By Benjamin Njoku
MINISTER of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, weekend, applauded the high quality of the new web-series, ‘Our Best Friend’s Wedding’, produced by REDTV, attesting that Nigeria’s television production and creative industries have come of age with capabilities to contribute significantly to the country’s socio-economic development.
The minister said this was part of the objectives the recently signed pact between the Federal Ministry of Information and The Tony Elumelu Foundation hopes to achieve. The Tony Elumelu Foundation is founded by the Chairman of UBA Plc, Mr. Tony Elumelu.
He said,“I recall that before the MOU we signed with the Tony Elumelu Foundation, we identified a plethora of problems in the creative industry ranging from systemic failure, lack of monitoring of intellectual property and lack of capacity. Having said that, I am particularly delighted to tell you that after organizations like the Tony Elumelu Foundation and the British Council came to the rescue of the creative industries, the story has now changed for good.”
Reiterating why the MoU is important for Nigeria’s creative industries, he explained that the film industry, best known as Nollywood, is the most energetic in the world and has a total estimated value of over $500 million per annum. It also provides jobs for thousands of people but sadly, an estimated $200 milion is lost to piracy annually because of the absence of formal, legal distribution systems.
The minister made the observation at the premiere of the web-series, which held at Imax Film House, Lekki, Lagos. Speaking at the event, the director of marketing and corporate communications, UBA Plc and executive producer of the television series, Mrs. Bola Atta, appreciated the critical interventions by the government in creating an enabling environment for the creative industry to thrive, whilst noting that the series, made by Nigerians in Nigeria was of world class standard. According to her, in just a few days of its release, the series garnered over 130,000 views on the YouTube channel.
Chairman of United Bank for Africa Plc, Mr. Tony Elumelu, group managing director, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka and players in the entertainment and film industries who graced the event cheered throughout the end credits of the series which stars actor Adebola ‘Illrymz’ Olowu, Oreka Godis, Gbemi Olateru-Olagbegi, Chris Attoh, Timi Charles-Fadipe, Unamka Marycolette, Yewande Lawal, Sarah Boulos and Theo Lawson. The series centres on a young man who panics and buys an engagement ring on a whim.