African Union Romances Nollywood For The Next 50 Years – AU Commissioner (photo)

“Nollywood is ready for African Union. Let the dialogue begin. Let the actions follow. Together with the African Union, we can begin to transform Africa, to realize its huge, manifest potentials and to make every African proud of this awesome continent.”

Those were the words of National President, Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) Mr. Ejezie Emeka Rollas when the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, His Excellency, Moussa Faki Mahamat came visiting and meeting with key stakeholders in Nigeria’s creative industry. The event held at Sarius Palmetum and Botanic Garden Abuja on Friday, 26th October, 2019.

Welcoming Mahamat to Nigeria, Rollas who spoke on the theme: Nollywood And African Union: The Much Waited Partnership said: “I speak on behalf of the creative industry but more specifically for Nollywood.

Your Excellency, there is an organization called Creative or Creative Associates International. It is based in United States. This amazing organization is dedicated to supporting people around the world to realize the positive change they seek. Some eight years ago, they visited Africa. Now, Creative wanted to see how to promote peace, education, youth engagement and so on in our continent. After two years of research on method and strategy, they came to one conclusion. And that is that the only element, the only thread that connects all Africans, one phenomenon found in every nook and cranny of Africa, and very palpable in every home is Nigerian movie- Nollywood!

These men from Creative known for their on-the-ground development services, concluded that if you want to talk to the masses of Africa, if you want to promote an idea or policy, your best vehicle is Nollywood, our movies. 

Today, Your Excellency, this home video industry, a testament to the genius of the Nigerian and triumph of the spirit has become an African phenomenon. The home video industry now booms in Africa and our people from home to the lounge, to hotels are hooked to it, consuming the content with ecstasy. Nollywood here in Nigeria, directly and indirectly employs over two million young people from acting,  production through digital marketing, distribution, online distribution, cable stations and so on.

Nollywood has inspired many start- ups that also employs hundreds and thousands of Nigerians. This I believe is well captured in the African Union Vision 2063.

However, while an American agency, a foreign organization has seen the manifest socio-political and economic potentials of our  motion picture industry, the African states are still engaged in  hazy dialogues about what to do with our creative industry and in particular the phenomenal Nollywood now in most African country. 

May I therefore call today, with all humility for the African Union to begin a clear, defined and sustained dialogue with the creative industry towards an enduring partnership on the African development project. This dialogue shall climax in a crystal agenda, and articulated programme of action on how best Nollywood and the creative industry can partner with AU to actualize the awesome potentials of this great continent called Africa. 

I have no iota of doubt that through our movies, our TV series, plus our  icons and stars as Ambassadors, all illuminating the African Union policies, aspirations and passion for the development of Africa, the AU will most certainly  be penetrating the boundaries that separate our various countries, to speak to the soul of its people, entertaining and yet disseminating its messages. 

Importantly, the AU and Nollywood, and indeed the entire creative industry would have opened new frontiers in the economy of Africa in terms of job creation, youth engagement and indeed empowerment. 

I am most glad that in your letter, you stated that “to have a sustained development and transformation in Africa, the creative industry must be brought on board in all her member states”. 
These words are kind and indeed inspiring. But we must go beyond words now and take concrete steps to begin to transform ideas into concrete realities.”
Rollas ended his speech by saying thus, “We look forward to some sort of collaboration with the Union and representations at continental functions particularly in the arts and culture (heritage) sector.”

In his reposone the excited AU commissioner who spoke in French thanked Rollas for hosting him and his team and promised a smooth working relationship with the movie industry.

He said: “I am a happy to be in the event organized by Actors Guild of Nigeria. Nollywood no doubt has become a phenomenon in Africa. Before now Africa used to watch foreign films but with the advent and popularity of Nollywood, Africans are now telling their stories. All the activities of the colonial masters before the slave era and after were all attempts to kill the African stories and ideas. But Nollywood has changed all that because the rich cultural heritage of Africa is told in our films, therefore the African Union Commission is open to accepting to use Nollywood as a tool to diseeminate the information and development in Africa in the next 50 years.”

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