By Zik Zulu
I’m eternally at pains discussing the issue of government dealings with Nollywood. You see, when they deal with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, it is no news, no issue. Nothing is rankled. When they extend an invite to the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, Nigerian Bar Association, etc, it is normal. How is it that Nollywood’s case always jangles.
I have read stuff by Nollywood practitioners that simply stank of self-immolation. But the hard, inconvenient, and bruising truth is what you owe any union you want to see progress. That truth is that Nollywood practitioners have refused to accept one irreducible fact that will raise their profile. And that hard fact is that Nollywood like every other organization must have an official channel through which anyone whether from the moon or Jupiter must communicate with her. It is called THE LEADERSHIP; in this case the Guilds and Associations. If we continue to wilfully postpone the ultimate necessity of understanding and establishing this timeless ethos through adherence to a defined and organized structure, then the future will have no pity for us.
The government selection for this committee on palliatives matter, for instance, is impeccable. You can’t ask for a better team. Even those protesting in Nollywood know this solemn truth. But you see, we must think consistently of the process through which they emerged. We must think of building strong institutions, not individuals because strong individuals naturally will always emerge through talent, vision, development of the self, hard work, and tenacity of their pursuits. But robust institutions that will structure a massive, boundless arena where these exceptional, strong, and historic players shall emerge and strive, leaving legacies, will only come when we agree to lose everything in order to demonstrate character, destination, and ultimate goal. That will compel the government to appreciate that no matter how huge our members may be, there is still a channel through which you can talk to them. They can even write the leadership of the Guilds sometimes to ask for certain individuals. At least they have shown recognition for structure and the leadership could acquiesce to their demand.
I apologize to my great friends and noble minds appointed for this critical assignment, I assure them that their assignment could go on and good job expectedly done, but as hard as it may be, they should kindly accept that Nollywood protest is justifiable, that it is a familiar and memorable struggle. And that ultimately they will win.
Nollywood has to be like any other union anywhere in the world. It may take the next 50 years but it is an INEVITABILITY. Because we can’t remain professionals without foundation and without root. This is not a personal struggle. No. It is not individualistic. It is a collective cause, a quest to change an ugly unwritten policy that divides and diminishes all of us. Sure, there will continue to be some discordant tones among us. There will even be betrayals. But Nollywood will press on. And surely we will prevail.
Zik Zulu Okafor