Izoya vs Lancelot: The bursting of the bubble
It started like a relationship made in heaven. The partnership of celebrated Nigerian movie director Bini born Lancelot Oduwa-Imasuen of Lancewealth images, and Ishan born Isaac Izoya of Ehizoya Golden Entertainment, an NGO in the work of cross cultural through Europe.
The partnership which was struck sometime in 2002 saw the two friends taking artistes like Ngozi Ezeonu, Empress Njamah, Aki and pawpaw, Julius Agwu, Victor Osuagwu (One dollar) John Okafor (Mr Ibu) to major cities of Europe. Others who had benefitted in the cultural expose include Basket Mouth Bright Okpocha, Patience Ozokwor Mama Gee, Jim Iyke, then all of a sudden, the bubble burst and the centre cannot hold anymore. For almost one year, things have never been same.
Ehizoya came to Nigeria and single handedly took Francis Agoda a.k.a. Igo dye and Sheddi Baba on an European Cruise while Lancelot went with Emeka Ike, Eucharia Anunobi, Klint the drunk and Dauda Kingsley Ogbonna. The hush hush has been too much. The rumours as well bellowing like smoke from hamattan fire. Death threats are being alleged and petitions are flying around and being forwarded. It is gathered that German police and immigration are now involved. Home video people as the paper which opened up on the partnership when it was struck in the first place. We now serve, you the two sides of the story as to what burst the bubble.
Emeka Ike, Izoya and I — Lancelot
"I was invited by African Heritage Magazine for an award ceremony.
They said their survey declared me the most celebrated African movie director in Europe. They gave me what they call the African Kultural Ambassador Award. I was invited for the award alongside Patience Ozokwor, Genevieve Nnaji etc. I was able to premiere my movie African Heroes in Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen.
I also had to direct a movie for my friend Emeka Nwafo who also went with us from here. I had already concluded arrangement for a tour with Emeka Ike, Eucharia Anunobi, Klint the Drunk and Kingsley Ogbonna Dauda. So one month after, they joined me about the early days of May 2005 and we commenced the tour. Midway into it, I was asked to cordinate Nollywood Rising Conference in the United States. I had to break my tour and went to the United States. This became the high point of my trip as I delivered papers to make the world know more about Nollywood. It was organised by non movie makers Barrister Chike and Dr Ogbechie and Co. The tour was another eye opener for me. I got back to Germany and shot an Edo movie. So for three months I was away trying to make other people understand what we are doing in Nollywood.
Controversy with Emeka Ike
Rumour mongers will always, raise their own stories. Yes I had a problem with Emeka Ike. His problem was the worst we ever had with any artistes. But I am happy the artistes were four and he was only the one person who created problems. The tour took them through several countries in twelve cities around Europe.
After the seventh show, Emeka called my attention and asked whether we were going to Paris for any show. I said yes. He said we should count him out because he already had a deal and a contract in Paris I saw it as laughable, I told him I was not listening. I told my partner about the latest development. Everything is in a contract and they were briefed for four days before they appended their signatures. There was a settlement somehow. The day they were to leave for Paris was the day I was to leave for U.S. Emeka Ike absconded. The next information was that Emeka was sighted in Belgium and I didn't like it. I had the artistes in the show to light up the arena while the comedians spice it up. Once the artists are seen before the show, there are no more mysteries. So Emeka had gone to Belgium and my show in that area was spoilt. I didn't like it any more unlike the musician whose performance makes him, the actor is his face. He wasn't in Belgium show and he wasn't in Paris. They even told me that the show was okay and no one missed him.
The next point was Milan, Italy and that was were Emeka came to beg whether to join them. He had called on phone according to them but my partner said he shouldn't bother. When I returned, we set a meeting and the point were made and settled. We tried to teach a lesson with Emeka. Some Nigeria artiste do not care when some one brings out money to encourage the industry. Selfish feeling, of me, me and me the and no regard for the investor. I think it may have been the chief reason Emeka was banned. He is always insensitive. That not concluded, Emeka also had the effrontery to demand that we buy his return ticket after absconding from the show. We had twelve shows and he attended seven leaving five even after being paid for them. Meanwhile they got a month visa and a months ticket, we extended their tickets with many as you know. And the artistes were to make 500 euro per weekend.
The rumour mill say you stopped him (Emeka) from attending Isaac Izoya's show by promising him over five thousand euro.
I have decided that I will not bandy words with Isaac Izoya. This is my tenth year anniversary as a director. Since then, I have never had any scandal, morally, financially or otherwise. When I was still a pauper, executive producers give me money in the era when it was normal to bolt away with people's money. I didnt do that and here I am today, I am not complaining because God is blessing me. In as much as Africans don't bother about history, I keep good account for posterity. Emma Isikaku, Louis Isikaku, OJ all gave me money and I gave good account of myself. I did a production for O.J. and returned a balance N75,000 to him. He still talks about it till today. I see no reason why anyone especially Isaac Izoya will come and spoil it.
That apart. I have never suggested going on any tour with Emeka Ike against Izoya. The partner called made from Europe. He was not even aware that I had any problem with Isaac a lot of people have been calling me and I vowed that I will not be the reason for my seperation with Isaac. I had several offers. Finally when Isaac came and cunningly bolted away with master tape that we both own together I kept sealed lips. Zero you mind, Mama G in Europe, Love in Berlin. God will not be happy if I begin to bandy words with Isaac because he is blessing me so much. I don't want to allow my one minute of time to waste. Anyone with the fear of God will find out the truth. Everest Umeh, based in Esen called me.
He was first introduced to me long time ago. It was his younger brother Emmuel Umeh who was my school mate at Uniport that met me when I went to showcase Issakaba in 2002. He wanted me to advertise some Mauri shoes for him then. He called me a few months ago and I said I am even free now because Isaac had taken his walk. Umeh was a sub promoter for us when Mama Gee came to Europe. He said he wanted Emeka Ike. But I had my reservation for him because I had problems with Emeka when I shot Dying for the nation, Emeka challenged me so much. He is the only artiste whom I have had fracas with. When I shot Alternative he also did. So I do not tolerate his impudence. So as a businessman, I went to Emeka Ike without any iota of information that Isaac was dealing with him. It will amount to committing murder for me to talk about my matter with Isaac. He was looking for some one to use to rise in terms of entertainment in Nigeria. He has succeeded and I thank him. How do you compare us. When I was discussing with Emeka Ike, I went with the promoter's brother. Emeka said Isaac has been there. The documents are there.
So is the problem with Isaac to do with the taking of the movies which you say both of you own ?
Honestly I have told myself that I won't talk about Isaac Izoya and I will not. Let him go with his favours. I have decided not to talk about it. I will be demeaning myself for people to read on the pages of the papers that Lancelot is having any problem with Isaac Izoya. My mouth which has spoken very well of him will not forgive me. I will not trade words with Isaac, period. If this interview is about Isaac, I will not grant it anymore.
I meant well for the movie industry, see what I get — Izoya
It is very difficult for me to begin to talk about this matter and I tell you I have never wanted to. I am only trying to set the matters straight and put records in the right place especially to you who has reported our activities more than any one else. I am only speaking for people to now judge where I have gone wrong especially now that I am receiving death threats , and even a petition against me to the German Police and Immigration. As I am here now in Nigeria scouting for new artistes for our next trip, the German Police have broken into my house to check whether I have ever trafficked on women. I have it on good authority that my friend Lancelot sent the petition. I have sent a letter to all the guild heads to call my friend to leave me alone. I don't know whether they have had time to look into the matter. The letter has been copied to the Directors Guild Producers Guild, Marketers Guild, Actors Guild.The petition reads;
"My name is Isaac Izoya and I am the Managing Director of Ehizoya Golden Entertainment (EGE) based in Berlin, Germany. I formally wish to introduce myself and the company's goals and projects to your organisation. I am a journalist by profession, based in Berlin and I am a correspondent of the Magazine The African Courier. In the course of my reporting and interviews, I had interviewed Nigeria's First Lady, Her Excellency, Chief (Mrs) Stella Obasanjo, the former Miss World, Agbani Darego, the former Information Minister, Prof. Jerry Gana and several African Ambassadors when they were in Berlin.
Among some of the aims of Ehizoya Golden Entertainment are the following: promoting African cultural heritage, bridging racial prejudice, upholding global Integration, and the promotion of Nigerian artistes/Home Video in Europe. Also, we organise black artiste awards African Fiesta/Film Awards (AFFA). We also produce Home Video films, some featuring the evil of female trafficking and racism and the promotion of global Integration.
Ehizoya Golden Entertainment has sponsored prominent Nigerian artistes on European Integration tours in the last couple of years. Such artistes include Patience Ozokwo popularly known as Mama. G, actor Jim Iyke, comedian Bright Okpocha popularly known as Basket Mouth, super actresses Ngozi Ezeonu and Empress Njamah, comedian Julius Agwu, actors Chinedu Ikedieze and Osita Iheme (popularly known as Aki and PawPaw ), producer/director Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen x 4,(a.k.a. De Governor), actors John Okafor (a.k.a. Mr Ibu) and Victor Osuagwu (a.k.a. One Dollar), Francis Agoda (aka I Go Die) e.t c.
The idea started April 2002 in Berlin to fight back the Western media which demonize Nigerians as instruments of evil and to better Nigeria image abroad. After a relentless effort to trace a capable home based person to work with, I was linked-up with Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen by Miss Ishola Keshiro based in Italy. I called him 1 7th July 2002 and sent him an e mail of my proposal specifying his areaof assistance required from him (attached) 20th July 7002.
That according to Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen on the March 200.; is a history making day in Berlin, Germany during the Launching of "Sinners in The House" first of its kind in central Europe with so many Ambassador in the audience and Nollywood stars like Ngozi Ezenui and Empress Njamah among others, "gave birth to what you are all witnessing today, Ladies and gentle men, I salute my God given friend Isaac Izoya the architect of this event,,. Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen, blessed with power of speech successfully convinced me to borrow 7,500Eur to shoot a movie with his mini digital video camera and charged me 2000Eur for his labor of which I paid I 000Eur and another 1 ,300Eur for the editing of the movie not released till date due to the sound problem caused by the bad equipment (Video). The sponsors are on my neck till date while Lancelot keeps his distance watching but taking and enjoying the producers, Executive producer's and director's credits.
I went ahead to organize the Launching of the questionable film (which remains unmarketable till date due to the sound problem) with Aki and Pawpaw and Julius Agwu on board along with Lancelot my Nigeria representative as star guests. How he missed the flight, Ghana Airways free first class air ticket I procured for them is a film story of its own. I have Lancelot newspaper narration to back this fact.
I lost 1 5000Eur cash due to Lancelot incompetence of signing contract with the female star Genevieve Nnaji contrary to what he told us on phone. We decided to cancel all shows when we were twice chased out of halls with gun as they said we promoted a show that didn't happen.
Undaunted, we organised a story workshop and the movie titled Home And Abroad, was shot. Contrary to the contract written by himself that I will always be the producer of any film shot by us in Europe while he takes the directing credits, Lancelot took all the credits, (Producer, Director and Executive Producer) though I bought tickets for all the stars involved in that movie. When I asked him why? He said it was "an oversight". He sold it and took the money for himself. Mr. Osuagwu and John Okafor are also victims that can bear me witness.
Enough they say, is enough. I told Lancelot, if we must move on, he should also involv his personal cash as a partner. He replied, "over his dead body' that since we haven't ever made any gain in our tour he cannot stake money for others (STARS) to enjoy. How he embarrassed me in front of the press in Holland is a story of its own. He also made us incur losses in Mama.G tour not to mention how he pocketed over 10,000Eur alone and obtained 3,700Eur from my sister by trick, which is not a represetitation of people promoting Nigeria Image abroad . He obtained 1000Eur from me to edit the rushes of my film which we shot in Berlin, he also called me back that he needed
300Euro to complete the filmn. Butmy visit to Nigeria January revealed his greed and lies. I also found out how he made business out of some of the star guests we took to Europe and Ehizoya' s team Nigerians and Germans had no alternative than to discontinue working with HIM, (Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen).
I view this as a crime against humanity He moves from one place to another scandahising Isaac Izoya. He demonised me around each city in Europe using the one year multiple visa I gave him to nailed me. He lied aginst Ehizoya team and went as far writing petition to German's government accusing Isaac Izoya he once called "God sent saviour to rescue Nollywood" of human trafficking. Police went and forced my door open in Berlin, Germany while I am in Nigeria scouting for artistes for his next Europe trip and sealed off his flat searching for any useful evidence to Lancelot claims and declared him (Isaac Izoya) wanted.
We always collected the passports of the artistes upon arriving Germany and hand the passports to Lancelot at the end of our tours to ensure they returned to Nigeria. Lancelot always calls to confirm their safe arrival in Nigeria and if any person escapes which I think is a disgrace to Nohlywood image, Lancelot has to be held responsible for a bad recommendations and collaboration of letting the person run, who knows he may have been collecting money from them secretly .
1 will be glad to hear from him in an exclusive meeting that may include, Directors, Producers, Actors amid member of the press as soon as possible
But did you write any petition against him to German police?
I didn't write any petition against any one and I wonder what I will gain by that. I remember him having problem with one of the dancers who danced in one of our shows and their leader called Osazuwa threatened that he would cause immigration problems. But my dear Fred, let us delve into other matters because I will never talk about Isaac again.