CRISIS AMONG YORUBA MOVIE ARTISTES DEEPENS… RESTIVE MEMBERS FORM RIVAL GROUP
The crisis that has bedevilled the Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (ANTP) in the past few months has continued to get worse. Findings by City People revealed that the crisis which started a few months back through the actions of a pressure group insisted that every member of ANTP be treated
with equal rights. Without doubt the actions of the 'rebels' have taken another dimension which may indicate the permanent division of the umbrella association for Yoruba movie makers.
According to Kunle Afod, leader of the group which he simply described as 'One House', a lot of reasons are responsible for why hundreds of youngsters and him have decided to pull out of ANTP. “Basically, the so called elders have a discriminating attitude which makes it extremely difficult for any unpopular or up-coming artiste to rise to stardom. We also discovered that the Prince Jide Kosoko led administration has no plans as per the welfare of members. Since he became the president of ANTP some members have died. But you would be surprised that the association has not done anything in the form of financial assistance for members of the families of those that are deceased.
Let me inform you that at every monthly meeting of ANTP we contribute money for
the up-keep of the association. This precludes the mandatory annual dues from every financial member of ANTP. As I speak to you ANTP has no bank account or
financial statement to show for her income or expenditure. It is quite unfortunate that when we ask for financial records or the financial status of ANTP nobody gives a satisfactory answer. Rather the likes of Ebun Oloyede (Olaiya) rain curses on us and call us unprintable names”.
On the industrial action to introduce reforms in the Yoruba movie industry Kunle said, “You would remember that the association mandated her members to go on a compulsory break so that reforms will be introduced into the Yoruba movie industry. During the break, Yoruba movie artistes were not expected to shoot any movie or video. It was at this time that the so-called elders got a contract to do a musical video for a Lagos politician. Does that mean the directive not to shoot any movie or musical was meant for a set of people? And the outcome of the ban on movie production that ran into months was that an artiste can only produce a movie in a year. But in Jide Kosoko's house himself and some other members of his family were screened as producers. The same for Bello Salami (Oga Bello) whose family members were also screened as producers”. According to Kunle, these and other reasons made him and other aggrieved members to quit ANTP.
“We are standing aside to be progressive. We can no longer tolerate a set of people who are conservative, high-handed and feel they can suppress our views”. One House convened for their maiden meeting somewhere in Ojuelegba, Lagos Mainland earlier this month. Reacting to the allegations, Prince Jide Kosoko said, “These people are those who are shying away from reforms. They crashed into the industry and failed to scale through the screening exercise. Like you know all sectors of the Nigerian movie industry like the Censors board and the marketers have embraced reformations. These sets of people are the ones who demand three hundred thousand naira from marketers to
produce a movie based on a recycled story. The leadership of ANTP has continuously found it difficult to explain to the whole world why story lines of lots
of movies are recycled. It is not compulsory that everyone becomes a movie producer. The bottom line of the whole issue is that the National Executive Council
of ANTP has given them an option to resign from ANTP or deny the misleading statements they have made against the association.” Prince Kosoko explained further that the NEC has the final say on what becomes the fate of members of One House.
The big question however is; how long will ANTP, an association founded by late Chief Hubert Ogunde, continue to be a divided house at a time the Nigerian movie industry is attracting global attention?
BY TAIWO OBATUSIN