Kanayo. O. Kanayo biography, background, career achievements, net worth

In this post, Platinum Times Nigeria chronicles the biography and career achievements of veteran Nollywood actor, Kanayo. O. Kanayo.

Kanayo O. Kanayo, whose real name is Anayo Modestus Onyekwere, is a veteran Nigerian actor, philanthropist, and lawyer.

His performance in the film Family Battle earned him the 2006 Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

Profile summary

Name: Anayo Modestus Onyekwere, MFR

Date of birth: 1st March, 1962

State of origin: Mbaise, Imo State, Nigeria

Education: University of Lagos

Career: Actor, Lawyer

Spouse: Nneka Onyekwere

Religion: Christianity


Kanayo is an indigene of Nru Umueze Oboama Ezinihitte in Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State, born on 1st March, 1962.


Although he hails from Imo State, Kanayo grew up in Aba, Abia State where he attended St. Joseph primary school and Secondary Technical School, Aba.

He graduated from the University of Lagos with a graduate degree in philosophy, a diploma in law, and a diploma in mass communication and afterwards master’s degree in political sciences.

Additionally, in 2018 he graduated with a law degree from the University of Abuja, and in 2020 he was called to the Nigerian Bar.


Kanayo started his acting career in 1982, acting in productions by the Nigerian Television Authority.

He gained widespread recognition for his iconic role as Chief Justice in the classic Nollywood movie of 1992, “Living in Bondage,” which remains a favorite among his fans.

His most recent movies are Up North and Living in Bondage: Breaking Free.

He has featured in multiple Nollywood productions including “Lion Heart” and the sitcom “Professor Johnbull”, however, he is known for playing the role of a Villain in these productions especially in films relating to occultic practices.

He is known for his captivating performances in both lead and supporting roles, earning critical acclaim and accolades for his work.

In addition to his acting career, Kanayo O. Kanayo is also a qualified lawyer, having obtained a degree in Law from the University of Abuja.

He is actively involved in legal practice and has used his expertise to contribute to various legal initiatives and advocacy efforts in Nigeria.

Political Career

In 2011, he contested for the Chair of Imo State House of Representatives but lost.

In 2018, he contested for representative of Ahiazu/Ezinihitte Mbaise in the Federal House Of Representatives under the political party APGA but lost.


With a career spanning several decades, Kanayo O. Kanayo has appeared in numerous movies, television shows, and stage productions, showcasing his ability to portray a wide range of characters with depth and authenticity, some of these movies includes;

  • Living in Bondage
  • Circle of Doom
  • Nneka the Pretty Serpent
  • Blood Money: The Vulture Men
  • Festival of Fire
  • Battle of Love
  • Billionaire’s Club
  • Across the Niger
  • Money is Money
  • Living in Bondage: Breaking Free
  • Detour


Coupled with his acting career, Kanayo O. Kanayo is known for his philanthropic endeavors and commitment to giving aid to the needy.

He founded the Kanayo O. Kanayo Mentoring Academy, a non-profit organization that provides mentorship and educational support to young people in Nigeria so as to help them achieve their full potential.

Private life

Kanayo. O. Kanayo is a Christian and he is happily married to Nneka Onyekwere and together they have four children.

Kanayo. O. Kanayo together with his wife


He was conferred with a national honor as the Member of the Federal Republic (MFR) in 2014.

Special Recognition Award at the 2012 Africa Movie Academy Awards.

He was nominated in 2008 for Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in the movie Across the Niger.

Africa Movie Academy Awards as Best Actor in a Leading Role in 2006.

Special Recognition Award at the 2012 Africa Movie Academy Awards.

Golden Icons Academy Movie Awards as  Best Actor.

He equally holds a chieftaincy title in his community.

Net worth

With over two decades of success in the film industry, the veteran actor has amassed a wealth of over $2 Million.

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