Nollywood can be used in rebranding Nigeria—Ajigijaga
Mufutau Sanni Abdulahi, a.k.a Ajigijaga, is a notable and still an excellent actor to be reckoned with in film production and film directing in Nigeria. He often displays unique talents to boost his role as a leading crime actor in Nigeria.
He was born to the Abdulahi family in July 15, 1955 in Ogun State, Nigeria. And after a while in his youthful days after a successful service with P&T (now NITEL) he rechanneled his focus and interest which actually made him to pick a career in acting and film making in 1981 (28 years back). He ultimately styled himself in a manner that will make him showcase his talent to meeting with the contemporary techniques of motion pictures—an orchestrated effort that is aimed at suiting the desires of his teeming audience both locally and internationally.
He is currently a member of Guild of Actors, Directors, and Producers in Nigeria. Apart from acting Mufutau Sanni is also an event manager, and also finds time to commune with God.
The artiste met with modernghana .com at a function in Protea Hotel in Maryland, Lagos-Nigeria, he gave all his patience and time by answering questions thrown at him very discretely.
Questions: There is this wide spread speculations that the older film producers, actors and actresses have been displayed by the new generation artistes, is it true? And if yes, are you also affected?
Ans: To me actor can never fade out despite their age or years of performance on stage or otherwise. Infact long performance will make an artiste to be more resourceful and better, because he or she now knows or understands the rudiments and also the rule of the game much better. I am not aware if anyone was displaced or played out. And as for me I am not affected at all, I am still relevant in Nollywood, and I'm still very relevant in the movie industry, whether as an actor, director or producer. I'm not sure if you've heard about these new Yoruba films Opolopo-Opolo and 20 million Dollars, and I played significant roles in those films. Nobody can flaw anyone; everybody is unique in his or her own way. My character can never be adopted by anybody, honestly with all sense of humility that can't work.
Question: What is your hope in the film production business especially in the Yoruba speaking session where you belong?
Ans: My hope is that I'm still going to higher level, and audience at home should rest assured that Ajigijaga is coming back all out to take crime movie to a dimension that no one ever envisaged. I'm hoping to produce a movie that can sit head to head with any foreign movie whether in Hollywood or Bollywood that I can assure you and it will happen soon. And I will use this opportunity to salute all my fans both locally and internationally, I love them all for their support, for standing by me, and even through their phone calls. Please permit me to give them a deserving kudos. I pray that Almighty God will continue to bless them; God will replenish in bountiful fold the money they use in buying our films and the money they pay in viewing our movies at different exhibition centres both home and abroad.
Question: What are your expectations from Nigerian government, perhaps for the revamping of the movie world in Nigeria, (West Africa)?
Ans: If I have the opportunity to speak to our government at all level, I will kindly advise them to do justice to a number of things, but more importantly what I see as a priority is the provision of Film Village, and possibly if they can venture into movie sponsorship. Again they can also make legislation in flouting a regulatory body just as we have in, Advertisers' Practitioner Council of Nigeria (APCON), National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) etc. So that the industry will be freed from the perception of being an all comers affairs thing. Although, Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts practitioners (ANTP) in all the States of Nigeria and at national level are trying vigorously, but that regulatory body too will really help. Again we in the movie industry are also part of the larger society, who is under taxable age bracket, whether directly or indirectly. It will be worthwhile if they can assist and I'm sure their intervention will turn around the entire Nollywood, and let's get something clear here the economic abundance in that sector will evidently influence national prosperity. Moreover, Nollywood can be used by the federal government as a vibrant tool for the rebranding of Nigeria, as good people great Nation.
Question: How would you describe the role played so far by the film marketers in Nigeria?
Ans: We should give thumb up to Nigerian film marketers, they have really defined their path and it's good for the industry. Why do I say so? Most movie in the Nigerian market that witnessed a lot of publicity, are done by these marketers and profit or lose they bear the 100percent risk. Like myself I have a story which will cost me like N4 million (around E16, 000.00) its a crime story with distinct values which no one in the movie industry has never explored. Although I am speaking with some marketers already who have been showing interest for the sponsorship, but I'm not convinced yet if they are showing any serious commitment for now. I think this is an opportunity for me to tell anyone out there to come and invest in movie making, and there are strategies we can both work out mutually to sustain viable symbiotic relationship. I got a call from US some couple of months back and someone was asking me if I have a son who is into music, and I told her yes. My first born Rasheed Babatunde Sanni is a Fuji musician and he is doing well too in his own beat, but he is still clamouring for more assistance so as to take Fuji music to its place of pride beyond the shores of Africa. You guys in modernghana.com are doing brilliant work, your style of reporting is unique, excellent and superlative, please keep it up; God will continue to strengthen you. Without mincing words you are an African pride. But Nigerian journalists too are great ooo! I think it is good for me to acknowledge that too and to put the record right. Well your Nigerian representative is a Nigerian, a Yoruba man for that matter, someone all of us in the movie industry know very well, I believe in him and I have no doubt that God will take him to places in all his pursuits. Thank you for this rare opportunity, thank you. Please kindly allow my fans to reach me on +2348033191815 or +2348057028477.
Emmanuel Ajibulu is the representative of modernghana.com in Nigeria with the mandate to cover newsworthy events particularly in entertainments and politics.