I have not watched this D9 movie, but I have been asking questions and doing some little research on the film, since this whole brouhaha on the movie’s depiction of Nigeria and Olusegun Obasanjo became another distraction for our ‘re-branding but not re-branded’ government.
First of all, Peter Jackson, the producer of the film, is a hot Hollywood personality. One of his films includes Lord of the Ring. Neil Blomkamp, director of D9 movie is a South African, unknown in Hollywood. The movie is another Hollywood ‘collabo’ with other continents, where they can expand their dwindling movie market. You will recall the overwhelming success of the Slum Dog Millionaire, which featured one of India’s great movie legends, Anil Kapoor. With Bollywood, India is the second largest movie producing country in the world, next to America’s Hollywood. Nigeria, with Nollywood, is the third largest movie country in the whole world.

From my own calculation or deduction, from the emerging global or intercontinental politics and economics of movie making, intercontinental collaboration is becoming the vogue for the major objective of making more money and making big statements. And it was Hollywood that championed this idea. Since Slum Dog, which revolved around the unpleasant part of life in India, was a success, it is almost predictable that D9, which is exposing our already open yansh to the world, will turn out to make a great impact on the world movie scene.

The film is set 20 years after the arrival when District 9 has become an out-of-control ghetto run by Nigerian cat-food gangs. Yes, that’s right, cat-food gangs. One of the film’s more quirky twists sees the aliens addicted to cat food and like crack addicts, turning to crime and violence to feed their addiction.
Rather than solve the problem, the government decides to relocate District 9 out of the city and contracts a company called Multi-National United (MNU) to do the dirty work. The project is led by Wickus (Sharlto Copley), an over-confident and hapless middle manager (think David Brent from TV’s “The Office”) who tries to smile and laugh his way out of trouble, even as it becomes obvious the aliens are not going to move without a fight. What happens next? The twist, as it were, sees the film morph into an exhilarating sort of a sci-fi horror thriller.

The second half of the film features many thrilling action sequences and some mind-blowing special effects from executive producer, Peter Jackson’s Weta Workshop. However, it is Blomkamp’s ability to dodge yet another alien movie cliché (that the audience can’t empathise with the aliens) that makes “District 9” more than just a really good sci-fi movie.

District 9 is one of the most strikingly original and unconventional films in recent times, but probably due to “Lord of the Rings” director, Jackson producing it, it is also an extremely entertaining watch that will appeal to a broad audience. While it’s more of a boys’ movie, women who don’t mind the odd torture scene and baddies getting obliterated by cool alien weapons, will find an emotional reality to this film that may even have them shedding a couple of tears.

In District 9, a 2009 science fiction directed by Neill Blomkamp, written by Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell, and released on August 14, 2009, Nigerians are portrayed as voodoo experts, gangsters, drug dealers, pimps, prostitutes, cannibals and an unintelligent bunch of weapon traffickers. The film is already receiving rave reviews and coupled with the controversy it is generating in Nigeria and among Nigerians, which form a larger but active part of the world’s black population, the producers of that movie are dead on target on their objective of making real money on their multi billion naira film.

The point, here, is that the controversy the movie is generating is in their favour and whoever told them to choose Nigeria as the driving theme for their story did them a whole world of favour. Nigerians alone can account for a substantial percentage of patronage for the movie. Those who want to know more about the criminalized country called Nigeria will want to know what it is all about and so on. Those people can never lose, I tell you. Na market dem dey sell.
Secondly, there is no film or work of art that is censored or which has some controversy following it that doesn’t become a blockbuster.

They thrive on it because the attention that will be beamed on it when a government or a religious authority slams some form of censorship on it always ultimately translates into huge patronage for the movie or work of art. Passion of Christ and the Davichi Code are some of the examples that abound. So, I can’t imagine Peter Jackson and Neil Blomkamp rushing back to the studio to edit their film of the very part that will make their movie box office hit, just because Nigerian government frowned at it.

If na fake drug dem dey do now, yes we go fit win dat kind war. This is why I really sympathize with Madam Rebranding herself, my good friend and a woman I really respect, Prof Dora Akunyili. Now the true challenge of her new office as Information and Communication Minister, which Nigerians and many of her fans all over the world felt was not right for her, is coming out to face the poor woman with all its ugliness.

Thirdly, Nigeria is not the worst country in the world and so we may argue that we are not the only country where bad things happen, but we must face the issues raised in the controversial movie. Let us begin with the Obasanjo issue. While we can say Obasanjo did some good things in his reign as President, we are all living witnesses of how government lawlessness reigned supreme in his time. His unwarranted Wahala with the two governors of Anambra and Lagos States was not normal. The people of those states na dem sofa dat Wahala. Odi and Zaki Biam are there.

Remember the ‘normal’ festivities gifts of fuel price increases. Remember the billions of dollars he wasted on the electricity supply, which has got worse. It was in his time government came up with the ‘bobo’ (deception) of generating capacity and transmission or distribution capacity. Remember the elections he conducted that have become one of the world’s worst of all time.

You see, this is the problem we are forced to face as people of this, otherwise, great country, when those who rule us continue to chase shadows instead of tackling the substance. The annoying thing about this whole drama is that when government decides to be distracted, like this, it plunges all its arsenals (that should be used to make things work and make life better for its citizens) into irrelevances. That was how they spent so much energy chasing Big Brother Africa reality show. Today, Nigerians are watching the same thing the so-called concerned government fought against – through the backdoor, via Parental Control. Who are they fooling?

The Nigerian youth is the worst for all this nonsense going on and all rascality in government in the name of some sudden concern for a citizen whose real welfare it cares less for. D9 paints us as a country of prostitutes, gangsters and all that. But because of the bad situation enabled by bad governance, our able youths find havens outside our shores, unfortunately, to become some of these bad names the world say we are. The Italian prostitution story has been made a Nigerian thing for reasons we all know today. Kidnapping has left the Niger Delta creeks and entered our state capitals.

Human trafficking is even being aided by parents desperate to survive. We all know these things, so why are we pretending? We will be deceiving ourselves to think no one is watching. All this is happening because the people are hungry; the youths can’t get jobs. For those who are schooling, there are no schools to go to. Even when and where the schools are in session, there is no proper education to hold on to for the demands of survival of the times.

Whatever this government is holding as its point of pride against the barrage of bad names the world is pouring on us as a people are provided by the efforts and achievements of the exceptional Nigerian youths. But this government is yet to create the enabling environment for them to fully actualize their dreams. It is a pity. Really, it is a pity!