Favourite Quotes

Life:

*Every man dies. Not every man really lives.

*It is not length of life, but depth of life.

*Life is a series of collisions with the future; it is not the sum of what we have been, but what we yearn to be.

*When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me.

Friendship:

*A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same.

*A single rose can be my garden... a single friend, my world.

*Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.

*Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies.

*The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship.

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An Interview with Chief Clarion Chukwurah

Question 1: What do you think is the greatest challenge facing Nigeria?

Answer: In my opinion, the greatest challenge facing Nigeria is re-structuring the system by the DE-CENTRALIZATION of power in the Federal Executives

Question 2: What can be done to solve that challenge and put Nigeria on the path of progress?

Answer: Nigeria needs autonomous STATES empowered to develop at their own pace, with seventy percent control of their natural resources to self develop industrially their own police force to handle their own security and enabled to provide directly sustainable amenities for their people; remitting thirty percent biannually of returns on their natural resources to the National Treasury to run the National Government, the Supreme Court, the Army and other Federal Security Agencies which should include a Federal watchdog for STATES' accountability to curb the excesses of STATE GOVERNORS and their godfathers. This will give Nigerians the genuine right to individual SELF-DETERMINATION and provide broad based opportunities for sustained industrial growth and healthy competition among the STATES, which will stimulate high level advertizing necessary for media growth. This will also allow for the legitimate demand for open dissemination of information at all levels of governance, qualitative education and availability of jobs, upgrading of each state's police force and provision of modern effective crime detection facilities, among others. Nigerians abroad will have reason to come home, each man and woman returning to in-put into his/her state's development efforts what they are giving to sustain the smooth running of the developed world.

Question 3: What is the greatest challenge facing your profession?

Answer: The unworkability of Nigeria's present statehood structure based on ethnic sentiments and the politics of diversion. The fact that Nigeria manufactures nothing including the film maker's tools nor provide opportunities for a merit based stable progressive society that will throw up various industrial giants who can afford to fund their passion as patrons of the ARTS like theatre companies and Music Concert Halls.

Question 4: What are some of the things that would make a difference in your profession in the nearest future?

Answer: Unionization will scratch the surface, enforce discipline and the rule of law. Government and Private Film funds will help provide capital for film makers.

But, the greater progress can only come with the re-structurization of Nigeria's democracy for SELF DETERMINATION.

Question 5: Can Nigeria ever work?

Answer: Nigeria will work. But not with the current dictatorial do or die all powerful presidential system of democracy bequeathed by the military, the same style structure that has held the entire black Africa In an up-ending grip of under development, laying to waste the best brains in the world only available in Afrlca.

Question 6: What are you doing to make Nigeria work?

Answer: The greatest thing not just me but everyone can do right now to make Nigeria work is; speak up and say ''NO, this structure is not working. We didn't ask for this structure. This is no longer 1979 when General Olusegun Obasanjo handed over the military's option. We want a true progressive democracy." As Nigerians, going to beg in ASO-ROCK or striving to be on Mr. President's list of favorite guests is not the permanent solution. We need to rise above the poverty mentality that is our unwitting fuel for sustaining a system that is keeping us hungry, perpetually below poverty line in every election year.

Question 7: How long do you reckon It will take to make Nigeria the country of our dream?

Answer: It took ten years to make China the dream of the average Chinese after the complete re-structurization of their own system of Socialism and I believe It will take Nigeria the same one decade after complete re-structurizatlon of our current system of democracy to see the gradual emergence of the Nigeria of our dream.

Sincerely yours

Clarion Chukwurah (Chief MS)

UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL SPECIAL PEACE ENVOY

Thursday, 21ST September, 2010

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Unionization of The Nigerian Movie Industry

HISTORY:

The Nigerian film industry, which in the context of this Unionization Bid Press Conference comprise only of Nigerian dramatic film content produced for commerce by independent Nigerian film makers working in Nigeria after independence, began as a celluloid film making industry without any clear cut structure with Wole Soyinka’s Kongi’s Harvest, Son of Africa starring Funsho Adeolu, Ola Balogun’s directorial repertoire of, Ade Afolayan’s films, Hubert Ogunde’s films, Moses Olaiya’s films and Francoise Balogun’s Money Power, to Jab Adu’s ‘Bisi, daughter of the River’, Eddie Ugbomah’s films, Afolabi Adesanya’s ‘Vigilante’, and works by other film makers like Black Goddess, The Mask, Vendor, Blues for a Prodigal and a few others. A continuity of indigenious stories representative of the then current existing lifestyle and happenings in Nigeria/Black Africa socially and politically. This gradual growth of cinematic artistry was stifled by the economic downturn of Nigeria which put film stock completely out of the reach of the film makers’ financial ability and sent the Nigerian film industry to sleep, creating the vacuum that the present home video industry, the ingenious alternative of the new generation Yoruba and English television Plays, Soap Operas and TV. Movie Directors and Producers of the late 1980s and early 1990s across Southern Nigeria stepped in to fill, still without structure simply providing entertainment on a direct home based commercial sale format as opposed to the Cinema Culture of the Colonialists which replaced our original Village Square THEATRE IN THE ROUND entertainment format.

The present home video industry being a child of circumstance funded by non professionals have defied in twenty years of existence every attempt at structurization that will define it as a colossal private enterprise independent of government, dependent only on itself and necessary Union negotiated bi-lateral trade agreements that will afford it constant smooth interaction on all levels of production and distribution with other Unionized Nations’ film industries throughout Africa and the World.

GOVERNMENT INVOLVEMENT:

In 1979, the Nigerian government set up a Nigerian Film Corporation with its 1979 Act under Brendan Shehu. The government thereafter set up the Nigerian Film and Video Census Board. In 1992, the government again set up a committee to formulate for her a National Film Policy, and in 1996, a National Film Institute.

From 1999 – 2004 as DG/MD of the Nigerian Film Corporation, Dr. Hyginus Ozoemena Ekwuazi, drew up the modalities for the setting up of the Motion Picture Practitioners Council of Nigeria and the various guilds of the Nigerian home video industry and in a paper presented by Mr. Afolabi Adesanya, Managing Director and C.E.O of the Nigerian Film Corporation at the 50th General Assembly of the Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria (BON), at Lokoja, on Monday 17th, August, 2009, Mr. Afolabi Adesanya said, and I quote, ‘‘AT THE NIGERIAN FILM CORPORATION, WE ARE PUTTING IN PLACE A REGULATORY COUNCIL KNOWN AS THE MOTION PICTURE COUNCIL OF NIGERIA, (MOPICON) FOR THE FILM INDUSTRY TO ENSURE THAT PRACTITIONERS PLAY BY THE RULES. WHEN ESTABLISHED, MOPICON WOULD SET THE MINIMUM STANDARDS IN PRODUCTION, POST-PRODUCTION AND MARKETING AS WELL AS DISTRIBUTION. AND ALSO TO PUT IN PLACE A MECHANISM THAT WILL ENSURE THE SUSTAINABLE GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE FILM INDUSTRY IN NIGERIA.’’

I have read the draft bill of MOPICON which with its contents and by Mr. Adesanya’s statement, implies that through MOPICON the Nigerian Film Corporation will be creating another Government Parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Information and Communications through which the Nigerian film industry will be run as another arm of Government like NTA, FRCN, controlled like another Broadcasting Network of the Nigerian Government BUT the Nigerian Film industry is a Private concern of Nigerian Film Workers and Owners comprising of learned professionals in the Arts and business men/women investors in the Arts who have solely from inception funded commercial film making in Nigeria without any funding support from government making the industry self made and therefore not a Government concern. The Government’s plan is borne out of the seeming appearance that Nigerian Professionals in Film making don’t seem to have an idea of what to do in creating a structure for their industry with the externally funded internal conflicts tearing the various guilds and associations apart on a daily basis in the last eight years. This has given rise to my arrival at the need for UNIONIZATION OF THE NIGERIAN FILM INDUSTRY and consultations with Union leaders like Comrade Sylvester Ejiofor, Comrade Yemisi Bamgbose, President of RATTAWU and Comrade Henry Odugala, the General Secretary of Radio, Television and the Arts Workers Union who are both here present, on an immediate affiliation of a NIGERIAN MOVIE WORKERS UNION on the one hand and a NIGERIAN MOVIE OWNERS UNION on the other as a temporary arrangement while these two unions representative of the Nigerian film industry’s true practitioners seek legislation for separate Unionization after having spent a minimum of three years paying tax through this affiliation to government which would afford the industry the right and credibility to seek and get legislation passed on our behalf by the National Assembly.

WHY WE NEED UNIONIZATION:

‘‘Before Hollywood, There Was Fort Lee…’’ which is to say before sophisticated structural organization, there would always be the years of seeming un-organization which are those years every industry spend in cutting her teeth. As in other industries, the first organizations in the film industry proper are mostly the craft guilds, associations and benevolent societies created as learning and service organizations meant to maintain high standards of quality within each craft and these are often modeled like in Nigeria from inception as fraternal cliques along ethnic lines but no meaningful growth to the film industry, lifestyle of its practitioners or protection of their work can be gained from this initial style of the non uniform structure backed by law which enables it to contest broadly in court and get the right amount of reparations in law. Right now, what is operative in the industry are poorly produced content, poorly paid practitioners, low budget/non existent product publicity, limited distribution and a Ghana Movie Industry Union influenced market strategy take over of Nigerian Actors’ jobs in Nigeria  by Ghanaian Actors due to lack of a legislation backed Nigerian Movie Workers Union that protect Nigerian Actors. Equally operative, is the bane of movie owners and their hired producers giving the job of professionals to the un-trained at will in the face of Guilds who are powerless to stop this trend for lack of any legislative backing.

Unionization will afford correction of the un-organized image of the Nigerian Film Industry, the present impression to corporate bodies, the ordinary Nigerian, the Nigerian government and interested foreign partners. Unionization will open the door that foreign film industries have been waiting to walk through to interact with Nigerian film workers and owners based on merit, based on choice not reference. Unionization will enable the Nigerian movie workers request their right at any time through dialogue or necessary pressure from the Nigerian movie owners without any government interference because this are two market forces dependent on each other for production. Twice in the past, the Actors and Directors Guilds of Nigeria had called strikes because members wanted improved working terms, these strikes failed because they are registered only as associations, and not representative of all Movie Actors And Directors in Nigeria. The present coalition of guilds though a brilliant idea is still not representative of all movie makers in Nigeria neither can any one umbrella body represent workers and owners i.e. employees and employers without creating constant conflicts of interests as in the coalition which embraces both the Association of Movie Producers and Marketers who are employers and A.G.N, D.G.N, C.D.G.N, AND OTHERS who are employees.

Workers and Owners, have to belong to two separate unions on each side of a clear cut divide to actualize the industry as the money spinning machine it is being touted to be (by the UNDP Statistics? so called third or is it second largest in the World Film Industry) for its practitioners and government without resorting to government funding but legitimately request that 50% of the earnings of the Nigerian Film and Video Census Board from practitioners from inception to date be given back as a three years spaced Grant to fund the industry’s Unionization costs, and henceforth be annually recycled into the funding of a piracy management task force under the Union run by industry players who are so trained for that purpose and union staff salaries. Unionization will also create the earning power for star actors to afford agents, entertainment lawyers and other relevant associate workers enabling the industry to take its proper form and shape. Unionization will separate the men from the boys and the women from the girls in the movie owners union with the right investment which will give each owner the proper motivation not just to make his/her money back but to make run away profits.

What the Nigerian film industry needs are two unions representative, one; of the workers who are employed film makers as a Nigerian Movie Workers Union, two; the Nigerian Movie Owners Union representative of the Producers and Executive Producers who are owners therefore employers in the industry. The three year affiliation with RATTAWU that I am mooting is for an apprenticeship period to learn the modus-operandi of running a Union and pursuing Legislation for a separate Unionization since the industry is private sector and RATTAWU comprise largely of government worker memberships, and also to work with RATTAWU on ready collaborations of immense benefits to the industry with other Nation industries who are already Unionized.

NIGERIAN MOVIE WORKERS: DEFINITION

There are industry definitions of the various employments of the film making personnel because these are not civil service jobs and so not carefully delineated, sometimes one title covers a number of different kinds of responsibilities depending on the way a Producer, Director or Film Company defines the position. For instance, a gaffer can double as an electrician and/or a location scout and sometimes jobs overlap as in the case of an Art Director who is also the production designer but whatever the title or designation, a movie worker in the context of this presentation and Unionization is anyone who inputs non financially into the process of the final end product film content and therefore call the film their Artistic Investment.

NIGERIAN MOVIE OWNERS: DEFINITION

A producer in the existing Nigerian context is sometimes also the Executive Producer. In the context of this presentation and Unionization, a movie owner comprises of all persons/company who input financially into the production process that result in the end product that is the film content and therefore call the film their Financial Investment.

UNIONIZATION

I, as Clarion Chukwurah, a 31year veteran of dramatic arts in Nigeria, a career that has spanned the Nigerian stage theatre from 1979, television from the days of NTV in 1979 to NTA, to Celluloid Film, to the present Home Video Industry, and having represented my Country internationally severally as a Dramatist, and won Gold for Nigeria as an actress in South America, and having been consistently challenged by notable Nigerians in Nigeria and in the diaspora to come forward with a solution for structuring NOLLYWOOD, I have come forward with this call to Unionize the Nigerian Film Industry which consist of players from Northern Nigeria, Eastern Nigeria, Western Nigeria, the Niger Delta and the Middle Belt, based on my conviction and research that Unionization is the best way to go to adequately serve and protect the interests of all parties sustainable for posterity therefore I am calling on all representative bodies of the workers and owners of this industry from these sections of the Country to come together, agree on a time frame and send stakeholders to a one week retreat at Akodo Resort in Lagos to brainstorm and work out the modalities for the Unionization of the Nigerian Film Industry right across Nigeria into two unions: The Nigerian Movie Workers Union and the Nigerian Movie Owners Union.

Each of these unions would be empowered to seek legislation to protect its work and members by paying tax to government. A movie workers union backed by legislation will ensure that no non union member works on any Nigerian film set, the union will ensure that only professionals work in the industry, the union will ensure that movie workers are paid nothing below the agreed fees, the union would provide a platform to look at, discuss and agree on the issues of royalties, so also will the union provide a platform for workers to pay tax to the Nigerian government. And with this in place a movie owner will need to have the right budget to pay for the right equipment that a professional film maker require to produce the right quality of content, a movie owner will need to have the right budget to pay practitioners and by this the Nigerian film industry will no longer be an all comers affair where any happenstance can just jump into the fray and decide to produce a movie. Because, to produce a movie you will now need to belong to the movie owners union and produce by both the set rules of the workers union on the one side and the owners union on the other side.

The quality of content will mirror the true quality of talent that this country has, workers will take their time to produce the right content and owners by virtue of the investment in each film will have the proper publicity and marketing network/budget that every film company should have to input into the distribution of each film in order to exhaustively tap profit from the sprawling market available in Nigeria and outside Nigeria. Also, for the Nigerian Movie Owners Union will be these outstanding benefits among others;

  • BI-LATERAL TRADE AGREEMENTS ON DISTRIBUTION AND MARKETING WITH OTHER NATION INDUSTRIES.
  • HIGH QUALITY MOVIES ABLE TO CONTEST IN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVALS ON MERIT AND WIN.
  • RE-BIRTH OF THE CINEMA CULTURE THROUGH UNION NEGOTIATED AGREEMENTS WITH TOWN HALLS AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT FACILITIES FOR MOVIE EXHIBITIONS NOT ONLY IN URBAN NIGERIA BUT ALSO IN THE RURAL AREAS OF THE COUNTRY.
  • PRODUCTION OF QUALITY CREDIBLE STORY FILMS THAT WILL IMPROVE THE YOUNG NIGERIAN MIND AND CHALLENGE THE YOUNG NIGERIAN PSYCHE THEREBY EXPAND TODAY’S NIGERIAN MOVIE MARKET TO INCLUDE THE INTELLIGENT YOUNG NIGERIAN.
  • UNION NEGOTIATED PAYMENT OF THE CORRECT BROADCAST FEE OF NIGERIAN MOVIES BY MNET SOUTH AFRICA TO NIGERIAN MOVIE OWNERS BY MNET NIGERIA.
  • UNION CONTROL OF PIRACY BY ANY AND ALL MEANS NECESSARY.
  • INTERACTIVE MARKET EXPANSION:

1. Opening up of the Northern Movies distribution market which include Niger, Chad, Mali, Central Africa and others to the Southern Movie Marketers.

2. Opening up of the Southern Movies distribution market to re-include Cameroun, Sierra-Leone, the Gambia, Liberia and East Africa on non-piracy channels, and the opening up of same to the Northern Movie Marketers.

I have consulted widely with my colleagues across the country in this Unionization Bid like Ms Zainab Ahmad, a Notable Northern Film Producer, Mr. Madu Chikwendu, Regional Secretary of the Pan African Federation of Film Makers, Mr. Ebun Oloyede, of ANTP Lagos/Ogun State, Actors across the various sections of the country, some Guild Heads, and others. And, I am also by this forum calling on GLOBACOM PLC, the communication giant which has most visibly identified with the Nigerian Movie Industry by Branding it’s products with Nigerian Movie Workers, to come forward and BRAND THIS HISTORICAL SEVEN DAY SUMMIT OF ONE HUNDRED STAKEHOLDERS of the Nigerian Film Industry at the Akodo Resort, Lagos, in this bid to bring all the representative bodies under two separate Unions that will represent the Nigerian Film Industry to the world and place us in a position of strength in law as a private sector industry. THIS IS MY BRIEF.

CLARION CHUKWURAH (MS)

C.E.O
JAde Productions Ltd.

Tuesday, 31ST August, 2010

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