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A change of attitude, a perfect Christmas gift

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I am Omoni Oboli and I represent Naija! Merry Christmas to everyone! If you made it this far, be thankful to God. We didn’t get to this day because we are better or more careful than those who died. For those who aren’t suffering, you didn’t get here because you were smarter than those who suffer. It was the grace and mercy of God that made it all possible. That said, there are those who have dedicated themselves to making life a little easier for others through their selfless disposition in the giving of their time, money, wisdom, home or creativity. If that’s you, then I salute you.

This has been a good year for Nollywood, and it would be impossible to recall every single incident, opportunity and significant happenings that made it all possible, but that’s what makes it all come together as one giant leap forward for the industry. In any way anyone has made a contribution, small or great, I feel obliged to first thank God for them, and also thank them for their diligence and persistence in making this 2016 the year Nollywood broke through another barrier of limitation to move even further in the world stage of entertainment. We stayed true to our style and culture, and made the best of the limited resources available to us to produce movies that made just as much impact and even more impact than the other international movies in our cinemas across the nation. I’m truly proud, and I hope we can begin to see, celebrate and thank God for our small beginnings.

Looking at the lineup for the year which started with Mildred Okwo’s SURU L’ERE, then I released WIVES ON STRIKE, and then the floodgates opened on us. 8 movies got Officially Selected for TIFF! Who would have thought it would happen so soon? These great movies, Niyi Akinmolayan’s THE ARBITRATION, Izu Ojukwu’s 76, Steve Gukas’ 93 DAYS, Uduak-Obong Patrick’s JUST NOT MARRIED, Abba Makama’s GREEN WHITE GREEEN, Daniel Oriahi’s OKO ASHEWO, Kemi Adetiba’s THE WEDDING PARTY and my movie, OKAFOR’S LAW, represented Nigeria in a way we should all be proud of. The Nigerian flag, aptly flown in Abba Makama’s Green White Green, opened the world to a different narrative for the people they had not yet met in that light. For a brief moment in history, we were the champions. It’s irrelevant how skeptics may believe the world saw us in their hearts, but what was shown to us was the one I believe relayed their true sentiments. They loved our movies! Back home, we also had these movies released to the great delight of the Nigerian audience! Also we had Bovi’s IT’S HER DAY, which I featured in, and several other movies. Currently, with the release of Mike Exuruonye’s BROTHER JEKWU, THE WEDDING PARTY, Opa Williams’s THREE WISE MEN, soon to be released Emem Isong’s AYAMMA, it’s looking like a December to remember.

I’m so proud of this industry that made it possible to yearly bring in new and progressive players, showing that there’s an opportunity for anyone to make it big in life. The likes of Adesua Etomi, Somkele, Kemi Lala Akindoju, Judith Audu, Gideon Okeke, Gregory Ojefua, Daniel K Daniel, Blossom Chukwujekwu, OC Ukeje, Alexx Ekubor, and so many others have brought their A-game to the table as leading men and women. The mix with some of the giants of the industry, such as Ireti Doyle, Bimbo Akintola, RMD, Ramsey Nouah, Rita Dominic, Sola Sobowale, Uche Jombo, Chioma Akpotha, Ufuoma McDermott, Nse Ikpe Etim, Funke Akindele and many others, have given us beautiful contents that have collectively made this year so enjoyable. We have seen such comedy that the people have shown their love for by their multiple ticket purchases, like AY’s A TRIP TO JAMAICA, and new records set in the same year. Producers like Uduak Oguamanam, Niyi Akinmolayan and the icon, Emem Isong Misodi have kept the industry going strong, producing movies that do great at the box office as well as in the DVD market against all odds. If they don’t tell us we did something right, we can look to God and thank Him for what He has clearly done.

We grow through stages in life, and I’ve had my share of ups and downs. The ups will always come, and the downs will surely follow, but I see the ups as a product of the handling of the downs. Without the heat and fire down below, the rocket wouldn’t launch, and in the same way, our best is never realized without the heat of opposition. We only pray that we are equipped to handle it to such a degree that it launches us and not blow us up. The heat you don’t want is that which comes from inside the rocket, from close quarters or ‘friends’. It’s the kind that’s positioned wrongly and seldom launches the rocket of success we wish for. That’s why when we are divided unduly against each other, our collective launch is stifled for a period. It’s now up to us to reposition that heat to the back of our rocket so that we can be propelled to greater heights. My prayer is that we see our lifting each other as one of the strengths we haven’t yet explored adequately to propel Nigeria to where we all hope we could be.

The societies we admire are not working incoherently. They are building different areas independently which in turn helps other areas achieve success that comes back to profit the entire group. This is a new end of year, and we have grieved, complained, accused, attacked each other in front and behind, pointed fingers, refused to check ourselves and generally behaved in such a way to simply divide and weaken ourselves. It’s time to try working deliberately and purposefully towards lifting each other, stop complaining, fighting for each other’s good, taking responsibility for our own faults, looking less to the faults of others, encouraging each other and standing consistently on principles that affect all areas of our lives and not just to stand for what directly affects us individually. It’s not easy, I know, but we can’t expect to achieve better results with the same actions, attitudes and thought processes that helped our bad behaviours and national woes thrive in the first place.

This year has been a well-packaged Christmas gift, and what we do with it is entirely up to us. We can pull it down or with can begin to lift it even higher. Once again, I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a very Prosperous New Year!



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