Friday 8 May 2020

Nollywood groups disown FG's creative industry committee

Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture.

A group under the aegis of Nollywood Associations and Guilds has disassociated itself from the list of committee members of creative industry released by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

 On Wednesday, the minister disclosed of federal government's plan to give the creative industry stimulus to alleviate the economic shock of covid-19. Mohammed added that the list of committee members released has not been concluded.

However the Presidents of 17 film and theatre groups would like a review of the entire list released so far. In a joint statement released on Thursday, Nollywood Associations and Guilds seeked what it described as ideal  "processes and approaches indicative of a  transparent and equitable" in the selection of the committee members.

Meanwhile, the exclusion of visual artists from the controversial committee list appeared to have been resolved.

The president of Society of Nigerian Artists (SNA), Oliver Enwonwu confirmed on Thursday that the office of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Culture got in touch with him in effort to correct the exclusion of representative of his profession in the committee.

Excerpts from the group's statement;
 "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, 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 recognised 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 organisations 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 organisations, 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 resource 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 were 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 recognised association"s leadership. then the creative industry deserves 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."

 The statement was signed by 17 presidents if each guild and association:
 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
10. 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
17) AVOA Ngozi Ogbonna

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