African Voice



Written by Ekine Stronghold

Let me start by saying congratulations to the President of Association of Movie producers Mr. Zik Zulu Okafor on his re-election. Though I am not surprised, remember the big guild and small guild matter? He held up his part of the bargain and his supporters obviously have done their part. That is not my concern though; I am rather more interested in something much more important. Mr. President ran UNOPPOSED.
While it might not seem much of an issue, it sincerely is. Althrough his time in office, he was the subject of much scandal and criticisms ranging for his pattern of voicing his opinions to his perceived criticisms of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan after the presidential dinner to his part in the 15% off the Gov. Akpabio’s Endowment fund to his disbursement of the money (he gave money to awards that did not hold while some that held didn’t get anything). A lot of filmmakers and members of his association openly voiced out their dissatisfaction over his style of leadership.

Taking all these into consideration, is it not a wonder that he ran unopposed? Is it not necessary to look at all the possible angles to this happenstance? What happened to all the dissenting voices? What happened to even those that voiced their intention to contest? Ought we not to know? Is it good for our industry? Does it not represent a threat to the democratic nature of the guild system (democratic indeed)? Has our system been hijacked by vested interests? Were contestants bullied out or settled down? Was there a gentleman agreement? Will other guilds follow the set example and replicate the same pattern in their guilds? Will this pattern ensure that guilds have the right leaders that are capable of providing solutions to the many problems the industry is facing or have the industry metamorphosed into a politicking zone for retired filmmakers? Maybe the dissenting voices are merely good talkers or paper tigers? If they could make better leaders and claim to be credible, why not come forward?

Whichever ways we answer these questions, let us bear in mind that the paramount thing is the future of our industry not myopic or personal interests that many a time tears us apart and polarizes our industry. It is my hope that as an industry we grow to such a point when all leaders act and conduct guilds affairs with sincerity of purpose and that the practitioners learn to be more responsible and responsive to matters concerning the guild. Yes, practitioners must lose their fear that often limits them and dare vested interests. They must learn to come out and vie for positions in the guilds and not cow out when they feel the powers of vested interests will work against them.

A little over 2years ago Elder Joe Dudun dropped out of the presidential race of SWGN at the dying minute and Mr. Chike Bryan ran unopposed. I hear from very private sources that the presidential position of SWGN will be won unopposed again. The presidential slot of AMP has again been won unopposed. As for CDGN, I can’t remember hearing of an election so also a few other guilds (is it not undemocratic?). It is my honest opinion that this pattern is not good for our industry and that until members of those guilds that complaint on how their affairs are being managed are ready to come out, via  and serve, they should please do the industry this small favor, SHUT UP!!!.

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