I sat glued to my TV as Liz Benson mesmerised us with her words, her motions and her fights. Her eyes ablaze as she scolds a daughter-in-law, berates her husband the king in a voice softer than butter or falls in love with a younger man.
Nigeria fell in love with Liz and her contemporaries, Sandra Achums, Eucharia Anunobi, Kanayo Kanayo, Kate Henshaw, Segun Arinze, Richard Mofe Damijo, among several others. Add the biggies Olu Jacobs, Pete Edochie and Joke Silva, among several others, and in subsequent years Desmond Elliot, Ramsey Noah, and the group behind them.
But no one prepared us for the latter year Nollywood Kings and Queens, the klieg light hugging, attention-seeking group whose presence is larger online than in any collection of movies. They have congregated, moved in, taken over and the industry is defined by them and vice versa. Here are the ones who descend like locusts on our psyche determining how they are viewed through social media not through their portfolio.
Modernity is good. Social media can be good if used to elevate, propagate and market an art. But here, there is beef everyday, empty loud noises full of air
Nollywood continues to be a content broker across the world, coming a good third after Bollyllwood in the world and commanding an economy that can be the budget of a country generating $590 million annually. It has also spurned copious channels giving off ROK, Nollywood plus etcetera. We indeed grew it from VHS, one camera production, to where we have multiple top-level equipment today and quantum job opportunities in the mix.
When NTA great, Chis Obi Rapu, aka skipper, got in there and the likes of Ego Boyo under the esteemed leadership of Amaka Igwe got in there through NTA soaps; before then, there was Zeb Ejiro and after Dan Emeni and a host of others. No one saw the Nollywood behemoth coming. It’s difficult to sweep NTA under the carpet when Nollywood is mentioned. Peter Igho threw in Cock Crow at dawn with Ene Oloja, Sadiq Daba and Matt Dadzie et al… Then Deborah Ogazuma put in Magana Jarice with the ubiquitous legend Kasimu Yero. Nollywood was just a whisper away.
But where are we now with this industry that with proper management can take the world? Just look at the spin offs… films from Mo Abudu including the amazing Blood Sisters and Sola Sobowale’s epic entry as King of Boys as produced and directed by the ultra-talented Kemi Adetiba. Just look at other movies by Bola Alabi and the many other talented producers, writers, directors and actors and actresses to include the very talented Emem Isong. Just look at one of my favourites for example… Femi Jacobs. And Netflix has landed, Nigeria and other bodies are struggling to get a piece of the pie.
But today in Nollywood, something broke. That wholesomeness is out of the window and while they were not looking other things have crept under the carpet. Rodents and cockroaches have broken into the store and the very fabric of Nollywood is being eroded, chewed on, spat on and spat out. Modernity is good. Social media can be good if used to elevate, propagate and market an art. But here, there is beef everyday, empty loud noises full of air.
I am at my wits end with the information on social media at the moment. Worrisome, dirty near unprintable stuff. But I go ahead of myself. Enter Ali Baba last week with his thoughts on pretentious Nollywood actresses.
Here he goes at those who purchase N45 million houses and yet we do not see what they do. Those who just joined and are suddenly wealthy. And a runs-girl actress he met in Dubai who showed off online as if she came into some inheritance when he knew just why she was in Dubai. Okay Ali Baba… we hear you. There are also actors pretending to be who they are not and are also gigolo and sugar boys.
But now Apostle Suleiman, controversial as ever, jumps into the fray with several allegations trailing him. Some of our actresses are having their names mixed in pants and bras and dipped in the murky waters of bedmates, threesomes and other issues in between.
In addition, there is cultism, voodoo, money, cars, rent and holidays. So, how much is this man supposedly dispensing and how come everyone is being mentioned in a flurry. All these allegations do not stop there. There is paedophilia, there is also mental illness allegedly associated with this seemingly “very busy” Apostle. Too much to process.
While these are all allegations, they are jaw-dropping and salacious and make good entertainment. From among those mentioned, some have admitted that it is true and they partook while others have sent in denials, some cryptic, others lame, others vehement.
Because we made Nollywood, it belongs to all of us, we are standing on balconies watching this story unfold like a movie. We also ask… what is your value dear Nollywood actor/actress? How much is your integrity worth asking? With Halima Abubakar’s health supposedly deteriorating, allegedly described by some as a result of talking about Suleiman, the drama is coming to a crescendo.
We watch and wait.
In other news, we are now ordering new bras and pants sizes as the Brazilian butt lift is dangerous as it is receiving a great lift within Nollywood circles. The stars as we know them are elevating in size and in the news. They have ballooned before our eyes.
In the meantime, as a screenplay writer myself, I wonder if there is no movie in the wings, Apostle Suleiman is threatening, more names are entering the fray, bad actors/actresses are paying producers to assault us on TV and in movies, and horrible not- going-anywhere scripts are finding their way into the mainstream, and social media is awash with more salacious news. The faceless blogger is getting more popular by the day. Tweh..tweh.. We, the owners of Nollywood, are watching. I have got my pen… anyone interested in a sell-out script? There you have it.… You heard it here first… tape rolling… cut!