Nigerian Movie Industry suffering from the same tribalism that retard Nigeria’s progress

Charles Okafor - Nollywood veteran
Charles Okafor - Nollywood veteran
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By Raph Enechi

“Nigerian film Industry has thrived for decades and known around the world with the brand and trademark, NOLLYWOOD , but in recent time some parts of Nigeria for whatever reason best known to them are forming other factional brands to represent their tribal film industry other than national brand. “

Tribalism, Nepotism and Religious Bigotry are the Problems that have not allowed Nigeria to grow, develop nor progress.  These canker worms have eaten deep into the fabrics of Nigerian systems both socially, politically and religiously.
The movie industry in every nation of the world where ethnicity, tribalism, nepotism and religious bigotry is not promoted above merit and national interest is known and identified by one name irrespective of how large the population of the country is.  However, in Nigeria the case is different and inapplicable.
Looking at countries like USA, India and China, countries that are by far more populated than Nigeria, with even bigger movie industries, theirs are still identified by one name. But in Nigeria, ours is identified by three different names, for no just cause, other than tribalism and religious bigotry. These names are, NOLLYWOOD, YORUWOOD AND KANNYWOOD.
Prior to the revolution of the movie industry in Nigeria, every movie ever produced in our country, be it soap opera, documentary or any other jobs done that became successful were produced by the NTA – Nigerian Television Authority. Individual efforts mostly thrived on stage plays, although some few independent producers like Chief Eddy Ugboma produced some films on celluloid, which did well in cinemas, as well as someone like Wale Adeluga who also made success with his production, Papa Ajasco. By the late 80’s and early 90’s few independent producers began to put their jobs on VHS, but truth be told none of this productions achieved commercial success. I must add that by this time, majority of the independent producers who mostly plied their trade in cinemas and at Theatres were mostly Yorubas.
The main revolution of the movie industry in Nigeria came through a movie titled “Living In Bondage” produced and marketed by NEC VIDEO, and the Executive Producer was Mr. Ken Nnebue.
The commercial success achieved by that moster hit, caused the revolution which brought about the emergence of what we know today as the Nigerian Movie Industry. Before Living in Bondage, there was really nothing on ground that one can really refer to as movie industry in Nigeria, anyone saying order wise is trying to rewrite history. Immediately Living in Bondage was produced and it became an instant success, many more movies followed, which also achieved commercial success.
The successes recorded by these works led to a major boom in the industry, and the eventual bastardisation and the over flooding of the industry and market with substandard movies by people who have little or no knowledge and training in film making.
Most of these men who started producing these substandard movies were mostly Igbo traders at Idumota Lagos, but credit must also be given to them because they were also the same people whose involvement in the industry led to the emergence of the NOLLYWOOD.
When an American journalist who coined the name Nollywood did, he never knew that there would be controversy over who or which tribe should take credit for the success recorded in the industry. Even some leading lights in the industry who ordinarily should be proud of the success of the industry have distanced themselves from Nollywood, and even castigate it all because they felt that the glory is being given to Nigerians from other tribe other than theirs.
I can boldly say that the monster, called tribalism above every other thing is responsible for the division in the Nigerian Movie Industry today. The inability of some prominent players in the movie industry to accept the fact that the Igbos, whom they consider as new comers in the industry are given the credit for the great succeses of the industry is the reason why some people rejected the idea of calling the Nigerian Movie Industry Nollywood, and came up with their own names known as Yorruwood and Kannywood respectively.
I could still remember watching a man like Jide Kosoko arguing vehemently, on Television that Living in Bondage is not the first film in Nigeria to achieve commercial success which led to the revolution of the movie industry in Nigeria. He said that he is not part of the Nollywood, and that they are coming up with their own name which will be acceptable to them.
Each time you listen to those who insist that they are not part of the movie industry, Nollywood as we know it today, you will realise that the bottom line is the fact that the Igbos, who were not at the driving seat of Nigeria movie setting from the beginning could not just come from nowhere and revolutionise the industry and claim the glory, just like that. But the question is, are the Igbos really claiming the glory?
But that is where the problem is, I don’t think it is about who brought the revolution or the tribe where he comes from, but about the booming industry, the millions of jobs that has been created by this revolution, the honour it has brought to Nigeria and Nigerians. I think the benefits of this industry should be the paramount concern of all, not who or where the glory or credit goes to.
This tribalism and nepotism has always been the greatest clog on the wheel of the progress of Nigeria. This attitude of Nigerians, where people do everything to pull down and destroy great and noble things just because those behind it are of another tribe is very unfair and destructive to our progress and prosperity.
I know some may say that I am saying this because of the tribe I come from, but that is a lie from the pit of hell. By the grace of God, I doubt if you can find any Nigerian more de-tribalised than me.
This writeup is from the point of view that all the division we have today in our movie industry is a distraction caused by tribalism and they unnecessary.
I wouldn’t be surprised if anyone trivalise the issue I raised here, because I am used to people doing that. Even amongst my tribes men anytime one speaks a truth that doesn’t favour them, they are quick to brand me a sellout on the account of my marrying a Yoruba woman, without considering what one said on it’s merit, whether true or false.
I only used Nollywood as a case study to underscore what tribalism has done and is still doing to us in Nigeria. Even in a country like India, where something similar to this is obtainable, a discerning mind will still discover that the same trivial issues such as ethnicity, religion and tribalism are the root cause. As a nation and people we can chose to be different for good, we can say, let it happen everywhere else, but not in our land. Who says we cannot have many languages, tribes and yet united in purpose.
I must also add that there are some Nigerians movie practitioners who does not really subscribe to this nonsense, who relate freely and sees the success of the industry as a success to Nigeria and all Nigerians.
Edited by Obinna Ejianya
raph-mcjulius-enechi-mainRaph McJulius Enechi is a Prophet, Poet, Author and The Senior Pastor of THE BALANCED CHURCH, Lagos, Nigeria. He can be reached on Email : 
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