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When Nollywood Tells Our Story

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When dealing with whom you know, always apply the laws first. Pardon the fellow when the law entangles him. By so doing you would live in peace with those you know!

Ghana’s Tourist, Villas offers an unforgettable holiday and business experience in Accra.

Each time the swashbuckling Minister of Information and Communications (read Re-branding), Mrs Dora Akunyili shares a podium with Nollywood practitioners or adventurers, she takes her time to give Nollywood a good dressing down. She cuts the picture of a stringent headmistress cautioning errant school children.

Daily Triumph Newspaper of November 2009 carried just an ounce of Minister Akunyili’s peppered vitriolics against the forces aligned against her mission to rescue Nigeria’s image. She blamed Nollywood for Nigeria’s poor image and charged her to tell our own stories. She said the same thing few weeks into her appointment as Minister at an interactive workshop with Nollywood practitioners in Lagos. And I suspect, she says it everyday. She’s after all a Minister; all they do is say things.

Had Dora Akunyili not being a Minister, she might have understood the inanity of her assertion but as I fear the cordial distance Nigerian public officials maintain with reality has a way of deodorizing the embarrassing stench of empty reason. But that is hardly surprising as it emanates from a Ministry where trite ideas are routinely granted a new lease and executed with zeal that borders on mania.

How on earth will anyone blame Nollywood for Nigeria’s sorry image? Did Nollywood invent Juju or 419? Is the President of Actors Guild of Nigeria operating from Aso Rock? Pray, are Aki and Paw Paw Senate President and Vice President? Is Genevieve the Minister of Power or is Desmond Elliot the Minister of Works and Housing? Even Pete Edochie, a strong advocate of re-branding was kidnapped by a bunch of renegades the police cannot find even if they were to raise their hands in a gathering.

Minister Akunyili keeps charging Nollywood to tell our own stories, frankly, I would be very disturbed the day Nollywood begins to tell our story. The reason is that our story, quite frankly, without putting too fine a point on it, is a glorified mess.

In President’s Yar Adua’s Independence Day speech the dearth of concrete, measurable achievement led him to urge Nigerians to at least be grateful to still be alive. This is a government that returns to the treasury half of the year’s budgetary expenditure at the end of each fiscal year because it is peopled by charlatans of the first order who are so dumb they don’t even know how to spend money!

Isn’t it an irony that Nigeria is on the list of countries with the highest immigration rate to other countries only rivalled by Afghanistan and Iraq  countries at war? Sundays, a maze of crowd so thick you won’t even recognize your mother flood churches and Fridays, normal activities are grounded because Nigerians have gone to find God. Yet God hardly factors in their thoughts and actions. Our politicians swear with the bible or Koran and it is common knowledge that they hold the key to the squandering of our hope. The clowns at the National Assembly have spent more days deciding how to amend the constitution than it took to write the damn document.

And come to think of it, how many times have the budget made provision for the Benin-Ore road and why is it still a death-trap? How come university students sat at home for four months due to a protracted strike and the education Minister’s children school abroad? How come we still have a ministry of health when public officials travel abroad to treat catarrh? How come we are one of the leading oil producing nations in the world and we still import fuel? How come after almost 50 years after independence we can’t even light our streets? Indeed, I’d be very worried the day Nollywood begins to tell our stories.

It is ironical that while Madam Re-branding wants Nollywood to lead the campaign to re-brand Nigeria, she is unfazed with the teething challenges confronting Nollywood. To get funding for movies is difficult even before the current global economic crises, now its impossible. The government’s film fund has not left the paper it was written on. Movie pirates now sell more copies than marketers as Nigerian Copyright Commission only proclaims her tigertude on paper. In spite of this, Nollywood has done more to promote Nigeria’s image than all the gaggle of nincompoops who parade themselves as leaders throughout the country.

Minister Akunyili is still fuming over a Sony advert that implied that Nigerians are scammers (our favourite past-time anyway) and some air-headed people too wanted an apology because District 9, a South African film purportedly claimed that Nigerians were cannibals and scammers. Emeka Mba’s Censors board and Madam Re-branding were outraged because for the first time somebody had enough balls to tell our story.

Minister Akunyili advices Nollywood to focus on the positive things and I wonder how many positive things are we reputed for? Yes, we produce a world class literary genius in Chinua Achebe but we left him in a wheel chair just because someone felt the allocation to fix the road will sit better in his private account. We sent out our soldiers to stop other people’s war (while ours rages unabated) and when they return some higher officials stole their monies and we hound them in jail when they shouted too loud. Yes, we are 150 million strong and yet we awarded the highest office in the land to a man we’ve all been asked to pray that he lives as a matter of national priority.

Studies suggest that behaviour is patterned after media content. At the same time media content reflects the value pattern of the society. And when it comes to the issue of values, ours is reeking like an open sewer. Greed, nepotism, ethnicity, corruption and the politics of the belly have eroded our value system. Successive governments have elevated corruption to a pedestal so high, its beginning to assume the character of state policy.

Minister Akunyili will be outraged at the level of support serious governments give their film industry. In Nollywood we have to rent even the shabby police uniforms we use! Freedom of Information bill remains a mirage stalling investigative journalism and critical research to produce historical films that can help our sorry image. When public officials wish to get their hands dirty, they call up consultants to draw up harebrained designs for the movie industry which they can’t even explain if their lives depended on it.

Minister Akunyili should be grateful Nollywood is not telling our story.

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Duncan Mighty Cheats Death In Ghastly Car Accident

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Rivers State-born singer, Duncan Mighty has survived a car accident while travelling to Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
The self-acclaimed Port Harcourt First Son, on his Instagram account, thanked God for saving his life and Nigerians for praying for him.
He revealed that on January 2, 2022, his vehicle drove straight into the river after a failed brake.
He wrote, “God bless you for your prayers. 2nd January on our way to Uyo, our vehicle drove straight into the river after a trailer on a high speed failed brake, was the last thing I can remember.
“Next is seeing myself in the hospital. God made, no be man made.”

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Grammy Awards Postponed Indefinitely, As Omicron Variant Spreads

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The 64th Grammy Awards has been postponed indefinitely amid an unprecedented wave of COVID Omicron variant.
Recording Academy announced that the awards was postponed indefinitely for safety reasons.
The awards show had been scheduled for January 31; no new date has been set yet.
CBS and Recording Academy in a statement said holding the show on January 31 simply contains too many risks given the uncertainty surrounding the Omicron variant.
Part of the statement read, “After careful consideration and analysis with city and state officials, health and safety experts, the artist community and our many partners, the Recording Academy and CBS have postponed the 64th Annual Grammy Awards Show.”
CBS noted that the health and safety of those in our music community, the live audience, and those who tirelessly work to produce the award show remain our top priority.
“We look forward to celebrating Music’s Biggest Night® on a future date, which will be announced soon,” the statement read.

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Yuletide: Emohua Turns To Carnival City …Commends Awuse’s Magnanimity

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The 2021 Yuletide celebration in Emohua Community, Rivers State was funfilled amidst glitz and glamour as the good people of the ancient town came out in their numbers to celebrate Christmas and new year under a peaceful atmosphere with gratitude to God and Ohna Sergent Awuse for a hitch free yuletide as the town literally turned to a carnival city.
The weeklong activities which started from December 23rd 2021 kicked off with the Ohna Awuse cup competition which featured six teams named after different countries. At the grand finale on January 4th 2022, South Africa defeated Ivory Coast with a lone goal and went home with the golden cup and N250,000 cash, while the second position went to Ivory Coast with a cash prize of N150,000, Egypt took third and got N100,000.
Speaking at the event, the Chairman, Organising Committee of the tournament, Mr Nnebuchi Woleru, thanked Ohna Awuse for sponsoring the tournament which has been in existence for the past six years. He described the soccer event as a unifying factor among the youths as the players were drawn from the eight villages in Emohua town. He stressed that they decided to name the teams after countries to avoid acrimony and rancour as was witnessed in previous tournaments.
According to Woleru, the football event helped to ensure peace in the community and contributed in curbing the menace of youth restiveness cultism and other social vices among the youths. He thanked Ohna Awuse for his foresight and for ensuring peace in the town.
Ohna Awuse noted that the purpose of the competition was to encourage the youths to discover and harness their potentials, promote peace and unity among the youths and to change the negative narrative and conduct for which they were known in the past. He thanked them for their peaceful conduct throughout the competition.
Ohna Awuse also ushered in the new year by hosting Ohna Emohua, Eleru-urie, Emohua Council of Chiefs, widows and the youths. He noted that 2022 was a year of peace, unity and freedom as he called for all hands to be on deck to move Emohua to the next level of development and peaceful coexistence.
The yuletide also witnessed masquerade displays and carnivals by the eight villages of Emohua. Speaking at one of the masquerade displays the Chairman of Ohna Mele Masquerade Dance, Mr Ifeanyi Iroh, thanked Ohna Awuse, Barr Chima Obinna and others for sponsoring the masquerade dance which he said had given them a sense of belonging and had helped to promote their age long culture and tradition.
Also speaking the youth Chairman and coordinator of Mgbuetor Carnival, Mr Anachor Emenike noted that the purpose of the carnival was to entertain the youths during the festive period and the carnival symbolises unity, peace and love among the youths. He thanked Hon Collins Amegl Opuel Wordu and other sponsores of the event for making their dream come true and urged others to emulate their kind gestures.

By: Jacob Obinna

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