Nollywood stakeholders have come out to express their disapproval of the FG’s Covid-19 Committee on the creative industry.
According to Nigerian Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, the committee was set up a few days ago to advice the government on the impact of the pandemic on the Nigerian creative industry and advising on taxation and financing; to look for a way to cushion the effects in this time of the pandemic.
The committee is led by Ali Baba and has Anita Eboigbe of the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, as Secretary. Other members of the Committee are Bolanle Austen Peters, Charles Novia, Segun Arinze, Ali Jita, Baba Agba, Kene Okwuosa, Efe Omoregbe, Prince Daniel Aboki, Chioma Ude, Olumade Adesemowo, Dare Art Alade, and Hajia Sa’a Ibrahim. They are meant to represent aspects that makeup Nigeria’s creative and media industry.
But it is yet two days after and there is already a backlash against it and from its own sector.
The coalition group made up of 18 guilds and associations have discredited the Covid-19 committee. The statement is signed by Ralph Nwadike, Association of Movie Producers (AMP); Emeka Rollas, Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN); Fred Amata, Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN); Yinka Ogun, Screen Writers Guild of Nigeria (SWGN); Daisy Madu-Chikwendu, Association of Nollywood Core Producers, (ANCOP); Ahmad Sarari, Motion Pictures Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MOPPAN); Sele O. Sele, Creative Designers Guild Of Nigeria (CDGN); Emeka Aduah, Film and Video Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria (FVPMAN); Yinka Oduniyi, Independent Television Producers Association of Nigeria (ITPAN), Izu Osuigwe, Media Contents Distributors Association, Nigeria [MCDAN], CEMP Peddie Okhao; Theatre Arts and Motion Pictures Producers Association of Nigeria (TAMPAN); Israel Eboh of National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP) and others.
The Guardian news records Eboh as saying that this is “proof of government’s insensitivity to the creative industry. Why would the government refuse to get the stakeholders involved in such an issue policy formulation?”
He said, “we decided to come out with the statement because of the non-recognition of our sector. “If guilds like the Nigerian Bar Association, Nigerian Medical Association among others are engaged as strategic stakeholders by the government through their recognized association’s leadership then the creative industry deserves the same.”
these 2.5 million Nigerians belong to associations and organizations generally referred to as guilds, whom they have willingly through legitimate elections handed over the incumbency of their mandates; saying in essence speak and act on our behalf on matters affecting our interests, welfare, and wellbeing!”
He asked, “under which mandate are these people speaking? How can they speak for the sector? Why do we have leadership? As leaders, we are more in touch with our members. Who can be more stakeholders than the associations and guilds?”
Read the release below;
*BY NOLLYWOOD GUILDS AND ASSOCIATIONS*
Our attention has been drawn to a purported creative industry committee reportedly set up by the Federal Government to advise it on how to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the creative industry.
We first wish to commend the government for having such initiatives and intentions for the creative industry.
It’s a welcome and thoughtful approach to positive intervention and in alignment with other progressive governments the world over, who, having appreciated the impact of the pandemic on their creative sectors, have developed palliative programs as a support net.
However, there are processes and approaches indicative of a transparent and equitable desire to ensure that the needs and requirements of the target sectors are achieved!
It is a known fact that the Nigerian motion picture industry and the performing arts, Nollywood, as part of the creative industry have about 20 guilds, employing about 2.5million youthful Nigerians and recognized globally as the second-largest movie production industry in the world; an industry worth US$2.8Billion with a contribution of 2% of the 2.3% contribution of the creative industry to the nation’s GDP.
It’s also a known fact that these 2.5M Nigerians belong to associations and organizations generally referred to as guilds, whom they have willingly through legitimate elections handed over the incumbency of their mandates; saying in essence speak and act on our behalf on matters affecting our interests, welfare and wellbeing!
It is then inherent and indeed compelling that any discussion concerning the welfare of the industry should as a matter of equity and transparency involve the participation of those guild heads.
Presently, Nigeria is involved in the process of financial discussions with international finance bodies.
No matter how rich or successful an Aliko Dangote or a Herbert Wigwe maybe or how connected with those financial organizations, they cannot lead the sovereign government delegation to those talks.
The citizens of Nigeria would hold the federal government responsible.
So the 2.5m workers of the Nigerian creative sector would hold the guilds and their leaders responsible!
However, the ministry may in its wisdom nominate individuals from the industry as additional resources based on their experiences and reach.
How can a government anywhere on earth truly appreciate the workings of a sub-sector of the economy if the leadership of that sector was not consulted prior to major decisions affecting the sector?
Nollywood is one of the priority sectors identified by the government for its Economic Recovery and Growth Plans with a projected US$1Billion export revenue in 2020. This is the more reason why the government should involve the leadership of the industry on critical issues affecting the industry rather than hand-picking a few practitioners no matter how prominent they may be.
Where there is a will there is, always, a way.
We, therefore, urge the ministry to allow the above positions to guide their present and future engagements with the creative industry.
If really the government is serious about this noble initiative; we then respectfully call on the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed to reconstitute the committee to reflect the actual representatives of the industry.
If guilds like the Nigerian Bar Association, Nigerian Medical Association among others are engaged as strategic stakeholders by the government through their recognized association’s leadership. then the creative industry deserves the same relationship.
We hold this truth to be self-evident that Nollywood has leadership founded and anchored on their Guilds and Associations and we urge the Honourable Minister of Information or any other representative of the federal government, its parastatals and agencies planning any intended dealings with Nollywood to humbly but officially do so through the Guilds and Associations.
For Nollywood Associations and Guilds:
1)AMP Ralph Nwadike
2)AGN Emeka Rollas
3)DGN Fred Amata
4)SWGN Yinka Ogun
5)ANCOP Daisy Madu
6)MOPPAN Ahmad Sarari
7)CDGN Sele O Sele
8)FVPMAN Emeka Aduah
9)ITPAN YINKA ODUNIYI
MACDAN Barr. Izu Osuigwe
11 CEMP Peddie Okhao
12) AMPEENMensah Paul
13)NANTAP Israel Eboh
14) TAMPAN Otunba Bolaji Amusan
15 AMCOD Hon Sola Awoleye
16)ANTP Dr. Victor Ashaolu
17) AVOA Ngozi Ogbonna
19)GONDP. Dayo Liadi
20) EFMA Paul Obazele
The government set up the Covid-19 committee on the creative industry to give advice on the state of the industry and what can be done to help it fare better. The aggrieved stakeholders believe the government should have gone through the right ‘channels of leadership’ of guilds and associations. Hence, they want the government to have a more holistic on the 20 creative guilds and association and discover ways it can serve better.