A former Governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, has called on the Federal Government to urgently take over and properly fund the film village founded in Ososa by the doyen of Nigerian theatre, late Chief Hubert Ogunde.
He said it was important for the government to reposition the movie and entertainment industry in the country for optimal revenue generation and maximum benefits to all citizens, stressing that the creative sector currently remains an untapped goldmine.
Daniel, who is the All Progressives Congress (APC) senatorial candidate for Ogun East, spoke on Friday at an empowerment programme held as part of activities of his ward-to-ward tour of Odogbolu Local Government Area of the state.
According to him, Ogun State is the largest exporter of entertainers in Nigeria and continues to be the hub of global entertainment.
He expressed optimism that with sufficient support from the Federal Government, the film and entertainment industry would inevitably help in creating more jobs and consequently propel economic growth and development of the country.
The former governor recalled how the late Ogunde, who hailed from Ososa in Odogbolu Local Government Area, played a vital pioneering role and revolutionised the practice of theatre arts in Nigeria, adding that what is now known as Nollywood could be traced to his legendary exploits.
He said, “Ogun State continues to be the hub of global entertainment. The new sound from the other side being celebrated worldwide comes from us. While we are happy to share these talents with the rest of the world, they belong to us. Talk of Olamide, D’banj, Kizz Daniel, Laycon, Fireboy DML, Asa, Wande Coal and Reminisce, amongst others, come from here.
“As we led the 70s, 80s and 90s with the likes of Ebenezer Obey, Fela, Haruna Ishola, Wasiu Ayinde Marshal, Sir Shina Peters, Adewale Ayuba, Salawa Abeni, Batile Alake, Tope Alabi, so are we leading the new age. But not just in music; Nollywood today is championed by the likes of Tunde Kelani, Yemi Shodimu and numerous people from this state.
“Ogun State, therefore, should be given special consideration in the development of the entertainment industry. The National Council of Arts and Culture (NCAC) should take over the film village in Ososa for proper funding.”
Daniel explained that among his agenda to the National Assembly is to get the Federal Government to take interest in and support the development of the film village in Ososa.
He pointed out that Hollywood and Bollywood have generated impressive revenues for the United States and India respectively, adding that Nigeria too could make huge profits from its Nollywood through proper development of the industry.
The senatorial candidate vowed to support legislation and policies that would make the entertainment industry more vibrant and productive to realise its potential.
He said, “The biggest thing that is pushing the American economy is Hollywood, the biggest thing that is pushing the Indian economy is Bollywood. Now we have Nollywood and they are doing very well. Therefore, all this problem of unemployment in the land, we can make use of the inherent talents that we have in Ogun State.
“Part of what we will do in Abuja is to push the Federal Government to come and support the emancipation of the film village that we have in Ososa in Odogbolu Local Government.”
Daniel restated his advocacy for local government autonomy which, he noted, would make the nation’s third tier of government fully functioning and accelerate development at the grassroots.
“Part of what we want to go and do in the Senate is to push the bill to activate that there must be financial autonomy granted to the various local governments. It is when there is money in the local government that we can expect our Local Government Chairman to perform,” he said.
In a related development, Daniel said the government should focus on providing subsidised inputs for farmers, saying he would use his time at the Senate to push relevant legislation to realise food subsidies.
Daniel made the remarks while hosting hundreds of farmers in Ijebu Ode on Thursday. The Ogun East farmers association had visited him to pledge support for his senatorial ambition and table the agenda they want him to facilitate when he gets to office.
“What I can assure you is that I am going to be your facilitator both with the governor and at the federal level when we get into office. No nation can do well without subsidising food for its people,” he said.
While describing Ogun State as a major agricultural hub, the former governor declared that the government at all levels should facilitate necessary investments in the state’s agriculture to increase local food production and further tackle unemployment.
At Friday’s event, Daniel also used the occasion to appeal to farmers in the local government and the generality of the electorate to support the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, in the 2023 elections.
Amidst fanfare and enthusiastic reception, Daniel toured several communities in the local government, including Imosan, Imodi, Okun Owa, Odogbolu, Aiyepe, Ososa, Idowa, Ibefun, Ilado, Mobalufon, Ala/Igbile, Ibido, Omu and Ogbo where he solicited massive support for all APC candidates in the forthcoming polls.
A major highlight of the ward-to-ward tour is the raffle where an agricultural tractor, branded Nissan saloon car, 240 litres deep freezer and 2.5KVA generator were won as star prize, 1st prize, 2nd prize and 3rd prize respectively.
Over 500 other items, including sewing machines and grinding machines, were also won while 15 indigent students from the local government bagged scholarships.