By Benjamin Njoku
Veteran actor, Ejike Asiegbu has frowned at recent outburst by a Gambian filmmaker that Nollywood stars are scavenging on Gambia’s meagre resources.
Following reports last week that President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia has donated plots of land to Nigerian and Ghanaian movie stars, one of the country’s filmmaker, Babucarr Sankanu accused the actors of being hustlers preying on poor Gambians without contributing any measurable lasting benefits to the country’s economy or film industry.
But in a swift reaction, Ejike Asiegbu, a civil rights activist and former president of Actors Guild of Nigeria, AGN, has accused Sankanu of ‘pandering to perverted sadistic frustrations’ and blowing things out of proportion.
In a letter made available to HVP, during the week, Asiegbu said, “I am compelled to respond to a certain Prince Bubaccar, after reading his rather lengthy and winding attack on Nigerian and Ghanaian actors titled “Nollywood Actors, Others Must Stop Scavenging On Our Meagre Gambian Resources”, published online last week. One would have allowed him to enjoy the satisfaction of pandering to his perverted sadistic frustrations, but then, that would be watching a monster go untamed at its infancy.
Bubaccar, if not told some mind jolting truth now that his monstrous tendency had not grown out of proportion, we all would be held responsible for allowing a monster to grow. At the end, the whole of Africa, not just The Gambia, will suffer the consequences. Despite his self glorification and bragging that he had not collected a ‘dime’ from the President of his country, Gambia, Alhagie Yahya AJJ Jammeh, Bubaccar appears to be seething with hate and malice.
Listen to him: “Personally, I see it as a blessing in disguise that President Dr. Yahya AJJ Jammeh has so far not given me a dime for my Gambian film industry projects,” Prince Bubaccar’s piece clearly shows a man pained that his President had not satisfied his selfish desires which he had tried albeit unsuccessfully, to hide. He has therefore resorted to cheap emotional blackmail that has further put him in a bad light. Bubaccar’s hate filled attack on Nigerian and Ghanaian actors stemmed from the recent news that President Jammeh gifted 15 movie stars piece of land in the Gambia, in the president’s latest move to open up his country’s emerging film and video culture not only to Africa but the world in general.
However, Bubaccar, a Gambian who felt sidelined by his President despite his claim of having been making films for two decades, like the proverbial woman that was scorned, decided to vent his hate filled fury against Nollywood and Ghanaian film stars calling them offensive names such as ‘scavengers’ and ‘hustlers’.
While Bubaccar’s infantile and attention seeking rage only succeeded in putting him in a bad light, he needs to be reminded that Nollywood practitioners have been involved in collaborative initiatives with the good people of the Gambia, geared towards growing the Gambian movie industry inspired by Nigerians and Gambian citizens. These collaborations began as far back as 2007, a move encouraged by President Jammeh.
Some of the initiatives led to capacity workshops undertaken by Nollywood actor Francis Duru and other notable practitioners on pro-bono basis out of the interest zeal and passion of the Gambians towards Nollywood and the Nigerian people.
It should be noted that President Jammeh’s respect and love for African contents especially Nollywood goes a long way to express the intensity of his Pan African drive towards restoring and protecting the heritage of Africa. It was President Jammeh’s request to come up with collaborative initiatives to help build the Gambian movie industry to satisfy the hunger and interest of the good and peaceful people of the Gambia.
How then did an invitation extended by President Jammeh to Nollywood to collaborate and share ideas translate to ‘scavenging’ and ‘hustling’? If Bubaccar is not displaying crass ignorance, he should know that there are over 30, 000 Nigerian businessmen doing business in the Gambia because of the enabling environment provided by the president.
Will Bubaccar in his fleeting infantile state of mind also call these hard working private businessmen ‘hustlers’ and ‘scavengers’? If a dangerous character like Bubaccar ever becomes President of the Gambia, one does not need a soothsayer to know that he will place an iron curtain over the country and bar foreigners from investing and or doing business in his country thereby causing his people pain and suffering.
Just so that the sore loser Bubaccar know, it is on record that President Jammeh appointed ministers to midwife the collaborative projects which are already on early course. It is also on record that the Nigerian/Gambian relationship extends beyond the judiciary and education….”