President Jonathan reiterates his belief that Nollywood actors have carved a positive image for Nigeria in the eyes of the international community, with the late Esiri, a Member of the Order of the Niger (MON), having contributed in no small measure to the creation and sustenance of that image.
The president believes that the Nigerian movie industry and the country as a whole will greatly miss the popular actor who came to national limelight with his acclaimed performance in the popular television series, Village Headmaster, and other movies.
He extended his commiserations to the Esiri family, the government and people of Delta State and all fans of the revered actor.
President Jonathan also condoles with the Nollywood Family on the passage of a notable member, mentor, pioneer and inspiring actor, and enjoins the younger members to keep Justus Esiri’s legacy alive by promoting higher standards in their movies.
He prays God Almighty will grant the soul of the departed actor peaceful repose.
Also the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola said the nation’s film industry will be poorer for his departure as Nollywood just lost wealth of experience with the veteran’s death.
The Nollywood veteran whose versatility was not limited to stage and screen launched into limelight of the nation’s Entertainment Industry in the 1980s.
Justus Esiri passed on, on Tuesday night after a brief illness.
In a letter to Mrs. Omiete Esiri, the widow of the deceased, Governor Fashola recalled that Mr. Esiri, whom he described as “easily one of Nigeria’s most celebrated artistes”, took the nation by storm with his titular role in the Village Headmaster; one of Nigeria’s pioneering television soap operas.
“Easily one of Nigeria’s most celebrated artistes, I recall with nostalgia that following the heyday of theatre arts, this stage veteran shot into the limelight in the 1980s, with his pioneering role in the popular Television drama series, the Village Headmaster, in which he played the eponymous character”, the Governor said.
Governor Fashola also noted that aside the many theatre performances of Mr. Esiri in Germany where he travelled to in the 1970’s initially to study Engineering, the veteran artiste stood tall as one of the pillars of the Nollywood film industry.
According to the Governor, his chain of performances in Nollywood has left a landmark in the industry and has made him a household name both in the country and beyond adding that as a result, the country has honoured him with a National Award
Praying for the peaceful repose of the soul of Mr. Esiri, and for Almighty God to grant the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss, Governor Fashola enjoined the Family to be consoled by the rich legacy which the deceased artiste left behind in the Entertainment Industry as a whole, “where, aside leaving his own footprints, he has also bequeathed his son, the multi-award winning musician, Sidney, or Dr. Sid, who is the rave of the moment in the entertainment industry”.