GEJ Knows Nollywood, While Buhari Knows It Not! Charles Novia Writes

Let us admit it – we have never seen any President so
besotted with entertainment like Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, especially the
movie-making sector. And this is not a satire. Yes, his detractors may point at
“weakness” for entertainment as a signpost of an unserious mind frittering the
commonwealth on ‘joli-joli’ matters!
Even the opposition may grumble loudly that the lively
engagement with the Nollywood is essentially exploitative and window-dressing –
to the detriment of more important and critical sectors of the national

However, no one is in doubt that the life and essence the
Creative wayfarers was initially ignited by Bayelsa governor, the much maligned
Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, immediate boss of GEJ around year 2000. With dizzying
state support and elaborate razzmatazz, the duo of Alams and GEJ wallowed in
the sudden euphoria of showbiz and the attendant media opulence only comparable
to IBB’s romance with PMAN’s ding-a-long of 1989 – 1992 when Tony Okoroji was
the majordomo.
It was no surprise GEJ flowed with the momentum when fortune
made him supplant Alams as Gov. of Bayelsa in December 2005. Yet, for all his
enthusiasm for professional revelries, the make-believe could not have believed
their luck when good ol’ providence thrusted GEJ, again, into greater
In quick succession, he moved from Vice-President to Acting
President and eventually President within years! By 2011 when he assumed
office, on his own stamina, the Nollywood romance had blown out of the creek
waters. The two lovebirds were careering giddily on a thoroughfare peopled with
great thespians, gifted producers, immaculate directors and of course a coterie
of charlatans and ‘waka-pass’.
With technocrats within the federal service and the movie
industry, different modules of foundational interventions were crafted – and
cash-backed like never before. Millions of naira were mentioned, which
ballooned, to the consternation of nay-sayers, to billions of naira in creative
“stimulus packages”. In the past ten years of GEJ’s unstinted romance with a
powerful sector of the entertainment community, it is very uncharitable (even
for inveterate detractors) to say that Jonathan has not “performed”. You may
quarrel with the impact or management of his interventions; you may yap him and
his people for mystifying the process and access to the several GEJ
interventions in the Artsworld.
You may claim he has lost similar interest or attention to
details in other critical sectors of the Nigerian state. However, no ONE can
simply dismiss his unprecedented regard, affinity and seeming devotion to the
people, practice and promise of Nigeria’s movie-making community and allied
sectors. In his six years as President, GEJ has arguably awarded more national
honours to our artistes than all the past regimes rolled together!
So, when you hear and see leading lights of Nollywood
rooting aggressively for GEJ; when you read famed voices shouting on the roof
of their cyper-pages and declaring the ceaseless glory of GEJ; when you read
otherwise quiet prima-donnas spit fire and engage in internet-‘gra-gra’ with
many of their tele-fans…for the sake of their beloved Moses (Jonathan) – you
really must understand and appreciate their position – enlightened
self-interest (a completely natural instinct).

They are not ‘bought’, ‘turn-coats’ or ‘ass-licking’ –
against their will or legacy. They simply are paying good back to the man who
has brought them a load of luck – and thus enhancing their means of livelihood,
and embellishing their relevance. No pun intended. This 2015 presidential
election is a watershed for Nollywood. They cannot see anything in the
“Change”-troopers to indicate that their groovy-train will go on; GMB has not
even for once coughed about any plans for Nollywood, one of the major revelations
of the 2014 rebasing parameters! It does appear that GMB does not even know
that Nollywood exists – beyond gyrations at campaign rallies! So, stop yakking
at Nollywooders if they have little or no sympathies for GMB – he is
disconnected from them in the past decade, at least. And within that same
period, GMB’s main opponent has been their God-sent. Most assuredly I say to
you: a good friend is difficult to find – and keep; Nollywood can’t afford to
lose this Goodluck. God forbid!!

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