THE WOOD IN NOLLYWOOD

To say that 99% of movie piracy in Nigeria is perpetrated by The Igbos is to tow the line of ethnic discrimination and pandering to xenophobia.

The debate is on and raging that the Igbo traders in Alaba International Market, and elsewhere, are culpable for the infringement of the Intellectual Property Right of Nollywood-Movie-Makers. A new contender for the right to be heard in the ongoing imbroglio posited that the “poor” quality of many a Nigerian movie does not qualify them as Intellectual Property at all.

In my view, this contender is right, if not absolutely correct. But I have my own mind in this matter:

I think the Wood should be taken out of the Nolly. I don’t see any other thing anyone can take out of it- not a single quote, not a memory, not a blasted thing of worth.

I watch Bollywood or Hollywood and come away with great quotes, but not so Nollywood. I won’t spend my time or money on Nollywood products; I don’t even watch Africa Magic. If I am not doing Movie Magic I spend my time on CartoonNetwork or Nickelodeon or Boomerang and my pursuit of happiness is less hard-going.

For the absurd I tune in and stick to Sony Max; not Africa Magic. But Nollywood is not all that Bad per se, if you subscribe to Nollywood. The thing has its utilitarian value. At least members of my crew every time snatch the remote control device out of my hand and tune in to Africa Magic as a escape valve to let off some frustration or the other through rants and complaints about the waste of time watching Nollywood movies. I sometimes join in the huff and puff of hewing down and making matchsticks of the Wood out of Nolly.

This is not to say that films or movies produced in Nigeria or by Nigérians are all dust-bin stuffing. To say Nigerian movies are thrash will be unfair to Kelani’s Mainframe products- many of which I never get sick of watching repeatedly. To say Nigerian movies are crap would be doing Emem Isong’s Royal Arts Academy films an injustice for her excellent actors, well-crafted scripts and coherent story lines. I will bypass a pirated copy of these and go for the real thing at any cost. These are worth their salts and a little more. But I will not buy any average Nigerian movie even if their original copies sell at 3 for 5 Naira.

For their thankless effort at popularizing Nollywood movies, I wonder if the maligned Igbo Traders are even recouping their investments, the trying would be a great waste otherwise.

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