IBINABO’S PETITION ZEB REPLIES
Last week we published the text of the petition written by Ibinabo Fiberesima against Zeb Ejiro over business gone sour. In a swift reaction, Zeb made his reply which we now publish. Enjoy
It's rather unfortunate that a business venture between lbinabo and I is being addressed in the public domain.
Total falsehood or half truth becomes nothing but the gospel truth if not urgently addressed by he that is being accused. Please I will crave your indulgence to stay within the confines of the petition as published in some of the national dailies last week.
No matter the publications and my response, lbinabo remains a daughter to me. Now she is a prodigal daughter that someday will come to her senses, and be received with open arms by me when she's ready to come home. We have come a long way together, through stormy weathers.
At this juncture, I would like to state, and emphatically too that lbinabo, on “A night in the Philippines” project only bought return tickets for five people. These are one ovation reporter, Steve who is a crew member, Desmond Elliot one of the leading actors, her mum and her self.
Two of those whose tickets she bought had nothing to do with the production.
The business of the ovation reporter was to cover the Miss Earth beauty pageant holding in the Philippines at that time, and her mother who went for some rest. Invariably, her expenses were limited to two return tickets, even though money was given to her by Zeb Ejiro to purchase the tickets of others involved in the production.
Consequently, on arrival in the Philippines, in addition to the tickets purchased, she paid for only three rooms (one for herself, the second for the Ovation reporter, and the third for her mum). Rooms were shared by all who traveled for the project and bills borne by the individuals. Same as feeding. Anyway all of this will suffice, as this will be my only response to her entire petition which I saw for the first time last week Thursday in one of the national dailies.
It hurts that this business initiative is causing so much hurt, pain, malice and campaign of calumny against me. A 2004 venture. Marketed in 2006. A little misrepresentation of the facts which Obi Osotule, Chico Ejiro (my younger brother) and Fred Amata called a peace meeting on, and chaired by Fidelis Duker (President of Directors Guild of Nigeria). A resolution could not be achieved because lbinabo stormed out, maybe in frustration or anger.
I must say here that I have been in the business of television/film production since 1985, with about five kids in some of the best Universities in our great country, Nigeria, all trained by me from this profession, and by dint of hard work and dedication. By God's grace, I'm celebrating my golden jubilee (50 years on earth). My contributions to the development of our sub sector are awesome.
Unless some people would want to distort history, which is not uncommon, my immense contributions to the growth and development of the industry, vis-à-vis the various guilds and associations are unparalleled. By some of these, I earned the national honour of Officer of the Order of the Niger. (OON), bestowed on me by the federal government through former President Obasanjo.
My OON wasn't bought. I ask therefore, why would I rubbish the name I sweated and toiled to build for so many years, and the national honour attached to it, over one movie? I have never been involved in intellectual property theft.
Instead, I have been and still am a fighter of intellectual property infringement and theft. In this case however, God Almighty, the omnipotent and omnipresent is the ultimate judge and my witness. I have neither subtracted nor added on the little I've told you gentlemen of the press as it concerns lbinabo's published petition on “A Night in the Philippines”.
I sincerely believe lbinabo and I will, sooner, reach an amicable resolution.
I want to use this opportunity to let you into one fact that is, the hand of Esau. It gladdens my heart to say it. On the contrary, my heart bleeds knowing that lbinabo is being used as a pawn in a chess game by some no-do-gooders. Sad. I will revisit this sometime.
On Friday,15th June 2007, a colleague and friend called my attention to a promo on Rhythm 93.7, asking “Is Zeb Ejiro a fraud”? Knowing the desk it must have emanated from, I put a call through to the head of entertainment. After a brief talk, it was affirmed the promo would stop forthwith. I guess it did.
Amazingly, on Saturday,l6th June 2007, I was driving when the same friend and others called to ask if I was onto Rhythm 93.7, that my name, and person, was being taken to the cleaners by Ejike Asiegbu (the outgoing AGN president), over a petition by lbinabo Fiberesima. I quickly tuned in to the station to hear the obvious campaign of calumny, character assassination and lies the public was being fed with by the same Asiegbu. How can someone who supposedly heads an association be as insensitive to others, careless in his statement and blatant in his lies? He never for once put through or even tried to put a call through to me. Have you stopped to wonder why a petition to an association will make it's way to the media without the one that is so petitioned against being privy to it.
I cannot in any way join issues with Asiegbu on the pages of newspapers. It's only unfortunate that his vendetta and disdain for my steadfast position on industry matters has been brought to the public domain. Now what is my offence against Asiegbu?
When he came up with his Nb, 000 registration fee for AGN members and members to be, including demanding 80% of same from state chapters to the national body, I challenged him and proffered that the states be made to pay 20% of registration fees to the national, and also to adhere strictly to the fees recognized by their constitution which means that I asked him to operate within the ambit of AGN's constitution. This took place in my office. When he was insistent on having his way, I pleaded that he allowed the states 60% while the National retains 40% so they could effectively run their chapters.
This didn't go down well with him hence he left grudgingly. I never had any encounter with him until now 2 years after. Let it be on record that I was one of the few practitioners who saw him ascend the presidency of AGN. When I called him (he claims he couldn't get me), to know why he was supporting a media campaign against me, he simply said, “It's pay back time”. I find this rather preposterous. Still nursing a grudge against me after two years of friendly advice? The same phrase he used, “pay back time” at O'jez when other interested parties sought to know why the campaign of calumny.
The reason for Asiegbu's action therefore isn't far fetched. Three years after “A Night in the Philippines” was made, and a year after it entered the market, a petition rears its head in the media. Why now?
It may interest you to know that I am running for President of Association of Movie Producers (AMP). Some persons have mistakenly likened our professional bodies to mainstream, hardcore politics. The order of the day therefore should be the “pull him down” (PHD) syndrome.
The feeling is that we cannot synergize when I make AMP presidency. No weapon fashioned against me shall prosper. Not this time, not ever. I have passed through so many rough terrains in getting this far in life. I have always excelled. I have always conquered those who have declared me an enemy. God is my defender. HE is my shield. Justice is HIS. Posterity will judge. So let the sleeping dogs lie.