Thursday, June 2, 2011

INTERVENTION FUND: Goodluck’s Pledge To Fight Piracy

Hausa Filmmakers Wants Fund Without Stiff Conditions

In a bid to support the motion picture industry in Nigeria, President Goodluck Jonathan has reiterated his intention on how to chart a new road map for the creative industry as well staging a war on pirates in order to support hardworking Nigerian artistes reap from their sweat. This was part of the message delivered by the president when he hosted all Nigerian artistes, sportsmen and women at Eko Hotel, Lagos recently.

Other requests from the artistes to the president includes setting up of a film village, accessing the $200million intervention fund, setting up of endowment fund for the art, enacting regulatory bills and distribution network.

President Jonathan, who said he did not call the artistes together because of the elections, called for the review of the existing laws on piracy, which he said, must be made effective to curb the nefarious activities of pirates in the creative industry. He noted that except the piracy problem is effectively tackled, the artistes’ community would not make any progress in the chosen career.

“Totally, I agree that without handling piracy, we cannot make any progress. I believe some existing laws need to be made stronger and effective. We need a special body that can handle it,” he said.
He said the government has lots to gain if it supports the industry because the sector is a key one every President should identify with. He observed that the government is too far from the sector and that it needs to be closer to know what is happening in the industry.

A brief presentation of the late reggae King, Bob Marley’s tune, Redemption song by West African idol star, Timi Dakolo was all the Senior Special Assistant to President Jonathan on Research Documentation and Strategy, Mr. Oronto Douglas needed to set the tone for the interaction that lasted till 11pm.

Douglas described the interaction as the first of its kind in any administration in the country. “This is the first president that will be calling on the masters of the creative industry for an interaction. And to have this session is to set an agenda for the future. Those in charge of laughter and happiness cannot be undermined…This is not the time to think regional or ethnic, but excellence. This sector must be supported so that Nigeria will grow,” he told stakeholders at the dinner.

From veterans such as master visual artist, Bruce Onabrakpeya, film legend, Eddie Ugbomah, popular poet, Odia Ofeimun, juju singer, Dele Abiodun, lecturer and culture promoter, Emmanuel Dan Daura, multi-talented culture activist, Ben Tomoloju, seasoned producer, Zeb Ejiro, ageless actor, Olu Jacobs, to Nollywood and contemporary music as well as comedy stars such as Segun Arinze, Stephanie Okereke, Daddy Showkey, DBanj and Ali Baba, the hundreds of the industry players had tabled their fears before the president, who promised to take prompt action on their requests, especially if he returns to office after the April elections.

Others include the Kannywood team, led by Alhaji Sani Mu’azu, the National President, Motion Pictures Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MOPPAN), Ibrahim Sheme, founding member, Kaduna State Producers’ Association, Ahmed Alkanaway, administrative Secretary, MOPPAN and Sani Musa Danja, Chairman, Kano State Artiste Council, also the president of Nigerian Artiste in Support of Democracy (NAISOD). Others include: Yakubu Mohammed, famous movie director and host of Hausa film actors like Malam Isa Bello Ja, Hauwa Maina, Rahmatu Hassan, Ubale Wanke-wanke, etc.
Among other industry leaders, Mr. Bond Emeruwa called for prompt action on the revised Nigerian Film Policy which, according to him, is at the Ministry of Information; the President of Independent Television Producers Association of Nigeria, Busola Holloway, enjoined the President to check the trend in which production of choice commercials were being taken out of Nigeria while most production crew are being sourced from abroad. In specific terms, the producer of Moments with Mo, Mo Abudu urged Jonathan to upgrade the capacity and operations of the Nigerian Television Authority(NTA).

While the Vice President of the Association of Nigerian Authors, Sunny Ododo, called on the President to assist in the building of its proposed Writers’ Village in Abuja, President of the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners, Greg Odutayo, revered producer, Amaka Igwe, among other requests, want the Presidency to make it possible for filmmakers to shoot films at public places such as the Aso Rock, the National Assembly and airports – without hindrances.

Kannywood’s Sani Mu’azu, expressed the need to access the intervention fund without stiff conditions. Also, while the President of the Society of Nigerian Artists, Uwa Essien, called for the building of befitting exhibition halls, Onabrakpeya pleaded with Jonathan to make it possible for artists to display their works at strategic government offices whenever international programmes were being held there.

Footballers such as JJ Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu, Victor Ikpeba, Austin Eguavoen and Peter Rufai were also in attendance, with Eguavoen urging the president to look into some debts of promises the Federal Government owes players and the retirement dilemmas that sportsmen face.

Thanking Jonathan on behalf of the artistes and investors in the sector, a former Minister of National Planning, Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi, commended him for what he described as the cerebral approach to life, which, according to Gbadamosi, Jonathan had cultivated for long.

As several other speakers acknowledged at the dinner, the Special Adviser to the President on Research, Documentation and Strategy, Mr. Oronto Douglas, also noted that it was the first time any Nigerian President would sit down and talk with the entertainment workers. He assured them that the way Jonathan had kept his promise on power and electoral reforms, he would act on the various demands they had made.
Some of the Kannywood stakeholders, who expressed their views on the intervention fund by the president, were of the opinion that the Jonathan-led government is the best that ever happened to Nigeria. They expressed their satisfaction with his government and pledged their support for his continuity. Sani Musa Danja, urged his colleagues in Kannywood as well as his teeming fans to see to the truth and support the Jonathan movement.

“I am delighted with the support Mr. President is according the industry with this intervention fund, I was also impressed when he announced his intention in drawing the battle line between his government and the pirates, who, for decades have frustrated the hardworking artiste by pirating their works, leaving them with nothing. Therefore, I am calling on my fellow artistes in Kannywood and Nollywood as well as my fans and well-wishers, to support the continuity of this government, because it aims at rejuvenating this promising industry.”

Published in my Weekly Kannywood column (in LEADERSHIP WEEKEND)

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