What has always driven movie productions as part of art since the beginning of its technology is entertainment. But for this art to stand on a lofty pedestal which should be the goal is to deliver valuable information, message and education. When an entertainment falls short of providing values to a society and rather, becomes a channel to erosion of what it ought to promote and protect it misses the objective and not without terrible consequences. “Man is a product of his environment and conditions,” according to Karl Max. And movies as medium of education have the power of molding the minds of a people depending on what they are being fed.
A third world country like Nigeria where professionalism is absent in almost every field, together with corruption, unbridle cravings for money, wealth and fame, movies serve solely as business investments and that is the priority. What impact the movies have on the society especially the young ones and the youths is least in consideration, if at all. As long as the story flows, no matter how potentially negative impact and actors are satisfied with their contracts, everyone jumps in and in a short while the crap is in circulation.
Some people argued that censorship board is always on desk to protect a society from such virulent productions, but what they underestimate is corruption. They forget that the censorship board is made up of humans who could be infected with corruption virus, and ready to do the bids of the producers. Besides, it is needless to think of intrusion and intervention of the government to give standard to the products the public consume from movie industry. This is like asking Nigerian police force to lead a campaign to stop roadside bribery.
Fatal Arrogance is a Nollywood movie recently produced, featuring a popular actor Pete Edochie. The movie is not yet out, and it is being speculated to be a reenactment of events in the life of Sheikh Abrahim El Zakzaky, a Nigerian Hausa leader who is being persecuted and currently in detention. From every quarter among Muslim community petitions against the release of the movie are sent to the Nigerian Inspector general of police, and Pete Edochie who is a popular figure is said to be receiving death threats for his involvement.
Inasmuch as we try to hold movie industry accountable we must do so in fairness and good judgment. The truth is that no one has seen the move to provide basis for judgment. Only few minutes clip made the Muslims to clench their swords and are ready to slaughter because the movie is a violation of their religious right, or mimicking and mocking of their leader, they claimed? This hype has nothing to do with the message of the movie; it appears to be rooted purely on fanaticism. When the movie is out and it violates any law, it will be time for anyone with his reasons intact to make a case.
But the questions that still confuse many a man is the boundary to which actors and actresses must not transverse in their profession? Does being an actor who is open for hire means playing any character no matter the moral implication, exculpates him from responsibility? Is there any character that must not be played in movie for whatever reason? Who bears the responsibility of morality of a movie, the actors, directors or producers? What can lead to a movie interdiction apart from moral import?
Today in Nigeria, local movie entertainment has in some ways brought merit and demerit to how reality is perceived. It will be disingenuous to deny that there are some educative movies from Nollywood. The concern here is on the demerit. To catch the truth about the effect of this industry is to take a look at an average Nigerian youth, who never believes in a hard work and education any more. He whines and expresses discontent for not leaving in material opulence even while still in high school. I said it before: a generation that doesn’t believe in hard work is a generation of thieves and social misfits.
This counsel is for the agency, group and association responsible for movie production in Nigeria to be conscious of their pivotal roles in shaping the minds of the public. When they fail in this duty by destroying the morality of the people, they have succeeded in creating Frankenstein monsters, and would have to fight to stay alive with their spoils!