Liyel Imoke, Governor of Cross River State
The government of Cross River State has expressed satisfaction with the Roadshow initiative of the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) which the government said has brought limelight to the culture of the people.
Speaking on the sensitivity of films, the socio-cultural and political value of the Nigerian film industry known as Nollywood and the need for effective content management by all film makers, Liyel Imoke, Governor of Cross River State, said he was particularly satisfied that the film industry has been able to showcase to the world the beauty of the culture of the people of Nigeria, aside from its huge contribution to the national economy. He called for the concerted effort of all those involved in film making to ensure that quality product was paramount.
The governor who was represented as a guest of honour at the opening ceremony of a 2-day event by Mr Edet Asim, special adviser to the governor on orientation and public affairs, pledged the support of the state government for improved infrastructure to enhance the production of quality films, and Calabar carnival which, according to him, has been globally recognised. In his belief, the film industry could foster the most needed national peace, project the balanced personality of individual Nigerians, entrench the culture of excellence, as well as serve as catalyst for an all-round growth.
The event, hosted by the Board at Transcorp Metropolitan Hotel, Calabar, featured a presentation by Ms Patricia Bala, acting director-general of the Board, who stated that the aim of the road show was to promote Nigerian indigenous language films and to provide a veritable platform for screening films shot in local language with English subtitles.
She said that the road show was one of the broad initiatives of the Board known as ‘Nigeria In The Movies’, geared towards redefining the identity, influence, character and image of the country. The road show “is a platform of engagement initiated by the Board to promote private and public sector collaboration in growing the entertainment industry and to drive international visibility and strategic relevance of the Nigerian movie industry. We believe that this industry belongs to all of us and therefore we must work together to ensure its growth and development, in accordance with international standards.”
“We just came back from Edinburgh, Scotland for the International version of the Roadshow at which we also supported the screening of Tunde Kelani’s new movie, Maami, precisely at Edinburg and Glasgow. The Board is poised to using the event to sponsor and encourage the production of Nigerian films in indigenous languages, with this particular event being a follow up to the earlier road show held last month at Edinburgh and Glasgow”, Bala further stated.
The road show, according to her, couldn’t have been more timely as it was obvious that the number of people speaking indigenous languages across Nigeria was seriously low. In her words: “A lot of our young children do not know their language, so there is a generation losing their language. But, the encouragement is not just about the languages. It is also aimed to educate the Nigerian children about their culture. Nigerian children are not holding their heads high anymore. They need to know their culture transmitted in their languages. This initiative by the Board is very important because it is about recognizing that we need to do something about our languages and our culture, not just talk about it.”
In a lecture titled “Effect of Pornography on Youths” delivered at the event by Professor Andrew Uduigwomen of the department of philosophy, University of Calabar, the audience was taken through the causes and the effects of pornography, and the critique of the subject by a Judeo-Christian. Against the danger of pornography, Uduigwomen, who enjoyed a standing ovation at the end of the lecture, recommended remedial measures among which are: “Government should promulgate laws prohibiting pornographic materials in the media and public places; Government should ensure strict enforcement of censorship laws by the appropriate agencies; Government should put in place strict deterrent measures and heavy sanctions against the perpetrators of pornography and obscenity in our society; Parents should be vigilant to supervise and control what their children read or view.”
The morning segment of the second day of the event was billed for a courtesy call to the Governor at the Governor’s office by the management team of the Board. At the meeting with the governor, Ms Bala spoke on the importance of the industry and the need for cooperation and fruitful collaboration with the state government for the development of the industry, more so regarding strict adherence to film classifications and other regulatory issues.
Responding, Senator Imoke, who was represented by Mr. Mike Aniah, Secretary to the State Government, said he was particularly happy that the state was chosen by the Board for the event, which, according to him, had shown that the effort of the State towards promoting tourism in the country was being recognized. He pledged the readiness and support of the State Government for harmonious relationship with the Board in ensuring effective enforcement of the regulation of film making.
He noted that such collaboration was necessary to help stamp out the influx of local and foreign violence-related and pornographic films that have been on sale at different locations of the state. The governor used the forum to call on the Board to engage the people of the state at its management level in the spirit of the relationship.
Later in the day, the event, which witnessed for the two days the attendance of students representatives from different schools, also featured the screening of Kokomma, a new film shot in Ibibio language with English subtitles and produced by Uduak Oguamanam.