Jul 16, 2017

Kannywood is Ahead of Nollywood but…


A scene in Kannyhwood. Source:http://www.premiumtimesng.com 
Since the movie, Leaving in Bondage, the Nigerian movie industry has grown to become a global show, watched not only in Africa, but also by the African Diaspora. 

Initially, Nigerian movies were made largely in the South-east and featured actors from that region of the country. Over the years, the successes prompted the launch of movie industries in the South-west and the North of the country as well. 

When the word “Nollywood” is mentioned, it refers to movies made from the South-east of the country. This is because when the word was invented, the northern and south-western industries were non-existent. And when the northern movie industry started, stakeholders chose to name it Kannywood, because it started in the ancient city of Kano. In Nigeria, we refer to the industry in the South-west simply as, “Yoruba Movie Industry.” So, in Nigeria, when the word “Nollywood” is mentioned, we know that we are talking about movies from the South-east of the country, in contrast to the other two. 

I haven’t been a fan of Nollywood. This is because, in my judgement, a larger percentage of the movies are often shy of high standards. They often concentrate on storylines, refusing to heed the quality of the scenes. But even the storylines are often preposterous: the subjects are, most times, boring clich├ęs that do not reflect the diverse subjects of the host environment. You also get the feeling that the directors are always in a rush to finish the movies, not minding how the rush dents the quality of the ensuing movies.

The South of Nigeria is educationally ahead of the north. Because of this, people often assume that anything coming from the north is often of a poorer standard, relative to what comes from the South.  It is part of the reason why movies from Kannywood aren’t getting a fair amount of attention. The second reason is that you can’t watch them if you don’t understand Hausa. When, eventually, I started watching Kannywood movies, it was by chance, while I scroll through the movie channels of my Multi-Choice TV bouquet. Luckily for me, I understand Hausa, coming from a region of the country where Hausa is also spoken. 

I find Hausa movies very captivating because, even though the themes of the movies are largely romance, they naturally reflect a diversity of the subject, without the boredom that has become the seal of Nollywood movies. Plus, the storylines always seem real. 

However, I have a little issue to grind with the Nollywood. Hausas are very fascinated by Indian culture. Sadly, the Indian culture reflects in Kannywood.  A part of the Indian culture they love to mimic is the dance culture. Each time the movies scroll to such scenes, I get turned off, feeling irritated. Recently, while watching a Hausa movie, I also realised that even background music that reflects the mood of a scene are sometimes a tune that one has heard in some Indian movies, with strong Indian flairs. Also, when minority tribes are featured in the movies, they are portrayed as unserious and backward people, a portrayal that is not true. Movies are supposed to mirror the true picture of society. Only then can we learn from the movies amply.

Jul 8, 2017

Nigeria's Smokescreen Federalism Only Deepens Poverty



The Nigerian Flag. Source: self.
When Nigeria was granted independence from the British colonial administration in 1960, the new independent administration inherited a Unitary System of Government. In a Unitary System of Government, power is concentrated at the centre, with the smaller administrative units being weaker.

In 1979, however, the Nigerian government decided to discard the unitary system, opting for the Federal System of Government, in which the smaller tiers of governments are stronger, while the central government is weaker. The subunits, for instance, have the power to control resources within their geographic boundaries, sending small percentages of their revenues to the Federal government at the centre. Sadly, the Federal System, adopted by the Nigerian government was, and is still, on paper only. This is because, in practice, the Federal Government continues to control resources in the thirty-six states, giving out smaller percentages to them. If we were practising real Federalism, for instance, the states within the Niger Delta, from where the oil and gas come from, should have been responsible for developing the oil resources in their regions, contributing smaller portions of the revenues they make to the Federal Government. 

This political distortion is born out of the greed of persons who control the federal government. The sad reality is that even the subventions given out to the second and third tiers of government are done unfairly. There are smaller units that get huge, undeserved portions of the revenue and bigger units getting little, unfair shares of the revenue.

The result of this revenue imbalance is responsible for the agitations that have made the Niger Delta very restive. To calm the restiveness, the idea of derivation came. Derivation funds are percentages of oil revenues that must be given to the state in which the oil came. What is left of the revenue is then shared to all, including the states that have already benefitted from the derivation funds. So the oil-producing states get the regular subventions in addition to the derivation funds.  

The virtual federalism has ruined the country in two major ways. First, the agitations for the creation of states refuse to end. Everyone wishes his house was an administrative unit that should get oil revenue directly. The second harm is the fact that the smaller tiers of government do nothing rather than to simply wait for their shares of oil revenues? As a result, non-oil producing states that should have been creative in their desperation to generate revenues have remained lazy. Hence, the Nigerian economy has largely remained an oil-dependent economy.

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