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Best of Nollywood made In Aba

By Chuks Nwanne
24 December 2016   |   3:00 am
For the first time in the history of the award ceremony, Best of Nollywood Award (BON) was staged in the southeastern region of the country, with Abia State as the preferred destination.
Founder of BON, Seun Oloketuyi looks on, as Gov. Ikpeazue presents award to Fidelis Duker.

Founder of BON, Seun Oloketuyi looks on, as Gov. Ikpeazu presents award to Fidelis Duker.

For the first time in the history of the award ceremony, Best of Nollywood Award (BON) was staged in the southeastern region of the country, with Abia State as the preferred destination. Originally billed to hold in Umuahia the state capital, a last minutes change in plan saw the award ceremony moved to the commercial town of Aba, the Enyimba City.

“The hall we were to use in Umuahia wasn’t ready, so, the Governor has asked that we move the event to Aba,” one of the organisers hinted, even as guests had settled in their hotel rooms in Umuahia.

For sure, you can imagine the level of hiccups in trying to transfer guests from Umuahia to Aba, as well as reroute other guests arriving from Lagos to the new venue. Notwithstanding the challenges, “the show must go on.”

Though the change in city ensured that the ceremony started hours after schedule, there was no gainsaying that from the moment guests started making their way into the Eldorado Events Centre, Aba, a palpable air of expectation and excitement hung thickly in the air.

Dressed in a floral shirt made in his beloved Aba, Governor Ikpeazu was one of the earliest arrivals at the event. And he took time on the red carpet backslapping and hugging the guests that milled round him. Without further ado, Segun Arinze, the artistic director for BON Awards, signaled the commencement of the event and introduced Okey Bakassi as host.

Curiously, Mercy Aigbe, who was announced as co-host failed to show up. There were feelers that Mercy’s no-show might have been due to the late realisation that she couldn’t host a show of such magnitude despite initially agreeing to.

“When we approached her to host the event, she gladly and graciously accepted and we got a costumier to make her clothes. She even went for fittings and all only for her to stop taking the executive producer’s phone calls two days to the event,” a source revealed.

In her absence, comedian Okey Bakassi held fort perfectly and professionally and kept the show in perspective while ensuring there was no dull moment all through.

Homegrown rapper, Ruffcoin, gave the audience a foretaste of what was to come with his performance that got the governor singing and clapping along, while comedian Funnybone, took the event to a different level with his jokes. Rapper cum singer, Skales closed the event with a pulsating performance that had everybody on their feet.

For filmmaker, Fidelis Duker, who incidentally, started his career in Nollywood from Pound Road, Aba, his Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Governor Ikpeazu is instructive.

“I remember with nostalgia that my first film titled Skeleton (in Igbo Language) produced 23 years ago and how I went to the popular Pound Road, Aba, searching for a distribution deal. However, fast forward 23years later, I return to Aba to be honoured with a special recognition award for my contribution to the development and growth of Nollywood.”

Duker dedicated the award to his late mum, who raised the initial N3, 000 he needed then to commence his foray into the make-believe world.

But the biggest winner of the night was Something Wicked, which won in six out of the 13 categories it got nominations; Movie with the Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor (English), Best Supporting Actress (English), Movie of the Year, Director of the Year and Best Kiss in a Movie.

According to the producer, Okey Uzoeshi, “What can I say? Honestly speaking, I have basically been in shock. It’s hard to believe that my first project could do all this. Thank God and everyone who has supported this journey. It can only get better.”

The best actor gong went to Alex Ekubo, while Judith Audu won in the best actress category for her self-produced movie, Just not Married, which got multiple nominations. Toyin Aimaku and Yomi Fabiyi won the best actor (male and Female) Yoruba for their roles in Fabiyi’s Metomi.

Now in its eighth year, the Best of Nollywood Awards, according to the Head of Jury, Niran Adedokun, specifically aims at promoting the Nigerian cultural essence in movie making.

“This is why emphasis is placed on movies that are produced in the indigenous languages. As we said last year however, we hope that more producers will come forward and venture into film in our some other languages than Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba. I must say that everyone sitting here tonight is a winner. The fact that you made the nomination list is an indication that you deserve this honour.

“Those who take plaques home are the emblems of the excellence that you all represent. How else do we explain the fact that of over 120 movies and 1000 practitioners that we had the opportunity to assess this year, yours is one of the just a little over 40 movies nominated. Our hope is that tonight’s honour will inspire greater passion and excellence in us.”

In his short speech, the governor lauded the organisers for the initiative reiterating once again the global appeal and importance of Nollywood while admonishing practitioners to ensure that their messages should be more positive.