Nollywood Actress, Chioma Akpotha Speaks on Peer Pressure, Sex and Drugs
By: Iposu Elijah Oluwakayode
The celebrated Nollywood Actor, Chioma Akpotha was one of the guest speakers at this year’s International Youth Empowerment Summit, 2019. While addressing the participants, she spoke wittily and straight from the heart sharing her experience over the past 19 years in Nollywood, as she addressed the challenges that confront the youth today.
She encouraged youth to be introspective in drawing strength because “no matter what anybody says about you, you feel the pain; you go through the experience.” In her message titled ‘You Are Enough,’ she says, “the best choice you will ever make (as a person) is not to care about what people think of you. It took me several years to get to a place where I realized that, I am in this thing all by myself. It is God who has called me but, NA ME O! Not anybody else. If my body is doing me one kind, I will be the one to bare the pain, not you. I will be the one to cry at night when I feel inadequate, not you.”
“Someone says you are not qualified, you can’t make it. Whose opinion counts? Is it what God says of you or what the other person says of you?
“It doesn’t matter what anybody thinks of you. It doesn’t matter what they have said or will ever say. You are enough. Until you get to that mental state of knowing that you are enough, you can’t achieve anything.”
Speaking freely in both English and Pidgin English, she led the youth to discover themselves and not be driven by peer pressure. She recounts her early days in Nollywood and the complete change in lifestyle that she was confronted with. Having to choose between her standards and the price she was expected to pay for fame. She states that the youth must have an identity and guiding principle in order not be hoodwinked into making hasty decisions due to peer pressure. “I got turned down a lot (in my career) and I still get turned down but I will not be deterred. I know who I am.”
Chioma Akpothia. pic: guardian.ng
She dissuaded the youth from submitting to the “popular charade” saying that once you conform, “you get missing. You get lost in the crowd. You lose your identity. You begin to lose your dignity. You lose the essence of who God has called you to be” she says when you stand out, it is easier to be noticed so there is no need to do what every youth does (vices).
The main thing is to know what God has put in your hand. “You were not born to fit in. You were born to fix things. Each and every one of us here has something unique that God had deposited inside of us.
Though we live in a world where doing the vices is accepted, “you are enough. Dem never born d person wey go say you no dey enough. It is better to be hated for being who you are than to be liked for being who you are not.”
She cites the impact of Social Media on the psyche of the youth. Relating with the sermon by the Archbishop Nicholas Duncan William, which he delivered on the first day of the summit, she says there is time to plug unto Social Media and there is time to “separate and draw strength from God to redirect you.” Youth are expected to pull back from the Social Media rush in order not to be carried away; lost!
She spoke on sex before marriage; indecent dressing, drugs and other vices that lead the youth astray. When sex is involved, she says “you do not know the person for who he/she really is.”
She encouraged the youth to work hard towards their aspiration and not just desire what others have without putting in the same amount of hard work. She accepts she has made mistakes, which she has learnt from and encourages the youth to identify mentors, whose mistakes they can learn from.
She spoke as one of the main speakers during the day two of the three-day International Youth Empowerment Summit, which held at the National Theatre, Accra.