AMEBO | 12 March 2015 07:21 CET

How Nollywood Stars Attacked Me Because Of Jonathan’s Money—Alibaba Reveals

Veteran Nigerian comedian, Alibaba, has opened a can of worms on how some respected stakeholders in Nollywood tried to intimidate him in Lagos when President Goodluck Jonathan had a roundtable with members of the creative industry.

Comedian said the President had asked them the problem the industry was facing, but most of them asked for fund, which he objected to, saying piracy was the industry's major problem and had asked Jonathan to help tackle the issue.

Alibaba said rather than see reason with his point, he was castigated by those he respected in the industry, adding that he was asked by them if he was an actor or a filmmaker.

Narrating the experience, the humour merchant said, “Some years back, entertainers were invited to the Eko Hotels to meet President GEJ. The crux of the meeting was for him to 'jaw jaw' with the entertainment industry to thank them for their support and to ask that they say what and how the industry can be helped to achieve its goals in the different sectors that formed the whole industry.

“The very first set of speakers, stood up to say funding was the number one problem. All other speakers were to toe the same line. I got the chance to speak and I told Mr President that if he gives N3billion to each sector of entertainment, we will still be broke, unless the scourge of piracy was sorted. I was shouted down by some stakeholders and people who I expected to know the truth.

“They even asked if I am a movie maker. Thank God for Amaka Igwe of blessed memory, who got the microphone after two more 'egbons' objected to my position. Amaka Igwe seconded my motion, and argued that if the money is released, received and used, how will pirates be tackled?

“Because all the pirate needs is one copy! And she said, rather than give the industry such funds, the environment should be provided for us to be creative and sell the products of our creativity. 'Piracy is our doom', she added.

“Today, some have accessed the funds, and the pirates are even more emboldened. You may want to ask AY how his '30 Days In Atlanta' is making some good money for some pirates. I saw one of the 'egbons' who told me to keep quiet that night, and I asked him how his film was doing, and he said, 'Awon Pirates ti ba oja je.' (Translation: I agree, I am a very stupid and myopic idiot).

“I further asked him about the distribution network that he said they (movie makers) knew how to handle, to beat the pirates. 'Awon people yen baaaad gan'. (translation: I'm short-sighted and dumb).

“I have said it before and again, as long as pirates can keep selling DVDs on the street, we will keep struggling! If our artistes put the kind of energy we put in backing politicians, to push for our piracy laws, the era of artistes getting Platinum, Diamond, Gold discs for records sold will return. Until then, except for a few, we toil in vain!”

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