- Veteran Nigerian actor Paul Obazele recently showed once again his depth of filmmaking knowledge during an interview
- The Labour Party governorship candidate for Edo state recently spoke to Legit.ng about the true founders of Nollywood
- He noted that it would be wrong to completely dismiss the two factions laying claims to be the founders of the industry; however, one has a superior claim
Veteran Nigerian actor, producer and politician Paul Obazele has finally put the rife argument about who the true owners of Nollywood are to bed.
During an interview with Legit.ng's Nosa Oke-Hortons, the Labour Party man, gave his expert knowledge about the Nigerian movie industry's birth, growth and current status.
The true founders of Nollywood
"It is impossible to talk about Nollywood and what it is told and not mention the likes of Herbert Ogunde, Baba Sala, Adelove, Ishow Pepper, and Ambassador Olusola. These are the people who brought out their hard-earned money and used it to promote and create what we call the Nigerian movie industry today."
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The veteran noted during the interview that Nollywood had been around for a very long time, long before "Living In Bondage" in 1992, as claimed by some quarters.
Obazele noted that in the years before Living In Bondage was released, Chief Herbert Ogunde produced movies in celluloid.
"How the business of Nollywood took off" - Obazele reveals
However, the movie star turned politician noted that the business side of Nollywood took off predominantly in the 1990s.
"Motion pictures have always been there. We've been taking movies to the cinemas from way way back. Recall Festac 77. The British taught us how to make cinematic movies. However, the business of Nollywood picked up because somebody decided to put the pictures on tapes (VHS). It was at this point we started doing direct marketing. So, to a large extent, you can't write the 1992 claimants off completely. But there is no disputing it: Ogunde and Co were the breath that gave birth to the Nigerian filmmaking and theatre industry."
He continued saying:
"That the Igbos came in and started turning motion pictures into VHS tapes does not give them the right to claim that they started the industry. It is blatant misinformation."
How the Nigerian movie industry became known as Nollywood
The veteran movie star, during the conversation, revealed how the name Nollywood came to be. He also shared that because the name started at a particular time does not mean the industry did not already exist.
"However, I want to state categorically that the current name or the acronym "Nollywood" that the movie industry is known by started in the 1990s after the release of the movie Living in Bondage. And this happened because, at the time, Nigerian movie lovers were not accustomed to VHS and watching films on tape. That's how the acronym Nollywood came to be."
"Why I want to be governor of Edo state" - Obazele
The Labour Party gubernatorial candidate for Edo State also spoke about his political ambition. He said:
"I want to be the governor of Edo State because I want to help change the sad narrative in my dear state. The Edo people have suffered long enough. Years of neglect, treated with disdain, it is about time for the true sons and daughters of Edo state to enjoy the true dividends of good governance. And that is exactly what I intend to give them."
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"We own Nollywood" - Aisha Lawal declares
Legit.ng recalls reporting when ace Yoruba actress Aisha Lawal slammed some Igbo actors who claimed that Nollywood started in 1992.
The discussion to note the true owners of Nollywood became a major discussion on social media, with different factions laying claims as the true owners of the industry.
In reaction to the argument, some veteran Yoruba actors like Iya Awero, Oga Bello, and Ogogo cleared the air, revealing the true owners and founders of the Nigerian movie industry.