By Anote Ajeluorou
Veteran filmmaker, Chief Eddie Ugbomah, has lamented the politics of greed, dishonesty and power-drunkenness at play among Nigeria’s political class and blames House of Representatives’ Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal’s current travails on this incurable national malady.
Ugbomah, who spoke at his Ilogbo-Eremi, Lagos country home, called on Tambuwal to resign his office as Speaker like the honourable man he claims to be since leaving Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that earned him the office for All Progressives Congress (APC).
The filmmaker with notable box office, celluloid hit films in the 1970s and 80s and former chairman, Nigeria Film Corporation (NFC), said, “I’m disappointed with Speaker Tambuwal because from his action, he’s not a gentleman. Common principles dictate that Tambuwal should have resigned his Speakership after leaving PDP for APC. This means he is not honourable as he claims. It was such a disgrace for those, who claim to be leading us to be climbing fences like school children. These are dishonourable people practising democracy.”
But the outspoken elderly filmmaker did not also spare the politics of double-speak that characterises the ruling PDP. Ugbomah lambasted the ruling party for not applying the rules evenly, but selectively and only when the party was affected. He said while PDP celebrated the defection of Chief Tom Ikimi from APC and Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko from Labour Party (LP), they did not waste time in witch-hunting Tambuwal for leaving their fold for another party.
Ugbomah also blamed lawyers for giving dubious and misleading interpretations to matters of politics and policy that leave a majority confused.
On the insecurity in the North East, the producer of such notable films as Death of a Black President, Oyenusi, The Boy Is Good, Oil Doom, Apalara and many others has harsh words for those, who think President Goodluck Jonathan hasn’t been decisive enough in tackling it. He said, “if Jonathan should act like a radical without conscience, he could kill both the abducted Chibok schoolgirls along with the insurgents. What people fail to remember is that Jonathan inherited these problems that are over 40 years old. Although he’s trying to do his best, but his best doesn’t seem good enough for many people.”
Ugbomah, who has been contemplating a political thriller for a while now, said he was ready to make a movie that appropriately mirrors the current political dispensation titled If Only, which he said would have most of the political titans playing their often inglorious part in bringing Nigeria to its present sorry state. He noted that while Jonathan was working hard to make life better for all Nigerians, some notable players were busy sabotaging his efforts for selfish political gains, saying, “The result of the film is the birth of Boko Haram, a political demon inflicted on Jonathan so he could fail.”
Although he regards Jonathan as a friend of the film industry in his recognition of the importance of film in national development agenda and invested in it, Ugbomah has urged him to ask those responsible for disbursing the N3 billion intervention funds to, as a matter of urgency, give film producers what is due to them. He noted that although he was schemed out from benefiting, it was imperative for producers, employers in the industry, to get their funds so they could start making films.
The N10 million due to each producer, he said, should not be seen a big deal, as it could only help to make a small budget film. He condemned those disbursing the funds for favouring only those building cinema houses and training at the expense of producers, who have sustained the industry so far.
In the same vein, Ugbomah has tasked actors eagerly gunning for political offices across the country to fix the mess in their own industry before aspiring to fix problems of the larger society. While stating that the actors had constitutional rights to contest political offices, he said, “They are in it because Nollywood is dead, or at best, dying. Have they put their industry in order to world standard? They ought to fight their common enemy first in the form of cable TVs that have devalued their films. They have an enemy they haven’t conquered.
“What have they offer Nigerians when their industry has died under their watch? What they don’t know is that politicians will just ‘chop’ the little money they have made and spew them out. Perhaps, they ought to learn from Onyeka Onwenu’s failed bids to be elected local council boss. They are a big joke. And why are they all going to their state assemblies instead of national assembly; it means they are all local people.”
The outspoken former chairman of Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) condemned Kanayo O. Kanayo and Ibinabo Fiberesima’s political appointments, calling them jokes. Instead, Ugbomah said they ought to have been made Arts Council Chairmen or even NFC or other industry-related parastatals, where they could better apply themselves in the creative industry.