I hate to say, I said so, but I have to say this, if the movie stakeholders will realize their folly, and come together to really salvage the video industry. I warned for the past ten years that there is a big difference from being a cinematographer and videographers.
When this country recess started in 1983, some Yoruba boys took their VHS camera started making their usual crude home video, people like Zeb Ejiro, Nek Nnebue joined the gang with some NTA men, Chris Obirapu, Chika Onu to use the beta-cam to make home video.
The business conscious opportunists started importing empty VHS tapes from Asia. People like Pa Bornag, Okija, and Ossy Affason made millions importing empty tapes. Gab Okoye, Amaka Igwe, JBM, Infmity joined in and made hit video films. Suddenly, many people rushed into the home video industry. At the initial stage there were good stories with poor techniques, then the rush brought in technical equipment, which the untrained men could not use.
Before we knew what was happening, the beautiful Nollywood has been raped, abused and ruined. Now, it is an all comers affair. People just wake up to declare themselves filmmakers. We live in a lawless country where people do everything to break the law. This is my reason when I say I don’t envy a Nigerian president because the man is governing 140 million crooks. Most of us love to cheat, are ungrateful, hate to improve things and hate other people’s idea.
Once you see a Nigerian, you have seen the Home Video Industry. We have people in the movie industry who are only there to cause confusion. These touts are many in the home video business and to make matters worse, the Nigerian Film Industry have been having the wrong people at the hem of affairs. You can’t look back and see what the Nigerian Film Corporation has attained or done. They train movie students for what market.
The policy that created the Nigerian Film Corporation gave them power to produce films, sell, distribute, exhibit, joint productions, hire out equipments, sponsor films, support guilds, send stakeholders to festivals, build and buy exhibitions centers, acquire viewing centers and so on, which of the above have they achieved since 1999 till date?
All they do write rejoinders, take irrelevant people to festivals. Recently, they have been taking government officers, members of the House of Assembly. I ask the MD the same question, what did these officials learn or brought back to help, support or improve the industry. The Nigerian Film Corporation has been a big money drain, waste and they don’t care. When the Censors Board that wants to do something, the Film Corporation will write letters of protest behaving like a dog in the manger. As for the stakeholders that is made up of traders and tribalists, they are another case that have destroyed Nollywood.
There are over ten people using Nollywood to extort cash and getting away with broad day robbery. The Censors Board introduced the distribution idea, how about the productions that caused this major problem we have now. I have now set up our own version of Intergrity Group to impeach bad Guild President, bad DG, MD, Chairman, bad TV stations that are drawing the industry backwards. The Nigerian Film Industry is now a wanted bride. DAAR Communication, HiTV, NTA have 150 channels to cover, we the producers should be celebrating this opportunity.
If we don’t use our Intergrity Group to make them TV and Cable Stations give us our own 2417 Movie, documentary and Music channels we will see them dumping this country with foreign programmes. We will then start to cry, whereas we could have stopped them. At the moment some of the TV stations have yanked off local productions and dumped all these American rejected programmes on us. I am calling all the stakeholders, the parastatals and the Ministry of Information that all these bickering should stop. The government should not allow Nollywood to die.
Nollywood and these kids have done a lot to give this country a name and this country needs Nollywood as partner in their seven point agenda. Right now, all the movie guild presidents are busy fighting their executives, they are only there for their own personal gains. As the old man who has to put up with these power drunk men, I pity my health. For the past four months I have spent time in and outside hospitals.
My life was threatened, armed robbers invaded my street daily, guards and residence are killed, we have no light for three years, no road to enter or come out of Ilogbo-Eremi.
All these stress gave me a 220/140 blood pressure. I am aging fast and I need to run away to get some rest. Before I finish this sad story, I want to invite all of you to Abuja where we are having the second induction and Gala nite for the Movie Makers Hall of Fame. It is sad that our young musicians are being misled to shoot their musical video in South Africa. We forget that it has been the hard work of Kenny and D1 that our TV, radio stations can have hours of Nigerian music on air. These boys should stop robbing us of our earning by taking millions of naira to shoot videos in a country that hates our people.
I have vowed and many other Nigerian film makers will never go to South Africa. They have given me visa twice, but I don’t have the enthusiasm to go to that place. Nigeria whether you like it, we lead, own and direct Africa.
The videographers should come and join my Intergrity group to fight for our survival. Fidelis Duker has a nice children reality show, he can’t get sponsors, Enyiocha is using film to support NAFDAC, he finds it hard to get sponsors. The disjointed Art writers should come together to support and fight for the growth of the industry.
There will never be a virile movie industry if we continue to work alone. Film is an expensive project, but if you shoot a good film, you make good money. When an ignorant Yoruba actor can be so envious to say that Nollywood is at Idumota. Where is Yoruba ANTP, is it at Oko Baba? We must watch our mouths because others too can talk. Such bad statements has been the problem of movie industry in Nigeria. As far as I am concern, we are one and remain one.