In November, I was sent to Lagos by Inside Nollywood, where I am senior writer, events, lifestyle and culture, for the prestigious African International Film Festival, AFRIFF Indigenous 2.0.
After the Festival, I reached out to a Facebook friend, Collins Okoh, who I knew very little about, except that he was a really cool writer, and that he kept dreadlocks, which I was aspiring to keep.
We scheduled to meet, and when that day finally came, he picked a coffee shop (because I was a JJC in Lagos who knew nowhere save a friend’s place in Igando, and another friend’s place in Iyana Ipaja. As expected, he got there before me, while I had troubles locating it, because three days before, the shop had been moved, and he didn’t know because he had not been there for two weeks.
Still, he waited, then took a cab to Landmark where he asked me to rendezvous, but changed his mind, turned back to pick me up.
First thing I asked was, “Where are your locs?”
He broke into a wide grin, scratching his shaved head. A firm handshake and a few how-do-you-dos later, we were on a cab to Landmark, where we sat down and talked over Frappuccino and sausages.
Moments into the conversation, I knew I was talking to a movie mastermind, and I could tell from the way he talked like a DSS espionage detective, something hoooooge was coming, and it has come, by way of the movie, A Tribe Called Judah.
Sound, confident, polite, and skillful in the fine art of conversation. I picked up a lot from him immediately. We talked about work, life, science, and our hopes for the industry. He made me understand the level of growth that Nollywood has experienced in the last 10 years, compared to the previous 10 years.
Now, this is not the first time has written a blockbuster. A movie he co-wrote, Omo Ghetto is currently the highest grossing Nollywood Movie of all time, grossing around 650 million naira. For a guy who got into the industry after being spotted by his short stories on Facebook, then ghostwriting, this is quite huge.
To his credits, he contributed to Jennifer’s Diary and My Siblings and I, are also series that did astonishingly well. To me, anything he writes turns into gold.
Nonetheless, Collins is one of the humblest and meekest characters you will ever meet. In an industry renowned for its flamboyance, his simplicity seems to be the loudest. For one so gifted and blesses, he is always quiet, often shy about his own achievements.
His latest offering, A Tribe Called Judah, starring the flawless Funke Akindele has been well received by both the gods and men. The movie grossed over 60 million naira in 24 hours, and has now grossed over 200 million naira. Furthermore, the movie is currently the number one overall movie in Nigeria, it is the biggest opening for a Funke Akindele Film, biggest opening of all time for a Nollywood Film, biggest single day gross for a film released in 2023, and the biggest opening for a film released in 2023.
I may not be a prophet, but the gods have whispered this movie will break the records set by his Omo Ghetto.
In other climes, Collins would already be a household name, and in a short time, he would be getting all the accolades he deserves, as he is now well known within the industry, and outside it.
Writers like Collins Okoh do not get enough credit, but he will.