Comedy industry is a serious business that is why you see able bodied men acting like men of little understanding that is their means of livelihood.
But out of their profession, these men and women are rational thinking human beings who are also feeling the heat of the hardship in the country. That is why Mr Ibu, otherwise known as John Okafor, a seasoned Nollywood actor and comedian, expressed his observation on the Buhari-led federal government anti-corruption war.
Mr Ibu also gave reasons why rituals cannot be left out of Nollywood, plus the money the former president Goodluck Jonathan gave the entertainment industry.
Below, read the excerpts of the interview he granted to Vanguard.
What is your perception of the President Muhammad Buhari-led government anti-corruption war?
It is too early to fight this. I would have preferred the government to set their house in order first. Set the administration going, make the people who voted you talk good of you as you are coming in. The corrupt people know themselves. While your good work is going on, you can then start picking them one after the other. Whoever that has offended government knows he or she has done so.
Government should set its house in order first. Let the good things about this administration flow first before the arrests. Let Nigerians talk good of you first, and then you can now tell them, there are people who did this and that, that need questioning. But starting with this quarrel, fighting as a new government, I do not think it will help. Many people are talking about hunger, no money, collapsed businesses among others. They would have first of all laid good foundation about their administration so that people will feel them first. The change should be seen in the peoples’ welfare and every other thing will follow. That’s my own idea.
Why is it that most Nollywood films tilt towards, ritual and affluence that are perceived as lacking morals?
Films are a reflection of the society. Nobody believes he is a poor person in Nigeria. We are trying to give proper interpretation of what is happening in the society. Films give back the life in the society. But, already, we have held a meeting that all things should go and give way for films dwelling on family, tragic, comedy stories. The issue is that the ritual thing can’t even go in the society. My father for instance, was poisoned to death by his best friend. I was small then. When my father died, he told my mother in a dream about three weeks after, that it was his best friend that killed him. In that dream, my father told my mother, invite the man who killed me but nobody should hurt him.
My father equally instructed my mum to invite my brothers and relations inside our compound. Tell them what I said. My mother invited the man, as my father instructed and other relatives. My father’s instruction was done exactly as it came. They told the man what my father said. He denied and they said okay, you will eat the yam roasted on my father’s grave. If you did not do it, you will go home, but if you did it, you will die here. The yam was roasted on my father’s grave in the presence of the man. All the elders in my village ate the yam and said the yam was sweat and that we did not put poison in the food roasted on father’s grave. Then came the turn of the man, the elders asked him to say that if he was responsible for the death of my father, Emmanuel Okafor, let this food be the last food he will eat.
But if he did not know anything about my father’s death, let his life span be increased. The man who killed my father refused to eat it. And remember, my father had warned us in the dream, that we should not touch him. When he refused, nobody touched him and he left. That is to tell you that the rituals we are shooting is real. But the new generations coming up, they are oblivious about these concoctions. That is why we shoot films to highlight these things so that people will know and shun such evil ways.
What happened to the money, ex-President Jonathan allegedly gave to the AGN as loan?
Laughter…I did not see one naira oohhhh! I do not know who processed and collected it. If the money was released, I do not know. If they did not release it, I do not know. The people who were supposed to give us information, talking about the leadership of AGN, did not tell us anything even the first $200 million, nothing was heard of it. What I am looking for is hectares of land for the Film Village, then I will leave acting.