President Association of Movie Producers, Mr. Zik Zulu Okafor is sad that the name he has worked hard to build up is being dragged into the mud following the controversy that trailed Governor Godswill Akpabio’s release of N50 million for Nollywood. In this interview, he told Starconnectmedia that to allege that he stole N50 million is nothing but an insult, stressing that he is worth more than that. It is explosive and very raw. Excerpts:
There have been several allegations against you since Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State released that N50 million for Nollywood, what actually happened?
I don’t need to talk about it, it is a very simple matter. The more I talk about it they don’t understand. Alex Eyengho is a petition specialist. He writes petition on everything, he writes petition against journalists; he writes petition against people government, why will he not write petition against me. Akpabio gave money to the industry, for award for excellence through endowment of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan award.
That is what we are doing, there are cheques giving out for this award, we are doing it, there is also capacity y building and training, we are doing it and then we are making a film so that that the proceed will be used to sustain this award so that it does not fade out after two years or one year. That is what we are doing, everything is accounted for. There is absolute accountability. I am a comfortable man if I have to say it. N50 million is pittance, it is nothing, and you can’t take N50 million when you have so many guilds and association involved.
Alex was expelled from the Association of Movie Producers, because he lost elections and he decided to form a parallel body. So you can tell that he is an aggrieved person. He is a petulant character so that is why he is writing petition. The police is already investigating, they have seen that we did not take any money, they have gone to Akwa Ibom to ask them and they said that they don’t have any problem with people they gave their money because they know that we are people of integrity, they know that we are professionals, that we won’t abuse the privilege and that is why we are working hard to make sure that we utilise this money properly. So that other people in government, other governors will see it and be impressed and then support Nollywood.
So , tell them , tell journalists to ignore people that are only out there to destroy Nollywood. We built this industry with our sweat and blood . We lost many in the cause of this, we are walking through the wilderness, it has not paid us yet. We are doing everything to construct the destiny of this industry, yet a few little minds are doing things to destroy it , they won’t destroy it. We believe in this industry, I am a first class student of film. I have won Journalist of the year in Nigeria Media Merit Award NMA in News Magazine, I was also nominated for crime reporter for the year 1992. I have a pedigree; I come from a background of history. I was the first producer of features on Channels when they started, I have done great things. I can’t at this old age begin to destroy everything I have worked for. Alex has no history, he was a dry cleaner. We brought him to Nollywood and cleaned him up. But you see, he can’t change, a leaper can’t change his skin and furs.
Let’s talk about Nollywood at 20, when are we starting the celebration?
Nollywood at 20 begins November 2 to 27 of November. Scholars are coming from Harvard, Georgia and Oxford. Great Nigerians are coming, we are celebrating a great industry to create a platform where the organised private sector, the political class, the diplomatic corps and practitioners will come to a common table to begin to chisel the destiny of this industry so that we can explore the economic potentials of this industry. so that we can explore the economic potentials. Because we are not doing that now, Nollywood is not growing, we are not making money now. We want to turn it around that is why we are bringing scholars, to see how Nollywood can combine with the new media to actualise its potentials. To begin to set up distribution network through the internet, these are the things we are exploring, these are the things we are trying to do and little minds are talking about N50 million. What is that?
I am not a modest man, there are cars in my compound , I have cars worth N46 million, just cars and I am going to be stealing from a little N50 million, does it make sense?