By Tordue Salem, Abuja
The training and retraining of the Nigerian film industry players, will generate huge employment and boost the economy of the country, Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Rep. Godwin Elumelu said on Friday.
Elumelu made the remarks, at the opening of a Two-Day Leadership Master Training for Nollywood Celebrities and Stakeholders in the Movie Industry at the GOTNI Leadership Center, Abuja.
“It is with great excitement that I address you at the opening of this bold initiative of a two-day leadership training for our Nollywood celebrities and drivers of the film industry in our country.
“I am excited because with this training, the much needed strategic multisectoral effort to guarantee the desired rebound and repositioning of the movie industry in Nigeria, though long overdue, has begun.
“I commend the organizers of this training for their insight and vision to retool the drivers of our movie industry not only to efficiently play their roles of effectual propagation and promotion of our rich national heritage, ideologies and values but also to revamp the sector as an economic hub in our nation and the West African Sub-region”.
According to him, the industry “ ranks as the second-largest movie industry in the world and indeed, the largest in Africa, providing over one million direct employment and much more business openings in the sectoral value chain, within and outside our country
“I recall that under the PDP administration, our movie industry received boundless multisectoral support and synergy which resulted in a record productivity boost and unprecedented return to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP)”.
He stated that “Though there has been a serious decline from the 2.3% GDP contribution recorded in reports released in 2016, to 0.27 in the first quarter of 2019, I believe that with concerted effort and cross-fertilization of idea in training such as this, the industry will surely rebound.
“Furthermore, the movie industry is a critical hub of our national unity. Nigerians are passionate about the movies you produce as it sees their personal and shared challenges, struggles, anxieties, aspirations and achievements in the lives of the characters you aptly portray”.
He also said that “In the same vein, our movie industry, more than any other social platform, remains critical in the moulding of character and modelling the trajectory of social preferences and predilections, especially among our youths, women and children.
“Moreover, the outside world sees our nation from the plots, setting and narratives of the movies you produce and make decisions one way or the other from what they watch”.
He said “It is therefore imperative that we deliberately ensure that the movies we produce project our nation in good light. We must strive to use our movies to promote those virtues that stand us out as hardworking and very responsible people which we are, while strategically showing that the vices that threaten our society today are not part of our values as a people.
“Our films must deliberately promote our unity as a people as well as encourage actions that spur mutual understanding, harmonious co-existence and forcefully show our quest for a peaceful society where economic and social activities thrive”.
The lawmaker who has been a patron of the Film Industry, also commended the industry players, for choosing Asaba in Delta state, as a hub of the industry.
“I know this is a tall order, given the social, religious, political and ethnic-based challenges we face as a nation today. However, with the determination and zeal I see in this hall, I have no doubt in my mind that we will achieve these lofty goals.
“On a personal note, I am particularly pleased that a lot of the recent success of Nollywood has happened in Asaba, Delta State capital, so much so that Asabahas now become the centre of the new Nollywood; a centre of cinematographic innovation in our country today.
“The task before us now is to ensure that the conditions that made Asaba a preferred destination for the film industry are replicated in other parts of the country so that all the many uniquely Nigerian stories can be told in full.
“In both my personal and professional capacities, I have been a friend of the industry for many years. That will not change. I assure you that I will continue to advocate for interventions that aid the growth of the industry so that Nollywood can continue to grow, create employment and wealth for families across the country”, he said.