NOLLYWOOD IS IN BAD STATE —BOB MANUEL
Q: Congratulations on your appointment as a member of the board of Anambra State Broadcasting Service?
A: Thank you.
Q: What was your reaction when you were informed?
A: I was surprised because I was not expecting it. I was informed by a friend called Nick Okpei who was a staff of the television station. Also, the governor's son informed me about the development. Though I could not go for the inauguration due to logistic reasons, I later meet with members of the board. We later met with the governor.
Q: As a member of the board and a movie star, what new ideas do you hope to bring into the broadcasting service?
A: First of all, I am going there to work, but I will try as much as I can to inject some positive ideas. As I said, the response am getting is very encouraging and I will want to make use of the opportunity to project art.
Q: Do you intend to bring your colleagues to work with you?
A: Yes, I have been contacting them there on the field.
Q: As a member of the board of directors, how does this affect your acting career?
A: It won't affect it in any way.
Q: How will you assess the movie industry?
A: The industry as it's known today started with Living In Bondage. Before then, I was acting in Checkmate. Right now, the movie industry is in a bad state. A lot of people who are not supposed to be there are involved. The professionals got frustrated and left.
Q: Don't you think the producers and marketers should act now?
A: Are they empowered by the constitution to enforce the law? So, it is still the same circle.
Q: Are there no legal procedures?
A: There are legal procedures but you have to first of all enforce the law from the point of arrest and detention before going into the legal aspects of it.
Q: How will you compare Yoruba industry with that of English and movies?
A: I have refused to categorise Nigerian movies as English and Yoruba. It's unfortunate that people play ethnic politics with entertainment. God doesn't give you a talent because you are a Yoruba person or because you are an Igbo person. He gives you out of His own wisdom no matter where you come from. Be that as it may, Yoruba actors see the English movie as Igbo dominated. They have no right to have any grudge against themselves. Bimbo Akintola is not an Igbo girl, Bob Manuel is not an Igbo guy, Olu Jacobs is not an Igbo man, Joke Jacobs, Omotola Ekeinde and Bukky Wright are not from the east neither is Ayo Adesanya. Is Desmond Elliot from Awka? There are many of them. What I am trying to say is that issues of talent should not be reduced to issues of quota system. I am one of those who advocates for competence. Unfortunately in many aspects of our national lives we have reduced mediocrity to the level of acceptability. That is where you now say, okay because these people have not filled their quota, we must get somebody from there, whether the person is competent or not.
Q: You are one of the few actors who has been able to avoid scandals in the movie industry. How have you been able to manage that?
A: It's by the Grace of God. I make conscious efforts to avoid scandals because it is an industry where you are exposed to all sorts of things, all sorts of characters and all sorts of people at every point in time and you are the cynosure of all eyes wherever you go. So, I always try to be as professional as I can.
Q: How do you cope with your female admirers and female fans?
A: Entertainment is sustained by women and children all over the world. So, basically you can't run away from them but I call it a gift or simply diplomacy or being nice and being firm. So, if you combine both effectively, I think it has to do with the chemistry of the individual. So, it may not be something I can easily say with words. I could be nice, very nice to my female fans and very accommodating too. I'm also very firm.
—Lois Okereke & Seun Alabi