By Ayo Onikoyi
For sometime now, there have been worries and concerns that one of the biggest brands in Nollywood, the Aki and Pawpaw brand, may be running its last course as the brand we used to know. There have been speculations that all is not well between the two diminutive figures who many earlier thought are twin brothers, but who are in fact colleagues destiny and fortune brought together.
According to rumours, problem started between them when one of them, Aki, Chinedu Ikedieze, got married and reportedly asked his performing partner, Osita Iheme, Pawpaw to vacate the flat they shared together for him and his wife. This, according to reports, put a strain on their relationship.
This report got so popular that the duo had to say something on the state of their relationship. What they said calmed the nerves of their fans, but only momentarily. The duo opined that it was only natural that they go their separate ways after one of them got married. “ We cannot live together forever,”Aki offered and Pawpaw too seemed to agree. Then, all of a sudden, the duo stopped featuring in the same movies as they used to do.
Recall that none of them was able to attain any measure of popularity on their own until they bonded and became Aki and Pawpaw. Aki and Paw Paw As the fear of their fans was setting to fly again, the duo put their boots to it, saying they hadn’t had a producer in recent times that wanted to feature them together. “ If such script comes our way, you will sure see us together again,” one of them quipped in an interview. How convenient. But the interesting thing is that the duo still perform at shows as Aki and Pawpaw. This is understandable “because no corporate outfit wants to have one without the other”, whispered a source. Let’s cut out the bullsh**t, all is not well between these two great actors of our time.
The reality of it is what Potpourri had to live with at an event in Enugu last weekend. When the duo were to perform, they sure did together, even to the cheers and admiration of their fans, but for someone who has followed them over the years, all the signs were there that there is a crack somewhere even when it is difficult to lay a finger on it. No doubt, they appeared as Aki and Pawpaw on stage, but they were definitely Chinedu Ikedieze and Osita Iheme.
They just didn’t connect like Aki and Pawpaw of old. Their act had a bit of life about it, but it just wasn’t breathing. It was like watching a man on life-support, frantically trying to convince the doctor not to pull the plug. They fooled the audience though, not Potpourri. Okay, stage performances are full of tricks and they could have been misread but what about their relations at their private room backstage? Potpourri was with them at the private room that had at least 15-20 other artistes, big artistes, for nothing less than five hours. It was a private room that was everything but private as everyone was chatting with everyone, drinking, joking, taking selfies and generally, not giving a damn about anything, except smoking.
All through the night, Aki and Pawpaw didn’t say a word to each other. Not even a wink, it was so obvious they were trying to avoid each other and this was after they came back from the stage. In fact, while Aki sat at one end of the room, Pawpaw sat at the other end. All the artistes were poking jokes at one another, and having a hell of a time but Aki and Pawpaw were totally aloof from each other. Another curious thing is that, their management people were not even crossing paths.
Recall that in the good old days, they used to share the same management but now they have separate managements. For those who knew them in the old days, they were like Siamese twins, always together, and doing things together. It was almost impossible to see one without the other. But not any more. The next day, I was expecting to see them together at the airport, because we were supposed to catch the same flight to Lagos. However, only Aki, Chinedu Ikedieze showed up.
All the other artistes that were in the same room with us were on the same flight, only Pawpaw was missing. Later, I got to know that he attended Mr Ibu’s birthday in Enugu that day. Isn’t it odd that he would go alone, without his other half? Such is the state of their union now that they can’t even stomach hanging out together – unless for business, no more pleasure.