February 28th marked the fifth anniversary of the death of James Iroha, better known as Gringory from the 80’s television series The New Masquerade. On March 4th his colleague and friend Chika Okpala (Chief Zebrudaya Okoroigwe Nwogbo alias 4:30) was honoured at the 2017 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards.
The veteran comic received the Industry Merit Award for all of his years of entertaining audiences of several generations. Along with his trophy, he went home with a brand new SUV automobile.
While Gringory made no bones about his financial status when he was alive, Chief Okpala always joked about the Member of the Order of the Niger title he received from the Nigerian government, saying it was M.O.N without the ‘E-Y’.
The recipient of Industry Merit Award category was not announced before hand; Chief Zebrudaya was just as surprised and delighted as the audience.
Although Okpala acknowledged Nkem Owoh as one of his writers when he was the producer of New Masquerade (who was on hand to present him with the award), he unfortunately forgot to mention the departed James Iroha in his acceptance speech.