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Late Nollywood actor, John Odonwodo, Junior Pope buried in home town Ukehe, Enugu State

* Family, fans pay last respect
* 43-year-old actor died alongside four others on April 10 when their boat capsized
Friday May 17, 2024 23:16 pm



By NEWS EDITOR
Ukehe, Enugu State ,   Society News


The late Nollywood actor, John Odonwodo, popularly known as Junior Pope, has been laid to rest on Friday, May 17, 2024 at Ukehe in Enugu State. 

The 43-year-old actor died alongside four others on April 10 when their boat capsized in the River Niger while returning from a movie shoot. His controversial death sent shock waves across Nigeria especially among Nollywood family and fans. 

The funeral Mass for the late actor John Odonwodo, commenced at St. Peter’s Catholic Parish in Ukehe, Enugu State.


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Recall that a requiem Mass also held at Christ the King Catholic Parish, G.R.A, Enugu, on May 13. An evening of tributes/ candle light at Amadeo Event Center in the same state on May 14.

On May 16, the wake held at his country home, Uwala Abaka, Ukehe, in Nsukkaa, Igboetiti, LGA of Enugu State

A final thanksgiving mass is expected on Sunday, May 19 at St. Peter’s Parish Ukche Nsukka, Igboetiti LGA, Enugu.

Video Credit|BBC


Biography 

Born on May 7, 1984, in Bamenda, Cameroon to a Nigerian father (Luke Odonwodo) who is from the Ukehe tribe in Enugu state and a Cameroonian mother, Pope spent his early years in the Central African country, where he completed his primary and secondary education before relocating to Nigeria.

Pope discovered his passion for acting while studying accounting at the University of Nigeria (Nsukka). His breakout role came in 2007 with Tchidi Chikere’s film, ‘Secret Adventures’. Whether he took the roles of a bodyguard, kidnap kingpin, palace attendant, or servant, Pope showcased remarkable versatility, captivating audiences in diverse roles. From the complexities of dramas like ‘Bitter Generation’ to the comedic brilliance displayed in sitcoms like ‘Professor Johnbull’, the actor was super talented.

The film star’s multicultural upbringing was a key aspect of his identity which contributed to shaping his perspective as an actor and public figure.

Family 

Beyond the dazzling lights and roaring applause, Pope’s heart belonged to his family. “In All I Give Glory To God, Indeed God Is Merciful….. God Is The Greatest, And Family Is Everything,” he wrote on Instagram in April 2021 alongside a family photo.

Pope cherished his role as a devoted husband to Jennifer Awele, his wife, and a doting father to their three children. Their love story, beginning with a chance connection on Facebook, blossomed into a beautiful wedding ceremony in 2014. Pope was never shy about wearing his heart on his sleeve, showering his family with affection on social media. Even in the face of his last moments aboard the ill-fated boat, a raw desperation echoed in his final video. In Pidgin English, he cried out, “Abeg na only me dem born. I get three children, na me go raise them”. This was not just a plea for survival; he desperately wanted to fulfil his most “cherished role”; raising his children. Throughout their marital journey, Pope often spoke highly of Jennifer Awele, who he described as his “peace”.

In a 2023 interview, the actor recalled some of the challenges he faced when he newly got married to his wife. He also prayed to “run mad” the day he laid his hands on Jennifer.

“Back then it seemed like it wasn’t working, it was not easy at all. I have not mentioned it before but to the glory of God, today let me share this,” he said.

“After I got married, the first year was not rosy; I collected my wife’s gold jewellery and used it to borrow money from aboki. So, I give Him the glory for giving me a patient wife. Why would I want to touch a woman like this? God forbid. One thing I told myself and God is that the day I lay my hands on my wife, let me run mad. Instead, I walk away.”

In June 2023, they celebrated their 9th wedding anniversary after which he unveiled their multi-millionaira mansion on social media.

Recognition and Legacy 

In 2010, he won the ‘Nollywood Most Promising Actor’ award at the Entertainment Factory Awards. His influence transcended the Asaba film industry. He became a recognisable face in Nollywood, particularly known for his work in action comedies and crime thrillers where his charisma and talent shone brightly.

Though his time on this earth was cut short, Pope leaves behind a legacy that transcends the silver screen. His impact on Nollywood, marked by his talent, professionalism, and warmth, will continue to resonate for years to come.

Credit |The Cable (This column only) 



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