By Tony Ademiluyi
My relationship with nollywood movies is one of love – hate. I find them rather pedestrian as I can predict the end by merely watching the first few minutes of the movie. Despite my anger after watching the movies, I still feel irascibly drawn to them. My experience is akin to a drug addict who knows the destruction he is embarking on by sniffing them but the lure of the few minutes thrill cannot just make him stop the fatal habit.
Like many patriotic Nigerians, I was extremely happy when I heard of the news that Genevieve Nnaji’s movie ‘Lionheart’ was acquired by Netflix – the world’s largest streaming service. It was a big boost for our movie sector as the international community had finally taken notice of it. Given the fact that the industry grew in leaps and bounds without any government backing, it was huge cause to clink the glasses amidst the loud popping of the finest of champagne.
When the movie was nominated for the highly prestigious Oscar awards after the Toronto film festival, I made it one of my prayer points for it to win.
I don’t usually go out of my way to purchase Nigerian movies as I make do with what Africa magic showcases even though they are notorious for the regular repetition of movies. With the Netflix acquisition I went out of my way for the first time to purchase it but sadly I wasn’t successful with my quest.
I received the news of the rejection of it by the Oscar committee with sadness as I hoped it will be the first Nigerian movie to win the coveted awards.
Their reason was that it was done mostly in the English language with a little sprinkling of Igbo.
After Nigeria was granted political independence by the United Kingdom in 1960, Professor Chinua Achebe was asked whether he would write in his native Igbo language. He responded that he would continue writing in English language but he would localize it as much as possible to reflect the deep African culture. His first book and evergreen Classic ‘Things Fall Apart’ written in 1958 when he was barely twenty-eight years old was a true reflection of his bid to reflect the rich African culture and heritage in his writings.
Genevieve Nnaji who made her directorial debut with this movie was also in this same dilemma. Her response to its disqualification reflected the catch-22 situation that post colonial African artists face. In her words: “This movie represents the way we speak as Nigerians. This includes English which acts as a bridge between the 500+ language spoken in our country; thereby making us #OneNigeria,” she wrote, adding in another tweet: “It’s no different to how French connects communities in former French colonies. We did not choose who colonized us. As ever, this film and many like it, is proudly Nigerian.”
If she had chosen to make the film in exclusively Igbo language, it would have greatly limited the audience despite the translations as most potential viewers would have been put off with the language barrier.
English which is the lingua franca is a unifying force in the nation that is multi lingual. I totally agree that Pidgin English is more of a linguistic rallying force as it’s spoken by all and sundry – literate and unlettered alike but even at that it is still a variant of the English language. Moreover you also have to consider the fact that many millennials do not fluently speak any Nigerian language no thanks to the side effects of westernalization. There are even fears by many linguists of the possibility of the extinction of many native languages due to its long non usage.
Ms. Nnaji is a businesswoman driven primarily by commercial interests and she was savvy enough to produce and direct the movie using the language most clearly understood by the generality of Nigerians.
If Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s works can be globally accepted to reflect the African culture despite her not writing in the Igbo language which would have severely limited her oeuvres, why should the hypocritical Oscar committee thumb its nose down Nnaji’s work? The same west gave the Nobel Prize to Professor Wole Soyinka on October 16, 1986 with the majority of his works written in the English language.
I admire Ms. Nnaji for standing her grounds and defending her creative baby despite the subtle pressure by the committee to make her shift grounds.
A critic of her who is a friend of mine pointed my attention to Ngugi Wa Thiongo writing in his native Gikuyu at the height of his cultural nationalism. I told him point blank that the Kenyan writer was based in the United States where he was earning his bread teaching African literature in English language. Much as I share the plight of cultural activists, the reality is that globalization has made it impossible to do away with the foreign languages especially English which is now the lingua franca of the world.
The Oscar committee should preach diversity and inclusiveness which the English language portends to help unite Nigerians.
The rejection by them isn’t the end of the world and I hope that the Netflix acquisition should spur her to do great things with her new found calling of movie production and directing.
You win some and lose some.
Tony Ademiluyi writes from Lagos.
1,044 total views, 3 views today
NCC To Auction 5G Spectrum 13th December, Sets Conditions
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said all is set for the official auctioning of the 3.5 Gigahertz (3.5 GHz) spectrum for the deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) technology in Nigeria on December 13, 2021.
A statement signed by the commission’s Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, said it is adopting Ascending Clock Auction format, which is software-based, while a mock auction has been slated for December 10, 2021, as a precursor to the actual auction on December 13, 2021.
According to the statement, the Information Memorandum (IM) recently presented to the Commission at a stakeholder engagement forum provides information, conditions, obligations, financial implication, timelines and other necessary details on the planned 3.5Ghz spectrum auction.
‘‘The IM also explains the rollout obligations of the would-be eventual winners of the spectrum licence auction, whose reserved price has been pegged at $197.4 million (N75 billion),” the statement said.
‘‘The IM also states that only licensees, who make down payment of 10 per cent of the reserved bid price and with 100 per cent regulatory compliance would be allowed to participate in the auction while licensees with outstanding debts that have secured NCC’s approval for a payment plan will be allowed to participate in the auction.’’
The auction comes with a 10-year spectrum licence and a minimum requirement of an operational Universal Access Service Licence (UASL), but new entrants or licensees without a UASL will be required to obtain a UASL operational license to be qualified for the 5G licence.
The eventual licensees will have a rollout obligation plan spanning a period of 10 years, beginning from the date of award of the licence. Between the first and second year of the licence, the operators are expected to rollout service in, at least, one state in each geo-political zone.
From the third to fifth year, they are obligated to cover all the zones. Between six to 10 years, they should cover all the states in the country, according to guidelines set out in the IM.
Speaking on the planned roll out, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, said the Ministry has been working closely with the Commission to ensure that necessary spectrum resources needed for the deployment of 5G network in Nigeria to accelerate the nation’s digital economy space is made available.
The Minister said the 3.5GHz is the most popular spectrum band used globally by regulators and operators for the deployment of 5G technology, and it seems the only band available in Nigeria for immediate use by operators.
On his part, he Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, listed the various steps diligently taken by the Commission that culminated in present status of the 5G deployment plan.
He also highlighted the potential benefits from investment in 5G deployment to potential operators and investors in the country.
According to him, “Nigeria has an estimated population of 214 million, with an average growth rate of 2.6% annually. Approximately 76.46 per cent of the population is under the age of 35. In line with these demographic changes, internet penetration grew from 3 per cent in 2004 to 73.82 per cent as at September, 2021, and broadband penetration increased from less than 10 per cent in 2015 to 40.01 per cent in September, 2021.”
With the increase in mobile usage brought about by Fourth Generation (4G) technology and network performance, he said that 5G technology will leverage on this momentum, bringing substantial network improvements, including higher connection speed, mobility and capacity, as well as low-latency capabilities.
Meanwhile, the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), among others, called on the government to continue to make the operating environment more conducive for the existing and prospective licensees in the telecom ecosystem, in order to enable Nigeria to fully harness and harvest the derivable benefits of mobile technology in the country.
890 total views, 15 views today
Sowore Condemns Attack On Home Of Joe Igbokwe
Human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore has condemned the attack on the residence of Joe Igbokwe, the Special Adviser on Drainage and Water Resources to the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in Nnewi, Anambra State.
“I totally and unequivocally condemn the attack on Joe Igbokwe family house on Nnewi by arsonists. Nothing should be done to silence Mr. Igbokwe in a democratic society,” Sowore posted on Facebook.
Recall that the country home of the chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was on Sunday set on fire.
Igbokwe in a Facebook post accused members of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) for the incident.
“IPOB invaded my house in Nnewi about now. I am sure they raised (sic) down my house giving the jerrycans of petrol being offloaded from their sienna via CCTV. To God be the glory I am still alive,” Igbokwe posted on Sunday afternoon.
The APC chieftain also shared a video from the aftermath of the attack, with an accompanying caption that reads: “Here it is. My Home in Nnewi has been sacrificed. No life was lost. To God be the glory.”
Hours after he posted the video, he deleted it from his Facebook page as well as the initial post.
Over the past weeks, unidentified gunmen have targeted known prominent names in the South-East.
Most of the attacks have been blamed on the members of IPOB, whose leader, Nnamdi Kanu, is in detention over charges of treason.
The IPOB leadership has, however, distanced its members from the attacks.
1,260 total views, 15 views today
Is America’s Democracy On The Decline?
By Habib Aruna
With the United States presidential election just more than a month away, the world is watching with an unusual frenzy and animated indignation the campaign between the incumbent, President Donald Trump of the Republican Party and his challenger, former Vice President, Joe Biden of the Democratic Party.
The concern of the world and indeed, lovers of democracy on what is playing out in a country regarded as the bastion of democracy all boils down to the erratic and demagogic behavior of a leader, who was supposed to be the leader of the free world. Rather, the United States President in the past three and half years, has conducted himself in a manner that is starkly different from conventional norms and tradition. He has indeed constituted himself as the real danger to the more than two centuries democratic experiment.
For a President that told the world in his January 2017 inauguration speech that he was going to pursue an America first policies, most of his utterances and actions have been antithetical to democratic principles and values. Trump has eroded all the gains made under President Barack Obama that was supposed to ensure global peace and security, and even went as far as to take side with the Russian ruler, Vladimir Putin, who is widely seen as a threat to global democratic order.
Indeed, more worrisome has been Trump’s constant attack on democratic institutions; chastising those who disagree with him, incessantly describing the media as fake and using derogatory language that belittle his high office on political opponents. Almost all his appointees who have resigned from the White House have all come out to tell the world how incapable he is and the threat he poses to the country and the world if he is re-elected for second term.
Before the emergence of Trump, United States Presidents have always been referred to as leader of the free world, presupposing the evident truism that the American democracy has been a global brand that nations of the world aimed to emulate. Countries and more than casual observers of world politics for more two centuries have followed with keen interest the evolution of democracy in the United States and not a few have used it as a veritable template.
More importantly, is the enviable way and manner power transits from one party to the other without rancor or bitterness. The world always awaits the reaction of losers in major elections. And what has become the envy of the world has been the obligatory phone calls often put across to winners by losers.
However, with the emergence of Trump, this vital democratic tradition of free and fair electoral process and peaceful transfer of power is about to be truncated. Like never before, something that is unthinkable is brewing in God’s own country. Interestingly, the man who took an oath to be the symbol of democracy and chief occupant of the Oval office is actively championing the debasement of the very system that brought him to power. He is doing everything in his power to circumvent the democratic process!
Trump has actively sought to delegitimize the results of the November election, falsely claiming universal mail-in voting intended to protect people amid the coronavirus pandemic is ripe for corruption although there is no evidence this is true. According to the Washington Post, in the five states that already allowed universal mail-in voting, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington, there have been no issues with widespread fraud.
“The only way we’re going to lose is if there’s mischief, and it’ll have to be on a big scale, so be careful,” Trump said. “We do want a very friendly transition, but we don’t want to be cheated and be stupid and say, ‘Oh, let’s, we’ll go and we’ll do a transition,’ and we know that there were thousands and thousands of ballots that made the difference through cheating. We’re not going to stand for it.”
This attack claiming Democrats are trying to cheat is also baseless when it is the President who has sought to limit resources to the U.S. Postal Service to curtail its ability to handle the influx of mailed ballots.
Trump has also said he expects the Supreme Court to decide the presidential election, meaning he intends to legally challenge the results if he loses. This is the normal template of a Banana Republic, which makes the Western countries and other democracies to be worried and concern. Because what moral ground do the Western world has to preach democratic tenets around the world when the world leading democracy cannot conduct basic elections.
For sure, it is doubtful if the founding fathers that gathered in Philadelphia in 1776 ever thought there would be a President that would stretch the system they put in place to the limit. Recovering from a victory of independence over the British and trying to find a system of government that would not put legislative and executive powers in the hands of one man, the delegates were quick to embrace the Lockenian philosophy that created an executive head but with adequate checks and balances. The three organs of government, executive, legislature and judiciary were thus created.
We have to also note that the leader of the war, General George Washington who contributed his resources to the prosecution of the war, had a larger than life image and was well respected. He was unanimously made to preside over proceedings at the convention. The decisions reached by the delegates which formed the bulk of the constitution were made with the implicit recognition of the character and patriotism of Washington.
The delegates were also not unaware that noble men; men of high integrity would be voted for to occupy the highest office in the land. For instance, the constitution did not stipulate any term limits for Presidents, knowing full well that Washington will be the first president. Washington ended up serving for just two terms and by so doing setting a precedence that successive presidents have followed till today.
There is however a lacuna in the system that the constitution did not adequately address, but the founding fathers were of the belief that the system would evolve to consummate a near perfect system, if there is enough vigilance by the people to checkmate the excessive use of power by office holders. Suffice to note the eternal advice given by the oldest delegate, Benjamin Franklin to a lady who wanted to know the outcome of their meeting: “A republic madam, I hope you can keep it”.
For sure, I don’t think the founding fathers ever thought in their wildest imagination that there would be a President that will be audacious enough to break all norms and tradition, while his party looks on sheepishly and helplessly. A president that is shameless; lacks basic decency; selfish and greedy; autocratic and dictatorial; hypocritical and corrupt and above all, poses a great danger to the very foundation of America’s democracy. He has since become a laughing stock among comity of nations.
Do we still wonder why notable figures in the country, both civilians and retired Military Generals, across party lines, have openly come out to oppose his re-election, saying the future and values of their country is at stake in this election? As we await the verdict of the United States electorate on November 8, one thing that is for sure is that the world will be a better place without Donald Trump.
Aruna, a journalist writes from Ikeja
3,056 total views, 13 views today
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