If you wish to support Nollywood and help the industry grow to develop her potentials, then you should shoot all the stakeholders.
To the extent that the Nollywood stakeholder has become a barrier against progress and a means to accentuate dereliction, crass opportunism and elevation of mediocrity to the status of an art form, then we should shoot them. At every forum, at every event and in consort with all manner of persons especially when entertainment is the issue, the Nollywood stakeholders have been a hindrance rather than help. So, please let’s shoot them all.
There have been numerous schemes and projects designed to develp Nollywood into a profitable industry. Many didn’t leave the paper on which they were written. Others were sabotaged by the very same people who designed them, often for their own selfish interests. Worse still, the industry is so fragmented, disorganized and barely regulated such that calling it an industry appears like an aberration. For some, flippancy is acquired disposition but for Nollywood, it seems genetic.
According to a report by BusinessDay, the Nigerian government through the Bank of Industry (BOI) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) proposed to invest N75 Billion funding facility to stakeholders in Nollywood to revamp the entertainment industry. The fund in November 2011 was set to be ready for disbursement, over six months later, it is still getting ready.
So much have been written about the $200 million largess President Jonathan announced for the entertainment industry that it seems trite to even mention it here. But needless to say, the fund, like a freight train that has gone off course, is heading nowhere.
It is instructive to note that Nollywood stakeholders have been blamed in all these schemes that hit the rocks. For the purpose of this report, let’s clarify the Nollywood stakeholder. A stakeholder is a person, group, organization, member or system who affects or can be affected by an organization’s actions. Invariably, we are all Nollywood stakeholders; the producer and his crew, the government and regulating agencies, the gang of Alaba marketers and pirates, the cinema operators and the distribution agencies, the community of Nollywood audience and critics alike, yes even Aki and Paw paw. But those within the industry, especially those who enjoy media attention don the toga rather too zealously.
While stakeholders play a crucial role in achieving the objectives of the industry, but a common problem that arise from having so much stakeholders in an enterprise or industry is that there may be a conflict of interests- and egos. Precisely, that seems to be a major problem with Nollywood.
It is instructive to note that, this dispensation actually marks the first time serious overtures is being made to develop the framework for a real industry for Nollywood. There are emerging structures for script conferencing and consultations, agencies are into artiste management and guilds and associations within Nollywood are asserting their right to be taken seriously. What is more, credit agencies are making serious overtures at Nollywood as can be seen in the moves by NEXIM and Bank of Industry. What then can Nollywood do to take advantage of these opportunities?
For one, any serious organization that wishes to take a loan conducts market research; writes a business plan and show how the loan can be repaid. They often hire consultants, accountants and other professionals with expert opinions. Many Nollywood stakeholders have whined in the media that the overtures by the credit agencies are as difficult to assess as a camel passing through a needle’s eye but the sore question has always been, have you done all that you should do?
Nollywood guilds were created to solve a problem but more often than not they have become the problem. The Actors Guild for example does more acting on the pages of the newspaper than on the screen. Beyond the grandstanding and intractable conflict they are reputed for, the guilds can actually become more useful by creating structures to access the funds the credit agencies are making available. They can also proactively secure their members interests rather than only being content in collecting registration fees and subscription dues. They should have a strong presence with regulating agencies so that their interests can be protected. The scriptwriters guild ought to be affiliated with the Nigerian Copyright Commission and the Association of Movie Producers should have a strong rapport with the Nigerian Film Corporation, only then can the Nollywood stakeholder be seen as living up to his name.
Isaac Anyaogu writes screenplay for feature films.