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Who killed Idoma movie industry? (1)

Written By Idoma Television on Friday, August 21, 2015 | 6:22:00 AM

Abeg, away from politics this week. Let me go back to my first love -entertainment. My journalism career started some years back as an entertainment journalist with The Sun Newspaper. You are surprised? No, don't be. That's how it all started. That is story for another day. Is it not an ERROR to see a child you nursed dies before your own very korokoro eyes? Well, you will see why I will have to trek from Lagos to Benue next week for my beloved Idomawood abi na IdomaNollywood dem call am. Come with me.

In 2010, I organised the first ever Conference of Idoma Artistes (CIDA) in conjunction with the Idomawood  in Otukpo, Benue State.

The conference, with the theme: 'Succeeding Together' took place in GRA, precisely at Bongos Ikwue Avenue.

Interestingly, the event attracted several entertainers from both the music and movie sectors.

I could recall how my good friend, Austine Ahmedu (Blackfaze) regretted missing out when I went to his Lakeview home in Festac Town, Lagos to brief him about the event.
The venue was filled to capacity despite the fact that it coincided with the day Mr. Gabriel Suswam, the then governor of Benue State was at the Och'Idoma's palace to seek royal blessing from the Idoma king for his second term ambition, which sadly ended disastrously and shamefully on May 29.

I could recall how the likes of Godwins Ochola, Ernest Igah, Eyum Ezechukwu, Dan Akpa, Ogboji Abraham Ogboji, Isaac Oche and several other movie makers stood to give me a resounding applause after I presented a speech on the topic, Indigenous movies, practical tool for effective mobilization for the realization of Apa State. (Thanks to my former colleague at the Sun Newspapers, Sam Otti who gave me that topic).

Oh, that day, I remember telling them not to determine how dangerous a snake is from the size but the quantity of venom in it.

That day, I saw passion, love and creativity in the eyes of my brethren - I was with people who were willing to change our community and the world at large through their creativity.

I remember the legendary Ogboji turning the whole venue upside down with his jaw-breaking grammar.

Indeed, my people were at that time willing to succeed together.

The history of flicks in Idomaland dates back to the days of Mike Utah who produced a Christian movie entitled: Enya Gajuche (Race for the Kingdom) in the 90s.

That movie was an eye-opener for our people and it was highly accepted by our people, though its quantity and quality was low.

As at then, Johnson 'Manex' Agada and Sunny Okwori were making fortunes in the mainstream industry, Nollywood.
Manex, who saw the need of the people back home decided to produce a movie with a poor story line, Alekwu K'idoma. One will pardon him because that was his first attempt on local movie, though.

As days ran into weeks and weeks into months, Dan Akpa of the defunct Young Alhaji Foundation, YAF, Media caught the vision and he decided to try his hands on the business.

YAF, then was getting the backup of Orokam-born billionaire, Usman Abubakar (Young Alhaji).
With that, Dan produced what was now tagged the premier 'first class' Idoma movie, Elika.

The story revolves round Hawa Smart Adokpe and Godwin Ochola, though poorly written.

Indeed, that was a breakthrough for our people.

After Elika, several movies and movie-makers began to crop up.

Movies like Ochanya, Odo K'ihotu, Ihotu, award-winning Ada, Ijema were filmed.

In fact, the growth of the industry caught the attention of gospel music legend, Peter Otulu who came on board to star in some of the movies.

However, when I sensed the looming danger, I hurriedly rushed home to educate my people on how to make fortunes and woo development to our poor land through movies, legally.
Few days after I left, the industry became saturated. The home we built collapsed and factional groups came up.

Agada Johnson, who resides in Lagos came up with a name, National Association of Idoma Film Makers, NAIFM. Sunny Okwori registered the name IdomaNollyoowd. Ernest Igah was leading another group of people. Confusion everywhere.

When I heard the sad story, I called my good friend, Godwin Ochola (St. Godwin) but he was choosy and selective in his response.
Then, I noticed that my people have started digging the grave of the industry.

To be continue next week...
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