Saint Obi was as iconic as they come. The late actor was the blueprint for most of the leading men Nollywood has today. With a filmography that covers a wide range of characters and films ranging from high-octane action projects to tear-jerking romance dramas; no one did it like him, and no one is now. 

While Saint Obi might be gone, his work’s impact on the Nigerian entertainment scene will continue to live on. Here are some of the actor’s most iconic roles. 

State of Emergency 

James Bond, Jason Bourne and Jack Reacher have nothing on Saint Obi’s Detective Smith in State of Emergency. He  was in his action star bag when this Teco Benson film was released in 2000. The action thriller follows Detective Smith on a mission to rescue politicians held hostage by his now evil colleague Charles (JT Tom West) at the National Arts Theatre. Yes, you read that right. Of all places for the president to hold a conference, the movie expected us to believe he chose the National Arts Theatre. 

State of Emergency is complete with a weird CGI shootout, a bomb scare in a hospital and people getting shot in the head. It looks like camp now, but this film will always be iconic to us 1990 kids. 

Festival of Fire 

Festival of Fire was peak Old Nollywood with Saint Obi and Regina Askia playing twins who get separated at birth. Regina becomes a reverend sister; passionate about spreading the gospel, while Saint Obi chooses to become a hot babalawo who supports the killing of twins and other ritualistic extracurricular activities. 

After a couple of back and forth about whose God is right, Saint Obi eventually realises that Regina is his twin sister after noticing a birthmark similar to his on her chest (Nollywood and birthmarks sha). Remorseful, he helps her escape when the village tries to unalive her, offering himself as the village’s sacrificial goat instead. 

Take Me to Mama 

This list will be incomplete without Saint Obi’s directorial debut, Take Me to Mama. The film finds Obi as director and lead character, playing a man who tries to escape a life of crime only to discover that it might be too late. Take Me to Mama was also the first Nollywood film I ever saw successfully pull off a non-cringey CGI car explosion. 

Final Whistle 

Are you really an iconic Nollywood actor if you haven’t played the role of a man who defies his parents for love? In Final Whistle, Saint Obi gives us his version of Romeo and Juliet, playing Richard, an IJGB who falls in love with one of his mother’s maids. In classic Nollywood rich mummy fashion, Mummy Richard (Bukky Ajayi) doesn’t stand for this poverty romance. But how can their love fail when they both take time to sing to each other by the beach like they’re in a Bollywood musical? 

Love conquers all when you know how to lip sync for your life. 

Sakobi the Snake Girl 

In Sakobi the Snake Girl, Saint Obi plays Frank, a man who gets a short lifespan (but with plenty of money) for using his child for money rituals. He seems comfortable with his short life until he meets Sakobi (Susan Patrick), a femme fatal who fucks his life all the way up. Tony Umez makes an appearance in this film because, for some weird reason, I guess you can’t make a film about sacrificing children without him popping up. 

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Wanted Alive 

Look at that iconic image and tell me you don’t feel the nostalgia? Directed by Chico Ejiro, Wanted Alive is a 2001 film that follows Saint Obi as the leader of an infamous armed robbery gang; who’s trying to turn his life around and away from crime. The film also features Old Nollywood bad guys like Hanks Anuku, Emeka Enyiocha and Jerry Amilo. 

Deadly Proposal

Deadly Proposal is the perfect entry into the “men are scum” genre of old Nollywood movies. Co-starring Pete Edochie, Dolly Unachukwu and Alex Lopez (I’ve always wondered if this was her real name), Saint Obi plays Steven, a guy who makes his girlfriend (Obot Etuk) promise to wait for him, only to return from “obodoyinbo” with an Americana fiance. For context, this babe rejected other men, and stayed cooking and cleaning for his parents while he was away. 

This film proves that the moment you say “My man will never” is the exact moment that man will start to never all the nevers he never nevered before. Word. 

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More than a Woman

Outside of Stephanie Okereke’s love for leather and power bikes, this film has little to no similarities with the Aaliyah song and video of the same title. In More Than a Woman, Stephanie Okereke plays a beautiful young thief named Tricia, while Saint Obi plays the hot Inspector Daniel on a mission to stop her. And yes, they fall in love because small romance here and there is more important than crime fighting. 

When the Going Gets Tough

I love how Old Nollywood was very pro “Love is more important than the bag” because, sis, it doesn’t fly in this day and age where a dollar is almost N1k. In When the Going Gets Tough, Saint Obi plays Dan, a millionaire who pretends to be poor to weed out fake friends and find true love. Dakore Egbuson-Akande plays the girl who dips as soon as the going actually got tough, while Chiege Alisigwe plays the girl attracted to poverty. The whole pretending to be a poor man thing is a bit dramatic sha. 

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