reports circulating on social media that Ovuleria Uredia who played his submissive wife in that sitcom is dead.
Zebrudaya expressed sadness over the unfounded rumours, saying it’s untrue.
The founder of the Africa International Film Festival, AFRIFF, Chioma Ude, broke the news on the filmmakers’ WhatsApp group, Filmic that thespian born Lizzy Evoeme died yesterday morning in Anambra State.
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She wrote: “AFRIFF decided to give its first-lifetime achievement award to a lady for many reasons we chose Ovuleria. I reached out to Norbert Ajaegbu who tracked her. We spoke to the family who in turn spoke to her. She was excited and promised to honour the invitation.
“I called my dear friend, former Governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi, who agreed to foot her bills as well as presenting the award to her. I specifically said I wanted to honour the living with this award not the dead. Sadly, I heard that she passed on this morning.”
However, debunking the death rumour when he was contacted on the telephone yesterday, Chief Zebrudaya said Ovuleria is hale and hearty, not dead. “Who’s wishing her dead? I am telling you now that Ovuleria is not dead. You can call on the telephone and she will speak to you. Wishing death means that she will live longer,” Zebrudaya said.
According to Zebrudaya, due to old age, Ovuleria is currently suffering from arthritis as well as eyesight problem. “It does not mean that she’s dead,” he added.
Also, debunking the rumour, Tony Akposheri, who played the role of Zaccheus, Chief Zebrudaya’s house-help, told Vanguard that he just finished speaking with the thespian now, adding that she’s not dead.
When Vanguard contacted the thespian, her GSM line ran, as she picked up the phone and later hung up.
Organizers of AFRIFF said they are planning to honour Ovuleria with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to the movie industry at this year’s festival which opens this weekend in Lagos.
Lizzy Evoeme plays the submissive wife of Chief Zebrudaya played by Chika Okpala in the sitcom that also has several characters.