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At 43, Rivers Still Dominates Entertainment Clan In Nigeria

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As Rivers State celebrates its 43rd anniversary with pomp and pageantry, it is pertinent to note the achievements, progress, challenges and prospects of the entertainment industry as partners in the growth and development of the oil rich state since its creation in May 27, 1967. There is however, no doubt that over the years, the industry has experienced the good, the bad and the ugly sides in its development strides.

The good aspect is the positive transformation of the industry from its obscure state to a position of reckoning. Today Rivers State is respected as “Nigeria’s home of entertainment. The bad aspect include paucity of funds, sponsorship, leadership tussle and poor distribution framework among others, while the ugly side has remained the nagging problem of piracy and the excesses of the movie and music marketers.

Despite these problems, the industry still remains a force to reckon with in the political and economic development of the country as well as its contribution to the rebranding of the country as well as the promotion of the cultural and social values of the nation among others.

To fully understand the achievements of the industry, its exploits will be discussed based on the various aspects which include:

The Movie Industry: The Movie industry in Rivers State since 1967 is a success strory. Apart from being a vibrant sector with lots of glaring achievements, it has produced the best crop of talents in the nation’s make believe industry called Nollywood. The state boasts of the best locations, hospitality outlets and other facilities for the production of standard movies that can stand the test of time both locally and internationally.

In the early days, we had popular Television series such as, ‘Bassey and Company,’ produced by late Ken Sarowiwa, Obigbo connection with artistes such as Adiele Onyedibia, Paul Worika, Columbus Irosoanga, Sam Dede etc.

Presently, the state has produced top stars who make waves in Nollywood. They include: Engr. Reginald Orlu, Chairman Assocations of Movie producers, Rivers State chapter, Hilda Dokubo, Basorge Tariah, Ibinabo Fiberesima, Gentle Jack, Larry Briggs, Columbus Irosoanga, Tonto Dike, Monalisa Chinda, Vikky Eeen, Alaso Wariboko etc.

The Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), which is currently headed by Ibinabo Fiberesima, has also produced many films which include ‘Snake Kingdom’, “War of Roses”, Double Trouble, ‘Battle of the gods’, ‘School Life’, Elegible Spinster, ‘Lost Glory’, ‘Who Cares and’ Sounds Of Love’ among others. It will also be recalled that apart from these achievements, most Nollywood stars who hold sway in the industry today were trained in Rivers State among whom were Ejike Asiegbu, Ini Edo, Sunny Mc Don, Clem Ohaneze etc.

Last year, the Rivers State government sponsored the ION film festival which was hosted here in Port Harcourt. It also happens to be the first time such an international event would be hosted in Africa. The event brought together all the top practitioners from Hollywood of America, Bollywood of India, Gollywood of Ghana and other movie industries of the world to partner with Nollywood, it was the biggest thing to happened to the Nigerian movie industry with a lot of positive developments to show for it.

That same 2009, the state government sponsored the ECOWAS beauty pageant which, was hosted here in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital with galaxy of beautiful stars from across the African continent in attendance. It was also a big boost for the tourism sector and opened new avenues for investment and corporation. It is therefore no gainsaying the fact that the entertainment industry has remained a dependable source of revenue for the state all these years despite its shortcomings.

Music industry: The music industry in the state is also developing at a fast pace. It is on record that Rivers State produced the legendary highlife King of Africa, late Cardinal Rex Lawson, who took highlife music beyond the shores of Africa. His music is still played in most of the civilized Western world such as Europe and America. After him, other equally very good lighlife musicians from the state took over. They include King Sunny Brown, King David Bull, late Jackwest Omodu of Garden City Band, the Great Sinya and his Seamasters band etc. We also have other modern musicians like Duniel Wilson, Duncan Mighty, Lexy M, Stone Cold, Muma Gee etc, who are doing very well in the music scene, among others.

Cultural entertainment: When we talk of cultural entertainment we refer to our various cultural dances and plays that not only entertain, but showcase our rich cultural heritage to the outside world. Our cultural dances, plays, and masquaerades like the Orukoro, Odum, Wokorogbo etc, have helped to highlight the acquatic culture of Rivers people and assisted in promoting the growth of entertainment in the state.

Nite Clubbing: This is another aspect of entertainment  in the state. Apart from providing entertainment, it gives the fun seekers the opportunity to make new friends and exchange business ideas.

There is no doubt that Port Harcourt is one of the leading states in night clubbing with international standard facilities and the best of music, dance and other side attractions.

It will be recalled that in the ‘90s, the popular nite clubs were Blue Pelican, Chichi night club, Acquarius and later Dreams, which gave way to Parallax, Lulus, Chakas place and Friends Night clubs. Also on the list were Charlies, O.J. Maroni, Rollingstone, Bootleggers Morella, Studiz, etc. Today, most of them are out of business except a few such as Cassablanca, Boomerang etc.

There is no doubt that the entertainment clan in the state has come a long way and still dorminates. The nations entertainment business.

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Seven Notable Moments In Late Baba Suwe’s Life

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Renowned Nigerian comic actor, Babatunde Omidina, popularly known as Baba Suwe, passed away on Monday, November 22 at the age of 63.
Baba Suwe’s demise was announced by his son, Adesola Omidina, on social media.
Here are seven key things to remember about the popular late Nollywood comic actor.
Birth
Baba Suwe was born on August 22, 1958.
State of origin
Baba Suwe was a native of Ikorodu, Lagos State.
He was born and grew up in Lagos Island.
Education
Baba Suwe had his primary and secondary education in Lagos and Osun States, in the South-Western part of the country.
Acting career
Baba Suwe was renowned for the comic role he played and featured in scores of movies – including those produced by him – such as Iru Esin, Ebi Olokada, Baba Londoner, Obelomo, Elebolo, Larinloodu, and Baba Jaiye Jaiye, among many others.
Baba Suwe’s health worsened as Tampan denied abandoning him
Omidina began acting in 1971.
He, however, came into limelight after he featured in a Yoruba movie titled ‘Omolasan’, which was produced by Obalende.
Demise of his wife
The comic actor was, married to comedienne Omoladun Omidina, who died in September 2009. It was one of the most devastating moments in the life of Baba Suwe.
Drug Trafficking accusation
In 2011, Baba Suwe was accused of cocaine trafficking by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) .
The allegation was later described as false and defamatory by a court in Lagos which ordered that Baba Suwe should be paid N25 million as compensation.
He, however, lamented that he did not receive any payment years after the ruling.
Death
The veteran actor died on Monday, November 22, 2021, after he was said to have battled an illness for a long period. He was 63 years old.

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ENIFF Showcases 50 Films From 15 Countries

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The Eastern Nigeria International Film Festival, ENIFF, last Wednesday, in Enugu commenced the showcase of 50 films from 15 global countries.
The four-day event features among other films, a Moroccan movie, “Ultimate King”, Nigerian best narrative movie, “Yahoo Plus” and other award-winning movies.
Co-founder of ENIFF, Obianujuaku Akukwe-Nwakalor, who spoke with newsmen in Enugu at the commencement of the premiere, on Wednesday, disclosed that the film festival features the participation of major Nollywood actors such as Pet Edochie.
Akukwe-Nwakalor however regretted that Nollywood, which had its roots in the southeast has been taken away from the zone due to equipment deficit and support for the dwindling fortunes of actors and artistes, who are based in the east.
She also said that the development had forced most of the southeast-based actors and artistes to relocate to Lagos where there are better opportunities for the industry.
She said, “They (actors and artistes) are struggling because they don’t have the right equipment; they don’t have the right support; they don’t have money.
“To produce a film that can compete, that can at least be on NETFLIX, you need millions of Naira and the people here(East) don’t understand what it means to invest. If I tell you to invest N100 million into my film, you don’t understand and because you don’t understand how you are going to make N300 million from it, you are not going to invest”.
Akukwe-Nwakalor, with the co-founder, Mr Chris Odili, is hosting a film festival called Eastern Nigeria International Film Festival (ENIFF) in Enugu through the Eastern Nigeria Film and Arts Initiative, said the idea was to bridge and set up a creative hub in the southeast.
“We’re basically bridging the entertainment space or grid and set up a creative hub in the southeast part of Nigeria.
“Yes, we have pockets of things going on here. But, you will agree with me that we’re taking a back seat. We’re the backbenchers right now when it comes to entertainment space. Everything happens in Lagos.
“I came from Abuja and things as basic as finding a projector were very difficult. This is because people don’t use nor demand such here.
“We have forgotten that the Nollywood industry actually started from here in the southeast. But we have lost the steam”, Akukwe-Nwakalor said.
The idea of the festival, she explained, was to come back home, set up a space where the young ones, particularly those in the schools, could be trained to learn about film education, bringing in facilitators from different parts of Africa and the world so that they can learn from best hands what the creative space is about.
“We are starting from education. We are teaching them first to understand how this works. Until you understand, that will shift your mindset and when your mindset is shifted you can now begin to think of how to make money.

 

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Ramsey Nouah Accuses Directors Of ‘Mediocre Nollywood Production’

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Nigerian veteran Nollywood actor, Ramsey Nouah, has blamed directors in Nollywood of mediocre Nollywood production.
According to him, Nollywood needs a lot of improvements before it can be considered satisfactory for viewers.
Our source reports that Ramsey Nouah said, “I still find a lot of disconnect between the technicality and creativity in my industry right now. I see that the creative, which is the art part of filmmaking, is still not as deep as I want it to be.
“Performances from the actors are not deeply rooted. We have good quality techniques going on, but it’s almost like oil and water not mixing properly.
“If you can’t get an Oscar-winning performance from an actor the fault is not the actor, but the director’s. If you can’t deliver as an actor, the problem is the director that cast you”.

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