UNACCEPTABLE NON-INCLUSION OF NOLLYWOOD GUILDS AND ASSOCIATIONS IN THE GOVERNMENT INITIATIVE TO MITIGATE EFFECTS OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC ON THE CREATIVE INDUSTRY.

Lai Muhammed.

Our attention has been drawn to a purported creative industry committee reportedly set up by the Federal Government to advise it on how to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the creative industry as reported in the press on the 6th of May 2020. We first wish to commend the government for having such initiative and intentions for the creative industry.


It is a welcome and thoughtful approach to positive intervention and in alignment with other progressive governments the world over, who having appreciated the impact of the pandemic on their creative sectors, developed palliative programs as a support net. However, in those other climes there are processes and approaches indicative of a transparent and equitable desire to ensure that the needs and requirements of the target sectors are achieved!

It is an incontrovertible fact that, the Nigerian creative industry with over 20 guilds, employs about 2.5million Nigerian youths; and is recognised globally as the fastest growing creative industry. With the second largest movie production industry in the world, it is an industry worth over US$2Billion with a contribution of 2.3% to the nation's GDP. It is also a known fact that these 2.5M Nigerians belong to associations and organisations generally referred to as guilds, whom they have willingly through legitimate elections handed over the incumbency of their mandates; saying in essence speak and act on our behalf on matters affecting our interests, welfare and wellbeing!

It is then inherent and indeed compelling that any discussion concerning the welfare of the industry should as a matter of equity and transparency involve the participation of those guild heads. Presently, Nigeria is involved in the process of financial discussions with international finance bodies. No matter how rich or influential the most successful industrialist or the most successful banker maybe, or how connected with those financial organisations, they cannot lead the sovereign government delegation to those talks. In the same manner the citizens of Nigeria would hold the federal government responsible so do the 2.5m workers of the Nigerian creative sector hold the guilds and their leaders responsible!

In as much as the ministry may in its wisdom nominate individuals from the industry as additional resource persons based on their experiences and reach, there is the clear and present danger that the government will miss its mark when it does not appreciate and incorporate the workings of a sub- sector of the economy when the leadership of that sector are not consulted prior to major decisions affecting the sector.

Nollywood is one of the priority sectors identified by the government for its Economic Recovery and Growth Plans with a projected US$1Billion export revenue in 2020. This is the more reason why the government must involve the leadership of the industry on critical issues affecting the industry rather than only hand-picking a few practitioners no matter how prominent they may be.

We have always believed that where there is a will, there is always a way. In that vein we therefore urge the ministry to henceforth incorporate guild heads whenever it proposes rigorous engagements with the creative industry both now and in the future. If really the government is serious about this noble initiative; we then respectfully call on the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed to reconstitute the committee to reflect the actual representatives of the industry.

If guilds like the Nigerian Bar Association, Nigerian Medical Association among others are engaged as strategic stakeholders by the government through their recognised association’s leadership then the creative industry deserves the same regard.

We hold this truth to be self-evident that the Nollywood sector of our creative enterprise and industry has structured leadership founded and anchored on their Guilds and Associations and we urge the Honourable Minister of Information or any other representative of the federal government, its parastatals and agencies planning any intended dealings with Nollywood to kindly but officially do so through the Guilds and Associations.

SIGNED: For Nollywood Associations and Guilds:
Presidents:
1) AMP Ralph Nwadike
2) AGN Emeka Rollas
3) DGN Fred Amata
4) SWGN Yinka Ogun
5) ANCOP Daisy Madu-Chikwendu
6) MOPPAN Ahmad Sarari
7) CDGN Sele O. Sele
8) FVPMAN Emeka Aduah
9) ITPAN Yinka Oduniyi
10) MACDAN Barr. Izu Osuigwe
11) CEMP Chief Peddie Okhao
12) AMPEEN Mensah Paul
13) NANTAP Israel Eboh
14) TAMPAN Otunba Bolaji Amusan
15) AMCOD Hon Sola Awoleye,
16)ANTP,
17) AVOA Ngozi Ogbonna,
18) CSN.