During the regime of former President Goodluck Jonathan, entertainment was given a top priority, as it churned in huge amount of money and investments not just for entertainers, but for the economy. ANTHONY ADA ABRAHAM writes on why President Muhammadu Buhari’s government must prioritise entertainment.
Before the 2015 thegeneral elections, President Muhammed Buhari mentioned that he would give all his support to the entertainment industry, “I will assist Nollywood to fully develop into a world class movie industry that can compete effectively with Hollywood and Bollywood in due course. I will support the creative and performing arts with the necessary environment whereby our great entertainers do not end their lives in abject poverty as is currently the case,” he said.
The questions on the lips of watchers in the industry are many. Are they really seeing or feeling the promise of Mr President? Are there any plans to increase tourism and curb the Dracula called piracy? Are they people of the industry carried long on this journey? These are Questions that needs urgent answers.
Though the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has solicited the support of the entertainment industry to boost tourism and revenue for the Federal Government, stakeholders believed they have not seen positive interest the government to really support their efforts.
Movie and its contributions
The Hausa-language cinema, also known informally as Kannywood is a sub-industry of Nollywood, mainly based in Kano. The cinema, which is the largest in Northern Nigeria slowly evolved from the productions of RTV Kaduna and Radio Kaduna in the 1960s. Veterans like Dalhatu Bawa and Kasimu Yero pioneered drama productions that became popular with the Northern audience. The 1990s saw a dramatic change in the Northern Nigerian cinema, eager to attract more Hausa audience who find Bollywood movies more attractive, Kannywood; a cinematic synthesis of Indian and Hausa culture evolved and became extremely popular. Turmin Danya (“The Draw”), 1990, is usually cited as the first commercially successful Kannywood film. It was quickly followed by others like Gimbiya Fatima and Kiyarda Da Ni. Sunusi Shehu of Tauraruwa Magazine created the term “Kannywood” in 1999 and it soon became the popular reference term for the industry. By 2012, over 2000 film companies were registered with the Kano State Filmmakers Association.
In 1972, the Indigenization Decree was issued by Yakubu Gowon, which demands the transfer of ownership of about a total of 300 film theatres from their foreign owners to Nigerians, which resulted in more Nigerians playing active roles in the cinema and film. The oil boom of 1973 through 1978 also contributed immensely to the spontaneous boost of the cinema culture in Nigeria, as the increased purchasing power in Nigeria made a wide range of citizens to have disposable income to spend on cinema going and on home television sets. After several moderate performing films, Papa Ajasco (1984) by Wale Adenuga became the first blockbuster, grossing approximately 61,000 (approx. 2015 21,552,673) in three days. A year later, Mosebolatan (1985) by Moses Olaiya also went ahead to gross 107,000 (approx. 2015 44,180,499) in five days.
According to the Filmmakers Cooperative of Nigeria, every film in Nigeria had a potential audience of 15 million people in Nigeria and about 5 million outside Nigeria. In no time, the industry became the third largest producer of films in the world. However, this didn’t translate to an overtly commercial film industry when compared to other major film hubs across the world; the worth of the industry was approximated at just about US$250 million, since most of the films produced were cheaply made. The film industry regardless became a major employer in Nigeria. As at 2007, with a total number of 6,841 registered video parlours and an estimated of about 500,000 unregistered ones, the estimated revenue generated by sales and rentals of movies in Lagos State alone was estimated to be 804 million (US$5 million) per week, which adds up to an estimated 33.5 billion (US$209 million) revenue for Lagos State per annum. Approximately 700,000 discs were sold in Alaba market per day, with the total sales revenue generated by the film industry in Nigeria estimated at 522 billion (US$3 billion) per annum, with broadcast content valued at 250 billion (US$1.6 billion).
The contributions of the film industry to the Nigerian economy are as huge as what people could imagined. But many stakeholders are crying foul from huge neglect and huge loss. While many say this is the worst time for them in the industry, others believe that the meagre earnings/ proceed from their productions has not really helped in changing their lives. They called on the president and the minister of information and culture to act and not just pay lip service to their plight.
Just like the movie industry, the Nigerian music industry has showcased lots of potentials in making sure that the industry doesn’t lag behind. Today Nigerian music and musicians are respected all over the world and are considered icons of Africa.
Nigerian musicians have brought in huge amount of money directly and indirectly to the economy creating millions of jobs for younger and older folks alike.
According to the new PMAN caretaker committee chairman, Kelvin Lucciano, he said an average artiste goes home with about N30 million monthly making it one of the most lucrative industries in Nigeria.
The minister of labour and employment, Dr Chris Ngige, while inaugurating the PMAN new caretaker committee mentioned the importance of the entertainment industry to the development and growth of Nigeria. He said Nigeria entertainment industries are responsible for bringing in tourists and tourist attractions. He also pointed out the positive of the industry to politicians and Nigerians alike while further promising that the government would not allow the industry to die. The entertainment industry will continue to grow even without support from the government because the industry has come to stay and only those who love entertainment would understand that the entertainment industry is responsible for what America