Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m Alex Enyegho, a filmmaker. I was Secretary General of the Association of Movie Producers (AMP) for six years and currently I head the Association of Core Movie Producers (ANCOP) as President.
What is the problem with the formation of the Coalition of Guilds and Association in Nollywood. Were you not consulted?
Well, we were never approached and we are saying it is a deliberate move by the handlers of CONGA to keep us in the dark. On the day of the inauguration of CONGA, there was another industry organised by the US Embassy in Nigeria, which ANCOP was fully involved. It was a two-day event that includes a master class and we saw that as an opportunity to train our members in documentary filmmaking. Some of us don’t even understand the power of documentary. Even I as a filmmaker have never shot a documentary. So, it is to me an eye opener and we took it seriously. However we were not invited or involved in CONGA and the point is, you cannot shave my hair in my absence. ANCOP is a properly registered association. Most of our members are major stakeholders in Nollywood in terms of investments. They are the employers of the likes of Bond Emeruwa and his co-travellers. We are not saying that they should not exist, of course they have the right to associate, but there must be a line and that is the fact that they are only representing their members — those who have willingly subscribed to it. They cannot claim to be representing Nollywood. It is very dangerous if we allow that to go unchallenged because they are less than five per cent of the entire Nollywood they claim to represent. We just thought we should make our position known.
How come they represent only five per cent of the entire Nollywood when indeed your ANCOP is just a body for producers?
I will tell you categorically that it is just a few people claiming that they are representing Associations and Guilds. We are talking to other associations who feel very bad about this because the truth of the matter is that even within the so-called Guilds people are still not being carried along. Some of our members are members of the Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN). When last was a meeting of DGN called to agree on CONGA? There are several of our members that are members of DGN — a meeting has never been called. If you are going into this type of alliance, you must carry people along. I challenge Paul Obazele, Bond Emeruwa, Tony Anih and Iyen Agbonifo who has become something of a sole administrator of the Creative Designers Guild (because she has been there for about 10 years), to bring minutes of meeting where it was resolved that the Associations or Guilds should join the alliance. Also Emma Nsikikau claims to be representing the interest of marketers and distributors and most people in Alaba are not involved. Besides the President of the only government recognised association for distributors, which is the Motion Picture Distributors Association of Nigeria going by the distribution framework of the Censors Board, Chief Onyi Gab Okoye, is not even aware of the existence of CONGA or was never consulted.
So, you are averse to the setting up of CONGA, which is like uniting the industry?
No, we are not against unity. In fact let me state clearly that we are not averse to unity because that is the main problem that is bedeviling Nollywood as at today. But we are of the opinion that things must be done right, which is the reason we are protesting and which is also why we are stressing the setting up of the Motion Picture Practitioners Council of Nigeria (MOPPICON). That for us is the only way forward. That is the kind of umbrella body we are looking at. It will be backed up by law and mandatory for all to join. But the law does not back CONGA; they have not even built a consensus. I mean take the crisis in the Actors Guild of Nigeria for instance. Which faction will they say is in CONGA? Is it the Segun Arinze faction of the Emeka Ike’s or the Chuma Onwudiwe faction? So, which faction went into CONGA? We are not averse to unity and even if we were to be part of it, we would not have accepted a Bond Emoruwa to head the CONGA because it is an anomaly. It is sad that in a joint union of employees and employers, an employee now assumes the leadership of the union. But we maintain that MOPPICON is the answer for us. It will streamline everything and ensure that people conform.
Why did you break out from the AMP in the first place and will it be healthy to have a break out group and the parent association AMP sitting on the board of the coalition?
Well I don’t think AMP has a right of association more than we do. In any case it was the lack of clear rules and irreconcilable differences based on the charade called election in August 2009 in the Association of Movie Producers (AMP) that led to the formation of ANCOP. We felt that rather than engage in illegality and join issues with people who were so desperate to come back to power the second time, we had to move on. Paul Obazele knew that the guy who was going to contest with him (Teco Benson) will win on a level playing field in terms of integrity and understanding the direction producers should go. But he (Paul) brought in brigandage to the election. Dickson Ireogbu and I were molested and most people, too. Tugs were imported to vote. The sad aspect was that those who would have handled the tasty situation turned out being the greatest disappointment — the board of trustees. I am talking of Chief Edie Ugbomah and Zeb Ejiro. They were big disappointments. They could not resolve the problem. In fact we have Eddie Ugbomah on tape telling someone not to allow an Igbo person to become president of AMP again. Imagine someone with a national honour reducing himself to an ethnic champion. But we were not surprised because we have reduced the board of trustees of what is supposed to be a national association to a sectional board. All the active members of the board are from Delta State — Chief Eddie Ugbomah, Chief Zeb Ejiro and Joe Dudun. That is not a national association and that is one reason we left AMP to form ANCOP. Let producers choose, which guild they want to belong. The members wanted a change and we saw that Teco Benson represented that change. When we didn’t get him in, we moved out. Thank God today we are one year old as an association and as I always tell people, ANCOP has a membership that is as old as Nollywood