By Adedapo Adesanya
The House of Representatives has pledged to support the nation’s movie industry, popularly known as Nollywood, noting that the sector has a critical role to play in achieving a better society as it tells how the nation is by the outside world through the content of their trade.
Speaker of the lower chamber of the National Assembly, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, was quoted as saying in a statement by his Media Adviser, Mr Lanre Lasisi.
It was revealed that the Speaker made the call during the opening of a Leadership Master Training for Nollywood Celebrities and Stakeholders under the platform of the Actors’ Guild of Nigeria (AGN) in Abuja yesterday.
He said, “Beyond the questions of economics and profit, there is the issue of the critical role of Nollywood in influencing culture, defining national character, and promoting national identity.
“You also have a responsibility to tell the best stories of our beloved country. I do not propose to turn you into cheerleaders for a Nigeria that does not exist.
“But the stories of men and women thriving through adversity and innovating for prosperity needs to be told, and it falls to you to tell those stories.
“I hold in my heart a fundamental belief that our highest aspirations for Nigeria can only be achieved by the combined effort of patriots working together to make real the vision of a prosperous and peaceful country.”
To emphasise the importance of Nollywood to the nation’s socio-economic development, the Speaker noted that the entertainment industry in Nigeria has grown to become a critical part of the economy.
He, however, stressed that by addressing the challenges confronting the industry, much more can be achieved, saying, “With adequate investment, a supportive regulatory environment, better training and capacity development, Nollywood will grow beyond our present dreams and surpass our highest ambitions.
“It falls to all of us, in government, in the private sector and across society to identify the ways we can help the industry reach the heights we all know is possible.”
Mr Gbajabiamila said the training was apt, particularly at this moment in the national history when the challenges we face require leadership, creativity and innovation in bounds.
“One of the other reasons this event is especially timely is that it provides an opportunity to answer the question of how to rebuild the industry after what has been a difficult year.
“Additionally, we can lay the groundwork for future collaboration and acquire the leadership resources that will stand the industry in good stead for the future,” he added.
The Speaker also assured the actors of his continued support for the upliftment of their trade towards ensuring that the industry continues to contribute to the socio-economic advancement of Nigeria.
On his part, House Minority Leader, Mr Ndudi Godwin Elumelu, expressed delight at the event, noting that “The much needed strategic multi-sectoral efforts to guarantee the desired rebound and repositioning of the movie industry in Nigeria, though long overdue, has begun.”
According to him, the country’s movie industry, more than any other social platform, remains critical in the moulding of the character of members of the society, especially the youths, women and children, as well as the outside world seeing the nation from the plots, setting and narratives of the movies.
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