President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State have paid tribute to late veteran Nollywood actor, Justus Esiri.
Jonathan and Uduaghan described Esiri an epitome of commitment, excellence and creativity.
Presidential spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, said: “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.
“President Jonathan 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.
“The President extends sincere commiserations to the Esiri family, the government and people of Delta State and all fans of the revered actor.
“President Jonathan also condoles 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.”
Uduaghan described Esiri as a legend who brought prestige and honour to Nollywood and acting profession in the country.
The governor, in a statement issued by his Press Secretary, Felix Ofou, said that the late actor, apart from being one of Nigeria’s pioneer actors, carved a niche that saw him recognised worldwide.
He said: “He was not only one of the pioneer actors in the country, the late Justus Esiri brought uncommon touch and professionalism to his trade.
“He was renowned and honoured wherever he went.
“He was a legend.”
Uduaghan recalled that the late actor was recognized and decorated with prestigious title of Officer of the Order of the Niger, a feat enjoyed by a privileged few in Nollywood and acting profession.
The governor said Esiri’s role in the epic, The Village Headmaster, has continued to serve as a reference point and an inspiration to scholars, actors and actresses, leaders and generations to come, adding that the vacuum left by the late actor will be difficult to fill.
He acknowledged that the death was particularly a big blow to the state, the people of Abraka and the Urhobo nation in general and prayed God to also grant the deceased’s family the fortitude to bear the loss.