By Christiana Ekpa
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, has emphasized the need for positive projection of Nigeria’s culture and image to the outside world by the players in the nation’s entertainment industry, even as he stressed the importance of Nollywood to the nation’s socio-economic development.
The Speaker also advocated the need for the combined efforts of patriots working together to make real the vision of a prosperous and peaceful country.
According to Gbajabiamila, players in the nation’s entertainment industry, popularly known as Nollywood, have a critical role to play in not only shaping the society for the better but also influencing how the nation is viewed by the outside world through the content of their trade.
The Speaker made the call at a two-day Leadership Master Training for Nollywood Celebrities and Stakeholders under the platform of Actors’ Guild of Nigeria (AGN) in Abuja at the weekend.
He said, “Beyond the questions of economics and profit, there is the issue of the critical role of Nollywood in influencing culture, defining national character, and promoting national identity.
“You also have a responsibility to tell the best stories of our beloved country. I do not propose to turn you into cheerleaders for a Nigeria that does not exist. But the stories of men and women thriving through adversity and innovating for prosperity needs to be told, and it falls to you to tell those stories.
“I hold in my heart a fundamental belief that our highest aspirations for Nigeria can only be achieved by the combined effort of patriots working together to make real the vision of a prosperous and peaceful country”.
Emphasising the importance of Nollywood to the nation’s socio-economic development, the Speaker disclosed that the entertainment industry in Nigeria has grown to become a critical part of the economy.
He, however, stressed that by addressing the challenges confronting the industry, much more can be achieved, saying, “With adequate investment, a supportive regulatory environment, better training and capacity development, Nollywood will grow beyond our present dreams and surpass our highest ambitions.
“It falls to all of us, in government, in the private sector and across society to identify the ways we can help the industry reach the heights we all know is possible”.
Earlier, House Minority Leader, Rep. Ndudi Godwin Elumelu, expressed delight at the event, noting that “The much needed strategic multisectoral efforts to guarantee the desired rebound and repositioning of the movie industry in Nigeria, though long overdue, has begun”.
According to him, the country’s movie industry, more than any other social platform, remains critical in the moulding of the character of members of the society, especially the youths, women and children, as well as the outside world seeing the nation from the plots, setting and narratives of the movies.
Also, the Managing Director of Everight Diagnostic and Laboratory Services Ltd,
Everest Okpara, who also partnered with the Actors Guild of Nigeria for the training, commended huge contribution to the entertainment industry within and beyond the shores of Nigeria
He said “we implore and encourage everyone else who can support the Actors Guild of Nigeria to kindly indulge.