The agony of setting up a hall of fame
The idea of a Hall of fame came in the year 2004. It was in the presence of former Minister of Information and Culture, Prince Tony Momoh, Pastor Nek Nnebue (producer of Living in Bondage, believed to herald a new home video film culture after the death of celluloid cinema-oriented film culture now experiencing a resurgence), late Amaka Igwe, Zeb Ejiro at National Theatre, Lagos, during one of my programmes.
The first induction, held in 2006, had inductees like Brenda Shehu, Laraban Nuhu, late Baba Gana, the emir actor (Magana Garichi), actor and former NTA star, Sadiq Daba, famous actor Kazeem Yaro of the Cock Crow at Dawn TV series, Matt Dazie of the famous Behind the Cloud TV series, Sadiq Balewa, former Vice Chancellor, University of Ilorin, Prof. Samsudeen Omali, and the Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Jos, Mr. Dauda Kasumu.
All these inductees are from northern Nigeria. They were inducted alongside practitioners like Pete Edochie, Elder Osi Affason, Zeb Ejiro, Clarion Chukwura, Peter Igho, late Jimmy Atte, Sam Dede, late Justice Esiri, and Enebeli Elebuwa. These were all inducted in Abuja along with the late Chief Segun Olushola. The average cost of this historic exercise was N10 million; only Virgin Atlantic airline gave us support.
This amount came entirely from Chief Eddie Ugbomah’s pocket. All the 48 Inductees where flown in and out of Abuja; they were logged in a hotel, given dinner, well entertained, and breakfast the following day before their departure. There was no support from the then Minister of Information, Mr. Frank Nweke Jr.
The late Balamila, Bobby Benson, Dan Maraya Jos, Roy Chicago, will be inducted posthumously, along some living artistes like Olu Jacobs, Oga Bello, Jimoh Aliu, Allahji Chairman Co-operate Pictures, Chief Aina Kushiro, K.O.K, Kenneth Okonkwo, Ngozi Ezeonu, Ngozi Nwosu, Rachael Oniga, Shola Oshinowo, Liz Benson, Rosemary Ngbi, Binta Magaji, and many other forgotten stars will be inducted.
We have tried in the past three months sending letters through courier to some of the contributors to the entertainment industry who are now Senators, ex-governors, ex-president and oil tycoons. We are appealing to them to respond to our letters by attending the induction night on the 25th August 25, 2017 at National Theatre, Igamu, Lagos.
The painful aspect of this programme is that majority of the federal parasitals have made promises of moral and financial support, but up till date, the usual recession excuse has not allowed them to keep their promises. If things were normal, which they are not, these two Halls of Fame – Music and Movie – ought to have been established more than 50 years ago in the country.
Most people don not know that Wole Soyinka (Kongi’s Harvest and Blues for Prodigals) made two 35mm movies (celluloid films), the late M.K.O. Abiola and Jab Adu produced one of the greatest Nigerian movies, Bisi: Daughter of the River. It is so sad and unfortunate that Nigeria’s power problems made me lose over N800 million of my celluloid films, yet I am still single-handedly supporting the survival of the Halls of fame.
We are expecting Governor Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos State or Dr. Chidia Maduekwe of Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) to acquire these galleries to save Nigeria the embarrassment of our plan to sell them to UNESCO, Ford Foundation, the owner of CNN, as I will not watch history die. All the above-named artists, living or dead, have served Nigeria meritoriously.
We are expecting any of the multi-nationals like Nigeria Breweries Plc, NNPC, Dangote, Otedola, when they read this story, to please come to salvage and keep the halls of fame alive so that our children can have a place to learn about the professionals that have walked this path in the past. We hope everyone joins us, alongside our special guest and Minister of Information and Culture, Allahji Lai Mohammed, Oba of Owu Kingdom, Governor Ambode and other top friendly and encouraging Nigerians like Professor Pat Utomi, Professor Itshe Sagay, Professor Tunde Babawale, Presidents and Executives of Yorowood, Kaniwood, Nollywood and other associations.
May God save Nigeria!