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Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker House of Reps
Nigerian motion picture industry dubbed Nollywood, contributes 2.3 percent to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) with over 2,500 movies produced annually.
Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house of representatives, said this on Friday in at a two-day leadership training class for Nollywood actors powered by Ndidi Elumelu, the House minority leader.
He said it was expedient to acknowledge and celebrate Nollywood actors and actresses as well as others who make up the country’s entertainment industry, adding that the onus now rested on the government and private stakeholders to support the industry for it to grow beyond what it is now.
Said Gbajabiamila: “With adequate investment, a supportive regulatory environment, better training and capacity development, Nollywood will grow beyond our present dream and surpass our highest ambitions.
“It falls on all of us in government, the private sector and across the society to identify ways we can help the industry reach the heights and we all know is possible”.
The Speaker said that beyond the questions of economics and profit, the industry had major roles to play in influencing the culture, defining national character, and promoting national identity.
Observed he: “As actors and entertainers, you directly exert tremendous influence on the lives of hundreds of millions of Nigerians, they are impacted by the roles you play, the stories you tell and the realities you explore in your movies.
“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”.
Ndudi Elumelu, in his remark, said the training, was a much-needed strategic multi-sectoral effort to guarantee the desired rebound and repositioning of the movie industry in Nigeria.
Said Elumelu: “Nigerians are passionate about the movies you produce as it sees their personal and shared challenges, struggles, anxieties, aspirations and achievements in the lives of the characters you aptly portray”.
On his part, Emeka Rollas, national president of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), said that knowledge was essential to leadership development and a sustainable society.
Said he: “We need leadership sustainability in the industry through training and retraining to enable us grow the business to keep meeting global demand. The training will enhance our management skill, strategic plan, thought process, new adaptations, and risk management among others”.