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NOLLYWOOD STARS, STAKEHOLDERS SHUN PARLEY WITH JONATHAN

By NBF News
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The recent meeting between President Goodluck Jonathan and top players in the nation's entertainment industry, especially Nollywood stars and stakeholders, which held in Lagos, suffered a setback.

Severally leading names in Nollywood, deliberately avoided the ''strategic parley'' that was coordinated by Oronto Douglas, Mr. President's Special Adviser on Research, Documentation and Strategy. With the exception of Segun Arinze and Paul Obazele, both presidents of the Actors Guild and Movie Producers, respectively, the other five guild/association heads in Nollywood alongside their key members hugely boycotted the parley.

Also conspicuously missing at the parley was the Coalition of Nollywood Guilds and Associations (CONGA), the umbrella body for all the guilds in Nollywood, ably led by Bond Emeruwa. Even the Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (ANTP), the very strong Yoruba movie makers/practitioners association, was not represented at the meeting.

A member of ANTP, who spoke with us on the condition of anonymity, posited that they would not have attended even if invited. He critised the Presidency for only hobnobbing with the English sector of the industry, forgetting that the Yoruba is also a strong stakeholder. 'We are not happy with the way Mr. President has been segregating us from his numerous activities for the showbiz industry, especially in the movie sector.

He keeps relating with only those in the English sector, forgetting that all of us are stakeholders. He should carry everyone along and stop this huge discrimination. How can he be treating us this way and still expects us to encourage our large members to vote for him at the polls? As the father of the nation, we expect that he should carry everybody along, because we also have stars and strong stakeholders in our fold. We are not surprised because this is not the first time he will be hosting Nollywood and excluding us.'

Also, one of the guild heads that spoke with us on the condition of anonymity again said they decided to boycott the parley, because some certain elements hijacked it for their personal gains and benefits. 'We expected Mr. President's team led by Douglas to consult widely with us before going ahead to fix the parley, but they did not. If truly it was a strategic meeting, we should have been duly informed and invited. We do not subscribe to the idea of inviting us secretly as if we are going for nocturnal engagements, we are not politicians.'

Another bitter stakeholder, said the parley ended without achieving anything concrete for the troubled industry, because of the divisiveness in the invitation. 'We went for a strategic parley, but ended with what I will call a fashion show, especially from the few female actors present. Such trends will not augur well for the growth of Nollywood.'