Dear readers hold your breath; the above headline has nothing to do with ex president and elder statesman Chief Olusegun Obasanjo joining Nollywood as an actor or filmmaker.
It has to do with the recent visit of a 12-man delegation of the Association of Movie Producers, Nigeria, (AMP) to the Abeokuta, Ogun State hill top mansion of the former president.
The delegation which included six members of AMP executive led by the National President Zik Zulu Okafor, conducted the investiture of Obasanjo as the Grand Patron of AMP. The former President was presented with a gold plated Plaque with the inscription, “Emblem of Distinction and a crystal laurel.
In his speech, the AMP President who led the investiture ceremony stated that Obasanjo was overwhelmingly chosen to be the Grand Patron of AMP, for his manifest contributions towards the development and growth of the movie industry in Nigeria. Okafor recalled that Obasanjo set up the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) during his tenure as military head of state and also set up committees with a mandate to initiate programmes towards the growth of Nollywood during his tenure as civilian president.
In his response,Obasanjo stated that he rarely accepts honours to be a patron but says, “I am happy to take this one because I believe strongly in three sub-sectors of the economy.
These are agriculture, small–medium enterprises (SMEs) and entertainment and tourism”.
The former President promises to work with AMP towards the overall development of Nollywood. He affirmed that during his tenure as President between 1999 and 2007, he discovered during the course of his trips that Nollywood films were very popular, not only in African countries but even in Caribbean countries, especially Jamaica.
Speaking on the forthcoming celebration of Nollywood at 20, the former President who had breakfast with his wife and his Nollywood guests, pledged to use his influence to mobilize well meaning Nigerians and the international community to make the celebration a grand success.
As a mark of the beginning of a strong relationship with Nollywood, Obasanjo added that his Presidential Library will partner with AMP on projects that will bring about the needed platforms and structures for an accelerated development and growth of the motion picture industry in Nigeria.
The Nollywood team was later led on a tour of the Presidential Library complex.