A trending argument has been raging on social media for some days since after Nollywood actress Aisha Lawal declared that Yorubas own Nollywood.
In reaction to this comment, many persons of Igbo extraction have kicked, saying they started the home video business and one tribe can’t lay claim to Nollywood.
However, a clip of veteran Yoruba/Nollywood practitioners, like Iya Awero, Ogogo, Oga Bello and many more, has come out to reveal the actual pioneers of the industry and how it started.
Recall that famous actress Aisha Lawal stirred the argument with a comment she made during an interview where she noted that Yorubas are the true owners of the Nigerian movie industry and its founders.
In reaction, some Igbo practitioners went online to disagree with this statement, noting that it is individualistic and reeks of ignorance.
These were the words of Gideon Okeke, an Igbo actor. Some Igbos on Twitter have also claimed ownership of Nollywood, noting that they started home video production and packaging.
Pa Hubert Ogunde, Ade Love, and Duro Ladipo are the pioneers of Nollywood – Oga Bello, Ogogo clarified.
According to Chief Adebayo Salami, better known as Oga Bello as well as Lanre Hassan, aka Iya Awero they noted that Nollywood didn’t start in the late 80s or early 90s but as far back as the 1940s when the first cinema was opened in Yaba, Glover’s street.
In a documentary by Dotun Taylor, an American-based cinematographer, the veterans mentioned the same names who had started the filmmaking and theatre business in Nigeria.
They all mention Pa Adedeji Hubert Ogunde, Ade Love (Kunle Afolayan’s father), Duro Ladipo, Kola Ogunmola, Bala Sala, and others as the founders and pioneers of filmmaking and theatre in Nigeria.
“Pa Adedeji Hubert Ogunde, Ade Love, Duro Ladipo, Kola Ogunmola, Bala Sala are the founders and practitioners of filmmaking and theatre in Nigeria, and they’re all Yoruba.”
And not the narrative by some Igbo practitioners who claim Nollywood started after the first Living in Bondage was realised in the early 90s.
However in recent development, Mazi Jude Pondis, an Igbo individual has called upon the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) and other prominent Nollywood figures to address a recent statement made by actress Aisha Lawal.
He emphasized the importance of respecting the contributions of all ethnic groups that make up Nollywood and avoiding statements that could lead to division.
In a statement he released on social media, Pondis urged the Actors Guild of Nigeria and other key Nollywood stakeholders to intervene and request a public apology from Aisha Lawal.
In his words, ” This is almost 48 hours that Aisha Lawal opened her mouth to spit out irrelevant, inconsequential and false information saying Yorubas started the industry (nollywood) and they own the industry and till now the Actors Guild of Nigeria and all other Nollywood stakeholders has not called her to order and have her publicly apologize and rephrase her derogatory and defamatory statement, not even the Yorubas has come out to caution her for saying such, I’m even so disappointed to see that the lady is doing 5k giveaway on her page which shows she’s not remorseful for what she said.
A broad daylight bigot, not even Falz, Mr Macaroni and other vocal Yoruba born celebrities has come out to condemn her statement. I was thinking politics was our problem but I didn’t know tribalism has dealt with us to the point of no repair.
This woman said Yorubas own the Nollywood industry on a national Newspaper ’Tribune’ and till now no one want to discipline her for making such unnecessary statements, Nollywood is a growing industry due to collective efforts of people from different tribes and for one person to come out to say a particular tribe owns it does not show we’re one again.
Aisha Lawal should be suspended by Nollywood until she shows remorse for her actions and gross misconduct, if not, her statement is going to rubbish all the efforts everyone is making for a better industry. Why is it so hard to be one in this country? Even those expected to unite us are breaking us. Why?”