With Eddie Ugbomah
It seems nobody has been able to talk sense into the head of our Information Minister. This is a lady, who has just decided to shoot herself by the foot. On one side, she begs Nollywood to assist in REBRANDING. And the other side, she has condemned Nollywood.
This is a Professor we expect a lot from, but because she seems to be ignorant of the massive job given her based on all her achievements in NAFDAC, this means that the minister has a great task to rebrand Nigeria.
But I want Dora Akunyili to tell me who has ever made this country a place to talk about. When we go on holidays, or doing business abroad, the first thing people ask for is Nigerian film. Love music and romantic dance from the trademark of Indian films,just as Kungfu, jumping and kicking are the styles of the typical Chinese or Japanese film.
The video or cults our madam is referring to are the African cinema. Instead of totally condemning Nigerian films, this lady should be fighting on how to improve Nigerian films technically by assisting the industry financially, American or Indian film costs a minimum $200m while our film costs $5,000. Prof. should wake up from her slumber and seriously apologize to Nigerian filmmakers. She had a bad dream so let us forgive her and advise her to apologize. In Nigeria, we have the underfunded NTA College in Jos, the Nigerian Film Institute in Jos, the well-organized PEFTI in Lagos, the newly, established exclusive Edifosa Movie Academy and some mushroom private training centres. These have not been exploited, yet a the minister is telling us about New York Academy.
From the look of things,Nigeria wants to bring New York Film Academy to Nigeria for N400,000.00 per month, what a waste and exploitation! The Nigerian Film Corporation has been hosting the foreign programme called ‘SHOOT’ free of charge for stakeholders. This workshop and training are always free and have been on for the past three years. Mr. Idahosa should look in and see that there are enough training centres here in Nigeria and if he wants to help, he should join us by getting us equipment and technical support. We don’t need these whitemen to teach us what we already know. Like Fela said, teacher don’t teach me nonsense. The Rivers State Government has given N1biilion to some white film festival promoters, while Zain has given them financial and moral support for the Ion Film Festival. But the Nigeria Film Corporation and Censors Board, that always complain of no cash, have given these whitemen official backing. This shows our inferiority complex and I don’t blame the white people making a fool of Nigerian filmmakers.
Early this year, Prof. Akunyili promised to assist Nollywood, but I told the poor stakeholders that the minister would only tell them what she wanted to hear or believe while she would have other ideas. This is why she has watched Emeka Mba and Afolabi gradually destroy the movie industry. The officers’ tenures were reviewed, because she felt that they are doing well.
Madam, I am very sorry for you and your speech writers, advisers and your political team. For your information, South Africa doesn’t produce films like we do. Their last film was TUTSY, a film about ghettos, slums, street boys and, everything that is negative about South Africa. To fool them, this film won the foreign film award in the U.S. No part of Africa makes more film as we do even with the meagre budgets. What Nollywood seriously need now is support, assistance and encouragements. I have been warning the stakeholders to ignore all government support. The last three programmes – Abuja Film Festival, Movie Maker Hall of Fame and the recent Eko-AMP Festival went on without the Federal Government (Ministry of Information and Communications) but Nigerians are always their own enemy, because we always run ourselves down and we all have (Ph.D) Pull Him Down Syndrome.
But the fact is that we are better trained than these men people bring to insult us. I remember when the Babangida administration brought some white filmmakers to do a documentary for his visit to England. The bad treacherous white men refused to go to Kaduna, Warri and Port Harcourt. They went to film the Gwari women carrying load on their shoulders with their bare breasts. They went to Lagos Lagoon at Elegbata to film naked women. These people paid one of our staff who was to supervise them $40 daily and kept him at Eko Hotel. Unfortunately for the whitemen, I was quietly monitoring their movements.
I met them at the Lagos Lagoon pretending to be a novice, who loves film. They showed me all the films they have shot in the North and South. Before they knew it, I threw these exposed celluloid films into the lagoon. They told the police who were ready to shoot me or arrest me because they are guests of the President. When the police rushed at me with their guns, I warned them to wait, I showed them my official car and my card. It was then I was told that our man from Nigerian Film Corporation was in the hotel. So, they collected their $20m while with the support of Prince Tony Momoh who was not informed about these foreign filmmakers put our heads together to do new films.
Managing Director Brendan Shehu and Eddie Ugbonnah were given cash to print the Film Corporation’s existing documentaries. They were the films Babangida took to London. I promise to to give Dora Akunyili more information and advice but I want to end this essay by calling on my colleagues and friends all over the world that GEORGE BUSH and TONY BLAIR should be arrested and taken to the World Court in the HAGUE for treason and murder, genocide for the lies they told the world, after killing over one million Iragis and united army fools. The world should let America know that we have watched them enough misleading us. GEORGE BUSH and TONY BLAIR should be arrested today. If they even bring them to Nigeria for trial, enough is enough.