Prof Ibrahim Gambari

Prof Ibrahim Gambari, Nigerian former Minister of Foreign Affairs, has urged stakeholders in Nollywood to use their works to advocate for peaceful and credible conduct ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Gambari made the call on Friday in his Keynote Speech at the Annual Film Lecture of the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) in Abuja.

The lecture is a flagship event of the 2018 ZUMA Film Festival (ZUFF) holding in the nation’s capital from Dec 1 t0 7, with the theme: “Archiving for Creativity.”

Gambari, who is the Founder/Chairman of the board of Savannah Centre For Diplomacy, Democracy and Development (SCDDD), spoke on the topic: “ Film Production and Preservation as Diplomatic Tools for Promoting Peace, Unity and Development.”

He noted that motion picture industry is a veritable tool that can be used to drive national unity, build values of love, peace and tolerance among Nigerians.

“I seize the opportunity to renew our appeal to all movie producers, their followers and supporters, to step up their interventions for advocating of peaceful, free and fair electoral contest in Nigerian in 2019.

“Film production is the engine that drives peace, unity and development, and Nollywood must be at the vanguard.

“As the 2019 elections are approaching, there must be films targeted at discouraging elections rigging and promoting violence-free and fair elections,” he said.

Gamabari however, warned filmmakers against producing a movie that have divisive tendencies on the nation and put it in a bad light in the comity of nations, all in the name of making money.

He lamented that such negative images often reinforce negative tendencies in people, and therefore urged film stakeholders to use their works as tools for positive social mobilization of citizens towards peaceful co-existence.

“The 2019 elections will either make or mar Nigeria, and we should desist from hateful and inciting movies, as hate speech is not a free speech.

“We must not pretend that hate speech, hurling of insults and making dangerous films portray well for Nollywood.

“Nigeria is sitting on a keg of gunpowder, and we should not allow it go the ways of Somalia or Afghanistan,” he added.

Gambari, therefore, urged relevant stakeholders to use films to shape opinions, promote cultural diplomacy and mobilize citizens to work towards a better Nigeria.

He added by calling on government and relevant stakeholders to provide an enabling environment for Nollywood to strive better.

“Nollywood is doing well, and this generation of filmmakers are looking forward to take it to the next level.

“Therefore, Nigeria is in dare need of a national and visionary leader who would encourage talents and entrepreneurship in all ramifications,” he said.

Earlier, Dr Chidia Maduekwe, Chairman of the Festival Organising Committee, said that the festival with the theme “Archiving for Creativity”, was to “redefine the need and potentials of audiovisual archiving in Nigeria.”

Maduekwe, who is the Managing Director of Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC), organiser of ZUFF, added that the theme intends to reignite the consciousness of audio-visual archiving of creative works and its posterity.

“NFC, through ZUFF 2018, seeks to bring to the front burner the need to preserve Nigeria’s memory for future generations of Nigerians, with no endpoint.

“Our goal is to have these images, and the sounds associated with the images, available for present and future generations.

“As the world is being driven by digital technologies, filmmaking in Nigeria, and indeed around the world, should equally be moving with their inventions and innovations,” “he said.

The Annual Film Lecture, now in its 9th edition, provides an opportunity for stakeholders in the movie industry to engage in narratives and conversations geared towards strengthening the sector.

The lecture brings together filmmakers, captains of industries, the academia, relevant government functionaries and other stakeholders to share thoughts and brainstorm on contemporary issues of importance to the growth of the Nigeria movie industry