The Nigeria Film Corporation (NFC), like other corporations of its status in the world, was established to help in accelerating the rapid development of film production in the country. The standard of operation within the NFC has been the backbone upon which the success of the Nigerian movie industry, Nollywood, is anchored.
For example, the National Film Development Corporation of India has been very instrumental in the development of that country’s entertainment sector, with the Bollywood contributing a huge chunk to the Indian economy. Today, the Indian film industry is the second largest in the world, coming second only to the United States’ Hollywood.
It was examples like the giant stride recorded in India that prompted the Nigerian Government to equally set up a film corporation to facilitate the development of the abundant wealth of creative talent in the country. Almost 37 years after its creation, can we confidently say that the Nigeria film corporation has achieved its aim? In the past, one would falter to answer in the affirmative to this.
A turning point, however, came for the NFC when Dr. Danjuma Dadu was appointed as Managing Director of the corporation. For those of us who knew his antecedents, we knew it was the beginning of a new dawn and that the corporation was finally going to start delivering to its full potential. It was comfortably reassuring that the once nearly moribund organization was going to get transformed by this highly cerebral and disciplined gentleman.
Not long after he was appointed, he swung into action. Firstly, he established processes for the documentation of all film guilds and associations operating in the nation’s movie industry. A very smart move which consequently ensured that content regulation, monitoring and support became more efficient.
He equally supported the production of films produced in local languages. This, he championed with a lot of zeal, the essence of which was to promote Nigeria’s culture and an opportunity for us Nigerians to tell our story in our own ways.
Dr. Dadu, since assuming office, has made the transformation of the National Film Institute, NFI, in Jos a priority agenda and the results are evidenced for everyone to see; there has been unprecedented quality enforcement in terms of procurement of equipment, infrastructural development at the site and further enriching the faculty curriculum. All of these are essential for the transformation of the institute to conform to the realities of today’s film industry.
I was therefore shocked to read from an online media platform that he was not being supported by sections of the film industry. My curiosity was pricked when I read further and deduced that their actual grouse was far different from what they were claiming. While it was possible to read between the lines and see that they wished that a performing artiste was occupying the position, it is on record that there have been no previous complaints about Dr Dauda’s competence, commitment or ability to apply his vast experience in transforming the fortunes of the corporation.
The leadership trend all over the world these days is that managers of businesses and organizations are expected to be dynamic and capable of taking on diverse challenges and bringing their expertise to bear in addressing these challenges. We have seen several cases where a CEO leaves one specialised industry to pilot an organisation in a totally unrelated sector and still make a success of it. The world is now more dynamic and less attention is now being paid to educational background. Whilst leadership focuses more on knowledge diversification, competence and track record, I do not believe that it is only doctors that can manage hospitals. In fact, many big and successful hospitals in many developed countries are not managed by doctors.
The recent protest by the staff of the Nigeria film corporation on the issues bordering on promotion and increase in allowances, infrastructure and equipment deficit amongst other complaints is, in my opinion, ill-advised and ill timed. Nigeria, like many oil producing countries in the world, is going through very difficult times to say the least. Even within the country, many state government employees are being owed salaries of up to five months in arrears. There is no doubt that even the Federal Government is struggling to fund the 2016 budget.
The widespread economic pressure notwithstanding, it is apparent Dr Dadu was able to do his best in managing the affairs of the corporation. He has been proactive and has worked tirelessly to make sure things are properly done in spite dwindling budgetary allocations. He has made effort to seek alternative ways to get things done with a good example being the TETFund intervention, which was accessed through the University of Jos.
The fund was meant for equipment and building of some structures at the permanent site of NFI. The information I gathered is that while only computers have so far been delivered, the institution is awaiting other film equipment and commencement of building projects. Even the electricity and water supply that the protesters complained about are being dealt with. The MD reportedly decided to have a borehole drilled and the laying of pipes to get the water to the taps was delayed by lack of funds, which all Nigerians can understand under the present circumstances.
These are definitely tough times. The Managing Director thoroughly understands the mandate of the new government and has met with the workers’ union severally to seek their understanding on these issues but I guess they are more concerned about their personal aggrandizement above the sustenance of the organization itself.
In the issue of promotion for instance, I believe granting a blanket promotion across board is financially unwise judging from the mood of the country, so also is increasing allowances across board. One can only appeal that the workers show understanding and not play into the hands of those who may want to disrupt the steady growth that the corporation has witnessed under the leadership of Dr Danjuma Dadu. There are those who are genuinely aggrieved, however, there are those who seem to be all out to truncate the positive change that has been going on at the corporation in the last two years.
The Nigeria film industry is very critical to the growth of this country, especially as we look to diversify the economy. We have to avoid any form of distraction at this moment. Dadu has brought sanity, cohesion and professionalism to bear in the corporation in the short time he has been in charge. His understanding of the change agenda of the president does not seem to be in doubt here as his programs and plans has so far revealed.
One thing is certain, humans resist change more than they embrace it, but of course, change is a very integral part of any developing organisation. I know a lot of people will not be happy at current efforts by Dr Danjuma Dadu to reform the film industry but the reality is that we need to embrace these changes for a better future for the industry.
The film industry as earlier mentioned remains a very critical to the next phase of development of the economy of this country, especially as we seek to reduce our dependence on oil. It is therefore pertinent that we take all that concerns NFC with utmost seriousness. Let us support the laudable programs and agenda of Dr Dadu to transform the film industry. Let’s set aside our differences and keep our eyes on the big picture, which is growing our film industry into the largest in the world.
Sunday Peter is a student at NFC, and contributed this piece from Jos, Plateau State.