Dear Clarion Chukwura,
Let me first of all congratulate you on your award as the winner of the Best Actress in a Leading Role at this year’s African Movie Academy Awards, AMAA. It was a well-deserved recognition for your artistry, consistency and industry over the years. Methodical actresses like you are hard to find in this clime. You deserve every good thing that comes your way. Accept, once again, my heartfelt congratulations. That was the fan part of me.
However, as a concerned Nollywood stakeholder, I am, to say the least, disturbed and dismayed by your uncharacteristic antagonism of Ibinabo Fiberesima, President of the Actors’ Guild of Nigeria. I feel that for an association that has been at best, comatose, and at worst, deficient of good leadership, Ibinabo’s presidency has rejuvenated it and what she deserves are commendation and support, not condemnation and name-calling.
I have read some of your tendentious rebukes against her presidency, especially where you lampooned the AGN’s visit to the presidency, questioning the morality of such and flaying Ibinabo for not taking some veterans along. And I laughed because it all became clearer when I got to the part where you mentioned the non-invitation of ‘veterans’ to Aso Rock. Ibinabo’s response to you is already in the public domain so; I won’t bother about repeating them here.
But I do have some takeaways from the crossfire you stoked with the AGN President. If you were attacking her policies and activities as AGN president, perhaps, I might not have any issues with you because constructive criticisms indeed help to keep an office holder on their toes. But bringing her past into your dissection of her presidency is a no-no for me. Can you, Ms Chukwura, be proud of all that you have done in the past? Can you beat your chest and say that your past was more dignifying than Ibinabo’s? If the forthcoming AGN election was about how well one has lived their life, Ms Chukwura, you and I know that your disqualification would be a walk in the park.
Without gainsaying the obvious, I am a fan of Ibinabo the AGN president (maybe not the actress as much as I am your own fan) because more than any other President in the 16 years existence of the AGN, none has achieved as much as she has. And I say this with every sense of responsibility. Is it about the fact that now, the AGN has a permanent site in Abuja? Or that the Ibinabo-led AGN successfully began the implementation of the Health Plan and members are now enjoying the scheme (HMO)? Are you aware that now, as a registered AGN member you can travel with Aero to Abuja and elsewhere in Nigeria at the flat rate of N12, 000? That deal is thanks to Ibinabo. But for Ibinabo and her proactiveness, veteran actor, Osita Okeke, who was diagnosed with pancreas and prostrate related disease and could not raise the money for his treatment would have been dead by now? How about President of the Screen Writers Guild of Nigeria, Chike Bryan who was diagnosed with chronic renal failure but got a lifeline of N10million from President Goodluck Jonathan courtesy Ibinabo’s intervention? Not forgetting also Romanus Amuta who played Natty in the evergreen sitcom, New Masquerade. It was the AGN that facilitated his treatment in the hospital after suffering mild stroke.
I could go on and on about her achievements but I’m sure you know the facts too that Ibinabo has achieved so much in office. If you can do better, please, articulate your ideas and let’s hear them. Elections are about people and if you are desirous, not inordinately desperate, about leading the association, just proffer and articulate genuine directions for the AGN and I am sure that the discerning actors whose mandate you seek would gladly give you. Do not be goaded into reducing the AGN election into a hairdressers’ association election.
As for the comedian, John Okafor popularly known as Mr. Ibu, I was amused when I read his tirade against Ibinabo. Okafor sounded more like his most popular character, Ibu. It would be sheer waste of time joining issues with a man who is not even aware that the AGN, under Ibinabo, has secured a land where the national headquarters of the AGN would be built. Yet, he claims he wants change. Change starts from within, Ibu.
All said and done, I enthusiastically endorse Ibinabo for a second term. I want her to finish the good work she has started. I am sure that if given a second term, she would take Nollywood beyond where she met it and where it is at the moment.
Concerned Nollywood Stakeholder/Publisher of Best of Nollywood magazine