OrderPaperToday – Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, has called for the repositioning of the entertainment industry in Nigeria, particularly the film sector popularly called Nollywood.
The Speaker also opined that the estimated $600million annual earning by the film industry is not enough since Nollywood has grown to become a cornerstone of the nation’s economy.
Speaking, during a two days leadership masterclass training for Nollywood actors at the GOTNI leadership centre, Abuja, organized by the minority, Ndudi Elumelu, Gbajabimila applauded the participants for building a globally competitive entertainment industry despite the challenges and constraints in the country.
According to data from Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), in 2016, the film industry employed about 1 million workers and accounted for about 2.3% ($600 million) of GDP, with over 2500 movies produced annually.
The Lagos lawmaker pointed that with adequate investment, a supportive regulatory environment, better training and capacity development, Nollywood will grow beyond the feat it has achieved so far.
He said: “It falls to all of us, in government, in the private sector and across society to identify the ways we can help the industry reach the heights we all know is possible.”
“Beyond the questions of economics and profit, there is the issue of the critical role of Nollywood in influencing culture, defining national character, and promoting national identity. As actors and entertainers, you directly exert tremendous influence on the lives of hundreds of millions of Nigerians, who are impacted by the roles you play, the stories you tell and the realities you explore in your movies.
“This is power. And with power comes a responsibility to tell stories that inspire goodness, motivate thoughtful acts, encourage fraternity, and uplift the human condition. You also have a responsibility to tell the best stories of our beloved country.
“I do not propose to turn you into cheerleaders for a Nigeria that does not exist. But the stories of men and women thriving through adversity and innovating for prosperity needs to be told, and it falls to you to tell those stories.
“I hold in my heart a fundamental belief that our highest aspirations for Nigeria can only be achieved by the combined effort of patriots working together to make real the vision of a prosperous and peaceful country. You have shown through your dogged pursuit of success that you represent the best of the Nigerian spirit.”
The minority leader, Mr Ndudi Elumelu, who expressed gratitude to the participants who made Asaba a preferred destination for the film industry in the country, charged the actors and actresses to replicate the gesture across the country so that all the many uniquely Nigerian stories can be told in full.