Nigeriafilms.com Questions Of The Day-Is Dying a Destitute A Fatality in Nollywood?
The recent passing of Nollywood icons Enebeli Elebuwa, Justus Esiri and Pete Eneh have shaken minds and stirred consciences, but more than that they have pinpointed how structurally dysfunctional Nollywood really is.
It is totally unacceptable, even by Nollywood's standards, that men of that stature who had dedicated their lives and careers to their art, men who the public adored and highly respected, men who have played in most of the industry's classics, would die in misery and financially depleted for lack of affordable medical attention. These men who had risen to the status of icons didn't have two kobos to rub together to save their own lives when they needed to.
Private initiatives spontaneously sprung out of the woodwork and from the world at large to collect money and send to Pa Enebeli, namely the ones organised by Nollywoodgists.com for his medical attention for his left eye in 2008. However, as far as the industry is concerned, to the exception of a few stars like Stella Damasus and RMD who rang the alarm and involved the Delta State governor to step in forcefully by sending Pa Enebeli to India for the desperate treatment that came too late anyway, the industry players stood by, looked on and waited for him to die. Only to gather in throngs once the men were gone, print out colourful t-shirts that they shamelessly sported on the “tribute nights” organised to cater a free meal and drinks.
The culprits of this unbearable situation are all over the place. Would the accused please stand up?
It's no secret that producers go out of their way to pay upfront stars like Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Emeka Ike, RMD and Noah Ramsey to name but a few. These stars are the industry's cash cows and paying them upfront ensures that their names and faces gracing the dvd covers and film posters will make the movie profitable so that the producer/marketer will get his money back.
The flip side of that coin is that secondary actors, like the elderly ones, Enebeli Elebuwa, Justus Esiri and Pete Eneh , didn't always get paid the money owed to them, whenever it was owed. Arrangements of some kind were made to recoup later and most times later never came. How can a man slave all his life and be left broke in his old days when he needs his money the most? You now have a part of the answer.
Late Pete Eneh
The almighty AGN whose members notoriously and recurrently brew hatred and negative energy towards each other whenever a cut-throat campaign is launched to elect a new boss is a toothless lion. The AGN needs to be taken seriously, it needs legitimacy, it needs respect and representation in the highest places.
How? Let's start with its structure. The AGN has to become a body under the wing of the Federal Government as much as the Nigerian Bar Association and the Nigerian Union of Journalists. It should be created by a charter, with clauses, provisions and stipulations. A clear and distinct legislation should run it at the top like any other respectable federal institution. By doing so, it will bring together all the various guilds running the industry under one umbrella and all of its members will answer one governing body.
The budget should be determined by the Executive hand of the government in the Parliament. All its members will be obliged to pay their annual contributions and with the other various federal sources of income, the AGN will have the means to take care of its own. Producers can pay their favourite stars as much as they please, but the main point is that the rest of the cast must be assured of getting their dues as well whenever they are due. And that's a right.
Hopefully this would save that one brother the painful honour of making a fool of himself year in, year out about this same issue as if we would readily forget how stupid he can be. Hear me, bro? You've made your point, you can give it a rest now.
Let's turn our backs to amateurism forever and save the life of the next elderly destitute about to die a long, shameful and painful death to everybody's indifference.
Procession for late Enebeli
© 2013 Nollywoodgists.com
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