‘His death has created a vacuum and the entire Nigerian movie industry will miss his brilliance and creativity. Without this rugged man on the horizon,, Pat has left the skyline empty.’
I RECEIVED with a rude shock by midday yesterday, the sad news of the demise of a man whose appearance as a walking piece of artwork bestrode the Nigerian moviedom like the giant he was.
Patto my neighbour – as those of us close to him used to call him – did not only live his art, he wore his callings and drove it.
Pat Nebo was a totally rugged artistic package. From his cow-boy fedora hat, and his John-player moustache to his top-to-bottom rugged jeans and his taste for Volvo and Landrover or anything rugged, Pat would always leave a solid and lasting impression; the image of a man as hard as they come.
But then, Pat was a gentle giant.
A man of peace. His humility was enviable too. Our parts first crossed when we worked together on the sets of Twins of the Rainforest and A Place Called Home, two films we shot back to back for the maiden edition of MNET’s New Directions. Pat handled set design and construction while I was props master.
Twins of the Rainforest was a period movie and Pat left no stone unturned. The vivid picture of the old truck he brought on set and the colonial structure he built still remains a wonder to anybody who witnessed how Pat transformed the bare Isoko Village skyline into a colonial-era Nigeria with a combination of installation art and well-researched decor. I remember how we used to tease him that he should make the long-dead truck move, but then, that was not part of the story so it wasn’t necessary.
We remained close afterward as his workshop was a stone’s throw from my house in Akowonjo.
If Pat was not the final choice as set man on any film project in Nigeria it must have been due to budget.
Throughout his creative lifetime, Pat enjoyed unquestioned top-of-mind patronage. He would be the first to be called but then, soup wey sweet na better money kill am. That was why I missed working with him on Tight Rope, Saworoide, and a few other projects I worked on.
Pat tried to invite me to his house but for his ferocious dogs which he jokingly hinted me about (part of his wanting to make solid impressions), I still wonder what he needed all those dogs for!
His death has created a vacuum and the entire Nigerian movie industry will miss his brilliance and creativity. Without this rugged man on the horizon,, Pat has left the skyline empty. Rest in peace, dear soldier.