Nollywood legends induct Jonathan into Hall of Fame; say love for Mexican soap opera killing Nigerian films

ABUJA (SundiataPost) – President Goodluck Jonathan was on Tuesday decorated as Grand Patriarch of Nollywood‎, for his unprecedented support for the industry where over 200 people have been trained and 76 film producers have accessed grants for their various projects.
They have also described as greed and deliberate attempt to eliminate the industry, television stations love for cheap Mexican soap operas and other foreign films to Nigeria’s local production that will promote culture, development and create jobs.
Jonathan described actors and actresses as the greatest ambassadors of the country.
He said before now Nigerian football teams especially the Super Eagles were the ones bringing glory to the nation but of late have been fumbling, but that Nollywood stars have remained consistent in bringing glory to the nation.
Jonathan stated this when Mr. Paul Obazele and Zack Orji, led the delegation of Legends of Nollywood to the Presidential Villa, Abuja during which the president was decorated with the award.

He said, “There are so many good stories about you (Nollywood stars). For us who by divine providence and your own will, made us to be here this time, you are our pride, you are our stars.

“In fact, you are the greatest ambassadors of this country. This is because the Nollywood family has really helped to bring good image to this country.

“Before now, we were known for soccer. After sometime, we started fumbling. Today we are on top, the next day, we are down (in soccer).

“Since Nollywood came on board, you have been quite steady and you have been bringing good image to this country.”

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The President likened the Nollywood story to the biblical story of creation where God made a pronouncement that there should be light and there was light.

He said the industry was created from a humble beginning when people did not expect any spectacular thing to a very formidable body, being the second in the world.

Jonathan expressed delight that the home video industry has now become an integral party of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product

He said he remained committed to giving government support to the industry.

While describing the award plaque given to him as precious, he said it would be one of the items in the presidential museum he would establish after leaving office.

While also agreeing with the group on the plan to establish a Hall of Fame for actors and actresses, Jonathan said he also muted the idea as governor of Bayelsa State.

He said his position then was that it was better to also establish a Hall of Shame alongside Hall of Fame.

He said the Hall of Shame would deter citizens from taking wrong steps like stealing, among other social vices.

Earlier, Obazele had said the group decided to give Jonathan the award because of the support he has been giving the industry since his days as deputy governor of Bayelsa State.

He said no Nigerian President has ever given the motion industry such a support, adding that by his actions the president has walked the talk leading to great dividends for the sector.

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“No government has shown special interest in our industry like yours,” he said.

Obazele said, “Mr. President as we induct you into the Nollywood Hall of Fame, we want to draw your attention to the fact that things have gone from bad to worst in the motion picture in the country most especially the television.

“I make bold to say that television no longer excites unlike the days of old when we had locally produced great soap operas like Village Headmaster, After the Sun, Mirror in the Sun, Basi and company, our television stations have sacrificed this great programme on the alter of greed. Most of our television stations now pay more attention to foreign soap operas and contents than they pay to locally produced programmes. They prefer to buy cheap Maxican soap operas instead of commissioning local programmes or local contents. Even when they pretend to buy local programmes, they either acquire these local projects at a ridiculous amount and they charge exorbitant airtime that independent producers find it difficult to cope.
“We call for the faithful implemention of the various broadcast codes that enables television and cable stations to commission programmes or scout for very good programmes that can showcase on their stations. We believe that way they will be encouraging the development and the growth of the industry and contributing to employment generation”, he said.
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