Nigerian Actors Call On Sierra Leone President Kabbah
A galaxy of Nigerian movie stars and musical artistes currently in Freetown to undertake a series of show business and entertainment activities have paid two separate courtesy calls on President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah at his Hill Station Lodge.
The first group of popular Nigerian actors and actresses who came to Freetown under the auspices of writer Major (retired) Abu Noah are now poised to commence the local shooting of a Sierra Leonean film titled "Bai Bureh Goes To War".
Most notable among whom Mr. Abu Noah referred to as "the cream of the best of Nigerian talents" were prolific actress Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jolade-Ekeyinde as well as actors Zack Orji and Olu Jacobs who, in his remarks to President Kabbah, predicted that the proposed film Bai Bureh Goes To War was going to be a landmark in the sub region. Written by Abu Noah, the historic script portrays the traditional settings in colonial Sierra Leone, bringing out some of the cultural values of the northern Temne ethnic group and the social conflicts involving local traditional rulers and British colonial administrators.
Welcoming the group to Sierra Leone, President Kabbah lauded the very positive spirit of collaboration between Nigerian artistes and their Sierra Leonean counterparts. He said such cooperation should also be regarded as an adventure, noting that even if the film project did not turn out to be a financial success, there would always remain the strong feeling of satisfaction of having accomplished something culturally worthwhile.
In a similar development today, the Minister of Tourism, Dr. Chermnor Jalloh led a second group of about twenty top Nigerian and Nigerian-based Sierra Leonean actors and entertainers, also preparing to shoot a couple of movies on sites across Sierra Leone.
According to Dr. Jalloh, who was giving a background to the actors' presence in Freetown, a Sierra Leonean lawyer based in Nigeria, Mr. Sam Kargbo, had earlier initiated the idea of shooting two films on Sierra Leone soil - "Blood Diamonds" and "Enemies of Progress" in collaboration with local media practitioner and consultant, Dr. Julius Spencer of Premier Media.
Renowned Nigerian film producer Teco Benson, winner of the Nigerian Actor of the Year Award Hanks Anku, Rita Dominic, Shan George, Zulu Adigwe, Emeka Okoro, Sierra Leonean-born actor T.J. Cole, Lanre Balogun are among a host of others who will be participating in the dual film production.
Production sponsor Sam Kargbo told President Kabbah that Nigeria has now been listed as having the third largest film industry in the world, pointing out that if Nigeria could do it, Sierra Leone also could.
In his remarks, the President described Sierra Leone and the Federal Republic of Nigeria as one and the same people sharing identical values. He pointed to Nigeria's pioneering role in stabilising the then conflict situation in Sierra Leone among other fields of bilateral cooperation. He indicated there could be no better individuals to tell African stories better than Africans themselves, pointing out that Hollywood and other foreign movie makers tend to portray Africans as savages and bad guys. He encouraged the Minister of Tourism to remain in close contact with the visiting team and give them all the support to help them develop Sierra Leone's tourist industry.