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It is no more news that Mercy Johnson Okojie’s blockbuster movie ‘The Legend of Inikpi’ is set to premier in the cinemas on January 24.There is also no doubt that the epic has garnered a rave review since the veteran Nollywood actress and former Senior Special Assistant to Kogi state Governor on Entertainment, Tourism and Cultureuploaded the trailer on her Instagram page.

What is news however, is the fact that the encomiums oozing out of her home state have touched on raw nerves and generated controversy in the Kogi state’s entertainment and art circle, to the extent that a senior member of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, has called into question the enormous support she received from the state government.

Enthusiastic admirers of MJO are saying that she has placed the state and her rich cultural heritage on the global map with her new movie. So much so is the excitement in government circle where the Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy Governor, Promise Emmanuel made claims that Mercy Johnson Okojie is coming second to late Prof. Francis Idachaba in the hierarchy of those who reformed the state.

In an article titled: ‘The Mediocrity, Like Francis Idachaba, like Mercy Johnson’, Emmanuel had written that with the coming of Mercy Johnson’s movie, the existing mediocrity in the film industry in the state would be wiped out.He was in a sense comparing how Prof. Idachaba brought back to life the ailing Kogi State University and gave it a universal accolade. This is what, in his opinion, what the renowned thespian has done with “The Legend of Inikpi”, her first full-length epical film that is showcasing a visual feast of the ancient cultures of the Igala and Bini kingdoms.

Indeed, Okojie, an Ebira stock of the state is savouring the tributes with appreciationto the people and government of Kogi state.  In a viral video she uploaded on her Instagram page, Mercy Johnson said “we wanted this story to feel as authentic as possible. Filming in my home state was a priority, getting cast that knew and understand the story was key.”

While acknowledging the support she received from the state, she wrote: “I’m humbled for the support, show of love and mostly, I am incredibly proud of the work we have done,”

But a former chairman of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, Kogi Chapter,Thomson Makolo Jnr has found and described as unsavoury the raving review trailing the film. TheNollywood actor and filmmaker, in a critical attack said there was nothing quite special in what the thespian did. Makolo was particularly miffed by the CPS’s assertion that MJO has come to reform the film industry in the state.

In a swift reaction, Makolo said there was nothing exceptional that Mercy Johnson is bringing to the table, stressing that before her appointment into the stategovernment, a lot of movies had been churned out by prominent actors and moviemakers in the state.

“I will like to set the record straight. Before Mercy Johnson’s appointment as an SSA to the governor on Art, Culture and Entertainment, there was an industry and certain people have laid a foundation for what we have today as arts and entertainment industry in the state.

“In 2005, I was the chairman of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, Kogi Chapter. I was the youngest to ever occupy that office in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. By 2005, I had invited a veteran director and filmmaker, Zack Amata to come to Kogi to shoot my movie titled ‘Makafa’. That movie also starred the likes of Segun Arinze and many others.

“In 2007, I also shot a language movie that brought in Aquila Njama as Director, with top-class Igala actors drawn from home and outside.

“I will like to ask, what exactly is mediocrity? The mediocrity that before Mercy came to do a film there was no film making in Kogi State? What exactly is mediocrity in this context?

“For me, the true mediocrity is one who was appointed as an assistant to the governor in a certain area, and instead of you assisting the governor to bring up ideas, create a platform for engagement and derive certain values, all you chose to do in your four years of appointment was to produce a movie. Can that make you a matured person?

“My pain is the fact that there is a general insult that is going around now that before this movie was produced there was no effort in film making in the state.

“Again, there is a sentiment they are whipping that I don’t understand. Mercy has not done us a favour by making Inikpi film. Mark you, other producers have made Inikpi in the past without any government sponsorship,” Mr Makolo Jnr. stressed.

The filmmaker challenged the producer of the movie to declare the budget of the film, “so that we would be able to evaluate whether the movie meets the standard of what has been brought to the market”.

According to him, by producing ‘The Legend of Inikpi’ Mercy Johnson is not doing any favour to the Igala people.

“There is nothing exceptional that she has done. Telling the Inikpi story is nothing for me exceptional.

“If Mercy was passionate about the industry, why are they making it look like it’s favour she has done by telling the Igala story? Is it because she is non-Igala?

“Tell me, did she do a favour to the Igbos when she was cast as Igbo character? The answer is No. It is s just because she had something to offer that was why she was given such roles,” he added.

The filmmaker, however, advised the government officials in the state to face their governance activities and stop delving into professions they scarcely have experience in.

“I will like them to face their government activities and do not delve into the professional sector.

“At what point has a government aide started speaking for movie producers in Kogi State?

“So, to say that there is mediocrity and Mercy has come to set the record straight is what I do not agree with. Let them go and check the records.

“If it is so much in the interest of Kogi State government to invest in the film industry in the state, let them set a counterpart funding and give other filmmakers the opportunity to come and access the fund and tell the world what they can do to, not by funding one person and making the others look like they don’t know what they are doing,” Mr Makolo Jnr. added.

 

Juju music maestro, King Sunny Ade (KSA) has said he would play music till his death.

The 73-year-old foremost Juju singer, songwriter and multi- instrumentalist disclosed this in Lagos when he met a nine-year-old fan, Temidara Onafuye.

“I wanted to retire some time ago, but my fans all over the world did not allow me.

“They said if I retire, what will I be doing.

“Juju music is in my blood, I cannot retire from music, I can only retire from stage.

“Even at 100 years, God willing, I will still be singing,” he said.

KSA disclosed that he had composed more than 3, 000 songs said all his songs were his favourite because “each of them serves a purpose said he bought his first guitar when he was 16 years old with personal savings and hid the instrument from his family who did not want him to go into music.

Onafuye, a primary school pupil based in North Carolina, USA, visiting Nigeria for the Christmas and New Year, had said she craved to see Sunny Ade because of her love for his music.

Fielding questions from the young girl, KSA who visited Onafuye at her family’s residence, said while he could play other musical instruments he had special passion for guitar.

“Apart from singing. I play guitar, keyboard, different percussion instruments including talking drum, “Sakara”, “Omele’, “Konga”. All these make African music stand out.

“I have passion for guitar, I see it as my baby and I cannot do without it.

“Couple of years ago, I was rated 69th best guitarists in the whole world,” KSA, with original name, Chief Sunday Adeniyi Adegeye said

He continued: “I decided to learn how to play guitar on my own and I bought my first guitar when I was 16 years old.

“I saved money and bought the guitar for myself.

“All my family members did not want me to play music because they believed that musicians at that time were not serious people

“Eventually. when I bought the guitar I hid it under the staircase.

“I was afraid to tell anybody that I wanted to go into the city for music training where I would be exposed.

Luckily for me, I chose my keys and my style of music which is known as “Juju”.

Juju music is a fusion of traditional Yoruba vocal forms and percussion with Western rock and roll and KSA is acclaimed to be in the vanguard of the development and international popularisation of the genre.

The internationally renowned musician recalled how he played music with the late comedian, dramatist and actor, Moses Olaiya, popularly known by his stage name, “Baba Sala”.

“Hardly do people know that Baba Sala was a musician. He played guitar, talking drum and his music was like that of IK Dairo.

“When he floated the Baba Sala Travelling Theatre, I was the one in charge of the music section,” he said.

KSA disclosed that he was working on a project of building a standard music school and a museum to document and preserve all genres of music, particularly the early ones.

“I have started building my own school and by the grace of God in few years, there will be something on ground for people to see.

“I did not study music anywhere and was not trained by anybody but I have passion for music.

“I look around the entire nation, we do not have a standard music school.

“Most of the Nigerian musicians of note are self-made,” he said.

KSA said the museum would archive all genres of Nigerian early music, images and relics of musicians for young ones like Onafuye to visit and study.

”There is the need for documentation of our music and preserve them, particularly the old ones for younger generation to study.

“You can imagine a place in Arizona where they have one of the biggest music museum and I have a diary there.

“People go there for tourism and the moment you pass throuhh my stand they will play a bit of my song; “Synchro, synchro system”.

“If foreigner can do that, why not us? There is need for us to keep records,” he said.

KSA said he was inspired and impressed to hear that a young girl like Onafuye, who lived abroad could admire his music and be his ardent fan, even with the raving wave of “hip hop” and foreign music.

He said he had to leave all his engagements to honour the young girl when her maternal grandfather, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture told him about her.

“I want to thank the Almighty God for allowing us to meet and I thank the minister for getting in touch with me.

“When the minister informed me, I said I will like to see her, and I decided that, even if it is in Abuja, I will pay my flight ticket to see her before she travels back,” he said.

KSA specifically thanked the parents of the girl for nurturing and teaching her African culture, music and tradition, even outside the shore of Nigeria.

Responding on behalf of the family, the minister said he was touched by the visit because very few people of KSA status would leave their busy schedule, especially at a festive season to visit a nine-year-old fan.

Mohammed said he was also impressed with the parents of the girl for impacting African culture in her.

“Today is a special day, not just because Temidara is my granddaughter but because I am also a minister in charge of culture.

“I am very proud that our culture will not die.

“Kids like her are the torchbearers and It means that there is hope for our tradition,” he said.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the minister’s wife, Alhaja Kudirat, the girl’s parents and other members of the family welcomed KSA and thanked him for the visit.

The musician signed his autograph for the young girl and promised to invite her as special guest to any of his concert in the U. S.

 

 

 

Adeyemi Fashola, popularly known as Naira Marley is again in the eyes of the storm. This time for alleged car theft.

 Chief magistrate Tajudeen Elias, of Tinubu Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lagos on Monday ordered that Naira Marley should be arrested and arraigned for alleged car theft in company of his two brothers

 When the case came up for hearing on Monday only two of the musician’s brothers and his cousins appeared in court prompting the Magistrate to order that the Investigating Police Officer (IPO), Sgt. Sunday Idoko, should produce Naira Marley in court on the next date of adjournment.

 The defendants, Idris Fashola, 18, Babatunde Fashola, 24; and Kunle Obere, 22, are facing a four-count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing, assault and obstructing the arrest of Naira Marley.

 The chief magistrate granted the three defendants N500,000 bail with two sureties in like sum.

 He ordered the IPO to produce Naira Marley before the court on Dec. 21, when the case would be listed for further hearing.

 The prosecutor, ASP Edet Okoi, told the court that the three defendants committed the offences on Dec. 16, at Eko Hotel Roundabout on Victoria Island, Lagos.

 He said that the trio who were in a motorcade with Naira Marley, stole a Toyota Camry vehicle with Registration No. FEE 120 AA valued at N1.8 million and an IPhone X5 worth N330,000 belonging to one Mr Adelekan Ademola.

 He added that the three defendants and others at large assaulted the complainant by beating him up.

 Okoi alleged that the second defendant, Babatunde  Fashola and others at large  obstructed the police  while performing their lawful duty and prevented them from arresting Naira Marley.

 “One of the vehicles in the musician’s motorcade hit the complainant’s vehicle from the back while he was throwing out money from his vehicle to his fans.

When the complainant came down from the vehicle to inspect the damage, Obere entered into the complainant’s Camry and drove it off with the motorcade.

 “Ademola reported to the police and the vehicle was tracked to where it was parked at Jakande Crescent, Oniru in Lagos.

 “When the police arrived at the location in company of the complainant, Naira Marley and his boys started beating the complainant.

 “A group of boys obstructed the police from arresting the musician but they were able to apprehend the three defendants” He alleged.

 He said that the offences contravened Sections 112,172, 287 and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed was a guest on Monday, at Bolanle Austen-Peters’s “Fela’s Republic and The Kalakuta Queens’, a musical concert and life performance that is ongoing at the Terra Kulture, Lagos.

Austen-Peters explained that the musical concert and life performance is revisiting the untold story of the Kalakuta Queens’ and the trials and tribulations they endured as they stood by Fela.

It chronicles Fela’s unconventional lifestyle and relationships with his Queens, while taking a deeper look at his personal and political perspective and motivations. It also shows the cause of their repeated clashes with the government at all levels.

The concert has a 30-member cast with Laitan Adeniji playing Fela. It will run from December 13 to the first week of January.

Some of the Fela songs like, Teacher Teacher, Suffering and Smiling, Shakara Olooje, ‘Beast of No Nation, Yellow Fever and Zombie, among others, were played after a short drama script introducing each song track.

 

 

 

Popular Nollywood Actress, Funke AKindele, also known as ‘Jenifa’ has lost her father.

The actress announced her father’s death on Monday on her Instagram page.

Displaying a picture of herself and her dad, Funke wrote: “Dad! May your soul Rest In Peace! “I tried Dad, I did but we love you but God knows best.

“I wish I can turn back the hands of time”

Some Nollywood celebrities, Waje, Lala Akindoju, Bovi, Yemi Alade, and the likes, took to their Instagram pages to offer their condolences to the actress.

@Waje “So sorry for your loss sis.”

@OfficialBovi “I’m sorry to hear this sis, take heart.”

@Lala AKindoju “Hugs sister.”