By: MUTIAT ALLI
Black, Bold and Beautiful!! These attributions best describe delectable Nollywood actress, Mercy Johnson-Okojie whose sojourn into Nollywood was not all rosy but her passion for the art brought her this far.
Despite the challenges rocking several celebrity marriages; Mercy has been able to manage her home-front diligently. MUTIAT ALLI met with the beautiful Kogi born superstar and open about her new movie ‘ The Lamb’,Marriage, why politics is a no go area for her amongst others.
How long did it take to shoot the movie?
From conception to breathing, the movie took over a year.
Did you at a point get tired of the project, as it was taking too long?
No. I think I had so much faith on the project. I had responsibilities on my shoulders and I decided to see it till finish. It was a bit challenging but we fought it through.
Is this the first movie you’re producing?
No, it is my second actually.
What were the challenges you encountered while producing this latest epic movie, The Lamb?
O yes! There are always lots of challenges when you are filming. For a good start, I love to appreciate those that need to be appreciated, from the Chief of Staff, to his Excellency, to the sons and daughters of Kogi State; we got a whole lot of assistant during the filming. We appreciate them all. Their support and contributions, kind of made it so easy for me during the production, because we all want the outside world to come and see what we celebrate as a set of people. We were so excited to have top Nollywood actors come into the State to celebrate our culture with us through the production of a good movie for the big screen. We had some tiny issues here and there during production, but we scaled through. Now we are here to celebrate the success.
There are lots of tribes in Kogi State, why did you single out the Igala people to do a movie about them?
For me, it was more of showing to them that the Special Assistant to the Governor in Entertainment, Arts and Culture is not cut out for tribalism. It is not about the name Honorable but for us to bring up the entertainment sector in the state to an enviable stage that people would want to come and learn from us. So, if we had done an Ibira story, they would say ‘Oh, yes, no wonder. That’s where she is from’.
On that note, I said let’s do something from the Igala tribe. I told them to give me what they have and they were all pointing at different stories, then we picked one and made it a good film.
How then do you cope with your home front and duty roles as the SA to the Governor?
Well, it has not been easy but I’m a home girl. There are priorities. God comes first, and then family and other things follow. Definitely the family has to be settled before we talk about work. When I am not happy at home, then I can’t function properly in whatsoever capacity. God, family then others, it works well for me that way. As we are here right now, if I get a call from my children’s school about anything, I’ll push your phone away and run off (laughs).
Seeing some of your Social Media posts, one is forced to believe that you have more favoritism for your female children than your boy, could this be true?
Yes, people tell me that a lot. But I think my son is more inclined to his dad. The guys roll, then the ladies rolls (Laughs).The girls roll like me, you know snake can’t birth fish, but my husband is a very quiet person and my son is just like him. When it’s time to make noise, my team rolls along.
Away from family issues, what’s your say on Dino Melaye’s predicament?
I don’t want to talk about that please!
Now that you are working tirelessly for the Kogi State government, after the appointment, would there be a time you will plunge into full politics?
No no no! Not at all.
What if your people beg you to join politics for their sake?
I’ll equally beg them not to beg me. I just don’t want to do politics at all.
I can equally effect change in my community without holding any political post office. My husband is already a politician, but I’m not. I think it’s enough on my shoulders that I’m responsible for some actions in the State, also an influence to people as a film person. Everything you do is under scrutiny; that public eye is enough for me. I wouldn’t want to top it with political responsibilities. I can represent my community in a good light, help people, touch lives, do the best I can, and remain a good woman, but not with a political tag.
Are you scared of politics?
Well, I’m not scared. I’m just been careful.
For a while now, you have been under heavy public scrutiny, how have you been coping?
It has been God. No one can undermine the media, you guys are powerful. There is no saying that I want to dodge the media, because I’m always as real as it comes. So, I’ll say it’s just God.
On Instagram, you always show off your husband; so there is this believe that you’re out to mock those who are not as lucky as you are in marriage, what is your take on that?
My dear, I’m not in competition with anybody. I always do me. Because I’m just myself. You can never tell what tomorrow will beget. I’m always me, even on Social Media.
Your kids will always want mummy around, how do you cope leaving them for days?
It has not been easy, but we are in the jet age. I’m a working mother. I have to work. However, like I said earlier, it’s all about scale of preference. I give everyone and everything its own time.
When should we expect another baby from you?
Sure. Very soon.
Are you not scared of the labor room?
I’m obsessed with children. While growing up, I always had it in mind that I’ll have four children. So, we still need one more to complete it (laughs). So, we can always play football correctly, 3 boys, 3 girls.