How Peace Anyiam-Osigwe emerged 7th AMP national president
Out of a total vote cast of 173 from 18 state chapters’ delegates, Ms. Anyiam Osigwe, a respectable voice in the entertainment industry, polled 167 votes against her opponent, Mr. Michael Parish, who got three votes in absentia, to become AMP’s new President.
Also elected into AMP National Exco as Vice President was Queen Blessing Ebigieson, with 165 votes against Miss Rose Okwoli’s only four. The new General Secretary is Mr. Baba Agba, while the Financial Secretary position went to Mr. Anthony Chukwuma, with Nzeh Frankwyte and Mr. Vitus Nnebu completing the seven new Exco members as Publicity Secretary and Provost respectively.
The election was ably organised by Sunny Mcdon’s five-man electoral panel, to succeed Mr. Ralph Nwadike, who saw the process through after serving out his two terms of two years, in the exalted office pioneered by Zik Zulu as an Administrator, followed by Chief Zeb Ejiro OON (presently AMP Chairman, Board of Trustees, BoT) in same capacity. That gave birth to the Madu Chikwendu as first elected AMP President, and then Paul Obazele before Zik Zulu returned in an elected capacity.
Chairman of AMP electoral committee, Sunny Macdon, in his remarks, moments before announcing winners at AMP’s seventh AGM, said, “Today, we have successfully conducted the best elections for our associations, with 18 states that participated. It was a conclusive, free and fair election as members of AMP from various states freely voted for their new leaders who would paddle the affairs of the association for the next two years.
“We wish to also inform you that the offices of the treasurer and that of the Public Relations Officer of AMP would be vied for at a later date, as contestants failed to meet up with the association’s electoral requirements. And the states that participated in this historic day were Delta, Abia, Abuja, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Benue, Bayelsa, Imo, Edo, Gombe, Niger, Kaduna, Plateau, Lagos and Rivers.”
The emergence of veteran Nigerian filmmaker and entertainment executive did not come easy, as all details concerning the elections were duly followed, as the states later filed out one after the other for accreditations before the actual vote commenced. That was followed with the sorting of ballot papers before final voting and eventual announcement of the respective winners.
Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, represented by the State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Mr Lawrence Ejiofor, who declared the occasion opened, had lauded the association “For painstakingly weathering the storm of sustaining the movie and entertainment industry with little or no support from the government; and the association had attained a great success despite the economic and environmental challenges.
“You have achieved great feat on your own in the movie and entertainment industry. As a state, we have decided to support you by making you landlords in Delta. We have heard your challenges and I can assure you that they will be things of the past, because here in Delta, you will operate freely as landlords. We are building a film village for you to keep you permanently here and this project hopefully will be ready in 2021. So, your challenge after now is to beat Hollywood.”
The immediate past president of the association, Nwadike, who had a day earlier led some members to inspect the Asaba Film Village, before paying a courtesy call to the governor, called for support from all members to enable the newly elected executive deliver on promises. “Despite daunting challenges, the industry has achieved a lot without much of government’s support, and there was the need to consolidate on the achievements.
“I want you to give support to the new executive whose mandate is to deepen the association’s achievements over the years. Nigeria is one, we have one Nollywood and we have one AMP, we are film makers and we are businessmen, we must stop in-fighting and support the new executive to enable the association get value for its money,” he said, while thanking Gov. Okowa for his administration’s commitment to building a film village as an incentive to producers to thrive and make Delta home for Nollywood.
On his part, Zeb Ejiro, AMP’s BoT chairman, who also clutch the bragging right of having Nollywood starting from his office, said the election was a turning point for the movie industry, while thanking the association for chosen the delta state capital for the national election.
In her acceptance speech, Anyiam-Osigwe, while appreciating delegates for electing her as their president pledged, “To deepen the achievements of the association by opening other channels to enable members get value for their money. I will work towards ensuring that the irony of the country being the second largest producer of movies in the world, but ranked poorest would be reversed”
“I assure you that piracy would be checked to protect intellectual property and to open operational database for producers in order to create contacts for members. We also work for a review of the association’s constitution to form a working document, as we would explore opportunities in community cinemas, terrestrial television and the cable networks to ensure producers get value for their money.”
She continued: “Also, distribution will not be a challenge as we shall explore the African market and if we can get only one per cent of the market, it will be a great gain. We shall build the value chain by engaging and integrating almost 70 per cent of movie producers in Nigeria,” she reassured, while promising to unite the association and carry everyone along in the delivery of her electoral promises.
Notable filmmaker, Lancelot Imasuen, called on government to create the needed enabling environment for the industry to thrive, saying, “We need serious regulations to check piracy and the law enforcement agencies need to be educated on areas that concern the infringement on property intellectual rights.”
He called on government to give tax incentives and provide vital equipment that would help their members to produce films that can stand shoulder to shoulder with those of their counterparts across the world.
On his part, Adamu Sokonko, Gombe AMP State Chairman, said the national conference had helped in fostering unity, as he underscored the need for production of movies that would explore culture to promote understanding and unity among the diverse ethnic groups in the country.
Earlier, Chief Ejiro, Nwadike, Chief Amata, Chief Ossai and Dr. Williams had stormed the Asaba Film Village to see for themselves before leaving for a courtesy call on Okowa, where they commended his quest to build a world class film village in the state capital, as contractors handling the Film Village and Leisure Center, assured them of February 2021 delivery date.
Governor Okowa expressed excitement with their visit, especially as Deltans have done quite a lot to promote the movie and entertainment industry, saying, “We thank you for returning home to conduct your elections having contributed a lot to Delta. I am glad that you have gone to the film village being developed alongside a pleasure park. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the pace with which we intended to work in that and we could have done better than it is now, but hopefully it will be completed by next year.
“We are aware that most movies in Nigeria are shot in Delta and Asaba to precise. The importance of the entertainment industry in job creation and economic development of Delta State cannot be over emphasized. We will create a functional movie village and with time we will partner with the private sector to manage the film village. I welcome you to Delta and wish you well in your elections,” he added.
Addressing the Governor, Nwadike said, “We have been to the project site and now we can boldly say we have a home and a base here. I am commending you, Mr. Governor with every zeal and zest, because we are indeed coming to the promise land. I say this with all seriousness, because wherever we go all over the world as film makers, they ask us where exactly is Nollywood?
“Though Nollywood started from Zeb Ejiro’s office, but there is no place to say this is Nollywood like they have the Bollywood and Hollywood in India and America. And so, the importance of all these is economic growth, our restive youths would be further taken off the street. It’s indeed a massive place and a creative arena where everybody in the film industry will find something to do. This is indeed a promise kept by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and we are very happy and proud to be part of this project,” the filmmaker said.
For the Chairman, BoT of the Association, Chief Ejiro, “You are the first Governor in this country to build a film village and by the grace of God AMP will be here to celebrate with you in February 2020. This will create massive employment and help solve crime and criminality in our dear state because it will take a lot of youths off the street. Tourism is one of the world’s greatest income earners and as movie producers, we identify with your dream to make Delta the leading movie hub for West Africa when this place is completed.
“It will attract world class studios that will come to partner with us here. As the biggest movie producers in Nigeria and the highest employers of labour in the movie industry we seek the opportunity to work with you in this project and to integrate us into your tourism potentials so that together we can make Delta the hub of the movie industry in West Africa.” he said.
On his part, the President of the Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN) Chief Fred Amata, said, “The film village will boost productivity of movie directors, and in terms of creativity, it will boost our productions, especially having the opportunity to recreate anything that the mind can conjure, and that alone is a huge boost to what it takes to achieve the creative part of film making.
“Nigerians have been known to fly abroad for high tech and multi tech back up, but this is going to be here in our door step, and for the projection and the evolution of the industry, this is so timely. The industry has been evolving and this is bringing a new lease of life to the industry and we are being reborn. We can now say Nollywood is in Asaba, because it will have the availability of technology, which includes high-end equipment, and high-end production facilities among others.
“We are particularly happy for having everything gathered together in one spot, this has been a major challenge and we have been crying for this. Now the vision is clear and I could see the tremendous work going on there. It’s indeed a vision for Nigeria, West Africa and Africa and this alone is a big kudos to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and all those working with him to achieve this feat.”
Other veterans in the industry who graced the event were Emeka Ossai, Paul Obazele, Opa Williams, Emma Ogugua, Tony Ani, Iyen Obaseki, Franca Brown, Imagbon Abia and a host of others.
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