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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Who owns Yori -Yori?

After a long silence, Amobi Clem Igwebuike, better known as Bistop, the sidelined and former leader of wave making Yori-yori crooners, Bracket, has finally opened up on how he was betrayed by his colleagues and record label owner.

According to Bistop, who’s currently promoting his latest single, Celebrate, he was unjustly kicked out, after helping to nurture and groom the group-Bracket, which he founded and led until he was schemed out early last year.

In a chat with us recently, embittered Bistop, from Anambra State, maintained his supposed brothers betrayed him, after ten solid years of a very strong relationship. “A lot has been said about my willingly quitting the group, it pains because my colleagues never painted the real picture of how I was dumped and betrayed to the world. How can I just quit like that after toiling day and night to nurture and build the group Bracket? I wrote and arranged the beats of virtually all the songs, including the Yori-yori track and other tracks in the album. But painfully, I was schemed out when we were about to release the album, which is our second, as a group. Till date, my colleagues and the boss of our label, Ape Planet, Nwachukwu Mamah, one of the sons of Ifesinachi Mass Transit boss, have not told me why they meted out this wicked act to me. They later told me our record label owner dumped me because I was too outspoken. I don’t know when fighting for one’s right has become a crime?”

Speaking further, Bistop, who is currently promoting his new work round the country, disclosed that he personally took the group to Ape Planet, to sign them on and eventually release their debut album – Happy Day. “I’m not saying all these now to elicit pity, but I want to set the records straight by telling Nigerians how I was badly treated by my supposed brothers. I nearly died, but it took the grace of God for me to be alive till this moment and talking to you. Truth is that I have been to hell and back”.

“Imagine, I went to the market to buy my own work and sweat, when they eventually released the album and to my shock, no credit was given to me and that further killed my spirit. But thank God, I have moved on.”

Bistop, a final year student of Electrical Electronics at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, further disclosed that the current stage names of the Bracket duo (Smash and Vast), was given to them by him, at the early stage of their careers.

On what he wants from the group and Ape Planet, Bistop, who maintained he’s yet to recover fully from the psychological/mental trauma and torture, insisted that he wants to be adequately compensated for all his efforts while with the group, adding that he has moved on with his blossoming solo career and life.

I’m now out to celebrate, just like my single says, the worst is over. We look forward to hearing from Bracket and Ape Planet, whom we could not reach before filing this report.

Nollywood boycotts ION film festival

The recently held ION international film festival in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, suffered a heavy setback, due to massive boycott, from virtually all the major guilds in Nollywood, the Nigerian motion picture industry.

We reliably gathered that aside boycotting the festival, which they openly described as “a huge insult on Nollywood and its professionals”, these major guilds are also angry and disappointed with network giant Zain, for investing millions in the festival without regard and concern for Nollywood and its growth.

And as a prove of their seething anger, these guilds, according to a reliable source, are secretly sensitizing and mobilizing their members to begin a mass boycott on anything that has to do with Zain.

In the words of one of the major players in Nollywood, who spoke with us on the condition of anonymity, “we are currently mobilizing our members in all the guilds in Nollywood to stop using the Zain network. Since they can give a nomadic festival that is not resident here in Nigeria millions of Naira, to organize a colourless film festival that was of no importance to Nollywood and the entire Nigerian motion picture industry, we will also boycott and blacklist them. Zain, should tell us one major thing they have done for Nollywood? Each time, we take our proposals to them for sponsorships, its usually cock and bull stories. We have AMAA, the Abuja and Lagos international film festivals and the recently held AMP/Eko international film festival, which one did they support? Its appalling the way they treat us here. Collectively, our members are almost a million and the bulk of us use Zain, right now, we want to mobilize them to stop using or patronizing Zain, because we have gained nothing from them as professional bodies working for the growth of the nation through Nollywood. Enough is enough.
Now that we have boycotted the festival, Zain should now tell us the importance of their sponsorship?” While speaking with us, another angry top player in Nollywood queried the rationale behind spending so much millions on ION, which has no structure or any major development plan for the Nigerian motion picture industry.

“In fact, Gov. Rotimi Amaechi should tell us his reasons for wasting several millions of Rivers State tax payers money on the so called festival? How many Rivers State born filmmakers has he empowered and how many true Nollywood projects has he supported or hosted in Rivers State. All the billions he wasted on this festival would have been used to kick start a film village project in Rivers State, which at the end of the day will be beneficial to both Nollywood and the State. We see all these people as those stunting the growth of Nollywood”.

Aside the conspicuous absence of the leaders and key officers of guilds such as the: Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN), Association of Movie Producers (AMP), several leading practitioners and stakeholders in Nollywood also shunned the festival, thus making it a poorly attended event. Meanwhile, a joint press conference to address the issue of ION, the boycott and Zain’s apathy towards Nollywood and its core practitioners holds very soon, at a yet to be fixed venue.

Film and Broadcast Academy berths

After a very long wait, a government-approved institute that will professionally train and empower both aspiring movie and media practitioners has berthed in Ozoro, Delta State, with so much promises and prospects for intending students.


Approved by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) and known as The Film and Broadcast Academy (FABA), it sits on over 30 hectares of land and is expected to begin academic and vocationally work fully in January 2010, with over 2000 students.

According to Chief Charles Akeni, the Chairman of FABA, applications are invited from qualified candidates for admission to read the new practical oriented NBTC driven two-year National Innovation Diploma (NID) and the National Vocational Certificate (NVC), courses beginning from the maiden academic session, early 2010.

“FABA is basically set up to train movie practitioners and media people. Already in place are: schools of Performing and Media Arts, Film and TV Production, Arts and Design, Business Studies and Computer and Information Technology,” Akeni explained.

On how the academy would be funded, Akeni, a PR expert and the former PR Manager, Shell, explained that they had already mapped out over 30 streams of income, adding that it is a private enterprise that would be funded privately.

Elaborating more on the importance of FABA in helping to mould future film and media experts for the nation, its Vice President and renowned filmmaker, Zeb Ejiro, argued that the school, which is already being applauded within and outside Nollywood, would groom and nurture young men and women into super stars as well as help groom them in other arts and entertainment related endeavours. He further called on all, especially his colleagues to support FABA and its laudable initiatives, most especially, those aspiring to get its valued certificates.

While hailing the FABA team for coming up with such a great idea, filmmaker and the national president of the Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN), Mr. Bond Emeruwa, opined that the academy would further propagate the ideals of Nollywood as well as help give voice and direction to millions of Nigerians aspiring to be part of the nation’s money spinning entertainment industry. “On behalf of DGN, we sincerely commend FABA for this wonderful achievement,” he submitted.

Also speaking, Mr. Paul Obazele, the president of the Association of Movie Producers (AMP), maintained that FABA, would definitely help to redefine standards in Nollywood, adding that he looks forward to more of such meaningful initiatives and collaborations within and outside Nollywood.

Among the Nollywood stars present at the unveiling, who also extolled the good ideals of FABA, include: Sunny MC Don, Fidelis Duker, Mike Nliam, Emeka Rollas, Frank Dallas, Peter Red Ejiro and a host of others. For more info on how to register; visit: www. fabaportal.com.ng

Uche Ogbuagu returns, gets busy

Eastern-based leading comedian cum entertainer extraordinaire, Uche Ogbuagu, recently breezed in from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where he successfully organized the first edition of Dubai Must Laugh comedy and music concert.

The well-attended show, which was powered under the auspices of Ogbuagu’s Talkinson Entertainment Ideas, also featured comic star, Nkem Owoh, veteran entertainer, Chika Okpala (Zebrudaya), alongside several Aba, Abia State based rising comedians.

While in Dubai, the trio of Ogbuagu, Owoh and Okpala were honoured with special recognition awards, for their immense contributions to the development and growth of entertainment in Nigeria and the African continent.

While Ogbuagu, from Ikeduru, Imo State got a well-deserved plaque as the Best Standup Entertainer; the duo of Owoh and Okpala was honoured with the Best TV Comedian and Living Legend awards respectively.

Speaking on the significance of the show as well as the awards, exhilarated Ogbuagu who recently stormed Lagos, for an entertainment related engagement, disclosed that both were well deserved and also came at the appropriate time.

“Our Dubai Must Laugh outing was very successful, and we thank God and our sponsors for its success. The entire Dubai was agog; in fact, the city witnessed the finest form of entertainment, throughout our stay. We are looking forward to next year’s outing with so much enthusiasm. As for the awards, especially mine, it was well deserved and really overwhelmed me. We can’t thank them enough for deeming it fit to honour us with the great awards. It’s a pointer to the fact that even those outside our shores are also appreciating us alongside the great works we are doing for this great country, as her arts and entertainment ambassadors. I have been honoured with several awards, but this one is very dear to my heart and entire career,” he gushed.

Speaking further, Ogbuagu, the honcho of Ideal Ideas and Ideal Media Point as well as the organizer of the annual Aba Made comedy and music concert, maintained that the time has come for entertainers to unite and export comedy beyond our borders, adding that it would further create room for healthy rivalry in the industry.

The Mass Communication graduate who is widely traveled, and works very closely with the Abia State Government, said he has concluded arrangements to bring Governor Theodore Orji, to the third edition of Aba Made, in 2010, saying that the amiable Governor has assured him of his esteemed presence.

Interestingly too, hilarious Ogbuagu, is due to officially open and dedicate his recently completed country home, situated in his Akabo area of Imo State, this Xmas.

He promised to make the event grand and memorable for all those coming to felicitate with him and his household.

You Can’t Spell Jack ready for TV

A riveting new game show on TV is poised to wow viewers and financially empower lucky participants on a weekly basis.

Tagged: You Can’t Spell Jack (YCSJ), its creator and co-producer Mr. Eloka Anyafulu, disclosed that the laudable project was inspired by his desire to encourage learning among Nigerians, especially the youths.

Speaking at the recent unveiling, visibly elated Anyafulu, said “YCSJ, has been designed in such a way that viewers as well as participants will find it very interesting, exciting, entertaining and above all, very educational too. It’s a TV game show that took me years to conceive and conceptualize. My joy is that it’s a proudly and wholly Nigerian initiative. We intend exporting it to other parts of the globe, because of its unique nature, thus further helping to rebrand our great nation”.

Speaking further, Mr. Zik Zulu-Okafor, the co-producer of the game show, which is billed to hit network TV stations in early April 2010, promised that participants would win big money on the show when it eventually begins.

Okafor, a foremost filmmaker in Nollywood, further assured that YCSJ had been designed to run successfully the moment it takes off, adding that they were very capable of sustaining the programme on air, as well as redeeming prize money to lucky winners without hiccups. “YCSJ, is a totally different TV game show created by Nigerians, for Nigerians too. I can assure you that by the time we take off fully in the first quarter of next year, the whole Nigeria especially core TV viewers will be very proud of us. A whole lot of research has gone into this project and we have a very strong, reliable and highly focused team working on this project. It will further encourage learning on air as well as help families and their loved ones to properly relax, while watching it,” he posited.
Commenting on why his fast growing financial institution decided to solely sponsor the forthcoming show, Mr. Tony Ubogu, the CEO, Satelite Micro Finance Bank Limited, maintained that they saw a whole lots of potentials in the project, adding that he’s outfit would further help to empower millions of Nigerians by investing in the game show.

When prodded further on how strong his company is financially, towards powering the game show, especially in cases of multiple high-end winnings, Ubogu, confidentially assured that they took all these areas into considerations before accepting to embark on the sponsorship journey “At Satelite microfinance bank, we believe so much in empowering people, so when these great and intelligent young men approached us to sponsor this laudable project, we agreed to do it after going through its content with our board. For us, it’s a partnership and friendship that will last long and benefit both parties immensely.”
At the colourful unveiling, which held at the Eko Hotel and Suites, all those present unanimously hailed the producers for a job well done, after watching the pilot episode, which the producers, stated was just a tip of the iceberg.

Silent Scandals premieres amid glitz and grandeur

For all the Nollywood stars, celebrities and other VIPs that gracefully attended the world premiere of Silent Scandals, the big budget movie, penultimate Sunday, at the upscale Oriental Hotel, Lekki, Lagos, one fact they unanimously agreed, was that it was painstakingly put together.

In fact, pretty Vivian Ejike and her very courteous team, paid attention to details while putting the glamorous and one stop premiere that wowed all, together.

Aside the expansive and beautifully decorated hall, purple, the colour of the lovely and memorable event, was conspicuously visible within and outside the venue.

Invited guests, who were splendidly garbed, also obeyed the dress code, by adding a touch of purple to their trendy attires.

Cocktails, canap├ęs and champagnes flowed ceaselessly at the colourful premiere professionally anchored by leading actor and entertainer, Basorge Tariah Jar. Tariah, the honcho of Solid Stars Records, kept the guests reeling in unending laughter with his rich and mature jokes. He was later joined on stage by emerging comedienne, Helen Paul, who cracked many ribs with her bagful of jokes and jibes.

Diva Omawunmi and still recuperating Pop star, Paul Play Dairo, further propelled the fun-filled event to another level, with their electrifying performances, which were well-applauded by all. Obviously, the highpoint of the evening; was the fashion show put together by Zizi Cardow, where all the stars in the movie, cat-walked to the admiration of the thrilled guests.

In her brief welcome address, Vivian Ejike, thanked all for coming, promising that the evening would be a memorable one. And it was.

She further explained that Silent Scandals addresses the issues of love; loyalty and societal pressure as it negatively affects the lives of various individuals. “This movie is a true family drama, which critically mirrors the above issues as they affect the lives of everyday character in our society today”.

Also present at the premiere to support and felicitate with one of their own are: the national presidents of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Association of Movie Producers and the Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN), Segun Arinze, Paul Obazele and Bond Emeruwa respectively.

The duo of Genevieve Nnaji, and Ghanaian import, Michel Majid, led the pack of stars in the riveting movie, due to begin daily showings at the Silverbird cinemas nationwide soon. Other acts include: Uche Jombo, Ebele Okaro, Christy Okonkwo and a host of others.

It would be recalled that the movie had earlier premiered in Ghana, to a packed audience, which included the who-is–who in that country’s entertainment circuit. According to an excited guest who graced the Lagos event. “This is the movie premiere of the year”.

Brila FM takes the lead again

Celebration has not ceased at Brila FM, the sports and entertainment radio station. In fact, its owner and renowned sportscaster, Larry Izamoje, is very, very happy and proudly leading the celebration train.
Three of his ‘boys’ did him proud at the recently held Facebook Sports Presenters Awards.
Babafemi Raji, the presenter of the popular sports programme, Sports Machine on 88.9 Brila FM, was adjudged The Presenter of the Year. The young man, who joined Brila FM about a year ago and has sensationally copied Mr. Izamoje’s style of presentation very well, polled a total of 4007 votes, to smile home with the ultimate crown.
Osondu Ngwude, also of Brila FM, the presenter of Tomtom Players Scorecard, came third, with 2203 votes, at the tension-soaked event.
Interestingly, Bimbo Adeola, who clinched the second position, with a total of 2996 votes, also used to be with Brila FM until 2008, when he left.
We gathered that it’s been non-stop celebration at Brila FM, since the announcement was made public. The chairman of the pacesetting company, Mr. Larry Izamoje, was very up beat when we called him.
According to him, “we thank God for everything. Brila FM has come to stay and we will keep improving and improvising new ideas that will meet the demands of our teeming and daily increasing listeners."