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AGN crisis: Actors, journalist allege threats to their lives

By Benjamin NJOKU
The on-going  leadership   crisis within the Actors Guild of Nigeria, AGN is surely reaching its peak.  But while it lasts,  a can of worms has been opened, just as many fingers have been burnt  in the process.

Yet, the role of the  media, to keep the public abreast of the events in the protracted  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 of  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, after  all that we have done to put the records straight, and in discharging our noble duties, some  fractions of the crisis-ridden guild, who felt exposed by the various incisive reports on the matter, are out to some mischief. Our  gesture and  commitment to the larger public in this respect have been viewed with reservation.

Indeed,  after our  last report on the crisis, which many described as “a testament to our commitment to  a balanced reportage of the events of Nollywood” a lot of feedbacks were received;  some  commendable, many others unspeakable.

The fact that  Nigerians abhor dealing with facts, our bargain of the previous week’s report, if it’s anything to reckon with, was an unprecedented threatening to the life of Vanguard’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.

Amadi  was not alone in this nightmare. Many AGN members also has testified that they received similar  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.

Asiegbu’s text message dated 26th July, 2009 which he read out to the gathering said,  “Thank you very much for betraying me. I have heard everything you said,  and have done against me, including the plans you made  with your excos to eliminate my life. God has been merciful to me and will continue to protect me.

Thus says the Lord, ‘touch not my anointed and do my prophet no harm’. 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.”

Obi, however, narrated his ugly experience with the South-South vice-president of the guild, under Asiegbu’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: “dirty politics is not an exclusive preserve of anybody. But it’s better played within the precinct of one’s domain. Next time you would try such dirty trick in Port-Harcourt, you will surely  have me to contend with and I will deal with you.”

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 guild’s general election this December 7.

“This is an avenue for us to educate the general public, to  ask them to disregard Mr. Segun Arinze’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,” he said.

KOK described  Arinze as “an impostor,” while adding that cases of embezzlement of over N50m and confiscation of the guild’s property as well as over staying in office are all hanging on Asiegbu before the court.


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