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Published On: Tue, Jun 24th, 2014

Nigeria’s film industry and nation building

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By Kingsley Okoye

The nation’s entertainment industry in the last two decades is said to be one of the viable sectors which has provided platform for the emergence of various entrepreneurs.

Analysts have repeatedly argued that the nation’s film industry has contributed to nation building, and capable of becoming a major driver of economic growth and job creation, if the potential inherent in the sector are adequately harnessed.

In Nigeria, film has been used to highlight the cultural heritage, political needs and aspirations of the people.

Dr Danjuma Dadu, Managing Director of the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) said that the nation’s movie industry had promoted and united the various socio-cultural groups in the country.

He said the movie industry through its story lines had served as a connecting cord that had united Nigeria in the last two decades.

Dadu said the movie industry had promoted global peace, progress, as well as contributed significantly to the growth of the economy, through various productions.

He pointed out that the industry over the years had showcased the creative ingenuity of numerous young Nigerian actors and actresses, who were making significant impact in the industry

The managing director also noted that the industry had made laudable strides as an important player in the global audio- visual industry, and boosted the image of the country globally.

“Movie production has driven the Nigerian state to her level of greatness,’’ he said.

Prof. Oyedele Enoch of Department of History, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, on his part, said efforts should be intensified to produce movies that would inform, educate and provide advice on how to address the many development challenges in the country.

“Film makers must tailor movies produced to foster economic, cultural, social and political consciousness of the people so as to give a voice on how best to increase development,’’ he said.

Oyedele also recalled that the colonial administrators used movies to accelerate development in their various colonies.

He said the film makers should consolidate the growth of the industry by making movies that bordered on promotion of national interest.

The don said that synergy between government and stakeholders in the industry would enable movie producers, key into government policies on transformation and nation building.

Oyedele said the popularity of Nigerian films had made it a medium for reinforcing information meant to promote certain facts on nation building.

It was to boost the contributions of the sector to the national economy that prompted President Goodluck Jonathan to announce a N3 billion cash grant to the movie sector.

The aim was to further consolidate the role of film as a change agent and harnessing of the huge potential inherent in the sector.

This gesture was considered by many as a fair recognition of the sector’s importance and as well as consolidate the administration’s efforts at diversifying the economy.

The Nigerian film industry known as Nollywood is reputed to be the third largest movie industry in the world and it tells the Nigerian story in creative and innovative ways.

It produces about 50 movies per week, second only to India’s Bollywood; more than Hollywood in the United States.

Although its revenues cannot be compared with that of  Bollywood and Hollywood, Nollywood still generates impressive revenue annually.

Sani Danja, a Nigeria artist believes that although the industry is rated third in quantity and quality, more needs to be done in area of recouping of investment for industry practitioners.

He said that could be done through restructuring of the methods of distribution of Nigeria movies.

Danja said movies produced in Nigeria should be marketed  legitimately in Nigeria and other countries of the world.

Zik Zulu, President of Movie Producers Associations of Nigeria , said a new crop of film makers have over the years brought some level of professionalism into the industry; this, he said, had led to significant growth of Nollywood, and by extension Nigeria.

He added that the industry could be further developed for nation building through the enhancement of capacity of stakeholders in the industry.

Perceptive analysts say that in a heterogeneous country like Nigeria, film industry must be seen as an institution where cultural values, development initiatives and aspirations are propagated.

They say that movies that evolve workable measures that would further consolidate the growth of the Nigerian state should be encouraged and promoted.

Source: NAN

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