The entertainment industry in Nigeria is growing rapidly and its movie sector, popularly known as Nollywood, has been dubbed as the second largest in the world for the number of movies produced. Nollywood has unified players from different fields such as scriptwriting, acting, make-up, video editing, and what have you. At the top of this movie production industry is a very popular figure, Kenneth Okonkwo, an actor who is one of the biggest names in Nollywood. Aside from being an actor, he is also a movie producer, entrepreneur, trained lawyer, and politician.
Kenneth Okonkwo Is From Enugu State In Eastern Nigeria
Kenneth Okonkwo was born in Nsukka, Enugu State, a small town in the Southeastern part of Nigeria. He was born to the family of Mr. Ozioko Francis Okonkwo and Mrs. Beatrice Okonkwo. Young Kenneth moved to Lagos where he obtained his primary school certificate and Senior Secondary Certificate in Education (SSCE). He later got admitted into the prestigious University of Nigeria (UNN) located in Nsukka. Thus, he returned to his hometown where he studied and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration.
Upon his graduation, Kenneth continued his studies at the famous University of Lagos (Unilag) where he secured his second degree – Diplomacy and International Law. He is also a Ph.D. holder from the Chartered Institute of Economics. Kenneth featured in movies taking up so many roles, for example, a King, a lawyer, etc, thanks to his certifications and educational exposure that has helped him grow into a better actor over the years.
The Actor’s Journey to The Top of Nollywood Began In 1991
Kenneth Okonkwo is among the pioneers of the movie industry in Nigeria. He has shown his commitment and zeal towards growing the local movie industry. His dedication and hard work have led him towards a successful career in Nollywood.
Kenneth joined Nollywood in 1991 when he played the role of Captain John Mark in the TV series Ripples that aired on NTA. He then rose to prominence in 1992 following his role in the popular Nollywood movie Living in Bondage. Unlike so many actors that struggle to make a mark in Nollywood, Kenneth’s first movie was a breakthrough for his career. The movie produced by Okechukwu Ogunijiofor won him the award for best actor in Nigeria.
He played the role of Andy Okeke, a Lagos businessman that sees his friends getting rich and got upset with the fact that he has no success attached to his name. He resulted to join a secret cult and sacrificing his wife to acquire wealth, a move that made him suffer the consequences as he was constantly haunted by his wife’s spirit. The movie sold many copies in the coming years even with little advertisements and to date, it is regarded by many as one of the best Nollywood movies.
Since then, Kenneth Okonkwo has featured in more than 200 Nollywood movies. Below is a list of some movies he was featured in:
- The Royal Dragon
- My Love My Wealth
- Nollywood Babylon
- A Nagging Wife
- Best Husband Ever
- The Devil In Her
- My Decision
- The Throne Is Mine
Awards He Has Received For His Exploits In Acting
Kenneth Okonkwo has enjoyed tremendous success in Nigeria’s movie industry and this can be attributed to his hard work, intelligence and determination. His attitude towards life and career can be a source of motivation to the younger generation of actors. He has received many awards and recognitions over the years, with the most recent being in 2021 when he was decorated as a Goodwill Ambassador by the National Council for Women Societies Nigeria (NCWS). Below are some of the coveted awards he has received over the course of his career.
- Best Actor in a Leading Role at the City People Entertainment Awards
- Best Actor in Nigeria at the Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards
- 2015 Special Recognition Award by the organizers of the City People Entertainment
- Awards for his contribution to the growth of entertainment in Nigeria
- 2013 Special Recognition of Pillars of Nollywood at the African Movie Academy Award
Religious and Political Ambitions
In an interview with the SunNewsOnline, Kenneth Okonkwo revealed that he studied Theology and he is also a politician. The actor is a strong believer in God, according to him, he has had only high moments in life as his belief and practice of the word of God has worked for him.
In 2018, he took to Instagram to announce to his followers his intentions to run for the gubernatorial election in Enugu State. He would later remove the post which disclosed that he would contest under the All Progressive Congress. According to him, he received the blessings of the past Governor of the State, His Excellency, Gov. Sullivan Chime.
The Nollywood Actor Has Been Married Twice and His Current Wife Is Ifeoma Okonkwo
According to reports, Kenneth Okonkwo met his wife through his mother shortly after his first marriage crashed. He got married to Ifeoma Okonkwo sometime in 2007 and the marriage has survived over a decade.
Before his marriage to Ifeoma, the renowned actor was married to Ogechi Ezekiel who is the daughter of Pastor Ezekiel, the General Overseer of Christian Pentecostal Mission International. The union produced a child but things turned sour two years into it. To the surprise of many, Kenneth Okonkwo and Ogechi announced their separation.
Much is yet to be learned about the reason for their separation but in an interview, the actor stated that he does not support divorce. He also dismissed claims that he was abusive to Ogechi, stating that he was attacked and had to defend himself. Moreso, he refuted the speculations that he only married the woman because she was from a wealthy family.
The actor lives happily with his current wife and often takes to social media platforms to celebrate her.
He Has Two Sons Named Ifeanyi and Kenechukwu Okonkwo
As hinted earlier, the actor had a child with his first wife, Ogechi Ezekiel: a son named Ifeanyi Okonkwo. From what we gathered, Ifeanyi is now an adult but much is yet to be learned about him. He lives his life away from the spotlight on his father.
As it is with his first marriage, Kenneth Okonkwo’s second has also produced a child, a son named Kenechukwu Okonkwo. For almost a decade, the actor and his second wife lived together without a child. Nine years into the marriage, on the 7th of May 2016, they welcomed a baby boy into the family. From the pictures the actor shares online, it is clear he is very fond of the child.