By Benjamin NJOKU
The on-goingÂ leadershipÂ Â crisis within the Actors Guild of Nigeria, AGN is surely reaching its peak.Â But while it lasts,Â a can of worms has been opened, just as many fingers have been burntÂ in the process.
Yet, the role of theÂ media, to keep the public abreast of the events in the protractedÂ crisis, has remained a puzzle. Since the crisis erupted with the battle to remove the former president of the guild, Mr. Ejike Asiegbu, and the setting up ofÂ a care taker committee headed by Kanayo O. Kanayo to redeem the orphaned body from the threshold of decay, the media have been on top of the matter.
But today, afterÂ all that we have done to put the records straight, and in discharging our noble duties, someÂ fractions of the crisis-ridden guild, who felt exposed by the various incisive reports on the matter, are out to some mischief. OurÂ gesture andÂ commitment to the larger public in this respect have been viewed with reservation.
Indeed,Â after ourÂ last report on the crisis, which many described as â€œa testament to our commitment toÂ a balanced reportage of the events of Nollywoodâ€ a lot of feedbacks were received;Â someÂ commendable, many others unspeakable.
The fact thatÂ Nigerians abhor dealing with facts, our bargain of the previous weekâ€™s report, if itâ€™s anything to reckon with, was an unprecedented threatening to the life of Vanguardâ€™s Entertainment Editor, Mr. Ogbonna Amadi through text messages by some faceless-disgruntled elements who felt that their ploy to destroy AGN have been uncovered following the report.
In one of the text messages, the culprits voided their venoms on Mr. Amadi, calling him unprintable names and vowing to deal with him thereafter, for discharging his journalistic responsibilities.
AmadiÂ was not alone in this nightmare. Many AGN members also has testified that they received similarÂ threat messages from the opposing camp.
At a press parley, organized last week by the Kanayo .O. Kanayo led- care taker committee, to put the records straight, Mr. Ernest Obi, chairman of the Lagos State chapter of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, informed that the erstwhile president, Mr Ejike Asiegbu and the vice-president of the South -South arm of the guild, Mr. Ogunda respectively threatened his life through text messages.
Asiegbuâ€™s text message dated 26th July, 2009 which he read out to the gathering said,Â â€œThank you very much for betraying me. I have heard everything you said,Â and have done against me, including the plans you madeÂ with your excos to eliminate my life. God has been merciful to me and will continue to protect me.
Thus says the Lord, â€˜touch not my anointed and do my prophet no harmâ€™. But all of you who have continued together, it will be in vain. For judgement time beckons. Certainly, the hour has come …tell your associates to be prepared. Everyone shall give account of his or her role.â€
Obi, however, narrated his ugly experience with the South-South vice-president of the guild, under Asiegbuâ€™s leadership, who threatened, through text message to deal with him any other time his foot touched Port-Harcourt, as he was there recently to present his new movie.
The text message read thus: â€œdirty politics is not an exclusive preserve of anybody. But itâ€™s better played within the precinct of oneâ€™s domain. Next time you would try such dirty trick in Port-Harcourt, you will surelyÂ have me to contend with and I will deal with you.â€
Meanwhile, despite the counter-accusations that have continued to trail the prolonged AGN crisis, cum the startling circulation of threat messages, the KOK- led interim administration has vowed to hold the guildâ€™s general election this December 7.
â€œThis is an avenue for us to educate the general public, toÂ ask them to disregard Mr. Segun Arinzeâ€™s claim to the AGN presidency. The AGN election comes up on December 7, 2009. A time table was strategically fixed because we have also been mindful of the fact that there is a subsisting matter in court,â€ he said.
KOK describedÂ Arinze as â€œan impostor,â€ while adding that cases of embezzlement of over N50m and confiscation of the guildâ€™s property as well as over staying in office are all hanging on Asiegbu before the court.