Mercy Alexander, a TV Show host popular known as Lady Jagaban, on the programme The Gallery, has lamented her pains when she attempted to join the Nigerian movie industry, Nollywood.
“I studied Theatre Arts at University of Bamako, Mali. While there, I dreamed of going into Nollywood. When I came back to Nigeria, I tried Nollywood but was shocked to find out what happens there. The producers and directors want to sleep with you, with lots of conditions. And you even pay; you spend money to be featured in a movie and they also want to sleep with you! I didn’t have time for that, so I said, ‘let me start looking elsewhere’. The only movie I featured in without any attempt to sexually harass me was a Yoruba movie. The English movies were not pleasant experiences. I was frustrated out of Nollywood,” she told Sun News
On how she coped with separated parents and reasons she arrested her father, Mercy recalled, “My dad got married to another woman after his family forced him to dump my mom. That was how my problems started. He did not know how to tell my mom, so he took me away when I was one-year-old. Mom thought he had merely taken me out. She never knew that I was gone for good or that my dad’s family had married another wife for him. They brought her (the woman) to Lagos without my mom knowing. My step-mum showed her true colours and did not take care of me. When they took me to the village in Umutu, Delta State, I suffered but I never gave up. I was like a mother and father to myself even when my parents were alive. Dad kept me away from mom. Whenever mom asked after me, he was mute. If they knew she was coming to the village, they took me away, so she got tired of looking for me. I got my dad arrested in 2000because I wanted to meet my mother. It was becoming too much and people were telling me my mom was from a wealthy family in Port Harcourt. So, I went to the police station and reported my dad and they picked him up. That was how he gave me my mom’s home address in Port Harcourt. It was the policemen that gave me money for the trip. Initially, they were shocked I wanted my dad arrested, but when I told them I was frustrated because of the desire to meet my mother, they rallied round me. What pushed me into arresting my dad was that, on that very day, my stepmother used a ladle to hit me on the head and I bled profusely. When I got to the police station, I showed them the injury and said I really needed to know my mom.”
….And when she finally got to Port – Harcourt this happened, “I was kidnapped! I got there and did not know anybody. I was roaming the streets and telling people I was going to Bakana. They said that when I get to Bakana, I should ask for Chief Braide, my grandfather, the man that brought light to the community, so he’s popular. I don’t remember how I ended up in GRA, Port Harcourt when a guy offered to help me, after I told him I was going to Bakana. He said I would travel by river but I did not know that he was a bad person. When I started sensing some strange movements, I said ‘no problem, I am a street kid, let us see how it goes’. I had gone through a lot for anybody to just kidnap me! He said ‘don’t worry, I am taking you there tonight’. So, I asked ‘is it possible to cross the river at night?’ He said ‘yes’. He said he was going to drop something, so he locked the gate of the compound and left. As soon as he did, I jumped the fence and fled! I started looking for a police station because I felt it was the only safe place for me. When later I told the policemen my experience, they said I was a child of grace to have escaped. That was how one of them asked me ‘are you Chief Braide’s grandchild?’ and I said ‘yes’. Who is your mother and I mentioned her name. He screamed and said ‘is Julie your mother? She is your grandfather’s first daughter. Your mother left after your dad abandoned her. Your dad left her without saying goodbye’. And then, he said ‘don’t worry; you are home. I will take you to Bakana in the morning’. That’s how I got to my grandfather’s house in Bakana the next day. Everybody was excited to see me; they started throwing parties. They called my mom but she didn’t believe it. She told them to interrogate me very well, because I could be an impostor who wanted to extort money from her dad.”
On how she felt when she saw her mothet for the first time?
“I have seen a lot of fake love, so I am not easily moved. All I was interested in was to see my mom. They told me she was in Agbara, Lagos. My grandfather cried. He blamed my dad for what he did to my mom; he said he had bigger plans for her. After a few months, I came to Lagos to look for my mom. When finally I saw mom driving into her home, I knew she was my mom, but she didn’t know me. She never remarried. I met the gateman and introduced myself, and he said ‘wow, you look like her-o’. So, I went inside and knocked. She opened the door and asked ‘who are you?’ I said ‘I am Mercy’. She said ‘Mercy? From where?’ I replied ‘Mercy, your daughter’. And she screamed ‘my daughter! My daughter!’ She started crying and lamenting what my dad did to her. However, I was closer to my dad than my mom, because the bitterness of what dad did to her was still lingering in her and it was impacting our relationship negatively. Even when she sold her house (in Lagos) and relocated to Port Harcourt, I stayed with her for like a month but we never connected. So, I came back to my dad’s place. She passed on in 2013.”
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