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RIP James Akwari Iroha alias Giringory Akabuogu – “The New Masquerade” Actor Passes Away at Age 70

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Just a few weeks ago, The Sun and Punch Newspapers in Nigeria published articles outlining the plight of “The New Masquerade” actor, James Akwari Iroha alias Giringory Akabuogu; according to reports, James was suffering from a variety of ailments including loss of his eyesight and did not have the financial means to obtain adequate medical care.

The interviews in the newspapers unearthed the fact that James actually created the original “The Masquerade” TV Show while he was a staff of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA); due to the fact that he was a employee at the time of the show’s creation; according to NTA policy, he had no claim on the copyright and did not receive royalties.

A recent editorial by Robert Obioha in the Sun Newspaper, eloquently outlined James’ plight.

The two interviews published one week apart showed the appalling story that has become the ugly lot of the septuagenarian consummate artiste who has literally turned blind due to carelessness of our doctors or lack of early care or both.

Whatever is the case, reading the sad story of the once bubbling and agile Giringory full of pranks and witticism, who kept all of us laughing and boisterously glued to our television sets in the 1970s, 1980s and even 1990s in his trademark rustic Calabar idiolect, is indeed not a laughing matter at all. More worrisome is the fact that at 70 years of age, Iroha has no roof of his own over his head. He still worries about rents. His car is in great state of disrepair. His pension is not regular. In fact, there is no laughter in the life of the man who ensured that we laugh away our sorrows after passing through the harrowing experiences of the 30 months fratricidal Nigeria-Biafra war of 1967-1970.

His near-blindness state is worse than any disease. He would rather prefer losing one leg than losing his sight. If it is that bad, it is tragic for the aging actor. How can a man who created such rave-making television drama by modeling a theater out of his parents’ funny mannerisms be left uncared for by those he brought joy into their lives and living rooms?

Sadly, James passed away today as confirmed by his son, Uche Iroha; he was 70 years old.

RIP.

43 Comments

  1. Sexxie

    February 28, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    RIP Pa J. God bless ur soul, amen.

  2. Ogunniyi Tolulope

    February 28, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    A gem is gone. May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace.

  3. sweetie

    February 28, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    this is so sad…Nigeria we need to do better ABEG!! ..we have lost a great man, i pray for peace and fortitude for his family to bear this great loss.

  4. amber rose

    February 28, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    too sad. RIP, GO WITH GOD. he was someone that should hv received some sort of award, along with the original cast of New Masquerade

  5. Hilda

    February 28, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    RIP Gringory.

  6. bubu

    February 28, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    its a pity that our true stars are neither remembered nor celebrated till their death!it shall not be our portion IJN Amen!….aaah RIP Gringory…this brought tears to my eyes,may God grant his family grace and comfort in this trying time!

  7. Purpleicious Babe

    February 28, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    God bless him and help his family during this process..

    seriously BN is this the only pic available…

  8. Babycakes

    February 28, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    Gringory alias “4 tharty”… watched you from when I was a kid in Cameroon and every time I asked my nigerian friends, most of them had no clue..
    RIP Mr. Iroha, you are getting the well deserved rest now.
    You sure did make me laugh with all you jokes

  9. nene

    February 28, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    Rest in peace!

  10. me

    February 28, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    see the way we treat our veteran actors… smdh. That can never happen in yankee.

  11. faith

    February 28, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    Wat a sad story….may his soul rest!

  12. mary007

    February 28, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    So so sad. My prayer is let my tomorrow God be better than my today

  13. oSinakachi

    February 28, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    RIP Gringory, you were one of the reasons I watched the new masquerade

  14. Naomi

    February 28, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    Rip Gringory…i remember watching as a kid..

  15. Tosin

    February 28, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    Funny till his last years.

  16. hopper

    February 28, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    so sad! May his soul rest in perfect peace in Jesus name Amen. our prayers go out to his family.

  17. chizzy

    February 28, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    RIP Legend, Naija which way? It is too appalling dt people like ds can’t ve some preference. Even some gratuity, dts nt fair pls, Government wake up!!!!!!!!

  18. chizzy

    February 28, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    RIP Legend, Naija which way? It is too appalling dt people like ds can’t ve some preference. Even some gratuity, dts nt fair pls, Government wake up!!!!!!! May ur soul rest in peace,

  19. MyView

    February 29, 2012 at 1:57 am

    Rest In Peace Sir. Condolence to Family.

  20. slyy

    February 29, 2012 at 2:26 am

    RIP Pa J, its so sad that after his interview where he cried out, nothing was done to help him,. The government needs to establish old people’s home for senior citizens in this country who have no means of fending for their selves, instead of stealing it nd putting it in foreign bank accounts… so much negligeence goin on this country…hiss!!!

  21. sijusida

    February 29, 2012 at 7:42 am

    This is sad & tragic… Nigerian actors what have you done for this man? All hope is not lost u can still do something for the family. RIP

  22. kem

    February 29, 2012 at 8:07 am

    was he ever appreciated in anyway, any thing at all, naija , it even more sad when i noticed only one update on my bbm yesterday, if it was amywine house, steve job, whitney etc, nigerians will carry it on our head, God help us to appreciate our own before forming forming famzy over sea…..RIP PA J

  23. dbaby

    February 29, 2012 at 8:44 am

    R.I.P MAY UR SOUL REST IN PEACE ..

  24. CECE

    February 29, 2012 at 8:47 am

    GIRINGORY,May ur soul rest in perfect peace. AMEN

  25. Beebee

    February 29, 2012 at 8:56 am

    RIP Sir…… God Be with your family at this difficult time…

  26. sandra

    February 29, 2012 at 9:17 am

    so sad but thank God he has gone to be with the one that will give him final rest…RIp may his soul rest in peace,,,

  27. christy

    February 29, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Nigeria is at best in pay encomium wen sumone s dead.v soon d president wil send hs condolence.

  28. ochy

    February 29, 2012 at 9:40 am

    such a touching story,we have lost a rare gem.may his soul rest gently.RIP GRINGORY,

  29. Ginika

    February 29, 2012 at 10:31 am

    So sad and such a touching story….

  30. eesha

    February 29, 2012 at 10:43 am

    RIP

  31. zinny

    February 29, 2012 at 11:42 am

    i will miss u,am a fan of urs,still have some of ur tapes & c.d plates………
    rest in peace SIR

  32. Personal Shopper

    February 29, 2012 at 11:54 am

  33. Yinka

    February 29, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    celebration of life is what it is

  34. UsaveOne

    February 29, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Gringory is a Legend. R.I.P!
    Check his videos.. http://usaveone.blogspot.com/

  35. ochy

    February 29, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    May his soul rest gently amen.

  36. immaculette

    February 29, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    rest in peace….Gringori akabuogu….honourable poor man of the european…you are a legend as far as comedy is concern,the KING of comedy…we will surely miss.Adieu great man

  37. onyx

    February 29, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Man, what a shame. Creating a show that was so successful and not receiving any royalties for it, plus the fact he was so impoverished at the end of his life. I do pray he died peacefully (as naive as that sounds) and rests in the Lord.

  38. JoyGirl

    February 29, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    RIP

  39. eazzie

    February 29, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Its a shame that when whitney houston and Amy winehouse and the others died, it was all over facebook, bbm’s as dp’s and twitter. it is so sad that a great man like this leaves the face of the earth and not even so much respect and attention is given him (except for the likes of BN and others). We do not appreciate our own and it is extremely sad. the other time enebeli elebuwa was ill like near death, there was little or no recognition or questions about his wellbeing (except for BN and others) but when prince charles was in hospital for a minor surgery, our people swooped in with condolence messages on all social networks. we must accept and appreciate our own.. but only God knows when. RIP sir and may God be with those you have left behind.

  40. fokasibe

    February 29, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Was so sad to hear this…RIP our Legend….

  41. Ayodele Bamidele

    February 29, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    We all respect and appreciate your works on earth,Our main prayer is for God to welcome your soul in his kingdom which we believe in faith that you are already beside our creator.We love cherish you but God love over you is everlasting.RIP SIR

  42. Ezekiel

    February 29, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Oga Gringory may your soul rest in bosom of our lord. Amen

  43. Kelechi James Iroha

    March 5, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    People,
    James had a roof over his head, maybe not the larger than life type!
    James had some health issues other than the blindness you know
    James has 4 sons and a daughter. And we’ll ever love him!
    James might not be happy, that’s because the system failed.
    James is a fast driver, became blind, and couldn’t handle being driven
    James has a way of speaking for the poor using himself (Honorable Poor man)
    James may not have given us 8-sq meals in a day, but we had 3.
    James gave people reasons to laugh; we had it as wash-down after dinner
    James recently has been said to be poor. We think this is very disrespectful!
    Hold-0n! James are you really dead?
    “I think I’ll like to relax now”
    -James Akwari Iroha OON
    1942-2012

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