The year is gradually drawing to an end and in a matter of days we will be heralding the New Year. But while welcoming the New Year, it is pertinent to take a look at what made headlines in the Nigerian entertainment scene during the course of year 2009.
African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA): This year’s AMAA in April was a wake-up call to all movie makers and producers in Nollywood who before now had thought they were the best around Africa. A Kenyan movie about the 1997 bombing of the US Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, titled From A Whisper with good editing, good sound, good picture and good directing, carted home the AMAA for best picture, best director, best screenplay, best original soundtrack and AMAA achievement in editing.
PMAN finally gets a president: The Performing Musicians Employers Association of Nigeria (PMAN) during the year, got a president in the person of Admiral Dele Abiodun, following interlocutory injunction restraining Tee Mac, Dureke and Okey Dike from parading themselves as PMAN executives granted by Justice L.G.A. Marsh of the Ikeja High Court in April this year. After the judgment Dele Abiodun took over office as PMAN president.
AGN leadership crisis: It seems there is no end to the fight for presidency of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN). The fight started in June this year when the Board of Trustees led by Prince Ifeanyi Dike told then president Ejike Asiegbu to step aside while Kanayo.O. Kanayo was appointed head of a new caretaker committee set up. As reaction to that development, Ejike conducted an election and Segun Arinze emerged president but this was not accepted by the caretaker committee, whose duty it was to conduct elections come December.
Weeks back, the Board of Trustees asked the caretaker committee to step aside and set up a Government of National Unity headed by Segun Arinze, the caretaker committee refused and on December 19 they organized their own elections and Emeka Ike won. It seems the fight for the soul of AGN is far from over.
Globacom endorses actors, actresses and comedians: It was a year of fun and raking in of millions for entertainers as communication giant, Globacom, endorsed many of them as its ambassadors. One of the comedians enjoying the Glo millions is Bright Okpocha (Basket Mouth). Musicians like D’banj, Ego Ogbaro, Sammie Okposo, Pasuma, Sunny Neji, Ekwe, Sanny Danja are also ambassadors of Glo while actors like Van Vicker, Chioma Chukwuka, Monalisa Chinda, Rita Dominic, Uche Jombo, Funke Akindele, Ini Edo, Nihu Ali, Kate Henshaw, Mike Ezuruonye, Nonso Diobi, Jim Iyke, Desmond Elliot are also on board.
Guinness Plc celebrates 250 years: In October this year, Guinness Plc Worldwide celebrated 250 years of the brand with musicians performing on different stages around the world and their performances being beamed to music lovers at various bars across the world. In Nigeria, award winning Jamaican, born King of Dance hall, Sean Paul, was on hand to thrill the crowd backed up by DJ Jimmy Jatt, M.I, Wande Coal, D’banj, P-Square, Tu Face, all of who gave a good account of themselves.
Star Beer celebrates 60 years: In the spirit of celebration, Star beer celebrated 60 years of the brand in the country in July. As part of the celebration, guests were required to be dressed up in all blue ensemble as the best dressed was to win prizes. Headliner of performances for the celebration was D’banj.
Musicians go on hunger strike for piracy: The musicians decided that it was time to stop the Alaba market traders from pirating their works and so to drive home their point, especially to the government they came together at the National Theatre for the hunger strike.
Their protest which also included no music on air for some hours, seemed not to have gone very far as government is yet to shut down the Alaba market, which was the specific request by the stakeholders in the music industry who had gathered in August to make their demands known in a world press congress.
Remi Abiola and Caroline Johnson bow out: Yoruba actress Remi Abiola died July 29 in New Jersey, USA of kidney complications. She had been living in New Jersey since last year after a visit there with some artistes for a programme.
And just last week Caroline Johnson died of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (cancer of the blood). The mother of three who acted as Uju in the popular Christian soap Heavens Gate had been diagnosed of the disease last year when she was still pregnant with her last baby who was later delivered prematurely.
Kidnapping moves to Nollywood: In the month of August, veteran actor, Pete Edochie, was kidnapped in Awka, Anambra state. Stories had it that the kidnappers demanded about N10 million as ransom before the actor was released. After his release, all thought it was the end of such story in Nollywood but on November 9, news was rife that popular comedian of the Ukwa and Osofia in London fame, Nkem Owoh had been kidnapped along Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway, he was released later that week.
This trend has been condemned by stakeholders in the industry and this is hoping it will not return in the new year.
Nigerian wins Big Brother Africa: It was with equal happiness and excitement that avid watchers of the just concluded Big Brother Africa awaited announcement of the winner and when show host and Nigeria’s IK announced Nigeria’s Kelvin Chuwang-Pam as winner, it was victory for Africa. Kelvin had floored the remaining four housemates in the house with 11 countries voting for him. He took home the prize money of $.2m