There is no doubt that the coinage of the make-believe industry in Nigeria by some revolutionary actors and stakeholders did not go down well with some who believed were the main starter of the industry but were not consulted before staying put with the name ‘Nollywood’.
For the latter, the name ‘Nollywood’ is a direct copycat of America’s ‘Hollywood’, which they reason did not show the creativity and uniqueness of Nigeria and Nigerians.
In Nollywood, two major acting bodies exist. They are; the Actors’ Guild of Nigeria (AGN) and the Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (ANTP).
A closer look at these two major actors’ body reveals content of ethnicity in it. Those in Actors’ Guild of Nigeria (AGN) are dominated by those who act English Nigerian films, who are mainly of the Igbo extraction, while those in ANTP are purely those in the Yoruba film industry and are from the Yoruba origin.
This dichotomy has been causing problems and rumbles among those in Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (ANTP), who believe are the first and original actors’ body in Nigeria.
Some of the rumbles they have pointed out are that the AGN don’t carry them along in things that generally concern actors, and also are not part of the government largesse.
At the last novelty match between Nollywood stars and Nigerian music stars, there was no member of ANTP that participated in the match. This some of them said they were not allowed to be part of by AGN.
According to a member of ANTP, Eniola Olaniyan, “The Igbos have grossly dominated AGN, that is a statement of fact. The content of tribe in AGN and ANTP is what is disturbing both associations.
You won’t see us in things they do because they are the ones that would organize it, and they are the ones that Jonathan recognizes. Do you know that if we produce English films, we cannot sell?”
Another member of the association, Ajigijaga said, “Do you know why people make walls after building their house, they want to sectionalize their territory. They see us as not being able to speak English well, but we don’t see them as not being able to speak Yoruba well.
Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (ANTP) existed before Actors’ Guild of Nigeria (AGN). They should have come to join us, it does not matter if you shoot English movie. They believed ANTP was meant for the Yorubas, they have forgotten that there is no Yoruba in the name. Everybody just wants to be a leader.”
Speaking in defense of AGN, Ricardo Agbor denied any of such by the AGN to ANTP when he said, “You see, it is just a perception, and I think it is a very wrong one. It is only for those that believe they are inferior that feel inferior, nobody is doing that to them.
Femi Brainerd is Yoruba, Olu Jacobs is Yoruba, Funsho Adeolu, Funke Akindele and Opeyemi Ayeola all started in English before becoming popular through the Yoruba film industry.
Discrimination is everywhere in the world, it cuts across; it is not a peculiar to Nollywood. It is in the oil and gas industries, politics, religion, Northern Muslims see the Southern Muslims as infidels.”
For now, members of ANTP are still very bitter at how they are being treated by some the AGN members. Will this ever stop?
Written By: Osaremen Ehi James
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