Contact: 08099400130, 08023380008 E-mail azuhamtus@yahoo.com

Pages

TWITTER

follow us on twitter:@daylightng

Monday, December 29, 2008

THE PROBLEM WITH NOLLYWOOD...salvaging a dying industry


Pic-Olu Jacobs

Until few years ago, the world knew only two flourishing film blocks. Then it was Hollywood of the United States and Bollywood of Indian. The Nigerian Nollywood joined the fray 16 years ago and showed much promise.



While Nollywood blossomed, many star actresses and actors were discovered. Many of them have even made in-road to Hollywood. Such star actors and actresses include Genevieve Nnaji, who rose to become the Face of Lux; Rita Dominic, Emeka Ike, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde; Ramsey Noah; Jim Iyke; Kate Henshaw-Nuttal, Stella Damasus-Aboderin, Ini Edo, Uche Jumbo, Oby Edozieh etc.Other acting icons, who had made waves in the film industry, joined Nollywood to give it boost and impetus.



These include Pete Edochie; Sam Loco-Efe, Ejike Asiegbu, Kanayo O. Kanayo, Bob Manuel-Udokwu, Bimbo Manuel, Segun Arinze; Richard Mofe-Damijo; Enebeli Elebuwa; Joke Silva; Olu Jacobs, Clarion Chukwurah, Eucharia Anunobi, Ngozi Ezeonu etc.Over the years, Nollywood grew in leaps and bounds. Films or home videos were produced in their numbers and the industry became a toast across the world, as the films produced tell the African story to the world that had seen the continent as backward and barbaric.




Actress, Joke Silva

Indeed, there is hardly any part of the world where films produced in Nollywood are not in circulation. In the United States and Britain, Nollywood products are seen as collectors’ items. However, it appears that Nollywood has reached a point of diminishing return. The industry has been hit by many problems and has therefore started a decline. First, there was the problem of quality, as the producers were accused of churning out films every other week, without caring much about the standard. Second, amateurs joined the industry as actors and actresses, without the requisite training. Three, some of the star actors and actresses got swollen-headed and started breaching contracts after collecting their fees. This led to the delisting of such actors and actresses by producers. Four, pirates swooped on the industry and reaped where they did not sow. Fifth, actors and actresses from neighbouring Ghana became more professional and started dwarfing, as it were, their Nigerian counterparts. Indeed, in recent times, the Nigerian motion picture industry, has come under severe criticisms, from both stakeholders and keen followers. Their endless worries and fears are premised on the fact that an industry, which began in 1992, with so many promises, is gradually heading for ruins, if urgent and drastic measures are not taken, towards salvaging it.



Observers and pundits are worried that the industry, which started on a very sound footing and reached its peak, between 1998 and 2003, is fast declining and losing patronage, even among its pioneer practitioners.Indeed, practitioners and bookmakers have attributed several factors as among the reasons the industry, which according to the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), the apex film regulatory body in Nigeria, is worth between 250 and 300 million dollars on an annual basis, is gradually going down the drain.




Actor, Bob Manuel Udokwu

Speaking recently at the international summit organized by the Movie Reporters Guild of Nigeria (MORGON), and tagged: "Nollywood Our Nollywood," Mr. Adim Williams, a leading filmmaker and the vice president of the Association of Movie Producers (AMP), in his paper entitled: "Dwindling Fortunes of Nollywood: Who takes the blame? lamented heavily on the sorry and deteriorating state of Nollywood.Expatiating more on his thought provoking paper, Williams painstakingly traced the genesis of the problems bedeviling the industry to several man-made impediments.



He further itemized how the decay in the industry, which is regarded, as the third biggest after US’ Hollywood and India’s Bollywood, reached an abysmal level.In his submission, Williams, a University of Calabar Theatre Arts graduate, blamed the government, those in the private sector, as well as practitioners, stakeholders and entertainment journalists, adding that they should be held responsible for the dwindling fortunes of the once vibrant and very promising Nollywood.



"Sincerely speaking, Nollywood is on the verge of a total collapse, if urgent salvaging measures are not taken with immediate effect. Our fortunes have drastically dwindled and this concerns the producer, director, actor, scriptwriter, cinematographer, costumier, make-up artist and the rest of the thousands of men and women involved in this incredibly daunting process of making movies in Nigeria. Disorder and lack of professionalism are the bane of Nollywood," he insisted.



Embittered Williams went further to state other factors militating against the growth of Nollywood, which has, no doubt, helped to positively launder the once battered image of Nigeria, especially on the foreign scene. They include the unending ignorance of most filmmakers, the filmmakers who, he argued, could not control the phenomenal success Nollywood brought them at its initial stage; the Nigerian factor, which usually brings about the proliferation of any booming business by most Nigerians, coupled with the ego-tripping of the industry elites, petty jealousy and mutual suspicion. He further blamed part of the failure of Nollywood on lack of stability and structure in the industry, arrogance and failure of the marketers’ union, constant neglect by government and its agencies as well as other corporate bodies.



"We should also distance ourselves from multiplicity of associations and guilds, which are all working at cross-purposes to achieve seemingly similar goals. A creative industry, like Nollywood does not need to be organized along tribal or sectional lines, but rather along structure, standards, professionalism and proper legislation," he said.



Williams, is however, happy that despite all these challenges, viewers’ interests in Nollywood movies had not diminished, meaning that the industry could still be salvaged and moved to the highest height, with all hands on deck. Attestation to this fact, is that today, there are several cable stations globally that depend on 24hour transmission of Nollywood movies and contents. Sadly too, most of them give nothing in return to the industry, thus further contributing to its dwindling fortunes.Hear Williams again: "What had diminished is the revenue that accrues to the filmmaker and by extension his ability and capacity to continue making good movies in the midst of all these challenges. The talent and ingenuity of the professionals have not diminished. It is only the participation of trained and sound minds in today’s filmmaking concept that has diminished," he pointed out.




Actress, Clarion Chukwurah

Williams, is of the view that true professionals constantly working for the success of the industry, could reinvent, repackage and reposition the brand Nollywood and take it to the highest level. But without passion, professionalism and total commitment, the above cannot be achieved."With the cooperation and support of all stakeholders, government and corporate bodies, we can rekindle the fire in Nollywood and hoist its glorious flag higher into the sky for the rest of the world to see, emulate and applaud," he submitted.



During a recent visit to The Sun Newspaper, Mr. Emeka Mba, the Director General of the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), who spoke on the strategic importance of the agency’s newly introduced Framework Distribution Policy, argued that Nollywood would immediately bounce back the moment practitioners fully embrace the frame-work and professionalize their art. He further stated that lack of structure, as enshrined in the new Framework Policy, would never guarantee growth in any film industry, especially Nollywood.



"We need to have these fundamentals right; no film industry, globally, has survived without a structure. We want more sense of responsibility in filmmaking by our filmmakers; all these are the factors that will help salvage Nollywood and help make it a global brand. We also want to promote ideals that are beneficial to the industry," he told Saturday Sun.The bespectacled DG further called on the Nigerian viewing public to be conscious and always take cognizance of the six major classification symbols, especially as it concerns what children and teenagers watch.As part of its efforts at regulating and salvaging the industry, the board usually takes critical look at five thematic materials whenever a film is submitted for censorship. These are in the areas of context and impact and include: sex, nudity, violence, drug and imitable techniques. In all of these, the key is context and how the movies impact on the audience.



Also proffering solutions on how to salvage Nollywood and bring it back to its early days of glory, Mr. John Odey, former Minister of Information and Communication, while delivering a speech at the recent presentation of licences to film distributors by the NFVCB in Lagos, maintained that the film industry holds the key to the next level of Nigerian global engagement and economic growth.In his address entitled, "Driving Sustainable Growth in the Nigerian Film Industry," Odey noted that the government owed the film sector more than a passing interest, if it must be truly salvaged," adding: "The opportunities in the film industry are enormous and require the strategic partnership of both the private sector and the government to fully harness. We want our contents to be able to command the respect and envy of its global competitors like Hollywood and Bollywood.



"At the moment, the only assurance that this is possible is through the institutionalization of the goals and visions of the film video-licensing framework.I wish to assure you that the future government support for the industry will be through the structures of this licensing project, so that we will be able to plan effectively with the knowledge of who is who in the industry, based on correct data and statistics, which at present are evidently lacking."Odey, also stressed that distribution is truly the engine room of any film industry, warning that failure to properly harness and manage it effectively, would automatically lead to decline in sales, thus leading to loss in revenue.



He further said globally, a movie is regarded as a gold mine, adding that the key to unlocking such goldmine lies in a robust distribution system, which not only determines the direction and strength, but the contents as well.Delivering a paper, entitled "Investment in Film Production," at an event organized by the Association of Movie Producers (AMP) and held at the National Theatre, Lagos, Mr. Andrien Gbinigie, a financial consultant and Nollywood executive producer, highlighted some of the major challenges facing filmmakers in Nigeria.According to him, film financing is one of the most difficult and least understood challenges facing a producer and it is fraught with perils for the unwary.



He said: "Investing in film is risky and factors like piracy, absence of coordinated organized distribution system, insincerity of producers and government neglect are all affecting investment in the Nigerian film industry." To salvage the critical situation, Gbinigie, said that filmmakers should immediately constitute a formidable alliance devoid of tribal or ethnic bias, with a view to presenting a strong position to government.He also said that there was the need to cultivate an aggressive media campaign aimed at informing the public about the negative effects of piracy and penalties for offenders.He also called on producers to raise the standard of their productions, in order to increase viewers’ confidence and interest, as well as improve on distribution, which he argued, was key, if the industry must move to the next level.



Gbinigie also urged practitioners to immediately draw up a code of practice and ethics, as another means of salvaging the industry and raising the bar of the profession.In the words of respected filmmaker and critic, Zik Zulu Okafor, in a paper he presented at the dinner marking the end of the Workshop of the Screen Writers Guild of Nigeria (SWGN), at the Golden Gate Restaurant, Ikoyi, Lagos,Okafor, one of the few voices always speaking out against bad practices in Nollywood, said: "Nollywood still remains a lonely island in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity called corporate Nigeria. Corporate organizations in Nigeria still remain largely aloof, standing on the sidewalk and peeping through a prism of suspicion and reservation".



The above statement succinctly captures the tragedy of our once buoyant industry, which is daily collapsing, due to neglect and disorder inherent in the system.Also lending his voice, cerebral scholar and director of the Lagos Business School, Prof. Pat Utomi, unarguably one of the few corporate Nigerians who have passion and high hopes for Nollywood, despite its dwindling fortunes, is optimistic the industry will not die.Delivering his extempore address as the Guest Speaker at the MORGON international summit on Nollywood, on November 20, 2008, at Ojez, National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, Utomi, in his speech tagged: "Nollywood and Business Opportunities," described the motion picture industry as a very serious business that must be treated at such.



He said: "The influential way of motion picture makes it a serious business."Utomi further added that culture and not politics promotes progress in a society. He also called for the setting up of a private film fund for the industry, as one of the ways of revamping and consolidating its threatened growth.The erudite scholar, however, urged government, at all levels, as well as the private sector to support the industry through finances, logistics and any other incentives, for its continued and effective existence.



While speaking at the same event, Mr. Ejike Asiegbu, the national president of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), challenged his colleagues to always think of what they can do for the industry, instead of always looking for ways of short changing the sector, for their own selfish needs.Asiegbu, further condemned the activities of pirates and quacks masquerading as filmmakers, adding that salvaging Nollywood, should be the collective responsibility of all stakeholders and practitioners, irrespective of their guilds, backgrounds or associations.He was also optimistic that the industry would rise again and take its rightful place in the comity of filmmaking nations globally, if all hands are on deck.



"It is incontestable that Nollywood is the pride of Africa and would continue to maintain its lead in Africa and the world in general," he said.Asiegbu, also frowned at the indiscriminate cutting of movies into several parts, recycling of old stories as well as re-entitling old movies in new jackets for selfish commercial purposes. He insisted that such bad practices would never aid growth and professionalism in Nollywood.He repeatedly warned gatecrashers and those without any meaningful contributions to Nollywood, to leave immediately, adding that the industry is not an all comers’ affairs or dumping ground for ne’er-do-wells.



"Our Special Task Force members are already going round and fishing out these bad eggs. AGN is out to help sanitize this great industry," he told Saturday Sun.The popular actor further kicked against the indiscriminate rental of Nollywood movies by unregistered video clubs as well as unauthorized cable TV stations feeding fat on Nollywood contents, warning that the long arms of the law would soon catch up with them and their cronies.He made a bold promise and even prophesied that Nollywood would stand tall again, the moment all these unwholesome practices impeding its growth are checked and properly controlled.

Monday, December 22, 2008

XMAS SPECIAL:

Elebuwa forgives attacker @ Xmas


Pic-Elebuwa

In the spirit of the Yuletide season, veteran actor Enebeli Elebuwa, to the consternation of many, especially his teeming fans, recently announced publicly that he has forgiven, Onyeka Dike, his attacker.
According to the tested and trusted thespian, who is still recuperating, he decided to forgive his attacker, in the spirit of Xmas, coupled with the fact that his doctors have confirmed and assured that he would see again with the battered eye.
He further revealed his anger with the government of Delta, his state of origin as well as the federal government, whom he served meritoriously for 30 years, for abandoning him, since the wicked attack took place. Elebuwa, also thanked the millions of Nigerians and those in the Diaspora, who stood and are still standing by him since the attack.

Emeka Enyiocha finds love @ Xmas


Pic-Behold Mr and Mrs Enyiocha!

Top actor and one of the leading hunks in Nollywood, Emeka Enyiocha, finally said “I do”, to Stella, his pretty wife, in a well attended white wedding. The star-studded reception held at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Ikeja, Lagos.
The event tagged: Yuletide Nuptial, was beautifully anchored by actor/director, Charles Inojie. Aside Enyiocha’s colleagues from tinsel town, his friends, fans and well-wishers also graced the high octane event that had plenty to eat and drink.
Meanwhile, a lavish post wedding reception was organized for the newest couple in Nollywood, by Anayo Odobeatu, the honcho of Ojez Entertainment Centre, Surulere, Lagos, penultimate Sunday.
The fun filled evening was equally well attended, with Enyiocha and his lawyer wife, thanking all those that honoured them immensely

Oby Edozieh’s special Xmas gift


Pic-Oby

Sexy actress turned producer, Oby Gold Edozieh is still cruising and painting town in all the colours of the rainbow, with her latest acquisition for the Xmas season. In case you are not aware, the leggy thespian recently spoilt herself with a glittering Murano SUV.

Pic-A Murano SUV model


And since the arrival of the wonders-on-wheel, Edozieh, also a gospel act, has not stopped celebrating and displaying the “Special Xmas Gift,” to her colleagues and pals.
And for your info, she says it’s a little Christmas gift for herself, having worked hard, since the beginning of the year.

Asiegbu spreads love @ Xmas

The national president of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, Mr. Ejike Asiegbu, has called on Nigerians, especially his colleagues in the creative and entertainment industries to show undying love to people, this Yuletide season.
Asiegbu, who also thanked his members for supporting and believing in his leadership since assumption of office, maintained that the industry could only get better with their collective support and sincere commitment.
He further called on members to be more dedicated in the coming year, adding that Nollywood has come to stay and would continue to be a global force.
He also wished movie buffs and his colleagues, a scintillating Xmas and prosperous New Year.

Ojez lights Xmas candle for Mitchell Obi

All is now set for the post Xmas Entertainment Forum being put together for ace sports journalist, Mitchell Obi, by the management of Ojez Entertainment Centre, national stadium, Surulere, Lagos.
The revered evening event, also the last for the year, holds elaborately this Sunday, December, 28, 2008, amid grandeur and glitz. And as usual, live music would be supplied by the rejuvenated In-House, Ojez Band, to be ably supported on stage by highlife maestro, Fatai Rolling Dollar.
According to Anayo Odobeatu, the boss of the upscale hangout and prime mover of the forthcoming event, they are fully prepared to celebrate Obi this Yuletide season, because of his immense contributions to the growth of sports and general entertainment in Nigeria and beyond.

Chioma Toplis moves Nollywood to Abia for Xmas

London based Nollywood top actress Chioma Toplis has concluded plans to ‘relocate’ the entire Nollywood to Umuahia, Abia State, for the 50th birthday bash of her in law and mentor, Chief Uche James Akwukwaegbu.
The two-day non-stop event, holds on December 25 and 26, and would be graced by dignitaries from the private and public sectors as well as top celebrities and entertainers. Actors Guild president, Ejike Asiegbu, is expected to lead a powerful Nollywood delegation to the event.
While Toplis, married to a white Briton, is gracing the rollercoaster groove with her pals and business partners from London and other parts of Europe and US. The celebrant is the honcho of Bawas Oil and happily married to Toplis’ eldest sister, Grace Uche, a member of the Abia State House of Assembly.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Inyanya wins Projects Fame West Africa 2008



Pic-Face of a winner, Inyanya expresses joy as Nii applauds

After 10 weeks of interesting musical dsiplays and severe contest, Inyanya Mbuk, 22 of Nigeria finally emerged the winner of the MTN Project Fame West Africa.

Inyanya was declared winner on Sunday 7th of December 2008, at the Ultima Studio in Ogba, Lagos, venue of the Finals of the show, after defeating the other three finalists including hot favourites, Nii (Ghana), Praise (Ngr) and the last standing girl, Annette (Ngr)to the ultimate prize of N2.5M, an international recording deal and a 2008 Toyota Rav 4.

However, it was not a winner-gets-all show as Ghanaian born Nii Anka, the first runner up, was also presented with the sum of N2 Million and a 2008 model Toyota Corolla. Also Praise Adejo of Nigeria, the second runner up went home with N1.5 Million and a 2008 model Toyota Yaris while Annette Cookie of Nigeria, the third runner up and went home with 1 million Naira only.


Pic-Are the looks added advantage?

The winner was decided strictly by viewers' votes which were been collated in the last one week till 8pm on Saturday, 6 December, verified and presented by Alexander Forbes Consulting, a leading human resources and employee benefit firm in Nigeria. The result of the votes was delivered by Mr Femi Oyetunji representing the Alexandre Forbes Consulting, who gave the host Dare Art Alade the envelop containing the names of the Winners according to their votes.

The contest which started about ten weeks ago, 28th of September to be specific, with 15 talented contestants chosen among the final 18 that were short listed from the thousands of entries across West Africa and were made to step into the musical academy and be exposed to the several weeks of training in different areas of musical performances, voice training, showmanship, character and personality building, stage control, dance and choreography, and every other aspect of the business of music, also saw all the eleven evicted contestants of the academy, coming to celebrate the victory of one of their very own.

Expressesing his profound joy and gratitude to both the organizers and viewers, Inyanya said, “ I am very thankful to MTN and other organizers of the show for giving me the wonderful opportunity. I can bet you guys that the Inyanya I am today is not the Inyanya you used to know in terms of music. I am really grateful to God who has allowed what happened today to be. This is just the beginning of greater things in my life. At first I was scared because at a point I saw somebody who has never been on probation before being evicted from the academy, but I kept believing in God, I kept believing in myself and I kept believing in the wonderful people around the world that are showing faith in me."

On his opponents in the contest, Iyanya maintained, “everybody was a strong opponent because everybody in the academy has a unique quality but all I had to do was to work harder, listen to the faculty of the academy and do what they ask me to do, and that was what got me to this end”.

The final show featured special perfomances by Naeto C, Artquake and Faze.

The Experience 2008 concert records huge crowd in Lagos




Pix-(I) Aerial view of the crowd, (II)Pastor Paul Adefarasin flanked by Donnie McLurkin, Don Moen and Fred Hammond at the pre-event briefing

Several thousands of people from within and outside Lagos defied a heavy downpour to be part of the gospel concert tagged The Experience 2008 which held last Friday at Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), Onikan, Lagos.

According to organizers, this year’s edition which is the third attracted an estimated 330, 000 people from within and outside Lagos and beyond the shores of Nigeria. The TBS main arena as well as the cricket pitch were reportedly filled to capacity by the time the event went full swing.

The event had several international gospel acts such as Don Moen, Donnie McLurkin, Kirk Franklin, Tye Tybrett, Chevelle Franklin, Fred Hammond and the duo of Mary Mary. Also Nigerian gospel acts such as UK Based Muyiwa Olanrewaju as well as music quartet of Midnight Crew and Dekunle Fuji equally proved their mettle.

Compered by respected human resource person and motivational speaker, Fela Durotoye, the concert also witnessed comic relief from multi-talented comedian, Gordons who is a regular feature at the event.

Nigerian acts led by Olanrewaju, Midnight Crew and Dekunle Fuji in quick succession raised the tempo of the night with an inspiring performances. While Midnight Crew confirmed their popularity among the audience with their hits Igwe and Kene, Dekunle Fuji’s less than impressive performance obviously did not go well with the audience. The NMA Best Fuji Musician of the Year had earlier revealed at the pre-event briefing that he had been rehearsing for the past four weeks.

One after the other, the international acts justified the huge expectations on them when some of them, such as Chevelle Franklin and Tye Tibbretts apart from their original songs, sang Nigerian gospel songs while the duo of Mary Mary gave a brilliant rendition of the Nigerian National Anthem.

However, the heavy down pour which began around 2am almost marred the remainder of the event as the sound system provided by foremost sound equipment companies like GQ Acoustics and Meyer Sounds began showing signs of weariness. Artistes such as Don Moen, Donnie McLurkin, Isreal Houton and Kurt Karr could only make brief appearances before the event was eventually called off around 4am when it appeared the rains would not subside.

An obviously overwhelmed duo of Mary Mary could not hide their feelings when they said “America most take note of this gathering that has successfully brought hundreds of thousands of people under one roof from night till dawn.”

Meanwhile, the night was not only about music, as prayers led by Pastor Kole Adeboboye and Amb. Moses Ihonde were also offered for the development of Nigeria and Lagos State just as political leaders in the country and the economy were also committed into the hands of the almighty God.

While promising a better package in the future, Pastor Paul Adefarasin who commended the government of Lagos State said several alternatives such as simulcasting in different locations in the country will be considered.

Personalities who witnessed the event included first ladies of Lagos and Cross River states respectively, Mrs Abimbola Fashola and Mrs Obioma Lyele Imoke, fomer Nigerian first lady, Mrs Victoria Gowon and respected entrepreneur, Gamaliel Onosode and Pat Utomi, a former Presidential aspirant.

Others were Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, President, Pentecostal Federation of Nigeria (PFN), Mrs Hilda Adefarasin, mother of Pastor Paul Adefarasin, as well as siblings, Pastor Wale Adefarasin, Chairman, PFN Lagos chapter and Pastor Yemi Adefarasin.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wicked Nigerian batters veteran actor, Enebeli

…may go blind



Pic-Enebeli four days after the incidence

Nigeria may soon lose the services of one of its finest entertainers, Enebeli Elebuwa, if urgent medical attention is not provided for his left eye, which was recently battered by a heartless Nigerian, Onyeka Dike. In a voice filled with tears and regret, the veteran actor, who became famous in the “Andrew Wants To Check Out”, TV re-orientation promo, in the 80’s, narrated how his ordeal began in the hands of 47 year old Dike, an auto dealer at Berger, Apapa, Lagos.
According to Elebuwa, 62, “ What you are looking at (removing his dark spectacle to reveal a battered left eye), happened in the evening of Friday, November 28, 2008, at the Mobil Filling Station, Aguda, Surulere, Lagos”.
Explaining further, now weeping Elebuwa, who was also writhing in pains said: “ We were on a moving queue when this young man came from nowhere and wanted to jump the queue with his car, but other law abiding motorists protested but the man refused. That was when I alighted from my car and was trying to plead with him to follow due process. But to my consternation, he started cursing and shouting my full name and told me to get out of his sight. When I tried again to calm him down, he started abusing me and boasted that my being an actor does not mean he cannot deal with me and nothing would happen. I later got closer and asked him, if I was not old enough to be his father. I had not finished saying this when he brought out a sharp object and stabbed me in the eyes at a close range and I immediately passed out.”




Elebuwa, further disclosed that when this happened, an angry mob that had already gathered descended on Dike, and were about lynching him, when some plain clothes policemen came and whisked him away to Aguda Police Station, Surulere.
Though, at the station, during our visit, an officer who pleaded for anonymity confirmed the incident and disclosed that Dike was detained for three days, before being released on bail. He referred us to the office of the Lagos State Force PRO, for more information on the case.
Elebuwa, also called on well meaning Nigerians to immediately come to his aid, adding that his doctor had advised him to travel abroad for further treatment, but he could not afford the bills. I’m totally helpless now and cannot even work due to my condition, and have spent so much on the eye. Well meaning Nigerians should come to my aid, I do not want to go blind,” he pleaded.
While condemning the unwholesome attack on Elebuwa, Mr. Ejike Asiegbu, the national president of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), also urged the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mike Okiro, to ensure that the suspect does not go scot free. “ We are appealing to the police authority to ensure that the man that perpetrated this evil act does not go free. The security agencies should do something, because attacks on entertainers, especially our people in Nollywood are on the increase. We are just entertainers doing our best to help re brand and repackage the image of this country through our creative arts, but some social misfits and disgruntled Nigerians, are not happy with our collective efforts, its uncalled for.”
Also speaking, Mr. Adim Williams, the vice president of the Association of Movie Producers (AMP), said his association and all the other bodies in Nollywood condemned the attack in its entirety, adding that the suspect must be immediately brought to justice. “We want this man to be quickly charged to court, and jailed if found guilty, at least, that will serve as a deterrent to others still lurking behind.”

Utomi, NFC, NFVCB, AGN, AMAA, others shine @ Nollywood summit


Pic-Utomi speaking at the event

History was re-written in Nollywood penultimate week, when the Movie Reporters Guild of Nigeria (MORGON), the umbrella body of all the entertainment journalists covering Nollywood, gathered stakeholders from within and outside the industry, for an international summit.
Tagged: Nollywood Our Nollywood, the first of its kind event, primarily aimed at moving the industry forward, was chaired by Prof.
Pat Utomi, the cerebral Director of the Lagos Business School and former presidential candidate.
Utomi, also a Nollywood enthusiast, in his paper entitled; Nollywood and Business Opportunities, spoke extensively on how the industry could be moved to the next level, with the right business opportunities from stakeholders and practitioners.
In the course of his presentation, Utomi who spoke extempore, promised to set up a private film fund soon, as well as a private film village, arguing that they are huge business and investment opportunities needed by the nation’s motion picture industry, if it must be seen as a global money spinner. He ended his well-applauded speech by urging filmmakers to always promote our rich cultural heritage in their works, adding that the heart of social progress is culture.
Other speakers at the event include: Mr. Kene Mkparu, the first Black General Manager of Odeon cinemas, UK, now the managing director of Genesis Deluxe Cinemas. Mkparu, spoke on: Nollywood and the Global Film Industry. Mrs. Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, the honcho of AMAA, delivered a riveting paper tagged: Repositioning Nollywood Through Film Festivals and Awards, while Mr. Ejike Asiegbu, the AGN president, spoke on: Nollywood and Entertainment Journalists: A Partnership That Works. However, the controversial and thought provoking paper of Mr. Adim Williams, vice president of AMP, generated so many crises in the capacity filled hall. It was tagged: Dwindling Fortunes of Nollywood: Who To Blame. Also, the representatives of both the DG and MD of the National Film and Video Censors Board and the Nigerian Film Corporation, delivered papers on: Nollywood and The New Distribution Framework and Government’s Good Intentions For The Industry, respectively. Several Nollywood stars and practitioners that spoke at the event commended MORGON, for coming up with the laudable initiative, which is currently setting agenda for discourse within and outside Nollywood.

What Ini, Dauda, AY, Anih have in common


Pic-AY and Mabel at Chris Okotie's Household of God Church,venue of the wedding

Well, with the above headline, you might be wondering what actually these Nollywood quartet have in common. For those of you still guessing, the answer is very simple. They are now happily married, thus becoming the latest and hottest husbands, wife and expectant daddies and mum in Tinsel town.


Comedian, Dauda and wife at Ojez' Restuarant venue of wedding reception

The duo of comedian Kingsley Ogbonna (Dauda) and Tony Anih, the president of the Screen Writers Guild of Nigeria, wedded their lovely wives on November 22, 2008, respectively.
Top actress Ini Edo, finally said “I do”, the traditional way, to her US based heartthrob, Philip Ehiagwina, in her Akwa Ibom state of origin on November 29. Same day, fast rising comedian, AY, walked down the aisle with Mabel, his sweetheart, at Kris Okotie’s Household of God.
The four nuptials are still titillating Nollywood. Also remember you are reading it here first that Dauda, would soon be a proud father. Reason? Chinyere, his lovely wife is heavily pregnant. Another top secret, AY, just bought a glittering Infiniti Jeep, with a customized number, for himself, as a special birthday gift. Can you beat that?

Editor's Note-Pics Later

Fantastic four jostle for crown @ Fame Academy


Pic-Annette Cookey,21, Nigerian is the last girl standing

It is no longer news that the best four contestants of the MTN Project Fame West Africa, have eventually emerged out of the fifteen lucky talents that slugged it out at the academy when it began over nine weeks ago.
The contestants, unarguably, had been through a very tough drilling process in the musical talent hunt show, before being reduced to the last four, already dubbed: Fantastic Four, from the initial five that remained the previous week, following the eviction of Nigerian born Abisola Aiyeola. Now the battle for the supreme prize would be keenly fought by the quartet of: Praise Adejo, Inyanya Mbuk, Nii Ankra, and Annette Cookey.

Pic-Nii keeps the Ghanaian flag flying


Performing before the massive studio audience, prior to the last eviction, the contestants were all too hot to handle as they thrilled the crowd with some of the finest movie soundtrack hits in the world. But these were not enough to take away the inevitable fact that one of the five contestants with the least votes from the viewers must be evicted from the academy that night. And surprisingly, the lot fell on Bisola.
Speaking on stage shortly after her eviction, sexy Bisola, whom many had earlier thought was good enough for the ultimate prize, expressed mixed feelings of pain and appreciation to the viewers, the organizers, and her faculty for bringing out the best in her. In her words, “it pained me, but at the same time, I am happy that I made it this far in the competition. To be sincere, I never thought that I could go this far and I am particularly grateful to the sponsors of the show, MTN Nigeria, and the organizers, for giving us this wonderful opportunity to build our God given talents. I have learnt a whole lot of things in the academy.”
The fantastic four however, reaffirmed their readiness for the final battle, holding this Sunday, December 7, 2008

Music group Safari, drags firm to court

For violating and infringing on the copyright of “One Day Ego Better” one of the wave making songs in its current work entitled Turn By Turn, the singing duo of Safari, has dragged the NLPC Pension Funds to court.
The embittered duo, who have already taken their case to the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria (MCSN), are also demanding for I00 Million Naira, as damages, since the unending war started.
According to a reliable insider, the firm used the song extensively on radio stations across the nation, while promoting their products and services without the authorization of the copyright owners.
However, we tried reaching both warring parties, whom we also gathered might settle out of court, for their own sides of the story, but did not make any headway before going to press. That notwithstanding, we will definitely keep you darling readers posted as the show of shame unfolds.

Kefee set for album unveiling party


Pic-Kefee

Branama crooner, gospel-music artiste and the founder of the Kefee Peace Foundation (KPF), Irikefe Obareki Kefee has concluded arrangements towards the formal unveiling of her latest album, entitled Kefee: 5 Years of a Phenomenon.
The forthcoming event holds on December 14, 2008 at the upscale Niteshift Coliseum, Opebi, Ikeja, Lagos. The sexy crooner and dancer is also expected to officially present to the public and the media, the Kefee Peace Foundation, at the occasion.
Part of the activities lined up for the day include: live performances by many of Kefee's friends and colleagues including Blaise, Bouqui, Emem, Sasha, Timaya, Dekunle Fuji, Rooftop Mcs, Nigga Raw, Segun Arinze, and a host of others.
Interestingly, her colleagues from other parts of Africa, especially: Kay & Halima Kiwanuka from Uganda, Sandra from Rwanda, and Ghanaian superstar, the lady Philipa Baafi, would further help to light up the day.
Invite for the event is already circulating within and outside the entertainment terrain.
Meanwhile, Kefee: 5 Years of a Phenomenon, would be released on the label of Branama Afrique, owned by the accomplished vocalist, and is her third effort, coming after Branama (2003) and its continuation, Branama Trinity (2005).
"The core message is of course gospel ministry; however, besides making people happy, I also wrote the songs for hearts that are hurting; I am hoping the lyrics would heal these hearts and put smile on the faces of those that will hear it."

Entertainers unite for Diamonds Awards for Comedy


Pic-Ladi Gombe, the host

All is now set for the maiden edition of the long awaited Diamond Awards For Comedy, being powered by Miss Ladi Gombe’s led Latsview Concept.
This first of its kind gathering that is aimed at recognizing and rewarding some of Nigeria’s finest rib crackers, especially those that have distinguished themselves over the years, holds on Saturday, December 6, 2008, at the Planet One, Maryland, Lagos, amid glamour, glitz and razzmatazz.

Pic-Julius Agwu

In the words of pretty Gombe, awards will be given in keenly contested categories like: Comedian of the year, Best new comedian, Best comedy show, Best stand up, Best comic act, Most creative and Best female comedienne.


Meanwhile, some of the big names already nominated and are jostling for these coveted crests include: Basorge Tariah, Okey Bakassi, Basketmouth, Victor Osuagwu, Nkem Owoh, Igo Dye, Gbenga Adeyinka, Tee A, Princess, AY, Julius Agwu and a host of other up and coming acts.

Odey, others for NFVCB licenses presentation


Pic-John Odey

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mr. John Odey, would be leading other dignitaries to the epoch presentation of licenses to distributors and exhibitors by the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB).
The event holds today, Friday, December 5, 2008, at the Planet One, Maryland, Lagos.
The outing, according to Emeka Mba, the hard working honcho of the apex film regulatory body, is the first of its kind in the history of film and movie industry in Nigeria.
“It is a culmination of three years of hard work by the management of the National Film and Video Censors Board.
The process, which began with seminars, presentations, town hall meetings and road shows with stakeholders, is now complete with the selection of 36 national distributors and exhibitors and 80 regional distributors and exhibitors. The NFVCB in its effort to reform and properly regulate the movie industry in Nigeria initiated the distribution framework as a platform to build an industry of strategic national importance. The drive to build a sustainable structure and stimulate growth in the film and movie sector of the economy is the catalyst for this framework,” Mba stated.
He further added that they were at the verge of accomplishing the building of an industry of both national and international repute.
The ceremony is expected to attract participants from the legislature, government agencies under the Ministry of Information, corporate organizations as well as members of the public and the press. A workshop on film and media financing would also take place at the event, alongside video conferencing with three international resource persons.
The Hon Minister is expected to present the licenses personally as a way of encouragement and assurance of government’s support and interest in the sustainable growth of the industry

AMBO 4 thrills viewers on network TV

After a well-deserved long wait, the fourth season of the annual Amstel Malta Box Office (AMBO), has finally made a debut on network television stations. The final ten painstakingly selected from over 20,000 aspiring movie stars, from regional auditions are expected to thrill and entertain TV viewers both within and outside the country, for 21 days, starting from this week.
The exciting show already airing on AIT, NTA and Africa Magic, began with a review of the previous editions of AMBO, featuring winners such as Azizat Sadiq, Bhaira Mcwizu and OC Ukeje. They relieved their experiences at the AMBO House.
This year’s winner is expected to walk away with N2.5 million cash, a brand new car as well as play the lead in a bestseller movie, expected to top Nollywood chart.
The lucky ten are: Tiem Okori, Chukwudi Ubido, Chioma Ezeani, Ajibade Omisade and Adewale Ojo. Others include: Nnenna Udeh, Fatima Sheidu, Solafunmi Sosanya, Tope Alake and Uche Nwokocha.
You can also follow the action on www.amstelmaltaboxoffice.com

Uche Jombo on the move again


Pic-Jumbo

On the move actress Uche Jombo, has done it again. The mathematician turned actress from Abiriba, Abia State, just breezed in from the UK, where she won the Best English Actress Award, at the recently held Afro-Hollywood Awards.
Since her arrival, the fun-loving thespian, has not stopped celebrating and spreading the good news within and outside her domain. Interestingly, some of her pals and colleagues are planning a scintillating post award bash for her.
We would definitely keep you posted on the details. However, she has assured that it is not going to be an all night groove.
Congrats.

AMAA repositions with Town Hall meeting

In order to ensure hitch-free outings in the subsequent editions of the Africa Movie Academy Awards, the organizers recently gathered stakeholders and practitioners in the motion picture industry at a Town Hall Meeting dubbed: “Creating the platform of rewards”. The meeting held at the National Theatre, Lagos.

Pic-http:Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, AMAA boss

In her opening remarks, the honcho of AMAA, Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, explained that so many measures have been put in place to curtail the lapses of the past editions. “We noticed that so many people come to the awards without invitations and these people end up causing problems for us. We also noticed that those we invite end up sleeping in the wrong rooms because their rooms were usually hijacked by uninvited visitors.” She further added that henceforth, they would be very strict in terms of accommodation, welfare, ticketing and transportation for the award ceremonies.
She also called on would be attendees, to always confirm their attendance, at least, one week before the event, to enable the organizers prepare adequately for all their needs.
Virtually all the stakeholders that spoke at the star-studded event unanimously concurred that the meeting was held at the appropriate time. They also hailed the organizers for a job well done and promised to cooperate with them towards making the next edition, which holds on Saturday, April 4, 2009, in Bayelsa State, a huge success.

Oliver de Coque goes home in a blaze of glory

...Gov Obi, Donald Duke pay last respect


Pic-Oliver's Body being borne by Ebony Undertakers during wakekeep at National Stadium, Lagos.

The quiet town of Ezinifite, in Nnewi South, Anambra State, erupted in a blaze of glory on Friday, November 14, during the final burial ceremony of Oliver De Coque, the undisputed king of Ogene brand of Highlife music.
Governor of Anambra, Peter Obi, Donald Duke, ex-Gov Rivers State, Sen. Annie Okonkwo, CHika Okpala and PMAN delegation led by Judith Nwachukwu, Vice-President led several dignitaries that graced the carnival-like-burial.
De Coque, real names, Sunday Oliver Akanite, died on Saturday, June 21, 2008 at the age of 61. He recorded and released over one hundred albums, during his successful singing career, spanning over three decades.
May his soul rest in Peace.

Censors Board nabs illegal film marketer


Pix-Emeka Mba, DG, NFVCB

The concerted efforts of the National Film and Video Censors Board, which is aimed at sanitizing the nation’s motion picture industry, is gradually yielding results. Cheering news at our disposal has it that the Operations Department of the Board, recently arrested one Mr. Ifeanyi Okongwu, for illegal release of a film entitled “Silver and Gold” into the Nigerian market.
The alleged culprit, also the CEO of Ceaser Movies, based in Ghana, confirmed during interrogations in the Board’s office in Ikoyi, that the movie, which was shot and produced in Ghana, was never censored and approved for release by the Board.
In his words,"the film was released into the Ghanaian market in February, 2008 after meeting all their regulatory requirements.
But despite repeated warnings from marketers, including Mr. Chuks Anyiam of Spyder Films, Okongwu, threw caution to the winds and secretly released about 5,000 copies of the movie into the Nigerian market illegally.
Gathered that he was later arrested by the Operations Unit of the Board, led by Mr. Peace Anjorin, following intelligence reports, and immediately handed over to the Police, after making useful statements to the board.
Meanwhile, the Board has also promised to leave no stone unturned in fishing out offenders in the industry. The Board also appealed to members of the public to desist from patronizing the said film, pending when its legally censored and approved.
According to a signed release from Mr. Ogbonna Onwumere, Okongwu, has been remanded in Police custody, pending the conclusion of investigation.

New celebrity joint, Aqua 27, opens

Aqua 27, a new celebrity hangout, which the owners boasted represent a fresh approach to night life, especially for fun-seekers hibernating on the Island, has opened for business with a blast.
Surprisingly, the newest joint in town is unarguably, Nigeria’s first floating soul lounge. “Aqua 27, prides on its exceptional standard of service, as it doubles as a restaurant during the day and a dancing bar at night”, hinted one of its prime movers.
Tucked inside the Chase Mall on Adetokunbo Ademola Street, Victoria Island, the serene splendour of Aqua’s astonishing d├ęcor does not disappoint, coupled with its high calibre of upwardly mobile guests.
It also boasts of vast open space, secured parking lot, high ceiling and crystal clear water fountain that passes nicely for a world-class painting richly combined to create a cool sanctuary aimed at helping to calm the frayed nerves of its patrons and clientele.
No doubt, Aqua, has become the celebrity preferred get away location for a night of tremendous fun and high networking in a relaxed environment.

Ochendo returns with Da Cornerstone

Comic actor turned Dancehall/Ragga crooner Macsmith Ochendo, has concluded plans to release his overdue debut effort on shelves within and outside our shores.
Entitled: Da Cornerstone, the eight-tracker effort was produced by Marvelous Benji, and would be launched soon at an elaborate ceremony.
Speaking at a recent media parley, the Anambra State born gangling entertainer, disclosed that the music video of the beautiful work, would soon hit the airwaves.
“ I started this project a long time ago, but had to take a break, when it started clashing with my acting career, but thank God, I am fully back on the microphone and doing my own thing my own way.”
Dreadlocks donning Ochendo, also dismissed the rumour going round that he has abandoned acting for music, insisting that he is happy combining both.

Naija’s first actuality show set to debut

Do you want to be the future president of Nigeria? Well, if your answer is yes, then you can truly make it happen by being part of the first ever Actuality show that would soon make a debut on Nigerian TV stations. Tagged: If I Was President, according to the organizers, it was designed to create the right model of leadership for young people, not only in Nigeria, but also throughout the African continent and beyond. “We would try as much as possible to bring out the competitive edge among the contestants as they deal with decisions and choices that will reflect and bring to bear, their leadership traits. It will be a viewers delight”, they promised.
Proudly put together by Saints Media and Stripes Creative Media UK, the show, further aims at creating an enabling environment where it can be meaningfully utilized to inspire and bring about social development.
To participate, you must be between 18 and 35, while finalists would be selected from an audition that will be carried out across the major geographical zones of the country. For more info, visit www.ifiwaspresident.co.uk

Editors Note: azuhamatus.blogspot.com is really sorry for the lull in the past two weeks. We are however back with full force and good to go! Compliments of the season-The Crew

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hackers rattle Nollywood Star, Segun Arinze

Top actor and one of the newly married men in Nollywood, Segun Aina Padanou, famously known as Segun Arinze, is not a happy man at the moment.

Pic-A rattled Segun Arinze

Reason? We reliably gathered that some daring hackers (fraudsters), invaded his email site and tried ripping off some unsuspecting Nigerians.
Thank God, the multi-talented entertainer, was alerted before the sons of devil could cause any harm.
Ever since, Black Arrow, as he is fondly called, has been crying and shouting to the roof tops that people, especially his colleagues and fans should be very careful in dealing with anybody on any official issue concerning him. Visibly angry Arinze, has also disclaimed and discarded his former email address-segunarinze@yahoo.com, which was where the heartless hackers invaded.

Entertainers unite for new phase of Bayelsa concert


Pic-Ali Baba,Nigerian Comedian will be performing

Following the huge success recorded with the debut edition of the New Phase of Bayelsa concert, which was beautifully packaged by Icon Multimedia, the organizers are fully set for another bumper outing.
In the words of Jeff Botimi Amusu, popularly known as Talkative, who is the prime mover of the December 26, 2008, concert, they have concluded plans to make it the best and biggest show in the Niger Delta region, this year. Among the top names coming to thrill the good people of Bayelsa, at the Gloryland Cultural Centre, Yenogoa, include: VIP, Ali Baba, 2Shorts Gandoki, Gordons, KC Presh, god fada, John Okafor and a host of other up and coming acts.

Pic-VIP, Ghanian hiphop musicians will also add spice

Speaking further, Bayelsa State born Talkative, who will also be performing, argued that since over 7000 audience graced the debut edition, their aim is to double the figure in the coming show. “It is going to be a complete Xmas package, for the people of Bayelsa. We want people to relax and enjoy themselves in a conducive atmosphere, that is the whole essence of this concert”, he said.

Spider finally goes on air


Pic-Dare Fasasi aka Baba Dee will also show that he can do other things than sing


Whao! After a long wait, Spider, the star-studded soap from the stables of Apreel Ventures, is now on AIT network, and would be hitting other stations in the next couple of weeks. Spider, produced by Ariyike Oladipo, currently shows every Tuesday and Wednesday at 7.30 pm, on AIT. According to Mrs. Oladipo, who is also the producer of Dear Mother, the original arrangement was for Spider to be shown thrice in a week, but the plan did not work out, due to some technical hitches. “ Instead of waiting, we decided to hit the airwaves with the twice-in-a-week slot, hopefully, before the next quarter, we would make it thrice in a week, for the sake of our darling viewers.” She further assured that the soap, would change the face of home entertainment for the whole family, adding that her outfit is committed to churning out quality productions, which can compete favourably anywhere in the world.
Some of the leading names in the big budget production include: Akin Lewis, Memuna Abaji, Ronnie Dikko, Femi Branch, Jaiye Kuti, Dare Fasasi and a host of others.

South-East Nigerian actors hail Obama’s victory


Pic-Barack Obama, US President-Elect

For making history by becoming the first black to be elected US president, Barack Obama, has been hailed by the members of the Conference of Imo State Actors. In a statement made available to us and signed by its national president and popular actor, Charles Awurum, the body congratulated Obama and promised to commence a movie production soon on him.
“With Obama’s victory at the polls, US have shown that democracy is truly the government of the people, by the people and for the people. Let this be a lesson for other countries, especially Nigeria. We are also happy that with this victory, the white man has finally accepted the Blackman as his brother. We salute Obama and all Americans, for standing up for change,” Awurum, now based in the East stated.

Abuja erupts for two Nollywood movies

Today, in fact, this evening, the city of Abuja and its environs will be agog for the world premiere of two Nollywood big budget movies: When The Heart Lies and Reloaded.
The evening of fun and networking, tagged: 16 Stars, Two Movies and One Big Premiere, holds elaborately at the prestigious Congress Hall of the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, at 6.pm.
As usual, dignitaries from the public and private sectors, as well as Nollywood stars and entertainers from the music and comedy scenes, would be gracing the premiere, currently serenading the Federal Capital Territory.
Meanwhile, in separate chats with us, both female producers of the flicks’ Vivian Ejike and Emem Isong, promised to make tonight’s grand gathering, a memorable one for all the invited guests.

Pic-Emem Isong, Producer

According to Ejike, the producer of When The Heart Lies, a total of 16 stars from both movies are already in Abuja, for the event. A feat she described as unprecedented.
“With this event, my partners and I, tend to set the pace and stand out from the mammoth Nollywood crowd, in terms of production quality and values. Personally, I constantly strive to achieve perfection in all my works, by investing heavily in state of the art production equipments, technologies, top rated Nollywood stars and good scripts,” explained the boss of Purple Pine production house.
Also speaking, Isong, who produced Reloaded alongside actor, Desmond Elliot, stated that the premiere, would help to reposition Nollywood and further entrench professionalism among core practitioners.
“ This event would no doubt raise the bar in Nollywood, and we chose Abuja, because it’s the nation’s capital. Both works are of international standard, and we also intend using them to sustain both local and global patronage for quality Nollywood productions,” said the multiple award winning filmmaker and scriptwriter.
They also disclosed that some leading musicians and comedians would spice up the evening of high net worth gathering with good music and rib cracking jokes.
Some of the leading stars in both movies include: Omotola Jalade- Ekeinde, Ramsey Noah, Desmond Elliot, Uche Jombo, Van Vicker, Rita Dominic, Ini Edo and Stephanie Okereke.
Others are: Monalisa Chinda, Omoni Oboli, Mbong Odungide, Enebeli Enebuwa, Paul Play Dairo and a host of others.
The duo of Lancelot Imasuen and Ikechukwu Onyeka separately directed the heart-wrenching movies at various choice locations within the Lagos metropolis.

U.S Dept of State, Gbinigie, Zulu, others laud SWGN

Several stakeholders within and outside the nation’s motion picture industry, globally known as Nollywood, have applauded the recently held one-week workshop of the Screen Writers Guild of Nigeria (SWGN).
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the epoch event, which was jointly organized by the US Department of State and SWGN, Mr. Andrien Gbinigie, a Nollywood enthusiast and Chairman/CEO of Atlantic Overseas, applauded the guild for its giant strides and enormous contributions to the development of Nollywood and the motion picture industry in general, over the years.
He further challenged them to do more despite inadequate funding, government’s non-chalant attitude and lack of international trainings and exposures, stressing that their role was very vital in the transformation of Nollywood.
Gbinigie, who was the chairman at the closing Dinner, was accompanied by his charming wife, Dr. (Mrs.) O.O. Gbinigie. He was thankful to the US Department of State, and Mary Lou Johnson-Pizarro, the Public Diplomacy Officer, for accepting to partner the guild and flying in the key resource person, Prof. Myla Churchill, from the New York Film Academy. He also thanked the other resource persons drawn from Nollywood and all those that made the event possible.
Gbinigie, who got a rousing ovation after delivering his closing remarks, urged the writers to further raise the standard of Nollywood stories, in order to reflect and highlight the good sides of our nation, while churning out their scripts.
Also speaking at the event, which was well attended, Pizzaro, hailed the organizers and told them to continue with their good works for Nollywood.
In her brief remarks, Prof. Churchill, who was visibly excited, said the workshop was very fulfilling and challenging. She also thanked all those that made her stay memorable and stress free, and told the organizers to always reach out to her whenever necessary. “It was nice visiting mother land,” she enthused.
In his speech, which was tagged: A Clarion Call To Nollywood, top filmmaker, Zik Zulu –Okafor, lamented the dearth of both public and private sponsorships in Nollywood, adding that the US government’s involvement, should be seen as a clarion call for those in both sectors, to immediately and urgently come and support the growth of the industry now.
The president of the guild, Mr. Tony Anih, in his address, thanked all the invited guests, for coming and further called for more creative collaborations between the writers’ guild and all the other guilds in the industry.

Miss Independence Nigeria makes a debut

If you consider yourself beautiful, brilliant and above all, have the guts to tour the 36 states of the federation, including Abuja and beyond, then this pageant is for you.
In the words of the packagers of the forthcoming pageant, fittingly tagged: Miss Independence Nigeria, limited numbers of forms are already selling nationwide. They also promised to take the eventual winner on an all expenses paid trip, to the UK and US, for two weeks.
“ A brand new car also awaits the winner alongside half a million Naira cash prize, during her one year reign. We are doing all these as part of our contributions to the growth and development of Nigeria, at 48. Therefore, it is totally different from the others and a proudly Nigerian initiative,” said Kanbi Owolabi, one of the organizers.
The event holds elaborately on December 20, 2008, at the Planet One Entertainment Centre, Maryland, Lagos, and it is being powered by Media Torch Limited.
For more info about the pageant, visit, www.nigeriamissindependence.com

Editor's note:The website appears to be undergoing construction. Check later. We shall keep you posted.Tnx

Monday, November 3, 2008

Actors Guild condemns Nkem Owoh’s rumoured death


Pic-Nkem Owoh

The national leadership of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), has strongly denied and condemned the on-going rumour that top actor and one of its leading lights, Nkem Owuh is dead.

According to Mr. Ejike Asiegbu, the national president of the body, the rumour is baseless, malicious, wicked and a calculated attempt to ridicule and bring into disrepute the names of AGN and Owoh.
He further warned those spreading the evil tale to desist from such idle talks, before the long arm of the law catches up with them and their sponsors.

Meanwhile, it would be recalled that the nation’s motion picture industry, globally known as Nollywood, was temporarily thrown into pandemonium a fortnight ago, with the wild fire like rumour that Owoh, currently the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), best actor, was arrested and beheaded, for drug trafficking in Saudi Arabia.

However, another version of the ugly rumour, has it that Owoh, from Enugu State, died in Europe, when the hard drugs, he had earlier ingested, ruptured in his stomach, while on transit.

*On set of Osoufia in London

Meanwhile as the rumour kept spreading and circulating throughout the nation and even beyond, the man at the centre of the storm, further compounded it, by refusing to publicly come out to deny the rumour.

Even the several calls and sms to his GSM phones, by most of his colleagues and fans were not answered or replied. Same for those made by most entertainment journalists.

The rumour, which has been on for over a fortnight, was however, doused when Asiegbu, finally got in touch with Owoh, who was in Abuja shooting a movie and maybe, obviously enjoying the unfolding drama that has further soared his popularity rating in Nollywood.

In the words of Asiegbu,” I can never doubt the character of Nkem Owoh. He is a man I have known for so long. He is equally, a respected member of AGN and I’m proudly telling the world that he is not dead or involved in drugs trafficking. Owoh is alive and kicking,” confirmed the popular actor.

Surprisingly, aside Asiegbu, Owoh, has blatantly refused to speak with most of his colleagues and entertainments journalists constantly dialing his phone numbers.

Even a reliable insider, argued that the engineer turned actor, is unlikely going to address the media and the nation on the issue. “ I don’t think Nkem Owoh will address the media on this issue”, Asiegbu, further confirmed.

Owoh, unarguably one of the highest paid Nollwood actors, became more popular when he starred in the lead role of Osuofia in London, one of the highest selling comic movies ever to have come out of the nation’s motion picture industry and from the stable of Kingsley Ogoro productions.

It is also important to note that Nkem’s case is not the first in the history of Nollywood; several big names had been linked with rumoured deaths and drugs related offences in the past.

Memuna Abaji returns in Spider

This definitely cheering news to the teeming fans of celebrated TV star-Memuna Abaji, now Yahaya. After a long break, the ever smiling thespian from Kogi State, is now poised to return in Spider, a soon to debut family oriented soap, from the stable of Apreel Ventures.
Mrs. Yahaya, now happily married to a Naval officer, would be playing the character of Agnes, when the soap hits network any moment from now. As one of the main characters in the star studded soap, her role is very germane to the entire plot of the story and as usual, she was exceptional in her delivery and diction.
She stars alongside equally good names like: Akin Lewis, Felix Omuni, Ronnie Dikko, Thelma Okoduwa, Femi Branch, Dare Fasasi and a host of others. The big budget production was produced and funded by Mrs. Ariyike Oladipo and directed by the trio of Pat Oghre, Kingsley Omo-Efe and Charles Inojie, while Lakemfa Jones managed the production.

Kleenmates partners Nollywood for global gains

Unknown to many, youthful Joshua Ifeanyi Ezekwe, the honcho of Kleenmates limited, the outfit behind creative environmental solutions, is also a proud Nollywood filmmaker with over a decade experience.
He regularly combines the art of film/documentary productions with his close to two decades experience in facility maintenance. Surprisingly, the graduate of History and holder of an MBA, in management, is also a seasoned human resources manager and administrator constantly working with some of the biggest names in Nollywood.
The well-traveled filmmaker has also attended courses in Basic Health and Safety Programmes in the UK and other parts of the world. The wealth of experience gathered over the years, he intends to put into practice and also inculcate in Nollywood practitioners and stakeholders for optimum results in the industry. Currently, the producer of Janiscence, a TV programme on health, safety and the environment on network stations, he is also an ozone expert and a UNIDO consultant.
In a brief chat with us, Ezekwe, disclosed that they are already working on a movie script for Nollywood, on the ozone layer and how to maintain safety standards in Nollywood.
“The aim of all these is to assist Nollywood in making movies on global issues and topics that would further widen our scope of acceptability in the hierarchy of leading movies making nations globally. And towards achieving this goal, I’m currently shooting a world-class documentary for the Federal Ministry of Environment, on the Ozone layer. We intend taking it round the world for premieres”, he hinted.

At the Mamuzee’s all white thanksgiving


Pic-Mamuzee twins

Mamuzee, the wave making singing twin brothers, over the weekend invited their colleagues and pals to a special thanksgiving at their church. The worship, originally meant to be a quiet and casual thanksgiving in the presence of the Most High, was later hijacked by their entertainers’ colleagues, and turned into a music-comedy concert with several acts mounting the pulpit to thrill. Among the comedians that cracked the ribs of worshippers at the all white-attired service were: Victor Osuagwu, MC Abbey, Wamilele, Seyi Law, Dauda, Jedi and a few others. While Daddy Fresh, Mumagee and a host of others rendered some inspirational gospel tunes. The high point of the service, which held at the Eko Hotel and Suites temporary hall of Victory Inheritance Ministries, was the electrifying performance of the Mamuzee brothers, who are also, the adopted sons of Dr. Jonathan Goodluck, the Vice President of Nigeria.
Several Nollywood stars also graced the spirit filled service.

Viewers hail new Censors board media campaign

Whao! Barely a week after hitting the airwaves, TV viewers, especially movie buffs are already hailing and commending the Emeka Mba led National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), for coming up with the laudable initiative.
Tagged: Mr. Clueless and Advocate, the five-in-one mini-series, is now showing constantly on several network TV stations. Most viewers who spoke with us, further praised the apex film regulatory body, for using some of t big names in the industry, in the campaign.

Pic-Tajudeen Adepetu, Sound City Boss joins in the commendation

Meanwhile, aside viewers, stakeholders and practitioners are also applauding Mba and his creative team for the wondrous work.
In the words of Tajudeen Adepetu, the honcho of Consolidated Media Associates, producers of Soundcity and Televistas, the new campaign would further help to restructure Nollywood. “Mba and his team are doing wonderfully well for Nollywood, and we are proud of them at the Board. The campaign is the best initiative for Nollywood at the moment,”
he enthused.
The titles in the new campaign currently rocking the airwaves are: Pirates of the Naija, Distributor vs Producer, Video Club Palava, Ride to Cell and To kill or Not to kill. According to Mba, the new campaign would help the board, in its war against piracy and the illegal distribution of movies.

Myke Records’ boss bereaved


pic-Myke Ikoku

The amiable boss of Myke Records and chairman of All Seasons Hotel, Owerri, Imo State, Evangelist Myke Ikoku, is at the moment sad and bereaved. Ikoku, who is also the honcho of Obiron Group, recently lost his darling mother, to the cold and wicked hands of death.
Aged 80, the late Mrs. Rhoda Ugochi Ikoku Ikpoh, died on Friday, October 17, 2008, and would be buried in her country home, in Nkwerre, Imo State, on Saturday, November 22, 2008.
Lamenting the irreparable loss, Ikoku, said his late mama, was a good woman who also epitomizes the virtues of womanhood. “ Mama was very industrious, religious, easy going and generous. In fact, a true Christian… we were so close that she died in my arms. My prayer is that God grants her soul eternal rest,” he said in an emotion-laden voice. Meanwhile, Ikoku’s friends from all walks of life, especially those in the entertainment and hospitality sectors, are helping him to organize a carnival like burial for his sweet mother.

Censors Board launches new media campaign


Pic-Emeka Mba, DG, NFVCB

For a better, more organized and structured industry, the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), the apex movies regulatory body in the country, recently launched its latest anti piracy media campaign. Tagged: Mr. Clueless and Advocate, the five in one mini series, is expected to hit network TV soon.
Speaking at the unveiling, Mr. Emeka Mba, the honcho of the board, explained that the series would further help in the fight against piracy and unwholesome practices in the industry. He also called on stakeholders and practitioners to support the board towards achieving the objectives of the new campaign, stressing that its now time for change in Nollywood.
Moreover, several filmmakers that spoke at the evening, also commended Mba and his team, for all their good works and initiatives. They also unanimously agreed that piracy, is the cankerworm killing the progress of Nollywood, and it must be collectively tackled, if the industry must be moved to the desired next level.
Mba, also charged the public and stakeholders, to join them in the unending fight against the illegal distribution of movies, especially now that the framework distribution policy, is on ground. The titles in the mini series include: Pirates of the Naija, Distributor vs Producer, Video Club Palava, Ride to Cell and To Kill or Not to Kill.
“ People should act responsibly, because movies matter’, Mba admonishes.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Naija stars glow @ Channel O music video awards


Pic-Son of the Soil, Ikechukwu and Buddy, Naeto C at the awards

The flag of the Nigerian music industry was further hoisted higher in faraway South Africa, at the recently held annual Channel O Music Video Awards, which saw some of our stars smiling home with diadems at the glamourous outing. Among the acts that made us proud at the event were: Ikechukwu, who won the Best Male Video, P Square, carted home the Best Duo and Video of the Year respectively. The other duo of KC Presh, won in the Best Hip Hop category, while M-Trill capped it for Naija, with the laurel, for Best African, West.
Commenting on the event, Ade Adefeko, Head, Corporate Communications, Multi Choice Nigeria, described it as heart-warming, adding that it did not come to him and millions of other Nigerians as a surprise, based on the abundant talents in the country. “Their creativity will always find expression and recognition anywhere in the world”, he pointed out.
Also speaking, Yolisa Phahle, the General Manager, Channel O, argued that the awards have helped to improve the quality of video productions and open doors of opportunities for several African acts and their kinds of music.
Meanwhile, other acts from different African countries also won awards at the event.

Censors Board loses officer to gunmen…

The entire management and staff of the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), alongside Nollywood, are currently mourning the gruesome murder of one of its staff and also praying for the survival of the one currently on danger list at the hospital.
The affected staff, Mr. Kala’agi Nikanors and Mr. Lawrence Onoja, operating from the North Central zone, were attacked at different locations.
Nikanors, the Centre Head, Makurdi, Benue State, was attacked by yet- to- be identified gunmen in his Makurdi residence at night and shot in the head, at a close range. He eventually died on his way to the National Hospital, Abuja. A woman video club operator, in Minna, stabbed the Niger State, Centre Head, Onoja, on the chest. Confirming the ugly incidents, the board’s Director of Administration, Mr. Coleman Uba, said Nikanors sad and sudden death was a big blow to the apex film regulatory body and prayed God to give the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss. Onoja, we also gathered, is recuperating in a private hospital with stitches round his wounded body.
The national leadership of the Film and Video Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria (FVPMAN), in a release signed by Mr. Emma Isikaku, its national president, condemned the dastard act and further called on the Inspector General of Police, to immediately fish out the heartless killers. “This is not what we need to see at this time that the board is repositioning and restructuring the industry for progress,” Isikaku posited.

Iphy hits shelves with Ifeoma, jets out

This piece of information would definitely warm the hearts of music lovers, especially the daily increasing fans base of Iphy, the fast rising and contemporary gospel crooner. After several postponements and delays, the Onyeka Onwenu sing-alike, has sensationally hit shelves with her debut effort.
Entitled Ifeoma Di’niru, the eight-tracker effort, is being marketed and distributed nationwide by Joemicky International Limited in collaboration with other leading music marts.

Pic-Cobhams Asuquo, visually impaired but multi-talented producer produced the album

Meanwhile, it would be recalled that Iphy Okoli, who is currently in the US, promoting her new work and at the same time networking for enticing foreign deals, had earlier launched and premiered the scintillating video of Ifeoma, at a star studding event, in Lagos. However, prior to embarking on the US trip, the singer, had already went on a successful nationwide tour, which was well publicized in the media. According to her management team in Nigeria, the newly released work is doing very well in the market and enjoying rave reviews on the airwaves too. They further divulged that Iphy, whose latest album, was produced by multi-talented Asuquo Cobhams, would lense the remaining musical videos of the beautiful work, over there, before coming home, to play in several lined up yuletide shows.

Nollywood Stars jostle for Face of Nollywood


Pic-Nollywood Stars


The big question on many lips within and outside Nollywood, especially movie buffs, is who becomes the new Face Of Nollywood? Already, ten A-List stars are jostling and scheming for the coveted crown of the most popular name and face in our own tinsel town.
These finalists currently slugging it out, in no particular order, include: Genevieve Nnaji, Kanayo O. Kanayo, Bukky Wright, Emeka Ike and Patience Ozokwo. Others on the exclusive list are: Saheed Balogun, Ini Edo, Richard Mofe Damijo, Stella Damasus and Ramsey Noah. And on November 16, 2008, at the prestigious International Conference Centre, Abuja, Total Television, the organizers of the historic event, would present the winner to the world, in a colourful ceremony that would be chaired by Alhaji Aliyu Modibbo, the ex-FCT Minister.
Interestingly, amiable Modibbo, has also joined the Actors Guild of Nigeria and other corporate organizations and individuals, to endorse the forthcoming event.
currently energizing Nollywood. In the words of Ifeanyi Ikpoenyi and Chike Bryan, both coordinators of the event, a lot of fantastic prizes await the winner and all the other participants as well as the voters. “The event is aimed at celebrating Nollywood and its leading names and brands,” they both chorused.

Rolling Dollars, others, ignite Ikeja City Awards


Pic-Ageless Fatai Rolling Dollar


All is now set for the third edition of the annual Ikeja City Awards holding on November 7, 2008, at the upscale Balmoral Hall, Ikeja, Lagos.
According to Solkem Entertainment, the organizers of the event, several entertainers in the music, movie and comedy sectors have indicated interests to be part of the evening. In the words of Sola Olugbemiro, the boss of the outfit, they would be giving out recognition awards to all those that have contributed immensely to the development of Lagos, especially the Ikeja axis. He further disclosed that veteran highlife artiste, Fatai Rolling Dollars, would be the star attraction of the night and he would be supported by several other acts. The event, which would be anchored by Wale Adebayo of the epic Sango fame, would also reward and recognize some entertainers that have distinguished themselves over the years.

Gbenga Adeyinka returns for Star TV game show



Leading entertainer and the most pronounced Comedian of the Federal Republic (CFR), Gbenga Adeyinka, The First, is set to bring lots of excitement, verve, fun and unbridled razzmatazz to this year’s edition of the Star TV Game Show, as its host. The exhilarating show, which is open to the consumers of Star lager beer, who are also 21 and above, will run from October 15th to December 15th, 2008. Speaking at a recent press conference, which held at the company’s premises, Mr. Tony Agenmonmen, the Marketing Manager, Lager, Nigerian Breweries Plc., explained that the show would produce three instant millionaires every week. “This means that at the end of the eight-week-show, we would have created 24 new millionaires in Nigeria. There will also be instant cash prizes on the show and an opportunity to win free entry tickets to this year’s Star Mega Jam, this December, he said.
Agenmonmen, further added that the show has also been designed to reward viewers at home, especially lovers of the iconic lager with various cash prizes and gift items. And for those wishing to be part of the show, he advised them to visit: www.star-nigeria.com and see if they could be one of the new lucky millionaires in the making.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Enyiocha, Elendu find life partners


Pic-Emeka Enyiocha, quitting Bachelorhood

Whao! The long list of bachelors and spinsters plying their trades in Nollywood is gradually decreasing. Well, meet the latest husband and wife in tinsel town. First on the list is Eastern Nigerian based actress, Uche Elendu. She has found true love in the arms of Walter Nku, and they recently tied the knot, the traditional way, in Isiukwuato, Abia State, on October 26, 2008, at Elendu’s family home. Interestingly too, in the same Isiukwuato axis, top actor and Nollywood hunk, Emeka Enyiocha, has finally found true and everlasting love in the cozy arms of a yet to be named lady. And their traditional wedding holds this November 1, at the lucky girl’s family home. Already, colleagues of both stars in Nollywood, have continued to make the double nuptials, the talk of the town.

Tony One Week set to rock Abuja

Abuja, the nation’s seat of power and government is currently poised to play host to Gyration master Tony One Week and pals, on the occasion of his tenth anniversary, as a complete and successful entertainer. Tagged: Tony One Week @ Ten, the grand finale of the two-day extravaganza, holding between November 15 and 16, climaxes at the upscale Transcorp Hilton Hotel. According to One Week, now permanently based in Abuja with his family, the event opens on November 15, at the Old Parade Ground, with several artistes performing in a show put together for him by Nigerian Breweries Plc. “The main show where ten comedians, musicians and Nollywood stars, would separately thrill the fun loving people of Abuja, especially my teeming fans, holds the next day at the Transcorp. We are also expecting several dignitaries from both the public and private sectors at the event”, disclosed the act, who is currently in the studios fine-tuning his latest effort.
Meanwhile, info at our disposal has it that One Week’s colleagues in Lagos, have concluded plans to further light up the event with their intimidating presence.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Censors board, NFC, AMAA, others shine @ Abuja film festival


Pic-Duker, Festival Director

No doubt, the fifth edition of the Abuja international film festival, has come and gone, however, what remains unarguable, is the fact that some corporate entities, in both the public and private sectors, added glitz and panache to the four-day event with their intimidating presence and support. Leading the pack of government parastatals with giant stands at the market section of the festival, was the Emeka Mba-led National Film and Videos Censors Board (NFVCB).
In fact, their stands and colourful banners, especially those announcing the newly introduced Framework Distribution Policy, were truly a sight to behold. Mr. Afolabi Adesanya and his entourage from the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC), Peace Anyiam-Osigwe and her team from AMA Awards, as well as other corporate bodies, participated actively at the festival.
However, aside participating, the above bodies, also supported the festival with good will messages. Tagged: The Future of Nollywood, this year’s theme, according to Mr. Fidelis Duker, the Festival Director, was imperative because the future of Nollywood depends on all practitioners. “I am also of the view that they must show a genuine resolve, to chart a new course that will guarantee a bright future for the industry…”he posited.

Green and White groove still reverberates

Almost a week after, the Independence Day soiree jointly put together by Encomium, the Magazine and Awards Company in collaboration with Prime Time Entertainment, is still generating positive remarks and issues, especially among newsmakers within and outside our shores.
Aside the array of music and comedy stars that thrilled non-stop at the razzmatazz and fun filled evening of high net worth gathering, Nollywood stars, also added panache and poise with their presence. Of course, assorted foods and choice liquors flowed endlessly at the Harp Lager Beer powered prom.
Speaking on the significance of the star studded and gracefully attended ball, tagged; The Green and White Groove, Mr. Kunle Bakare, the amiable honcho of Encomium and style aficionado, explained that the essence was to celebrate Nigeria at 48. “If at this age, we cannot celebrate ourselves, nobody can do that for us. And by doing this, we are also showcasing the good aspects of our nation
to the world. This country belongs to all of us, and if we don’t help to reposition it, nobody will do that for us…” he explained.
Meanwhile, other elated guests that bared their minds to us, thanked the organizers, for staging a world-class birthday bash for Nigeria at Independence. They also looked forward to another scintillating and memorable outing next year.

Editors Note-Pix later

Joke Silva shines @ Project Fame


Pic-Silva is head, Fame Academy

Viewers, especially the teeming fans of veteran actress Joke Silva, are hailing her role as the Principal of the on going MTN sponsored Project Fame Academy. Most of the viewers who bared their minds to us, further praised the organizers of the wave-making event, for selecting Silva, as the head of the academy. In their views, her wealth of experience, as an accomplished entertainer, would further impact positively on the 15 housemates currently vying for honour and glory at the academy. “Joke is neither bossy nor arrogant, she treats the housemates like a true and loving mother, and has also boosted their confidence with advice and counseling. And this is what the housemates need, not a bossy and arrogant principal that would not bring out the best in his/her students. She should keep it up and also ensures that only the best gets the crown”, hinted one of her fans, in an sms sent to us.