Nollywood @ 20; fact or fallacy?
Is the Nigerian movie industry really just 20 years old? Are we really saying that the birth f the Nigerian drama house began in 1993? Anyway, we guess that will be a big surprise to anyone.
Let's give a background to what gave birth to this simple question;
Some weeks ago, celebrities from Nollywood led by the president of the Association of Movie Producers, Zik Zulu Okafor, had gathered politicians, government officials, diplomats and captains of industry at the Intercontinental Hotel, Lagos, to flag off the celebration of what was termed 'Nollywood at 20'. It was indeed a fanfare of great fun.
Now, behind the reasons of the organizers was the argument that film making in real time did begin with such home videos as “Living in Bondage', 'Nneka, The Pretty Serpent”, “Deadly Affairs”, “Circle of Doom”, 'Tears of Love” and “Betrayal”, which all are basically movie by the Igbo in the early 1990s.
However, those behind the carnival called 'Nollywood at 20' are already facing a rebellion within their own ranks. Expectedly, the revolt was coming from the Yoruba sector of the industry which keen observers believe is the victim of the celebration indeed.
Now, as the Igbo sector prepared to celebrate the assumed age of the industry, aggrieved members of the Yoruba movie sector cried foul, describing the celebration as a slap on the faces of founders of the industry. As far as they are concerned, the Nigerian movie industry is not just 20 years old. It was only an attempt to rubbish the pioneers of movie making in Nigeria.
Looking at it for a fact, 'Ajani Ogun' was shot by Adeyemi Afolayan in 1976 (37 years ago) while the first home video titled 'Ekun' was shot in 1988 (25 years ago) by the late Muyideen Alade Aromire. Besides, where is the place of theater doyens like Pa Hubert Ogunde, Ojo Ladipo, and even Eddy Ugboma, who have been around in the industry since ,b>1950s? The works of these old set were believed to be embodiments of moral qualities and lessons of life and impacted positively on every facets of our lifestyle as a people, which gave birth to what is today known as Nollywood.
Even, a new generation producer/director of the Yoruba sector of Nollywood, Kunle Afolayan, disagreed with his colleagues on 'Nollywood @ 20, stating that "the whole idea of makes no sense to me. I only see it as a celebration of era of low quality in the film industry”.