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Friday, October 28, 2011

Azuh Amatus wins ZAFAA Award in UK

Youthful editor of Entertainment Express, Mr. Azuh Amatus scored another big one recently in faraway London, United Kingdom when he won the best Entertainment Editor Award at this year’s edition of the prestigious Zulu African Film Academy Awards (ZAFAA).
Azuh, according to the judges was awarded the keenly contested trophy, the first since the award started five years ago, for his in-depth knowledge and insightful analysis/reportorial of the Nigerian motion picture industry globally known as Nollywood.
The organizers also hailed his immense contributions to the growth of Nollywood within and outside Nigeria, adding that he richly deserved the plaque.
The multiple award-winning journalist was last week selected by the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), as one of the honourees to be inducted into its revered club of Celebrity Special Marshals (CSM). The investiture holds at Thisday Dome on November 20.

Nollywood shines at ZAFAA 2011

Nollywood films and stars completely floored their counterparts from all other African countries at this year’s edition of the Zulu African Film Academy Awards (ZAFAA), which held at the expansive Troxy Hall, Central London, on Friday, October 21.
Among the stars and stakeholders who flew into London for the fifth edition of the annual award proudly organized by Sam Anwuzia-led Nollywood Entertainment Limited, UK, were: Jennifer Eliogu, Ayo Mogaji, Dauda, Uche Ogbodo, Chinyere Winifred and O’Jez boss, Anayo Odobeatu.
Others included: Emem Isong, Ali Nuhu, Uduak Oguamanam, AY, Elenu, MC Shakara, Mamuzee Twins, Uchenna Nnanna and Prince Chukwudi Uzochukwu, who alongside Odobeatu are directors of the award body.

Genevieve Nnaji missing in action

Nollywood poster girl and darling of movie buffs, Genevieve Nnaji, who defeated Jackie Appiah, Ini Edo, Rita Dominic and Martha Ankomah to cart home the award of Best Lead Actress, for her wondrous role in Obi Emelonye’s Mirror Boy, was conspicuously absent at the event. A crew member of the production received the award on her behalf. An insider later hinted us that Miss Nnaji swore never to attend the award again after an unresolved issue with the organizers during last year’s edition.
Another top entertainer missing in action at the awards night was rub-a-dub master Ras Kimono. As the special guest artiste for ZAFAA 2011, the dreadlocks-donning Reggae star was no where near the venue of the event, let alone storming London. Several of his fans who thronged the venue with the intention of seeing him perform live on stage were thoroughly disappointed with the organizers for not making adequate arrangements to fly him in.

Jackie Appiah’s calm disposition

Sexy Jackie Appiah was the only Ghollywood star at this year’s ZAFAA. In fact, a lot of her fans in the hall were angry when she did not win the Best Lead Actress Award and even expected her to react angrily. But to their consternation, the happily married thespian, who flew in from Milan for the awards night maintained a very calm disposition. When the award ended, she quietly entered the stretch limo that brought the stars and headed back to her room at Queens Hotel.

Naija comedy rules at ZAFAA

As usual, an overdose of Naija comedy was unleashed at the grand gathering by the duo of AY and MC Shakara, who were specially flown in from Nigeria for the awards night. While AY was the official comedian for ZAFAA 2011, the duo of MC Shakara and Elenu were brought in to support him. But unfortunately only Shakara was able to mount the stage, Elenu could not due to lack of time. This drew the ire of most guests who openly lampooned the organizers for wasting time on several non important segments at the awards night.

Femi Segun, Tony Monjaro were anchors

This year’s ZAFAA dubbed the biggest film event outside Africa was jointly anchored by veteran compere Femi Segun and UK based top actor, Tony Monjaro. They both did a fantastic job anchoring the award, which unfortunately dragged into the wee hours of the following morning.

Entertainment Express wins at ZAFAA

Aside being the only Nigerian newspaper supporting the event as a media partner, your soar away paper was equally fully represented at this year’s ZAFAA. Yours sincerely who was live at the event and was fully recognized by the comperes and organizers also walked home with ZAFAA Best Entertainment Editor Award. The first since the award began five years ago.

Mirror Boy, movie of the night

Obi Emelonye’s Mirror Boy, which was shot in London, Nigeria and Gambia respectively emerged the overall movie of the night with awards in six main categories. It won in the best lead actress, best supporting actress, best cinematography, best child performance, best film and best editing. Painfully, Emelonye was not around to savour his night of glory. He was on set outside UK, lensing a new movie.

Dame Goodluck, Gov. Akpabio honoured

The organizers of ZAFAA also honoured Nigeria’s First Lady, Dame Patience Goodluck and Governor Godswill Akpabio of AkwaIbom State with special recognition plaques, for what it termed “their immense contributions and support to entertainment within and outside Nigeria.”
The awards were received on their behalf by representatives.

Monday, October 24, 2011

ZAFAA Award holds in London

Nollywood, the pride of Africa and Nigeria’s biggest export to the entertainment world sparkled, sizzled and serenaded the city of London as another edition of the prestigious Zulu African Film Academy Award (ZAFAA), held amid glitz and grandeur over the weekend.
Unarguably the biggest gathering of Nigeria and African film stars and stakeholders in the UK, the award scheme, which seeks to recognize and reward Africans who have contributed to the growth of the film industry kicked-off with a seminar on October 19, at the Odeon Cinema in Surrey Quays.
The award proper held at the Troxy Hall in Central London and attracted several stars and celebs.
Sam Anwuzia, the prime mover and founder of ZAFAA, in a chat with EE at the awards night, disclosed that this year’s outing primarily rewarded Nollywood practitioners, Africans and bodies that had played outstanding roles in the promotion of the film industry.
“Our major awards went to quality films released between 2010 and 2011. Aside recognizing and rewarding deserving practitioners and stakeholders, ZAFAA is also out to rebrand Nigeria and indeed, the entire Africa through entertainment.”
Meanwhile, Yours Sincerely was recognized and rewarded with the award of Best Entertainment Editor at the grand gathering, for his immense contributions to the growth of Nigerian entertainment industry.

Facebook impersonation: Oby Edozieh cries out

Nollywood star actress, Oby Gold Edozieh has warned those impersonating and using her hard earned name and reputation to defraud unsuspecting Nigerians, especially her fans on popular social networking site, Facebook, to desist from the wicked and devilish act.
Embittered Edozieh who cried out to EE, said she and her team recently discovered three persons using her full name and pictures on Facebook, to perpetrate evil and criminal activities.
Narrating her shocking experience, the actress-turned- producer of wave making Save Our Soul, disclosed that one of those impersonating her went as far as writing on her ‘supposed’ wall that she was engaged.
She denied being engaged to the said name on the wall of the spurious Oby Edozieh, adding that she had already reported the ugly incident to the management of Facebook.
“I became suspicious and totally embarrassed when my colleagues and friends started calling to congratulate me on being engaged. I told them I was not engaged to anybody and that was when they referred me to “my fb posting”.
Further search led to the discovery of two more Oby Edoziehs with my pictures boldly displayed. These ones were using my name and pictures to solicit for financial assistance from my fans and the unsuspecting public. I have put a disclaimer on all of them and also using this medium to cry out to Nigerians by urging them to beware of these fraudsters trying to feed fat with my name.”

Meanwhile, early this year, top actor Pat Attah, who now resides in Germany also cried out and warned Nigerians to beware of some internet crooks using his name to milk unsuspecting fans and friends. The fraudsters even went as far as opening a fictitious orphanage in the name of the star’s late father and pleaded for financial assistance from Nigerians both at home and in the Diaspora.
“I’m not going to take this lightly, I have also reported these criminals to my lawyer and Nigerian police and I must follow it to the end by ensuring that these criminals are caught and punished accordingly,” Edozieh threatens.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

How sexy singer, Waje survived appendicitis operation

While Nigerians were busy celebrating our 51st independence anniversary, one of her most promising acts, Waje, was lying critically ill at the hospital and waiting to be operated upon for appendicitis.
The sexy crooner in an exclusive chat with EE, confirmed the operation was success, but added she went through hell while it lasted.
Still recuperating Waje, also disclosed that her case was further complicated when her doctor later discovered she had chronic Ulcer.
“Thank God I’m back on my feet again. It was a terrible and painful experience for me. The operation went well, but after that it was discovered that I also had chronic Ulcer, because I could not eat. I have now been placed on special diet and I eat a lot these days. I’m also leading a campaign for people to eat regularly in order to avoid Ulcer”, she warned.
Waje (meaning, words Aint Just Enough), who was recently nominated for the forthcoming Channel O Awards, is also looking forward to performing at the October 22, Hip Hop Awards.
“I can’t wait to hit the stage and do my stuffs again.”

Nollywood in tears for Donald Okoli at night of tributes

Tears flowed endlessly at last Sunday’s solemn night of tributes organized for late actor/producer, Donald Nzubechukwu Okoli, at the national stadium, Surulere, Lagos.
Hugely attended by several of his colleagues in the industry, including A-list stars as well as his family members and well wishers, the gathering lasted late into the night.
The sombre gathering, which started with a turbo charged praise and worship session, also afforded some men of God the opportunity to pray ceaselessly for the embattled industry that has been plagued by deaths in recent times.
The tears continued when it was time to pay tributes to their departed colleague, whom many described in superlative terms. This was immediately followed by the well-coordinated candle light procession/observation.
In fact, several of the stars, especially the quartet of Stephanie Okereke, Oby Edozieh, Ngozi Ezeonu and Chioma Toplis, could not hold back their tears while paying tributes to the deceased who died on Friday, September 23, at the Yaba Military Hospital, Lagos, after a brief illness, at the age of 38.
With tears in her eyes, heart broken Miss Okereke, one of those that provided the funds for the event said she would always miss Donald. “It’s still very hard for me to believe that my good friend Donald is gone… God knows best and Donald will always be remembered by all of us that worked closely with him.”

In an emotion-laden voice, Miss Edozieh, one of the organizers of the night of tributes, who described the late entertainer as a, “brother and close friend”, said his untimely death was a big blow to the entire Nollywood.
“We must immortalize Donald in Nollywood; he was a selfless man and did his best to assist his colleagues whenever called upon. I still cannot believe he’s dead.”
Meanwhile, the remains of the late thespian who was survived by an aged mother and six siblings, was interred this Wednesday, at their Eziama, Amichi, Nnewi South LGA, Anambra State compound amid tears and wailings.

Julius Agwu’s Laff 4 Christ Sake returns

Musi-comedian Julius Agwu is bringing back one of his popular comedy brands, Laff 4 Christ Sake, an evening of gospel rhythms and jokes.
The popular show which started in 1994, but was rested after its sixth edition in 2009, will take place at the Muson Centre on October 23.
Ribs-crackers expected to thrill alongside Agwu at the event are: Basketmouth, Bovi, Gordons, Buchi, Dan D’Humorous, Senator and Funny Bone. Musicians penciled down include: KSB, Frank Edwards, Eben, Onos and Tim Godfrey, while DJ Gosporella will be on the wheels of steel.

Rivers State unveils CarniRiv committee

Towards hosting a successful event this year, the Rotimi Amaechi-led Rivers State Government recently inaugurated the Media and Publicity Committee for the 2011 cultural festival, CARNIRIV.
The Committee is headed by a two time Commissioner for Information and Culture and Women Affairs in Rivers State, Ms. Medline Tador.
Inaugurating the committee in Port Harcourt, the state’s Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr, Nabbs Imegwu charged the new members to dedicate their time and energy toward providing world class publicity and awareness for the event.
Dr. Imegwu, who spoke passionately about the state government’s interest in ensuring that the values of the people of the state were preserved, said that the choice of members of the committee was informed by their track records, in organizing great events and urged them to make the state proud.
“The strength of the 2011 Carnival rests in the ability of the media to make our people participate in the carnival” he added.
He further urged the committee members to spare no efforts in making the people of the state and residents enjoy the 2011 edition of the carnival.
Responding on behalf of the committee, Ms Medline Tador, who is the General Manager of the state’s Broadcasting Corporation (RSBC) and chairman of the committee, assured that members of the committee would discharge its duties effectively and efficiently.
“We will ensure that CARNIRIV becomes a stamp of quality and excellence that would endear itself to the people.”
The seven member committee has; Paulinus Nsirim, Oberenachi Ekeke, Gloria Ogan, Freddy Ndigbara, Ikechukwu Nwanze and Chris Fynebone as members.

Owerri agog for Imo Carnival

The Imo State Government in collaboration with Touching Lives International are poised to host this year’s Imo State Carnival, in Owerri, the state’s capital.
They have equally fixed October 29, for the launch/unveil of the logo and other activities lined up for the carnival proper.
The event, which holds at the Concorde Hotel, Owerri, would be graced by Rochas Okorocha, the state’s Chief Executive as well as other dignitaries drawn from both the public and private sectors.
Interestingly, the entire city is already agog and anticipating the forthcoming gathering, which the organizers further promised would add glamour and colour to the landscape.
In the words of Emeka Jonathan and Francis Nwachukwu, both executives of Touching Lives International, during a recent courtesy visit to the Isolo corporate head office of EE, the need to showcase the rich cultural heritage of Imo State and further reposition her on the world map were some of the factors that brought about the concept.
Meanwhile, the Lagos unveil of the carnival holds at Terra Kulture on October 22, after which the train would move to Imo State, for the final leg of the event.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Balogun, Edochie, Adesiyan, Majid, others make nominees list for Afro Hollywood Awards 2011

Several big names in Nollywood, Ghollywood and other African countries will battle for glory and honour at this year’s edition of Afro Hollywood Awards, holding on Sunday, November 6, at Stratford Hall, London.

The African Voice Newspaper UK, organizers of the revered event recently released its shortlist of nominees for the forthcoming rendezvous also known as African Film Awards.
Interestingly, the African Actor of the Year will be contested by one of South Africa’s leading actors, Presley Chweneyagae (famed for his lead role in Tsotsi), he will slug it out with Saheed Balogun of Nigeria and Majid Michael of Ghana.
Other award categories that will be keenly contested feature heavyweights such as: Tonto Dike, Halima Abubakar, Toyin Aimaku, Jamila Umar Nagudu, Funke Adesiyan, Lekan Oladiipo and Peter Edochie.
Winners in each award category, who will be attending the prestigious annual awards in London, will be announced at a special ceremony on Sunday, October 9, in Osogbo, Osun State.

The award has helped to make Nollywood popular and opened an array of opportunities for past recipients.
This year’s edition, the 16 in the series, has the theme: “Tourism in Africa and The Film Industry”.

Commenting on the award and its theme, Prince Mike Abiola, publisher of African Voice Newspaper UK, said: “Our aim is to create a synergy between filmmakers and government tourism boards; to ensure films are used to promote investment in tourism. Osogbo has been chosen as the special place to announce the winners of this year’s awards because the state is blessed with natural scenery ideal for film making. There is no reason the government should not designate the state as a film friendly state with incentives for filmmakers.”

Meanwhile, a distinguished and independent panel of film critics, respected for their expertise in the film industry, will decide the eventual winners of each award.

This year’s awards, celebrating excellence in African film and tourism, will be an opportunity to highlight the tourism development plans of African states, as the event coincides with the World Tourism Market, the leading global event for the tourism industry.

Fuji House of Commotion star (Alika), down with stroke

This is certainly sad news for the teeming fans of Victor Eze, the famous Alika in Amaka Igwe’s TV sitcom, Fuji House of Commotion.
Authentic and exclusive information reaching us has it that the Delta State born actor cum scriptwriter is currently down with severe stroke for over a year.
And to further compound his pitiable state, the current Secretary of the Screen Writers Guild of Nigeria (SWGN), has been completely abandoned by his colleagues and fans.
In a telephone chat with ACTION!, from his new abode in Ikorodu, an outskirt of Lagos State, the father of one painfully told us that since he was hit by stroke, none of his colleagues and friends in Nollywood have deemed it fit to reach out to him.
“Instead, they have been avoiding me. You’re the first person from Nollywood to call and sympathize with me. Not even the president and members of my association, SWGN, where I’m the Secretary, or even the Association of Movie Producers (AMP), where I was actively involved before the stroke.”
In an emotion–laden voice, Alika, who equally called on well-meaning Nigerians to assist him financially and otherwise, painfully revealed that even the producer of Fuji House of Commotion, Amaka Igwe also abandoned him to his fate, despite his immense contributions to the growth of the sitcom.
“Such is life but I’m not bothered. Please, I want kind hearted Nigerians to come to my aid because I don’t want to die and this cross is too heavy for only me to carry. My wife has been the only one taking care of me and our family since the stroke hit me. I urgently need financial help to be able to treat myself and go back to work,” he pleaded.
While reacting, Mr. Tony Anih, the President of SWGN, confirmed receiving the news of Alika’s stroke, and stated that their association was already discussing ways of assisting him get better.

Stephnora Okere returns with The Lounge

With over eight quality movies to her credit as a producer, leading Nollywood actress, Stephnora Okere, is poised to dazzle viewers, especially her teeming fans with her latest project- The Lounge.
The new and forthcoming TV talk show, according to the effervescent thespian, during a recent courtesy visit to the corporate head office of Entertainment Express, in Okota, Lagos, would definitely change the direction of programmes on TV when it begins airing.
“The Lounge is a carefully planned and researched talk show on TV, aimed primarily at celebrating idols and role models from all walks of life. The reason is to help give our youths, who are fast derailing, a sense of direction and belonging. Nigerians who have achieved greatly in their various fields would be brought on the programme to speak and motivate our youths. This is my own little way of giving back to the society”, hinted the heroine of several hit Nollywood movies.
Meanwhile, Miss Okere, who’s currently working on her maiden feature length film, Down The Tunnel, is also in the studios adding finishing touches to her debut musical effort-a yet-to-be titled single that would soon be rocking the airwaves.
“I’ve been quiet for so long silently strategizing. I’m now ready to come out with full force for my fans because I’m loaded with surprises for them this time…” she gushed.

Real Reasons top Nollywood actress, Chika Ike’s marriage crumbled

Unknown to many, especially her teeming fans, the troubled marriage of pretty actress, Chika Nancy Ike, started showing signs of cracks over a year ago, until it finally crashed recently.
ACTION!, went the extra mile to uncover some of the reasons that led to the collapse of the union between the Mirror of Beauty star and her estranged hubby, Mr. Ebireri, which was solemnized on November 18, 2006.
A reliable insider who spoke with us disclosed that the embattled screen diva with over 40 hit movies to her credit, did her best in order to ensure her marriage worked, but finally gave up when it dawned on her that the union was doomed.
According to this insider, the failure of Ike to give her husband a child was the dominant crisis in their short-lived union. “It was not as if Chika was barren, no, she conceived twice but could not deliver due to miscarriages, which were no fault of hers.”
Continuing, our source revealed that Ike, who runs TREJ Classics, restaurant and bar, was already under heavy pressure in her marriage and had to call it quits, the moment her husband allegedly impregnated a female undergraduate at the Lagos State University (LASU).
And painfully for the easy going star, the already volatile situation in their matrimonial home became messier, when the pregnancy tale hit the Internet and turned into a public discussion, thus shattering her once very private world.
Gathered that the curvaceous beauty who was nominated for the best upcoming actress category at the 2005 African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), cried all day when the ugly story of her failed marriage hit several Internet sites and gossip magazines.
Another close pal of the 5’’10’’ tall thespian, hinted that Ike has vowed to carry on with her life and career despite the failure of her barely five-year-old marriage.
From a family of eight, Ike hails from Anambra State but was raised in Lagos State. She started acting at age six in her local Church and secondary school respectively, where she was also the Senior Prefect, but went professional in 2004, after scaling a Nollywood audition. Ike’s career took a giant leap in 2008, when she co-produced and starred as lead in an African epic, Mirror of Beauty, from the stable of Mr. Andrien Gbinigie-led Atlantic Overseas. Shot on 35mm, the movie was premiered in the UK, and shown in seven cinemas in London, including Odeon and Cineworld, respectively. The big budget movie which stormed Cannes Film Festival, France that same year, also clinched an award at the AMAA.
ACTION!, tried severally to speak with the sexy actress via phone calls and sms, but met a brick wall. When we eventually got her, she claimed to be very busy on set and promised to return our calls, but never did.

Who hates who in Nollywood!

No doubt, Nollywood is full of haters and secret enemies, an ugly trend that is fast turning the entire industry into a battle field. EE exclusively brings you the shocking list of who hates who in Nollywood as well as reasons for the unending animosity.
The duo of Emeka Ike and Segun Arinze, will forever top the list of warring gladiators in Nollywood. Their age-long beef was further fuelled by the battle for the control of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN). Ike has never accepted Arinze as the national president of the troubled guild. He even went to the court to contest the former’s victory, which he claimed was illegal and fraudulent. The war took another dimension when Ike declared himself the factional president of AGN. Several concerted efforts at reconciling both famous entertainers have always failed with their animosity still raging like a volcanic eruption.
Nollywood star actresses, Oby Edozieh and Tricia Esieigbe are leading the pack of the female gladiators in Nollywood. The former best pals are now sworn enemies with visible anger and hatred for each other. They have equally taken their never-ending war severally to the pages of newspapers and magazines. After resting for a few years, they recently commenced their war of words a couple of weeks ago, with accusations and counter accusations.
Unknown to many of their teeming fans, sexy and stylish screen divas, Monalisa Chinda and Rita Dominic are currently engaged in a fierce cold war. The war of the former best pals dates back to when Monalisa was still married. An insider hinted EE that they now avoid each other like a plague whenever their paths crossed in public places, especially locations and corporate events.
Veteran Nollywood actors Ejike Asiegbu and Kanayo O. Kanayo are currently co-habiting in Nollywood like cat and mouse. In fact, authentic information at our disposal has it that they hardly see face-to-face at any Nollywood event. Their cold war became open when the former accused the latter of conniving with some unscrupulous elements to remove him from office as the then national president of AGN. A move that later failed. All efforts from concerned friends and colleagues of the duo to sheathe their swords proved abortive. Surprisingly, the latter was the former’s best man during his wedding.
London-based Nollywood actress Chioma Toplis and Oge Okoye have not stopped washing their dirty linens in public since their “special friendship” collapsed like packs of poorly arranged cards.
Their war became messier when Toplis accused Oge of damaging appliances and messing up her London apartment whenever she comes visiting and warned her to stop invading her privacy with the choking visits.
Nollywood bad boy, Jim Iyke and Emeka Ike are still threatening fire and brimstone over an age-long altercation that nearly turned fatal on set, if not for some divine intervention.
About-to-wed actress Mercy Johnson has recently added comic star Victor Osuagwu to her long list of enemies. Mercy transferred the hate syndrome to Victor for advising her on the controversial union holding tomorrow. Now, they no longer see eyeball-to-eyeball.
Famous Yoruba actress Iyabo Ojo is currently locked in a battle with emerging star, Lizzy Anjorin. Iyabo has allegedly vowed to teach Lizzy the lesson of her life for daring to disrespect and call her by name in public. For peace to reign supreme, she wants ‘recalcitrant’ Lizzy to always address her as “Auntie mi.”
Last on our warring long list is the duo Vivian Ejike and Emem Isong. Both leading film producers were former best friends and business partners until the centre could no longer hold and things started falling apart. Jealousy and greed were mentioned as the root cause of their open animosity.

AMP election holds tomorrow

After several postponements, the long awaited election of the Association of Movie Producers (AMP) will finally hold tomorrow at the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos.
The election which is coming few weeks after that of the Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN) has also polarized Nollywood into factions with a lot of horse trading and arm twisting secretly going on in different camps.
However, unlike that of DGN, where four gladiators battled for the plum office of the president, cerebral and revered filmmaker, Zik Zulu-Okafor, is the only candidate contesting. The other contestants, Ralph Nwadike and Victor Okhai, chickened out for reasons best known to them, very early in the race. With this development, Okafor, in the estimation of keen followers of events in the industry will coast home to victory today without any stiff challenge.
Also contesting for the post of Treasurer, is famous sound tracker, Mike Nliam. He will slug it out with busy producer Kingsley Okereke at today’s polls.
Lawyer-turned filmmaker, Neville Ossai, is the sole candidate for the post of Public Relations Officer, while perennial executive member of the body, Chinasa Onyechere, a former Treasurer, wants to take a shot at the post of Financial Secretary.
Commenting on the election, Mr. Ifeanyi Ezekwe, a member of the Zik Zulu Tink Tank, said they have worked very hard for Zulu and other members in their camp to coast home to victory.
Leading filmmaker and chairman of the Electoral Commission, Chidi Nwokeabia, assured that today’s election will be free and free, adding that only duly registered and financially up-to-date members would be allowed to vote.

One year after: Entertainment Industry yet to get Jonathan’s $200m largesse

The entertainment and creative industries are still battling and struggling to access the $200 million intervention funds granted them by President Goodluck Jonathan, one year after he publicly made the pledge.
With the numerous controversies and delays trailing the elusive grant, many stakeholders now view it as a mere political statement, which Mr. President used to curry favours from them while campaigning last year.
Several stakeholders and practitioners that spoke with ACTION! on the condition of anonymity, lampooned Mr. President and the relevant authorities for playing unnecessary politics with the funds, which they are also scared would soon disappear into private pockets.
“Last year, we were all happy when Mr. President made the pledge at the 30th anniversary of Silverbird. Since then, we’ve held several meetings with the banks that will help disburse the funds to all the relevant stakeholders and one year after, nothing has come out of it. They keep giving us conditions that are out of this world. We are filmmakers and not politicians who have choice property to give as collateral,” explained one of the angry stakeholders.
Another chafed top practitioner wants Jonathan to come out and openly tell them if the grant was meant for them or not. “Too much politics has entered this grant. When it was announced last year October, we were all happy and looked forward to accessing it without these unnecessary bottle necks. It’s painful that after one year, non of the leading names in the nation’s entertainment and creative sectors have been able to access these funds. What it then means is that either Mr. President or those entrusted with the money are playing politics with it and also not telling us the whole truth about it. We’ve done all they told us to do, yet the funds are still hanging and would soon develop wings.”
Without any hope of accessing the controversial funds in sight, another galled stakeholders who told us he was sick and tired of attending meetings, said they have decided to stage a protest march in Abuja and Lagos, respectively over the issue, in the next couple of weeks.
“With these planned protests we would be able to draw the attention of Mr. President to the challenges we are currently facing in accessing the funds he willingly pledged to us since last year. And when that option fails, we will now agree with the general notion that it was just a mere political statement used in winning over our support during the last election exercise.”
However, Paul Obazele, the about-to-go president of the Association of Movie Producers (AMP), is optimistic the funds would soon be made available to the entire industry.
Obazele assured his incensed colleagues to be patient with the relevant financial institutions processing the funds, adding that they were following due process in order to avoid making mistakes.

Gov. Akpabio battles Thisday Newspapers

All is currently not well between Governor Godswill Akpabio and the management of the Nduka Obaigbena-led Thisday Newspapers.
And the cause of this bitter war of words between the erstwhile good friends ACTION!, reliably gathered had to do with an editorial the former carried recently and thoroughly lambasted the choice of the former, as one of the recipients of a honourary award from the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA).
Since publishing the editorial, which the government of Akwa Ibom described as, “damaging, malicious unfair and ill-conceived, the large-hearted Governor that doles out money as if it is going out of fashion, has equally unleashed his media aides on Thisday, through several critical and combustive rejoinders.
In one of the rejoinders written by Usoro I. Usoro, a Senior Special Assistant on Media (Print and Research), to embittered Akpabio, he said Thisday shot itself in the foot, by hitting hard on his principal, in an editorial entitled: “The Abuse of Honourary Degrees”, published on Sunday, September 25.
“…In a piece bereft of solid facts or deeper analytical insights, the paper turned logic on its head and rambled to a ridiculous end… Last year, Thisday gave Gov. Akpabio an award as an Emerging Tiger… Why is Thisday trying to dance naked? Why speak from both sides of the mouth?” While further lampooning Thisday for taking on his boss, Usoro wrote: “Does it mean that Akpabio did enough to deserve Thisday honour, but less to merit an award from another institution? Or is Thisday saying its own awards come too cheap and does not measure up to those from other institutions? Is Thisday questioning its own credibility…?”
Also taking a further swipe at Thisday, in defencee of his principal in another national newspaper, Anietie Ekong, a Special Assistant on Media to Akpabio, maintained that the now very controversial editorial presents a good case study in self negation, contradiction and double-speak. “Indeed, with the ill informed editorial, Thisday has elevated its editorial inconsistency to high level and has fallen victim of the Nigerian malaise of double standard, which should not plague a respected media institution...”
We will definitely keep you posted as these two big masquerades continue to fire and fight dirty in public, over what many are alleging had its root in a business deal gone sour.

Randy South East Governor impregnates wife younger sister

A sex scandal of monumental proportion is currently tearing apart the home front of one of the south east governors (names withheld) who allegedly impregnated his beautiful wife’s younger sister in government house.
The unholy liaison, which began between the silver spoon governor and his first lady’s younger sister in 2008, the same year he married madam, had equally produced a love child (boy).
According to government house sources, the heart-broken and shattered First Lady has been threatening fire and brimstone since the painful news of her husband’s betrayal reached her.
Another source hinted that the First Lady unknowingly invited trouble into her home, by bringing her younger sister to live with them in her matrimonial home immediately after marriage.
“Before you could say Jack, the randy governor and the Abia State University graduate started dating under the same roof without her elder sister’s knowledge. This continued until she became pregnant and had the audacity to inform her sister and mentor she was carrying her husband’s baby.”
ACTION! gathered that the First Lady’s pleas and subsequent threats on her younger sibling to abort the pregnancy fell on deaf ears. She even sent thugs after her and the unperturbed governor made arrangements for special security to protect his lover round the clock.
“Our shameless governor eventually sent his mistress to the US to deliver their love child when the threat from his legally married wife was becoming unbearable.
“Her whereabouts till date remains unknown”, hinted this insider working at the government house, where the ugly story is now an open secret.
The scandal, seen as a taboo in Igbo land, had forced the embattled First Lady, who’s State is famous for producing a popular mineral resource, out of public engagements and functions.
“Madam is now an emotional wreck and her heartless husband is grooving and showing no sign of remorse,” squealed another insider.

Nollywood still mourning Donald Okoli

Nollywood practitioners and colleagues are still mourning and lamenting the recent demise of Donald Okoli, the passionate film producer who died at the Yaba Military Hospital in the morning of Friday, September 23.

Okoli, in his mid 30’s, hailed from Amichi, Anambra State, and was still trying to formalize the union with his fiancĂ©e before the evil hands of death wickedly snatched him from his family, friends, colleagues and loved ones.

Reacting on the painful death of the prolific producer with over 50 movies to his credit, Segun Arinze, the national president of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), lamented that Okoli’s painful exit had further thrown the industry into another mourning period.
“Donald and I were very close and till date, I’m yet to come to terms with the painful news of his death. During the last elections, he was my campaign manager and stood firmly with me through out that period. When I made enquiries, I was told he complained of stomach pain and was rushed to the hospital, where he eventually died. He will be greatly missed by all of us. AGN is planning something big for him.”

For top actress and filmmaker, Stephanie Okereke, who worked closely with the deceased, the shock that accompanied the sad news was too much for her to bear.
“Donald and I were like brother and sister and worked closely on several productions. We were together at the recently concluded NYFA/Delyork training programme. He was a workaholic and very professional and passionate with his job. I won’t say much because God alone knows best,” cried Miss Okereke.

Another top actress and producer, Oby Edozieh, still weeps and curses death, for snatching one of her closest pals in Nollywood. In an emotion-laden voice, Miss Edozieh, who also worked regularly with the deceased said he died barely 24-hour after they finished interacting on BlackBerry phone.
“I initially thought it was one of those phone rumours when the news got to me. I did not believe it until I drove down to his Isolo home that was when it dawned on me that Donald my good friend was no more. If tears could bring back the dead, mine would have brought back Donald Okoli. May his soul rest in peace,” Edozieh prayed in a quaky voice.

Meanwhile, during a recent visit to the deceased Isolo home, a family member told ACTION!, Okoli’s body had been moved to his home town and deposited in a mortuary.
The grieving family member added that they would soon fix a date for the burial.
Also, Okoli’s colleagues in Nollywood are planning a special night of tributes in his honour. The gathering, which date is yet-to-be fixed would be jointly organized by Nollywood and the deceased family members.
A condolence register had since been opened for the departed producer and occasional actor from a family of six, at his Isolo home.