Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde
The life of fame might be appealing, especially for celebrities, but it comes with its trappings.
While in recent times, economies the world over have taken a hit,
Nigeria’s situation appears to be more daunting, giving rise to a mass exodus of citizens.
There was a time in Nigeria when primarily young people sought greener pastures outside the country. Later, entire families began to relocate abroad.
Today, however, everybody, including celebrities, desires to leave the country, giving rise to the street slang, ‘Japa’, which means to flee.
Below, in no particular order, is a list of Nigerian celebrities who, for one reason or another, have taken the bait and relocated outside of Nigeria to pursue other endeavours.
Fans of the popular Wale Adenua Production’s, ‘Papa Ajasco and Company’, will be familiar with the eccentric Miss Pepeiye, portrayed by Leona Mazur.
Although her film career did not peak as many would expect, the actress had her day in the popular family series during her run.
Ms Mazur is now based in Florida, United States of America and married to an American Diplomat.
In a recent interview, the former actress revealed that her decision to relocate was drawn from a desire to find stability to complete her education, which she eventually did.
Having lived in the U.S. for about a decade and bagged an Accounting degree at the University of Central Florida, she moved to the Netherlands with her family in December 2020.
Not many present-day entertainment buffs may remember the name Kaha, but he held his own down in the Nigerian entertainment scene in the late 90s and early to mid-2000s.
Emmanuel Nzemeke, the US-based Nigerian artiste, is famed for his hit song, ‘Heart-Robber,’ featuring 2Baba.
The singer relocated a few years ago, where he now divides his interests between music, showbiz promotion and a car dealership business, Enzee Autos.
Nigerian actor Bayo Bankole is another actor who found fame after starring in ‘Papa Ajasco and Company.
Bankole became famous for portraying the character of Boy Alinco, the dashing but mischievous dude who attempts but repeatedly fails to be the ladies’ man.
After his run in the series was cut short due to some changes by the producers, Alinco, as he came to be known in movie circles, left the shores of the country to seek greener pastures.

In 2018, it was reported that he was involved in a motor accident in the US.
The actor said relocating to the United States has not affected his career as he still features in some movies over there.
He is also involved in promotions of all kinds, working with actors and musicians.’
The veteran actress may have fallen off the radar, but the reason is not farfetched. The beautiful, light-skinned actress held sway at the birth of the Nigerian movie industry dubbed Nollywood, making a name for herself in blockbusters like ‘Living in Bondage’ and ‘Nneka the Pretty Serpent’.
Nzelu, a movie producer, relocated to the United Kingdom after marrying Simeon Okoro.
Doris Simeon, the ex-wife of filmmaker Danie Ademinokan, has reportedly made the United States of America her second home.
According to reports, the actress left Nigerian shores years back and has yet to return home.
Reports say her reason was to be close to her son, David, whom she shares with Daniel. She has also been spotted on several movie sets since she moved to the U.S.
Shade Omoniyi, more popularly known as Lepa Shandy, is a Nigerian Yoruba movie actress.
She is ranked as one of the pioneers of the Yoruba movie industry. Her run in the industry earned her the moniker Lepa Shandy, a character she played in a movie with the same title.
The actress relocated to Dublin after her failed marriage some years back and later remarried and welcomed a child.

In the list of entertainers who left the country’s shores for greener pastures some years back is actor Wale Adebayo, popularly known as Sango.
In later interviews, the actor stated that he didn’t wish to relocate to the United States of America at the time he did.
According to him, emigrating to America wasn’t by choice but was fueled by the situation in Nigeria.
The Yoruba actor, another alumnus of Wale Adenuga Production, but in the ‘Super Story’ imprint, was quoted as saying that it was pretty disheartening despite the effort he put into his acting career, he didn’t get the best from it.
Although he is still visible in the Nigerian entertainment scene, rave-making singer Dapo Oyebanjo is now based in Dubai with his wife Lineo and two children.
The former Mo’Hits honcho artiste is known for many things, one of which is popularising the phrase ‘No Long Thing’, the title of his second album.
He was recently appointed by Dubai’s Department for Economy and Tourism, DET, formerly known as Dubai Tourism, as the Official Afrobeat Artist of the AfroZons Dubai Soundoff, which took place in March this year.
D’banj, who has received numerous international awards like the Best International Act (Africa) at the 2011 BET Awards and Best-Selling African Artist at the 2014 World Music Awards, has been an Icon for Afrobeat music for over a decade.
Famous rapper and one of the pioneers of Nigerian hip-hop, William Iroha, popularly known as 2shotz, also made it to the list of those who have left the country’s shores to seek other endeavours.
2shots, known for his unique rap style in the early 2000s, enjoyed the same reviews as 9ice, Eedris Abdulkareem and a few others.
His sixth studio album in 2013.
In 2016, the artist made his way out of the country. Reports show that the artiste is now a photographer and a filmmaker in America.
He currently covers ceremonies, parties, and events in texas.
Before relocating, the artiste, who founded the Umunammu music group, was tied to allegations of domestic violence case with his wife, Precious Jones.
Veteran actress Sandra Achums entered the Nigerian movie industry in 1995 with a movie titled ‘Deadly Affair’.
The film would eventually become a classic and her stepping stone into the limelight.
Between 1995 and 2006, the actress put in work starring in over 50 movies.
In 2006, however, she left her acting career and relocated to Germany for her family. She currently lives in Germany with her family, whom she repeatedly states are her number one priority.
One of the pioneers of Nollywood, talented actress, writer, producer and film director, Dolly Unachukwu, started her acting career at 16.
She was first featured in a television programme junior drama in 1985 as a secretary. Later that year, she was cast in the prime-time soap opera ‘Mirror in the Sun’. She also started in ‘Fortunes’, which shot her to the limelight.
She made her debut in films in ‘Deadly Affair’ I and II. she also starred in the controversial movie, ‘Glamour Girls’.
The actress, who bagged a B.A. (Hons) degree in Film Studies from East London University, now lives in England. She relocated in 2000 to join her then-husband, but her marriage broke down as soon as she got there.
After a run in some of Nollywood’s most acclaimed movies, pretty boy Patrick Uchenna Attah left Nigeria and relocated to Germany, where he got married.
Simply known as Pat Attah, the actor warmed his way into the hearts of Nigerian film lovers, especially for his good looks.
Attah, a guitarist and philanthropist, ventured into music after leaving the country’s shores.
In the same league as Attah is none other than actor Emeka Ike. who made his foray into the Nigerian movie industry in the movie ‘Deadly Affair’.
Also based in Germany, like Attah, Emeka Ike was the subject of several controversies.
From his days as the factional president of the Actors Guild of Nigeria to the controversies surrounding his marriage, he has made news headlines.
Now based in Nuremberg, Germany, the star actor recently welcomed a baby girl with his new wife.
Pioneer actress Omotola Jalade Ekeinde is one Nollywood star who can boast a controversy-free career.
With over 25 years in the industry, the actress has been everywhere.
Her first acting role was in the 1995 film ‘Venom of Justice. Her first major role closely followed this in the film ‘Mortal Inheritance’.
The actress, who is married to a pilot, Matthew Ekeinde, is now based in Los Angeles, California, with three of her children, Meraiah, Micheal and Mathew Jnr.
According to information, the actress is looking to break into the American movie industry dubbed Hollywood and has even engaged the services of a talent company.
In an earlier interview, Omotola explained that she has been reluctant to relocate abroad despite opportunities to do so because of her marriage.
For all his success in the Afrobeats genre, Nigerian singer and record label executive, Ayodeji Balogun, better known as Wizkid, has joined his colleagues who have opted for a life outside the shores of this country.
The singer now operates mainly from the United States.
With about 15 years of experience in the Nigerian music industry, the singer has put in work, earning him accolades.
Wizkid recently made headlines when some undergraduate communication studies students of a university in Ohio, USA, reportedly chose to study him as part of their project.
In a clip that surfaced online, the students could be seen watching his ‘Essence’ music video, featuring Tems.
Even though she is relatively new in the Nigerian entertainment space, Nigerian singer, Temilade Openiyi, popularly known as Tems, has had more accolades than most who have been here for long.
From winning the Best International Act at the 2022 BET Awards to being described as ‘the future’ by the acclaimed Rolling Stone magazine, Tems has almost seen it all. Her feature in ‘Essence’ with Wizkid fetched her fame, setting her on a global pedestal.
Tems, who recently came down with an ailment that made her pause her singing career, is now based in America.
Olumide Adegbulu, known by his stage name Olu Maintain is now based in the United States of America.
In his star days, the singer co-founded the musical group known as Maintain, with his cousin.
Between 1998 and 2004, the group released six albums.
Olu rose to prominence in May 2007 with the release of the monster hit song ‘Yahooze.’
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