Thursday, June 2, 2011
Kano Will Be Accomodating Again —Danja
Sani Musa Danja is one of the few multi talented actors and the only one who sings in English in the Hausa film industry (Kannywood). Recently, Danja spent millions to produce his new albums, New Guy In Town and Mai Nasara. Danja is known to be one Nigerian artiste who stood firmly behind President Goodluck Jonathan and Kano State Governor-elect, Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso in the just concluded 2011 general elections. In this brief chat with AL-AMIN CIROMA, Danja quashed rumours that he was attacked at the post-presidential crisis that erupted in some parts of the north. Excerpts:
Do you think Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso will give filmmakers a ‘Stiff cheddar,’ considering the unending feud and entrenched laws by the state censorship board that resulted in their migration to neighbouring states?
I assure that Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso was the mastermind behind all reforms in the industry. We cherish the way he operates because he gives us an enabling environment as well as a listening ear. Nobody is against positive transformation but when it comes with frustration and hatred, nobody will take it. When Kwankwaso was there in the first place, he summoned all of us and after a series of interactions, he came up with some reforms that was sure to strengthen the industry because he is a man of vision. He appreciated our effort in creating jobs to teeming youths in the society and so encouraged us to come up with guidelines that will be used to score good works of a hardworking artiste and also to serve as regulatory ethics of operation. That is what metamorphosed into forming a censorship body. So, I can authoritatively tell you now that filmmakers were among the powerful body that created the Kano State Censorship Board under the able leadership of Dr. Kwankwaso. I am very happy to announce that we are very law abiding citizens of the federal republic and will work with any government that is ready to support us and not kill our business. On the issue of those who fled the state due to stiff conditions by the government of the moment, I would not want to disclose their fates, but, like I said, Kano is a home for everyone and I think they will gradually see the light and come back to their home state.
You were one of the artistes who campaigned for the ruling party at the just concluded 2011 general elections, now that elections are over, what is your focus?
You see, from inception, the ideology behind my being in show biz is not unconnected to my intention to serve my immediate community. I joined the motion picture industry to be able to transform and affect people’s lives in a positive way. I don’t only act because I want to be known but also to educate people and address their problems. It is just like politics, you have to know what your immediate community needs so that you can give them proper representation. I jumped into supporting candidates of my choice in politics not just to feel among, but also to represent my people and look out for a way of delivering their yearnings to appropriate authorities. That also reminds me of when I was anchoring the actors train in Kano.
As the chairman of the Actors Guild, I encouraged my colleagues to contribute money and relief materials every now and then and they welcomed the idea. And by the proceeds, we visited hospitals and orphanages to extend our friendship to them. Not only that, there was a time when disaster befell Niger Republic, I single-handedly organised artistes to produce a musical album which we launched. After redeeming the pledges, we bought foodstuff and relief materials which we presented to the Niger Republic consulate as a token contribution to our loved ones in their country. So, film is my profession and I will always stand by it.
Do you have a candidate for the now empty seat of the DG Kano state censorship board?
You see, that is the beauty of democracy. The political party I am supporting has mandates and the man behind it in Kano State, who is also the governor-elect is a man of vision like I said earlier. He operates an open-door policy. First and foremost and personally, I am not willing to contest for any post in my state but as a good citizen, I would suggest that the government considers those who worked hard at ensuring that Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso is back.
Let me tell you, when we started the journey, nobody supported us, they thought we were just bluffing. I was on crutches then because of the serious accident I had, but all the same, I stood firm to see that I render my support, not for anything, but for the fact that we were subjected to series of humiliation by the ruling government at the time. That is the history of our timely support for Kwankwaso. Some of our fellow artistes, I could recall went on air to abuse and sabotage our efforts, they called us names but at the end of the day, we are now laughing. Therefore, I am of the opinion that, whoever is going to vie for this post or any other seat in the state should be thoroughly screened.
What is the stake of the 20m dollars promised in support for the motion picture industry in Nigeria by the president?
The fund is being processed by appropriate bodies and very soon, all stakeholders in the industry in Nigeria will benefit from it. Mr. President has reiterated his stand to see that the giant industry in Nigeria grows to become the best in the world. After his pledge to fight piracy, he has worked-out modalities in which the fund will be actualised through appropriate quarters. Many committees are gradually being launched to manage the fund and distribute it accordingly.
Finally, were you attacked during the post-presidential crisis that erupted in Kano?
(Laughter) I was well and healthy throughout the period. I want to use this medium to say that, all these were just rumours ostensibly purported by mischief makers, but nobody harmed me, they only succeeded in burning our family house. I think they feel as one of the great supporters of President Goodluck Jonathan, I may be harmed or threatened but thank God, nothing happened to me. I was able to survive it. As we all know, violence and these sectarian crises are caused by joblessness and poverty; government should therefore create jobs to the teeming youths in the society, so they are not used by mischief makers.
Published in LEADERSHIP WEEKEND