The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, has emphasized the need for positive projection of Nigeria’s culture and image to the outside world by the players in the nation’s entertainment industry.
This is just as the Speaker stressed the need for the combined efforts of patriots working together to make real the vision of a prosperous and peaceful country.
According to Gbajabiamila, players in the nation’s entertainment industry, popularly known as Nollywood, have a critical role to play in not only shaping the society for the better but also influencing how the nation is viewed by the outside world through the content of their trade.
A statement by his Media Adviser, Lanre Lasisi, said the Speaker made the call in his address at the opening of a two-day Leadership Master Training for Nollywood Celebrities and Stakeholders under the platform of Actors’ Guild of Nigeria (AGN) in Abuja on Friday.
He said, “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.
“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”.
To emphasise the importance of Nollywood to the nation’s socio-economic development, the Speaker noted that the entertainment industry in Nigeria has grown to become a critical part of the economy.
He, however, stressed that by addressing the challenges confronting the industry, much more can be achieved, saying, “With adequate investment, a supportive regulatory environment, better training and capacity development, Nollywood will grow beyond our present dreams and surpass our highest ambitions.
“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”.
Gbajabiamila said the training was apt, particularly at this moment in the national history when the challenges we face require leadership, creativity and innovation in bounds.
“One of the other reasons this event is especially timely is that it provides an opportunity to answer the question of how to rebuild the industry after what has been a difficult year.
“Additionally, we can lay the groundwork for future collaboration and acquire the leadership resources that will stand the industry in good stead for the future,” he added.
The Speaker also assured the actors of his continued support for the upliftment of their trade towards ensuring that the industry continues to contribute to the socio-economic advancement of Nigeria.
Earlier, House Minority Leader, Rep. Ndudi Godwin Elumelu, expressed delight at the event, noting that “The much needed strategic multisectoral efforts to guarantee the desired rebound and repositioning of the movie industry in Nigeria, though long overdue, has begun”.
According to him, the country’s movie industry, more than any other social platform, remains critical in the moulding of the character of members of the society, especially the youths, women and children, as well as the outside world seeing the nation from the plots, setting and narratives of the movies.
He said it is incumbent on the Guild to be deliberately nationalistic in what they produce to the world.
“Our films must deliberately promote our unity as a people as well as encourage actions that spur mutual understanding, harmonious co-existence and forcefully show our quest for a peaceful society where economic and social activities thrive”, he added.
The two-day event saw the convergence of Nollywood actors across the country in Abuja for the training.