The Federal Government says it is reforming and commercialising the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) to address the agency’s teething challenges and reposition it for improved performance.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made this known recently, in Abuja while inaugurating a Steering Committee for the Reform and Commercialisation of the Corporation.
He said the federal government has engaged the services of a Business Development Consultant to conduct due diligence on the corporation and sector and recommend a strategy that is suitable for its reform and commercialization.
Mohammed said the NFC, which was established with a mandate to plan, promote, organize and coordinate the development of the Nigerian motion picture industry, has not been able to meet up with its statutory functions.
He noted that since its establishment, the Corporation has faced several challenges including the inability to engage in commercial film production.
The minister said the law establishing NFC limits its operational functions such that it cannot leverage on the private sector-led growth of the industry.
He added that the National Film Institute (NFI), a unit in NFC, is not empowered to leverage its technical and professional capabilities for commercial purposes and revenue generation.
Mohammed said the NFC’s civil service structure comes with bureaucratic limitations, budgetary constraints and operational inefficiency.
“A critical look at the existing organizational structure shows that NFC is over-bloated and needs to be restructured to reflect its purpose.
“NFC has obsolete equipment, with some dating back to colonial times,” he said.
The minister noted that the reform of the corporation will help in the efforts of the government to reposition the nation’s film industry, Nollywood, and make Nigeria the capital of entertainment in Africa.
Relying on International Monetary Fund data, Mohammed said Nollywood is the second largest employer of Labour and contributed N893 billion to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2015.
The minister noted that Nollywood could perform better if the NFC is restructured and needed infrastructure enabling the environment are provided.
He noted that apart from wealth and employment creation, promoting film industry would help to build inclusion and reduce social tension.
Earlier, Mr Alex Okoh, the Director-General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), said with the tremendous potentials of the film industry to reposition the nation’s economy, the government needed to play a prominent role.
Okoh said that the government is reforming the NFC to take the leading role in harnessing the potentials in the sector.
He, however, clarified that the reform process ‘is not a privatisation of the corporation but the commercialisation of this important enterprise and agency of government’.
“The clarification is that in this reform process, there is no transfer of ownership, no sale of shares and no privatisation of the entity.
“It is basically to ensure the resident value of the enterprise and its commercial viability,” he said.
He said the steering committee being chaired by the minister would consider and approve the recommendations submitted by the project delivery team for the commercialisation of the corporation.
Other members of the steering committee inaugurated by the minister are, Okoh, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs Grace Gekpe, and the Managing Director of NFC, Chidia Maduekwe.
The Director Information and Communication of BPE, Dikko Mohammed, will serve as the Secretary to the committee.
NFC, established by Decree No. 61 of 1979 and is 100 per cent owned by the Federal Government and has its registered office in Jos, Plateau State.
It is established to distribute documentary films on different aspects of Nigeria’s socio-cultural and political life and provide film services for the Federal Government.
The corporation is to train young talented Nigerians in the art of film making, conducting research into Nigerian films and provide technical and financial support to film Industry and practitioners.
NFC is also established to regulate and organise professional practice in the film industry.
Basket Mouth Returns To Music
Bright Okpocha, aka Basketmouth is certified on these streets. Having run the comedy game for nearly two decades, Basketmouth has returned to music, his first love with the release of Yabasi. This album also serves as a soundtrack to his new comedy series, Papa Benji.
“I started working on the project called Papa Benji it’s an online comedy series and it’s situated in a beer parlour and one thing in a beer parlour apart from beer is music, so I started running around meeting artistes telling them, ‘I need your song’,” Basketmouth said in an interview.
“I didn’t want limitation to where I could take songs to. So what I did was, I decided to make my own music and the great thing about it is that I always wanted to create a new kind of sound.
“My first attempt was in 1995. I tried it with one of the old PSR but l needed to disk to save files so it was really hectic.
“I always wanted to blend the Igbo music with Hip-hop. When the idea came, I was like, this is the perfect time to do it. So that’s what made me do it. That’s the core reason. Apart from that, music was my first love.”
Music was indeed Basketmouth’s first love. He fell in love with hip-hop as a teenager in Kirikiri neighbourhood of Lagos. He and his friends then created a six-man rap group called The Psychopaths.
Heavily influenced by the legendary American hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan, The Psychopaths went around their neighbourhood battling other rappers. Basketmouth remembered a particular battle in Festac which his crew finished second.
“We did a lot of stuff. I used to open for Plantashun Boiz,” he added.
Aside from some underground buzz, Basketmouth’s rap career never took off. He spoke of a bad stage experience that changed the course of his journey in entertainment.
“I was on stage, I like to be creative with some stuff. So I went to the DJ and so we worked on a beat, you know the song by Fela ‘Everybody Run Run Run’.
“We made it into Hip-hop. So I created the beat and told my guys and they loved it. And when we got on stage, they were not ready for that. This was 1998, they were not ready for that.
“This was hardcore, it was too confusing. What will happen was that anytime we said ‘everybody run run run,’ they said ‘get out’.
“When I knew it was ‘get out’ they were saying, I was very upset. So I told the DJ, ‘let’s stop I want to face these guys’ and I started firing them.”
In a move that birthed his comedy career, Basketmouth faced the dismissive crowd and returned with verbal violence, using his wit to get back at them.
“I started entering everybody, one after the other. For straight 30 minutes, I was on them and after I was done, one of my guys, Ena Ofugara walked up to me and was like ‘Bright, you should do comedy’.
“Then Samson Ehimohai, he’s late now, was one of the guys that also influenced that idea. He was like ‘do it’.
Burna Boy, Rema, Others Lead MOBO Award Nomination
Burna Boy and Rema were nominated in the best international act category alongside Drake, Megan thee Stallion, the late pop smoke, Lil baby and more.
On November 24,2020, nominations for the 2020 Music for Black Origin(MOBO) Awards were announced. Nigerian stars, Wizkid, Burna Boy, Davido, Rema, Fireboy, Adekunle Gold and Tiwa Savage got nods at the event which honours black music from all corners of the world.
Burna Boy and Rema were nominated, Ghanaian stars, Shatta Wale, Stonebwoy also got nods alongside Ivorian Afro B, South African Master KG and NSG, British rapper Nines leads overall nominations after a stellar year. This is the first edition of the MOBO Awards since 2017.
Before Covid 19, the return of MOBO Award was slated for wembly, its award season as Grammy nominations are to be announced- Headies have called for submissions.
Burna Boy Gets Second Grammy Award Nomination For Twice As Tall
Earlier in 2020, Burna Boy’s album, “African Giant”, lost the nomination at the Grammy’s to Angelique Kidjo’s reimagination of Celia Cruz’s music on the eponymous, celia. On November 24,2020, the Nigerian super star, Burna Boy, got his second Grammy Nomination in the best global music category. This award comes from his latest album Twice As Tall.
Recording academy announced the category formerly known as “Best World Music Album”. If Burna Boy wins, he will become Nigeria’s next Grammy award winner since Sikiru Adepoju won with Planet Drum over 10 years ago.
Beyonce’s video for Brown Skin Girl got a nod for best music video but it is unclear if that concurs with Wizkid who is a featured artiste the song along side Blue Ivy Carter, Beyonce’s daughter and Saint JHN.
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