For Chioma Akpotha, birthdays are for thanksgiving, gratitude

Chioma Akpotha


It was clearly a season of birthdays in the Nigerian motion picture industry.First, actress, Foluke Daramola turned 40 and she called a quiet thanksgiving shindig to mark the new age. Delectable actress, Thelma Okoduwa, also had a quiet shindig to commemorate her birthday, so too for the ageless and dependable actress, Binta Ayo Mogaji.

The social media was awash with best wishes for all the screen stars as they marked their birthdays.But it literarily rained on social media, in terms of best wishes, for Nollywood beloved actress and later day producer, Chioma Akpotha, who turned a year older last Monday.

There was a rain of best wishes from colleagues, family members and fans as soon as the mother, wife and actress clicked the sent button to officially share her photos with her followers on social media.

Thanking God Almighty, who she credits for her journey to life and to the top rung of the Nigerian screen acting skies.Chioma wrote: “I would be a liar if I told you everything was fine with me. I would be telling a lie if I also told you that there weren’t times I just wanted to give up and throw in the towel. Times when I felt I had given all and gotten absolutely nothing in return.

“I wouldn’t be truthful if I told you that I don’t need help most times and that all was rosy and dandy. Truth is I have been down and out.“But when I look back, all I see is a hand; the hand that has held and supported me through it all. Guiding, protecting and shielding. A. k. a. c. h. u. k. w. u., the hand that does me good and has kept me and all that I call mine safe.

“As I celebrate my birthday today, I just want to say I’m grateful and thankful to you, Jesus! Continue to take all the glory!”Popular by her maiden name Chioma Chukwukah, Chioma Franklin- Akpotha has every reason to be grateful to God. Unlike some of her peers who came into the industry, but walked out in frustration, Chioma rose steadily to become a queen on the acting turf.

In less than a decade after she joined in, Chioma, whose debut as an actress was in the movie, Apple, by Lancelot Oduwa Imaseun, got a confirmation of her star status when she was crowned the Best Actress in Africa for her deep runs in the urban telling Sins of the Flesh at the 2007 edition of the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) held in Yenegoa, Bayelsa State.

That icing was all she needed on her career cake to emerge one of Africa’s leading ladies.Born to Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Nduka Chukwuka, acting to Chioma, whose native name is Nkemakolam, was just an aspect of what she wanted to do as a child.

Though she longed to become a creative artiste, something of a dancer, singer and actress, her first love was to become a lawyer, and a foremost one at that.“I wanted to be first and foremost a lawyer, but the creative muse in me took over. I am into acting full time now, but I hope to expand with time,” she said.

Though Chioma grew up with a healthy appetite for movies and movie stars and had exbihited a flair for acting and singing as a child, there was nothing in Nkemakolam’s wildest imagination that could suggest that the journey into the movie would transform into her becoming a regular visitor in most homes, not to talk of being crowned as Africa’s best.

The Oraifite, Anambra State native said she never gave a thought to acting as a profession or knew that acting would become something of a full time job for her, as it is today.Chioma has, without a doubt, cut a swath among the industry’s recognisable faces and risen to become the toast of most movie producers.

The second of six children, who were all born in Lagos, she had her sixth grade education in Lagos and her secondary education at the Federal Government Girls College, Onitsha.A Banking and Finance graduate of the Lagos State University (LASU), Chioma is said to be among the very few actresses who did not have to jettison their educational pursuit because of the pressure of work in moviedom.

So far, she has featured in over 200 movies released in Nollywood, with a dozen others still at various stages of post-production.In her movie pouch are such hit titles as Sunrise, Handkerchief, Disguise, Last Offer, Twisted, Final Clash, Handsome, Substitute, Foul Play Legacy, Lustful, Hearts on Fire, Azima, Wives on Strike, Accident and Romantic Attraction, which she named as one of her most memorable movie appearances.

She explained: “Almost all my roles have been very challenging, but the one that readily comes to mind is my role in Romantic Attraction.“I played alongside Richard Mofe Damijo (RMD). I call him bros. It was my first time on set with him. I almost did not accept the offer to be on that set. I mean RMD was an actor I used to watch when I was much more younger.

“Before we went on set, we had a reading session and I was scared. I almost called the producers to say that I was ill. But on set, I discovered that RMD was down to earth. In fact, more down to earth than anyone I have ever met.

“That made it easier for me to excel.”Asked to state her likes and dislikes, Chioma said she abhors people who are negative in their perception and disposition and she is attracted to hardworking and God-fearing people.She is guided by the philosophy of always keeping on, no matter the odds, and strongly holds that there is nothing absolutely too much for God to handle, which explains why she has no regret at all in life and in her foray into moviedom.

Married to Franklin Akpotha, a man she said has brought a lot of sunshine to her life, Chioma, who has a phobia for creeping and flying insects, especially cockroaches and millipedes, and who is looking forward to playing a long game in the movie, particularly “starring in a big budget movie of Hollywood Standard,” believes that the future holds so much in stock for her. She surmised: “I have not really started; my best is yet to come.”

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Chioma Akpotha
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