Vanessa Obioha reviews an ongoing political drama on television that presents what the skilled and professional women are faced with in a bid to prove their mettle
Caroline Chikezie as Angela Ochello
To say Mo’ Abudu has shattered her own glass ceiling would be stating the obvious. Since her advent into the world of satellite television, she’s been breaking one ceiling to another; from snapping up exclusive rights to produce local adaptations of foreign TV content to producing premium quality movies. She keeps re-inventing the wheel, setting trends for others to follow. Little wonder she is considered Nigeria’s own Oprah Winfrey.
Her latest production ‘The Governor’ is rapidly becoming a staple in family entertainment. Since its premiere last month, Thursday nights are highly anticipated as the suspense-filled drama keeps unfolding and intriguing its teeming viewers.
The political drama revolves round Angela Ochello, a young woman surrounded by political sharks who would stop at nothing to limit Angela’s leadership skills to head Savannah State following the death of the Governor, Alake.
In the first episode, viewers saw the discrimination meted out against Angela when the governor became comatose as a result of an accident.
Played by Caroline Chikezie, a British actress of Nigerian descent, Ochello used her perceived weakness as strength to shatter her own glass ceiling. “Angela was overlooked and undermined. Initially it was embarrassing for her because it portrayed the extent to which she was undermined and disrespected. The initial humiliation turned to determination to overcome the embarrassing moments,” said the lead actress through a Skype video call at a recent meeting with journalists.
At a time when women are breaking norms and achieving great milestones in different sectors across the globe, The Governor couldn’t have been more perfectly timed. One may even consider clairvoyance as one of the EbonyLife TV CEO’s strength or how else can one explain the coincidence of the drama with the emergence of Theresa May as Britain’s new Prime Minister and the possibility of Hilary Clinton becoming the next US President.
Angela mirrors the typical life of a woman in a gender-based society. She is considered nothing more than her physical anatomy and society’s definition of a woman. Even her position as a deputy governor was greatly frowned at, particularly in the first episode where we saw how the intimidating trio known as the ‘Big Three’ and led by Jude Chukwuka disregarded her as a housewife who lacks the will and strength to be a political leader. To ensure that she fully understands her position as a woman in her party, she was asked to cede her position should the governor die.
Chukwuka portrayed a chauvinistic and manipulative party chieftain and leader of the Shining Light Faction of the party, Chief Sobifa Thompson. The consummate actor he is, he played his role as a parochial leader with adept skills.
Subsequent episodes however showed a resolute Angela who didn’t cower to the almighty Thompson or his cohorts like Senator Briggs played by Kunle Coker. We saw a determined woman rising above her limitations and exuding admirable strength that makes her enemies re-examine their perception about her.
Apart from the main subject of the drama, the plot is layered with themes of greed, betrayal, love and ambitions.
One of the things that make this series outstanding is the choice of cast. Parading notable names in the film industry like Bimbo Manuel (Ochello’s husband David), Taiwo Obileye, (Ochello’s father), they lit up the screens with their peerless performances.
Manuel brings all his charm as a loving and caring husband to Angela while Obileye finds himself caught between protecting his daughter from the political sharks while maintaining peace and order as the party leader. So far, the overall production has received great reviews from both the cast and the audience.
Perhaps, the most laudable thing about this movie is the choice of location. Ever since EbonyLife TV took up residence in the lush resort of Tinapa in Calabar, Cross River State, it has consistently showcased the beauty of the Paradise City. This production filmed in Tinapa showcased the vast natural resources available at the resort. The fictional state Savannah is described as a coastal state in West Africa established in 1964 which major vocation is fishing and farming. The film was an avenue for Mo to promote tourism in the state.
For some of the actors, Tinapa was a therapeutic choice. For instance, Taiwo Obileye revealed that the film provided him the opportunity to leave the familiar environs of Lagos to Calabar. He reveled in the beautiful scenery of the resort while enjoying the good interaction and synergy with other cast members and crew. For him, “all these made the production run smoothly. It is a world-class production.”
The younger cast members like Simi Adejumo, Baaj Adebule and Samuel Robinson couldn’t agree less.
The Governor is aired every Thursday