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1976… 40 years’ wait for coup d’etat movie to surface


Members of the cast and crew of the movie at the premiere

Members of the cast and crew of the movie at the premiere

Nollywood was lit up recently with industry personalities who attended the first private screening of Prince Tonye Princewill’s latest movie, 1976. The screening was the first time the cast and crew alongside leaders of the business community saw the finished product after six years of intense work. Linus Idausa, Uti Nwachukwu‎, Omoye Ozamere and many other celebrities joined the cast and crew for the event.

Those who attended expressed satisfaction as the movie brought tears to everyone in the hall including one of the star acts, Rita Dominic. Set six years after the Nigerian civil war, ’76’ tells the story of a young military officer from Nigeria’s Middle Belt region who gets entangled in a romantic relationship and eventually marries a beautiful student from the South-Eastern part of Nigeria. Their budding romance is threatened by endless military postings, and they face the ultimate test when news of the soldier’s involvement in a botched coup attempt hits the headlines.‎

With direction from award-winning, Mr. Izu Ojukwu, ‘76 is inspired by events which led up to and followed the botched 1976 coup d’etat in which Gen. Murtala Mohammed died, and features real life, actual, archival footages that contribute to the movie’s overall authenticity. The execution of the movie was also done with the explicit approval and support from the Nigerian Army.

Ojukwu describes it as a tale of love in a time postwar, noting, “The movie deals with a range of issues including the plight of the African woman and the usually invisible pain of a soldier’s wife. ‘76 highlights the enduring Nigerian cultural values of courage, resilience, patience, loyalty, faith and family and the nation’s ability to surmount all challenges.”

The release of ‘76 comes four decades to the date after the actual events, and follows several years of work by the director and the production duo of Adonis Productions and Princewill’s Trust. ‘76 stars Rita Dominic, Ramsey Nouah, Chidi Mokeme, Ibinabo Fiberesinma, Memry Savanhu, Ada Ofoegbu, Daniel K. Daniel and a host of others.

On his part, the Executive Producer and a patron of the Nigerian Association of Movie Producers (AMP), Princewill, said: “’76 is a deeply emotional movie, and it resonates deeply with me as I am sure it will do for viewers not just in Nigeria, but around the world.

“The movie’s message presents a number of questions including how we got here, amongst many other issues. We are, however, very satisfied with the finished work and we know viewers will thoroughly enjoy the experience.”

Speaking on the Nigerian Army’s involvement in the movie, the Head Civil-Military Affairs Army Head Quarters, Major General Nicholas Rogers, representing the Chief of Army staff said, “Inevitably, a lot has changed since 1976. As the world has evolved, so have we. The relationship between the army and the people is now even more critical. Our true strength comes from collaboration, and nowhere is it better illustrated than in partnerships such as this.”

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