Tolu OgunlesiSunday, July 18, 2004
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ou've heard now?

Heard what?

Tunde Kelani is back from New York. He was there for an International Film Festival

So? That's stale news.

What do you mean 'so'? Isn't that one of the greatest things to have happened to our local movie industry? The West is finally appreciating us.

That's not breaking news, Mr Man!... O.K.. maybe I shouldn't talk like that, it's just that I'm more concerned about the new nollywood...sorry to say this o, but Kelani cannot stand near these new guys. Idumota will look like slow motion beside them

What are you talking about?....what new Hollywood?

Haven't you heard of the award-winning THE KIDNAP 1 & 2 starring Ngi Ige and Ubah..directed by Taf Balogs, and produced by Power to the People Productions?

Oh, I didn't know you meant that Nollywood. Of course I know them like the back of my hands. Bet you don't know half as much as me. Tell me, have you seen Ekiti in London. That Fay Ose is really talented. He's one of the most explosive debutants.

And very prolific too. THE Hostages and EKITI IN LONDON all within a few weeks of each other. But he still can't compare with Carl Orji. The guy is simply amazing. If you've seen The Abominable Threat you'll agree with me. Now he has come again with NO APOLOGY.

Yes. I have been following him right from early in his career when he played the lead role in NDIGBO MESSIAH.

What do you think of the anticlimactic ending of Jamie Iborie's THE CONVICT. I'm waiting for a sequel y'know. I hope it doesn't end up a flop.

Reminds me of Laa Awal's BUKOLA OMO DADDY. Flop of the millennium.

Were you at the Premiere of Pete O. Dili's adaptation of ODUDUWA. That was the most celebrity studded Premiere I've ever attended in my life. Imagine, Pete got The Ooni to play a major role.


But you know these moviemakers, after some time, they begin to just rehash the same old ideas. See Bola "Chicago" Ahmed for example. He has also come out with his own THE THREAT. He says Bode Georgio inspired him.


Another major problem with all these movies is their faddish nature. They rarely stand the test of time. Here today, gone tomorrow. Look at SECURITY BREACH for example. That is the most expensive, intriguing, action-packed explosive movie in recent times. It was shot in Kirikiri and Aso Villa. But look at it, the hype is dying fast.

I feel Ali Mustaph's problem is that he is too restless a director. He never takes his time with his movies to see them to completion before hopping after another idea.

That's the problem of over-creative scriptwriters and directors.

And that's why all his movies seem unfinished, half-baked. MASTERMINDER was almost a huge success. I guess the death of his mentor really has affected him.

That's right. Abba Acha is the undisputable Ogunde of the Other Nollywood.

How many of his movies can you name?

C'mon. even an idiot would reel off an impressive number.

Abeg! Story too much. Just name them.

THE RISE AND FALL OF ERNEST, LEPROUS FINGERS, WHO DOES THE CAP FIT, MOST WANTED (and its endless sequels), WEEPING GENERALS, KANO SUYA, FIRST DAUGHTER, ASEWO TO RE INDIA (his last major work). He was so hardworking he died on the set of the movie.

Not bad. We'll continue from there later. I have to go now. Dedibu's GREEDY GOMINA is premiering tonight. I'm supposed to do a review for my paper.

Ol'boy. Na soso review you dey do. When will you begin to produce your own movies.

Why are you talking like this. You should know better

Know what?

That it's damn expensive to produce a quality movie in Nigeria. And by quality I mean intriguing, controversial... it's only politicians who have those kind of resources..

Haven't you heard of low budget movies... Anyway, I have started working on my own o. It's titled THE GODFATHERS ARE NOT TO BLAME. I'm trying to see if I can get Ubah, Dedibu, Chief S.A.R Aki, Nwo Bodo, Eme Offor and others to star in it. All proceeds will of course go to charity.

That's creative of you o. now you have set me thinking. I'll ask W.S if I can borrow the title of his play The Beatification Of Area Boy....

Now, wait a minute, I'm not too sure that's a good idea.


Everyone can tell how the film's gonna end even without watching it. As it is, I can already tell you who you are thinking of as possible lead actors


Fayo Ose of course, and Carl Orji

How did you guess...hmmm... I'll have to think up another title then.

I'd have recommended Aremu Sanjo as an actor too but he is busy promoting his own latest release.

Which one this time?

THE CHRISTIAN IDIOT. He shot it in Plateau state.

Doesn't sound like something I would enjoy watching..

Going back to the issue of possible titles for your movie, if it were to be a movie on our senators I'd have suggested you steal T.K's title CAMPUS QUEEN

Why? What's the correlation?

Haven't you heard of how fond of playing sugar daddy our senators are?

Are they the only ones? You want to tell me you haven't played sugar daddy before?

That was then man! In the pre-AIDS era. Old things have passed away y'know.

Amen! Look, I really have to go now. My editor will skin me alive if I get there late.

Okay. Flash me sometime. Okay?

I will. Before you go, let's have a toast to the largest, most ambitious film producer in black Africa

And who do you think that is?

Power to the People productions, of course

You're damn right!

For they are jolly good fellows, for they are jolly good fellows .....


Interviews with Nigerians:


Q: What is the worst thing about what you do for a living?

A: The worst thing about being a taxi driver is when some idiot drives nonsense for you and makes you drive like as if you are a bloody Learner and you speed to catch up with him and point your angry mouth at him and pull the trigger and the bullets just Pishao! Pishao! on the side of his winded up glass because of the A.C he's enjoying and he cannot hear one word and there's no single blood on his face and he doesn't even look at you intentionally and you're all mad inside with no one to shoot again except an okadaman who God created in the first place to be cursed .....


A: The worst thing about being a petty trader is when a band of school children invade your stall at 2:30 and HOW MUCH BE DIS ONE AUNTY and your eyes are tired of running after their sprinting fingers AUNTY DON'T YOU HAVE OKIN BISCUIT and those fingers are clearing your medals across the finishing lines of their school bags and pockets and MUMMY GIVE ME MY FIVE NAIRA CHANGE and their two o'clock smell invades you like the smell of fried sweat plus eight-hour armpits plus two year old tokunboh sneakers plus and you think what shit you daily endure and you think of moving to the Federal Secretariat to sell your wares to jobless NA MONTH END WE GO SETTLE YOU MADAM civil servants who at least are more orderly IYA BADE, E SE SUURU O, WON N SE SCREENING GHOST WORKERS LOWO NI O but as per the smelliness and pilfering you're not so sure..


A: The worst thing about being a bloody soldier is when some demented General begins a transition to Ci-evil Rule and decides it is time to step aside and give those bloody Alagbadas a chance to have their own go at ruining Nigeria, and they laugh and say thank you for giving us the opportunity to show you How To Ru(i)n A Country in One Term or Two At Best (since one good term deserves another) and we have to watch them from the shadows because power has changed hands and leaked out of Barracks like an idiot's balloon......


A: The worst thing about being a butcher is when all day you chop meat and cut meat and slice meat and the whole world stops to price your meat and buy your meat and even mosquitoes included and you get home and your soup is all empty and all water with no islands and your wife says its nobody's fault its government's fault its SAP's fault and IMF and you are annoyed at nobody in particular and its not her fault after all they didn't complain in her family when you were dragging two cows to their compound as her bride price when your father was dying of hypoproteinemia at home and you storm out to eat in a buka and they say no beef only snail and bushmeat and you shake your head and say no because snail meat is one whole day's profit and...


A: The worst thing about being a civil servant apart from the servant part of it is when they call you a clerk and you are not a clerk and you must emphasize it again and again that you are a clerical officer and not a clerk and there's a big difference you didn't know well now you know that I'm a clerical officer on level six and a half and just one more screening and I'll be on level seven and I'll be a senior clerical officer and then one more interview and I'm a principal C.O and by then no more carrying dusty files from office to office no I'll be in charge of my own files and I will open them every day first thing in the morning and blow all the dust out and straighten their edges and I will have my own desk and of course that is not the bar there's still assistant chief C.O and then the Big Boss the C.C.O oh my God if I haven't retired by then oh God massive thanksgiving service at the Cathedral and I will get chance for potbelly and you will check me in the office wi! th a ceiling fan not wall or standing and they will tell you Oga is not on seat come back later do you have an appointment with him and.....


A: The worst thing about being a President is when all around you there are Idiots masquerading as Men of God and you cannot send them to a detention camp or declare a state of Emergency in their Church because the Constitution has not been amended to handle such and some senile beings are shouting and shouting at every small thing saying a whole Commandant - in - Chief is always traveling and never staying at home useless Idiots they don't know that I'm even pitying them by staying here at all Dem born them well talk nonsense for Abacha time? Now all of them are opening Idiotic mouths and fighting for Human Rights... Human Rights for who? Is it for this Animal Called Man? If they vex me again I will show them say the meaning of my name is "Conquer".... how dare you ask me if I dey kampe? Do you know that is a Security Breach?..

Tolu Ogunlesi was born in 1982 in Edinburgh to Nigerian parents, and has lived most of his life in Nigeria. He has just graduated in pharmacy from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. He is the author of a collection of poetry LISTEN TO THE GECKOS SINGING FROM A BALCONY (Jacobyte Books, Australia, October 2003). His work has appeared in A Melody of Stones (PEN Anthology of New Nigerian Writing), Olongo, Times Arts Review, The Guardian, Hackwriters, Perigree, Sentinel, Expressionmag, The Journal of Contemporary Anglo-Scandinavian Poetry and others. He is presently working on a collection of short stories while at the same time gathering the courage to start a novel. He can be reached at [email protected]

tolu ogunlesi
Author, LISTEN TO THE GECKOS SINGING FROM A BALCONY, Jacobyte Books, Australia (October 2003)

Liaison, The Muse Apprentice Guild www.muse-apprentice-guild.com
Essays/Articles: www.hackwriters.com/adulthood.htm
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email: [email protected]