President Goodluck Jonathan Has Lifted Nollywood To A Higher Level

 President Goodluck Jonathan Has Lifted Nollywood To A Higher Level
“Whenever I travel abroad, many of my colleagues, Presidents of other countries, ask me about Nollywood. Nollywood is our shining light. Africans are very proud of Nollywood. That is why we are here today to celebrate the success story of this national, continental and global brand.”
~ President Gloodluck Jonathan, Saturday, March 2, 2013, at the State House in Marina, Lagos.

President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan of Nigeria has become the most gracious and generous patron of Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry and the first Nigerian President to lift Nolllywood to a higher level with unprecedented financial largesse of US$200,000,000 for a special Entertainment Intervention Fund he announced whilst gracing the occasion of the 30th Anniversary party of the Silverbird Group on Saturday November 6, 2010 after a passionate appeal by Mr. Ben Murray-Bruce, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Silverbird Group.
“I have one message for you tonight. Mr. President. I want you to support the entertainment industry. It’s not about me, it’s not about Silverbird, it is about Nigerians, about the youth who are our future,” Ben Murray-Bruce appealed enthusiastically. ‘’I want you to recognize the entertainment industry, you said you will never let them down, let the young kid go to the bank and borrow a million or two to make a record or make a movie, support the entertainers, if you support them, they’ll vote for you’.

President Goodluck Jonathan and Mr. Ben Murray-Bruce.

President Goodluck Jonathan gave a positive response.
“Nollywood is getting set to take over the world, I recognize the entertainment industry in the Nigerian economy, and this government will support an industry that makes Nigerians happy. I gave them direct order to make sure entertainers have $200million worth of loan to work with. Make more movies, write and produce more hit songs, provide jobs and give hope to our people,” said President Jonathan and received a standing ovation from the audience.
The US$200,000,000 was later released to the Bank of Industry (BoI) and Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) and applications opened on January 17, 2011.

President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife First Lady Dame Patience Jonathan clinking glasses with Nollywood star Chinedu Ikedieze, aka “Aki” (MFR) at a state dinner.

President Jonathan emphasized his commitment to the sustainable development of the entertainment industry on his popular Facebook page posted on November 7, 2010 at 4:13pm.
Investing in the Entertainment Industry
During my series of notes in the run up to Nigeria's fiftieth independence anniversary, I expressed a desire to grow Nigeria's entertainment industry into a world class one where we would see Nollywood movies being played in theatres and grossing hundreds of millions of Naira as well as have recording artists like Tuface Idibia, Dbanj, Banky W, P-Square, Timi Dakolo, Weird MC and co selling millions of records and generating wealth for themselves, their record companies, marketers and tour promoters and by so doing expanding the non oil sector of the economy. Now in furtherance of this, I have just attended the 30th anniversary celebrations of the Silverbird group where I announced a Federal investment of 200 million dollars (about 30 billion naira) as a direct intervention lifeline for the exclusive purpose of supporting artist and developing our entertainment industry. This may not be a lot of money, but it is a beginning. In seeking to diversify Nigeria's revenue base, we must think outside the box and I am expectant that this fund will make Nigeria the African entertainment capital in the not too distant future. It is my vision that every producer whether in the film or music industry, every actor or actress, fashion designers or artist must have opportunity to access cheap, long-term funding to grow their business: make movies, write hit songs, build malls, build cinemas, provide jobs and give hope to our people!
Then on Saturday March 2, 2013, at the State House in Marina, Lagos, President Goodluck Jonathan announced another largesse, a N3billion exclusive grant for Nollywood whilst hosting a delegation of Nollywood stars at a dinner to celebrate Nollywood at 20, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first Nigerian breakthrough home-video; ‘Living in Bondage‘, released in September 1992.

“I assure you that my Administration will continue to give Nollywood every possible support and assistance to take the Nigerian movie industry to even greater heights of success…I have invited the private sector to this dinner because I believe that they can also support efforts to further develop our entire creative industry.”
~ President Gloodluck Jonathan, Saturday, March 2, 2013, at the State House in Marina, Lagos.

The N3 billion has launched the Project ACT-Nollywood made of three components: Capacity Building, Film Production, and Distribution. The grant is available to Nigerian filmmakers (in Nigeria and the Diaspora) and Nigeria-based production companies for projects to be executed in Nigeria. Project ACT-Nollywood is managed by the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in collaboration with other government agencies.

Numerous filmmakers and distributors have benefited from the funds, including two Nigerian filmmakers in the Diaspora, Tony Abulu for the production of his “Doctor Bello” and Biyi Bandele for the production of the film adaptation of “Half of a Yellow Sun”, the historical fiction on the Biafran war by celebrated award winning Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi-Adichie. The other major beneficiary is Gabosky Films Inc, which accessed N1.8 billion from the entertainment intervention fund for a credible, verifiable and controlled channel of distribution of Nollywood movies. Over 40 proven practitioners in Nollywood have shared N150million from the Capacity Building Fund of Project ACT Nollywood. And the fund covers scriptwriting, directing, film production and production design, special effects, lighting, sound effect, HD techniques, acting, cinematography, make-up, editing, etc..

 More Nollywood stars and other stakeholders have received various national honours and appointments since President Joanthan was sworn in and they include the following:
Olu Jacobs, Amaka Igwe, Kanayo O. Kanayo, Genevieve Nnaji, Stephanie Okereke-Linus, and Osita Iheme, aka “Pawpaw” (awarded the honour of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) on Monday October 14, 2011 at the International Conference Centre in Abuja (Nigeria). Others who have also received national honours include the late Justus Esiri (OON), Zeb Ejiro (OON), Patience Ozokwor (MFR) and Chinedu Ikedieze, aka “Aki” (MFR), and Pete Edochie (MON).

President Goodluck Jonathan honouring Nollywood diva Mrs. Stephanie Okereke-Linus with a national award.

“I see my name on the list of Nigerian for the award of Member of the Federal Republic of Nigeria [MFR].It's Gods way of repaying me for all my effort towards and contribution to the growth of Nollywood in the country and the world in general,” Aki said in appreciation.

Chinedu Ikedieze and Osita Iheme were also in the presidential entourage of President Jonathan to South Africa on May 1, 2013.

President Goodluck Jonathan and Osita Iheme, aka “Pawpaw”.

President Goodluck Jonathan welcomes famous Nigerian singer and actress Onyeka Onwenu during a Condolence Visit by Nollywood (G-20) to the President on the untimely passing of his brother, Mr. Meni Jonathan, in Abuja on Tuesday (27/11/12).

Kenneth Nnebue, Patience Ozokwor, Olu Jacobs and the late father of Nigerian theater Hubert Adedeji Ogunde were also included among the 100 notable Nigerian achievers honoured in celebration of the Centenary of Nigeria (1914-2014).

President Goodluck Jonathan honoring Pateince Ozokwor.

President Goodluck Jonathan accepting the Grand Patron of Nollywood Award from Ms. Ibinabo Fiberesima, first female President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN).

Several Nollywood stars have been given appointments by President Goodluck Jonathan, including Kanayo O. Kanayo who got appointed as a member of the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism Studies; Onyeka Onwenu appointed as Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer of the National Centre for Women Development in Abuja under the Presidency since September 13, 2013; and the first female President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) Ms. Ibinabo Fiberesima, has been appointed into the board of the National Council For Arts and Culture (NCAC) by President Jonathan.

In appreciation of these laudable achievements, on Tuesday February 18, 2014, President Goodluck Jonathan was honoured as Grand Patron of Nollywood by members of the Actors Guild of Nigeria at the State House, Abuja.
This is an unprecedented honour well deserved by a magnanimous President who has done unprecedented favours to take Nollywood to a higher level.

~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima, Author of Children of Heaven, Scarlet Tears of London, Bye Bye Mugabe, The Language of True Love, Diary of the Memory Keeper, In the House of Dogs, The Prophet Lied and co-author of Naked Beauty.
CEO, International Digital Post Network Limited and Publisher/Editor, Nigerians Report Online

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