Print version I Can Solve Nigeria’s Problems —Ifeanyi Dike
Top movie practitioner and chairman , Board of Trustees, Actors Guild of Nigeria, in this interview with us, talks about solving Nigeria's problems and other issues
Q: You have been in the Nigerian movie industry for quite some time now. What is your experience like?
A: Well, the experience is quite nice and wonderful. When we started, it wasn't as popular as this, but today, Nollywood is everywhere and a lot of people now make money out of it. We have also created employment for a lot of young people who are interested in the movie sector. Employment has really been created and we are contributing in no small measure to the society.
We are also ambassadors, due to the fact that films are everywhere in the world, If you want to know about Nigerians, just pick a home video and that tells you about our lifestyle, but the movies are not actually the way we live because they are exaggerated, but I can tell you the movie industry has really helped Nigeria and that is why the Nigerian government should do a lot to support the sector. If the sector breaks down, it will not augur well for our economy.
Q: Since you became the AGN chairman, you have taken a break from acting, what is responsible?
A: Well, it's as simple as a, b, c. You know at times if you are elevated in your chosen profession, there are basic things you would not do. For example, if you are a General in the army, you don't go to the war front. You only give instructions from your base and it will be very sad, if as a General, you start struggling for arms with other soldiers.Therefore, I found out that whenever I go to the venue of an audition, people are no longer comfortable. They feel I'm there to either sanction someone or to cause wahala on the set and people start doing 'eye service'. So the best thing, is to stay away. On the other hand, I'm too busy with my job as an independent producer because I produce TV show. So, I don't have much time to spend on locations and you know at times, on location, you have to stay as much as three months and from one movie to the other. I'm generally needed at different places. Time, I can say is the major reason but I still have that spirit in me and once in a while I act.
There is this soap that is coming out soon by Ariyike in which I played a very funny role there, so I hope Nigerians will enjoy it.
Q: Apart from being the AGN Chairman, you are also into other things. Is it because you don't make much money in Nollywood?
A: Making money is not even the issue because if it's making money, I know what to do to make it. Making of money is the wrong reason to go into any profession, but when you have fulfilment, you realise that it doesn't really matter if money comes or not, but money is also important but if it is enough for you to feed your family and enjoy some comfort, I think it's okay. We need to be creative and versatile in any thing we do. I did the braiding competition and it was successful and the MTN traders cup is coming up very soon and others, which I do not want to mention here. It will take the transport sector by storm. I want to thank God for giving me the strength to do all these.
I have a lot of creative vibes and if I don't use it, causes me discomfort. I'm a bank of ideas. If you want an idea, I can give you to make money. So just tell me your problem and I will give you ideas on how to make good money.
There should be a bank to give out money to people who have good ideas. I think Diamond Bank is doing something like that but I don't know how far they have gone. I don't know the idea they have prompted but I am sure that there are so many ideas out there that can create employment. But if you needs ideas, just come to me.
Q: So, if you were to give an idea in solving the problems of Nigeria, what will they be?
A: You see, Nigeria is the easiest country you can rule, but it's just that people are too concerned about themselves. I have been to many countries and I can tell you that the 'heat' in the air in those countries are not here. Nigeria is where we have people from different tribes and we still enjoy football, parties and nobody is fighting anybody. The spirit in Nigeria is so strong that if you enter any foreign country with Nigerian passport, they assume that you are a magician. Nigerians are the most industrious people in Africa but the problem is that as long as we remain disorganised, it becomes a benefit to other African countries.
To solve the problem in Nigeria is as easy as a, b, c. We say we have food crisis now, we have the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) for God's sake, let every Corps member serve the country by producing food for that one year. Take people to the farm every year. Each state should have a farm settlement. I mean vast farm land in animal husbandry, crops and other things. All corps members should not be drafted into teaching and other circular jobs. What are they teaching? We already have teachers doing the job. If this is done, we won't have food scarcity.
Let the corps members use their hands to work. The government should provide the enabling environment for them to produce and sell their chickens. People no longer live in riches, they now live hopelessly and that is why they continue to get corrupt and 'eat' government's money. These days, there is nothing we value in our society not even our education, it is money they now put first. It is really sad. The situation in this country is like the fools generate money and the wise sit somewhere to enjoy it. Whereas, money is all about chance and opportunity.
It is very necessary for the government to fully equip the police, not just with guns and ammunition, but pay them well, so that no bribe can amuse them. Policemen should be tall and athletic and not dwarf. In America, huge people can easily enforce the law.
Q: What are the challenges you face as the AGN Chairman?
A: They are normal challenges, but in a large way. I'll like to say that the AGN president, Ejike Asiegbu has tried tremendously for pushing AGN to this level.
Q: How has AGN and its BOT been able to instill discipline in Nollywood?
A: Every president has his style and there are measures which we have adopted particularly to guide the actions.
Artists can be suspended or banned if they are found wanting.