Chikelu makes case for Nigerian artistes • Let’s celebrate our talents
The Minister of Information, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Chukwuemeka Chikwelu, has charged Nigerians to, as a matter matter of policy, showcase our indigenous artistes. The minister, who spoke at the MTV-Nokia sign on ceremony in Lagos on Friday last week, stated that, “if you showcase a star as an icon, he will do endorsement for advertisement in the domestic market, create more money for himself, and the industry and other people will know it is possible to live legitimately by having talent and creativity. You make him a star, and from there, he can run orientation messages, become a role model and convey any image you want him to convey,” he declared.
He told the gathering that he had just been informed that Ramsy Noah was on a television programme in South Africa, and according to him, the studio of the television station had never received more messages and phone calls than they did while Noah was doing the programme.
He described Noah as a Nigerian movie star with a global appeal. Jokingly, Chikelu asked, “why is it that if people hear that a popular foreign artiste is coming, they will go to the airport to receive the star. That is so because the people have promoted and celebrated him. They have turned him to a brand for the world to see. We need to consciously do it in Nigeria. When we do that, our stars become icons in Nigeria, and they will be venerated abroad too”
When reminded that major stakeholders in the film industry would not see the issue from his perspective, as most of our movie stars are currently on ban, he described that as an industry politics. He declared, “ a star is a star. They are Nigerian products, Nigerian stars, the best and brightest from Nigeria. It is not about individuals, it is about a policy and personalities, as in which personalities are Nigerians that we are promoting to the rest of the world?”.
Rhetorically, Chikelu asked: “The global movie industry is over $6O billion. What are we going to get in Nigeria?” The minister stated that whatever the country gets out of this chunk belongs to Nigerians.