Controversy continues to trail Akpabio’s N50m largesse to Nollywood

on   /   in Home Video People 12:13 am   /   Comments

By Benjamin Njoku

*More trouble as ANCOP members blast Zik Zulu *Eddie Ugbomah blows hot…
The last is yet to be heard in respect of the on-going feud between members of the Association of Nollywood Core Producers, ANCOP, and the leadership of the Association of Movie Practitioners, AMP.

Following the petition forwarded by the leadership of ANCOP to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) over the N50 million largesse donated by Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State to support the Nigerian movie industry, AMP president, Zik Zulu Okafor last week dropped the bombshell, insisting that the president of ANCOP, Comrade Alex Eyengho was expelled from Nollywood after he formed a parallel association.

But in a swift reaction, two members of ANCOP, Chris Ekejimbe and Ejike Asiegbu during the week returned fire-for-fire. They accused Zik Zulu of deliberately refusing to address the issue at hand as he attacked the person of Alex Eyengho.

According Chris Ekejimbe, “I read with absolute dismay the interview Mr. Zik Zulu Okafor granted to Saturday Vanguard (Home Video People), attacking the person of Mr. Alex Eyengho, President of Association of Core Nollywood Practitioners(ANCOP). Mr. Zik Zulu in the interview refused to address the issue at hand as he decided to go into a street fight with Alex Eyengho. The issue is not about verbal fight with Alex Eyengho.”

“The issues are quite clear; N50 million was given to the industry by His Excellency, Godswill Akpabio of Akwa-Ibom State. Zik Zulu and co-travellers obtained the money, lodged it in a special account and disbursed the fund without due consultation. Why? It was alleged that N7.5 million was given to Stephanie Okekere, and another N2 million given to few associations.

A Nollywood  film shooting location

A Nollywood film shooting location

“What informed the decision to disburse the fund without proper consultation? Zik Zulu claimed, they accessed the money under the auspice of Coalition of Nollywood Guilds and Associations. For the record, CONGA is not registered and it’s not recognised under the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. ANCOP is duly registered like every other association in Nollywood.”

“We have over 20 associations covering different interests and ethnic groups. Why didn’t they consult everybody before disbursing the money. I met Andy Amaenchi recently, and he denied that the money had not been released to them. He pretended as if he has a good intention.

“He assured me that once the money is released, they would organise a roundtable discussion to know what to do with the money. Unknown to me that the money had already been lodged in AMP’s account. As I’m talking to you now, AMP account has been liquidated. The matter is already before the Police. I’m sure the Nigerian Police are capable of discharging their duties. We are talking about public fund here. They have to account for it.”

“This is a clear case of segregation in the industry, propagated by Zik Zulu and his co-travellers. We want to know his intentions as well as what informed his actions. He said, Alex Eyengho was expelled from Nollywood. Who expelled him? Zik Zulu was a journalist when we founded AMP. I, Zeb Ejiro and Jude Oluchima founded AMP. We left AMP purely out of principle.

“ANCOP is an association of professionals, businessmen and progressive minded-people. But Zik Zulu’s AMP was not the AMP I formed in 1994. It was not the AMP that had Kenneth Nnebue as Chairman; the AMP that had Tunde Kelani , Wale Falu, Lola Fani Macaulay, Amaka Igwe and many others as pioneer members. For Ejike Asiegbu and Emeka Ike, nobody has the right to expel any practitioner from Nollywood.

Meanwhile, reacting to the development, veteran film maker, and BoT chairman of AMP, Chief Eddie Ugbomah has blamed Zik Zulu, Andy Amaenchi and Ibinabo Fiberesima for the ugly development.

According to him, the three guilds heads have a case to answer. “I am the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for AMP as well as DGN. Actually, Alex Eyengho was expelled from Nollywood. But I seriously blame Andy Amaenchi, Zik Okafor and Ibinabo Fiberesima for their actions. They have a case to answer because they have no respect for the founders of the industry. Many AMP presidents have come and gone. Zik Zulu’s tenure will also expire soon. But I will remain as the BoT chairman of AMP.

“I read about the disbursement of the money in the national dailies. I was not even consulted when they accessed the money. Zik Zulu, I learnt suggested to them that they should release some money to me because of my Movie Makers Hall of Fame project. But they refused. Felix Duker got N1 million to organise his yearly Abuja Film International Film Festival.

“They distributed the money among thirteen guilds. And at the moment, they have spent about N26 million, out of N50 million. They took seven per cent for accessing the money. It is really embarrassing and I wish they will be dealt with. Akpabio released the money for them to organise an award ceremony and not to share it among themselves,” Eddie Ugbomah reacted.

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