Yahaya Bello charges Nollywood, creative industry to intervene in national discourse

• As Deyemi Okanlawon challenges Kogi govt to set up entertainment investment fund

The Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, has tasked the Nigerian creative industry, Nollywood to be precise, to wade into the present situation in the country by making movies and videos that would ultimately reshape the public perception and preach peace-oriented narratives in the nation.

Governor Bello gave this charge on Saturday night while hosting Best of Nollywood Awards (BON) in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital.

He said that the creative industry was strategic to the development of any nation, stressing that Nollywood was needed now more than ever to assist the government in ensuring that the message of unity, love and peace was once again, established, to move the nation forward.

He said: “I am excited to see many of the people we watch on television converge here live in our dear state. I watched Madam Abiola Atanda, popularly known as Madam Kofo, who receives a special recognition award today when I was quite young and I am happy to present her award tonight. We are at a time in our national history when all hands must be on deck. We must work together to ensure that all the negative elements, who want to divide us from remaining a united people, are put to shame. The creative industry, especially Nollywood, is strategic in ensuring that the right information and perception is spread in the polity. Your films and expression are vital to national peace and unity. Please ensure that you keep raising generations after you to keep this objective. Together we will succeed.

“I also would enjoin you to make judicious use of the Federal Government/Central Bank of Nigeria Creative Industry fund that President Muhammadu Buhari has assented to for the entertainment industry. It is your duty to tell stories that will celebrate our heritage, diversity and unity. Together we will succeed,” he said.

Reacting to Governor Bello’s charge, Deyemi Okanlawon, a popular Nollywood actor, challenged the Kogi government to also set up a state fund to lure entertainment stakeholders to the state.

While presenting his award category, he said, “I have moved around Lokoja during this visit and I see immense potentials all around to further open up the state’s touristic potentials and promote the local entertainment industry and facilities. I challenge the government to set up a state fund for its creative industry and invite us all to come to make movies here. The hills, scenery, peaceful atmosphere and facilities here are a goldmine waiting to be exploited. While I commend Governor Bello for opening up the state since he assumed office, a lot more can be done to maximise the immense potentials of the state and the country at large. I look forward to seeing award-winning globally accepted movies out of the confluence state soon.”

The BON awards saw various entertainment stakeholders receive awards for their works in 2021, the year under review, with the ‘Milkmaid’ winning the biggest award of the night, ‘Movie of the Year’ and ‘Director of the year’.

The event was well attended by dignitaries from all walks of life, among which where entire cabinet of the Kogi State government, corporate stakeholders in the state among which were the CEO of Confluence Rice, Mr Seun Olonade, Nollywood actors Segun Arinze, Faithia Balogun, Deyemi Okanlawon, Kemi Afolabi, Yemi Blaq, Keppy Ekpeyong, among others.

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