During my series of notes in the run up to Nigeria’s fiftieth independence anniversary, I expressed a desire to grow Nigeria’s entertainment industry into a world class one where we would see Nollywood movies being played in theaters and grossing hundreds of millions of Naira as well as have recording artists like Tuface Idibia, Dbanj, Banky W, P-Square, Timi Dakolo, Weird MC and co selling millions of records and generating wealth for themselves, their record companies, marketers and tour promoters and by so doing expanding the non oil sector of the economy.

Now in furtherance of this, I have just attended the 30th anniversary celebrations of the Silverbird group where I announced a Federal investment of 200 million dollars (about 30 billion naira) as a direct intervention lifeline for the exclusive purpose of supporting artist and developing our entertainment industry. This may not be a lot of money, but it is a beginning. In seeking to diversify Nigeria’s revenue base, we must think outside the box and I am expectant that this fund will make Nigeria the African entertainment capital in the not too distant future. It is my vision that every producer whether in the film or music industry, every actor or actress, fashion designers or artist must have opportunity to access cheap, long-term funding to grow their business: make movies, write hit songs, build malls, build cinemas, provide jobs and give hope to our people! GEJ

Celebs reaction to President Jonathan’s promise:

Nollywood thrived without the government, so the government will make a huge mistake to make a promise and fail. Nollywood will still succeed with or without the government. The government should be weary of that but if Nollywood succeeds without the government. Nollywood will be churning out a world view that the government will be worried about because you would have left it to charlatans; but if the government controls it, then we can have some form of order

– Fred Amata

‘It’s a welcome development and a great idea’

– Segun Arinze

‘Oh yes, I expect that if the president makes a promise he’ll keep his promise so I think it will materialize and it’s about time too because Nollywood is about the largest fast growing movie industry in this region ,and the bane of the industry so far has been adequate funding because you need money to make good films. So with more money, we’ll get better films and people will enjoy going out more to watch movies’

– Grace Egbagbe

‘By all means, he’s a man of his word. We’ll expect to see the manifestation and the result of the $200million offered’

– Zack Orji

‘I think it’s very promising for our industry but seriously we’re here to stay, we are not going anywhere because we need to grow and we’re all happy about that. Well, it’s for us to make sure that they keep to their promise so we need to hold on to their words. Hence, the entertainment industry as a whole is going to grow’

– Stephanie Okereke

‘I think it’s about time, a good thing and a smart move on the President’s part. $200million is some money, it’s not a fortune. Well since they haven’t told us how it’ll work, I prefer to be optimistic and it’s obvious to anybody who’s looking that the entertainment industry in Nigeria will succeed anyway, so it’s a good thing to get on the bandwagon now. I do think that this time around, things will be different. I don’t know the kind of person he is, so I can’t speak on his behalf but I like to be hopeful and if I were the president I would make sure I do it’