There comes a time in the life of a people that a consensus is reached for a change of the status quo. The barometer to measure this change comes from a variety of arithmetics ala societal values, mental psychometrics of the people, human re-engineering and the driving propulsion of government.
Nigeria with a soaring population of nearly 200 million people is blessed with so much talents. Over the years, the harnessing this huge talent pool has been the bane of socio, economic, political and national development. The world over, men and women of Nigerian descent ‘hold their own’ in sports, music, arts, science, business, technology and other sphere of human endeavour.
It is against the backdrop of the foregoing that the ‘apathetic’ silence that greeted the recent awards to sixty distinguished Nigerians who have made huge, stupendous developments to the Nigerian film and movie industry comes to mind. This was part of the activities to mark 60 years of the country’s independence from the colonial masters early in the month of October. The award was entitled, “60 ICONS THAT HAVE SHAPED THE NIGERIAN FILM AND VIDEO INDUSTRY. It was delivered by the Federal Government of Nigeria via the National Film and Videos Board, NFVB.
The dead silence was toxic, sickening and a very bitter pill to swallow for most well meaning Nigerians. For many of us, the growth of any nation is not always measured in financial or monetary terms. There are other moral and value-base imperative requirements for nation building. Let us not be deceived, we can preach unending until ‘karanamoda’, nothing will change in our society if the fundamental tripod of behaviour is not in place. These are values, role models and mentoring.
It is pertinent to note that Edo State is arguably the cultural capital of Nigeria. Proudly saying that as an Edo man nothing minding whose ox is goored! On the strong 60 awardees list, Edo state had two of our illustrious son’s. They are Sam Loco Efe (of blessed memory) and of course the movie Czar, Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen. It is shocking that there has been no mention or recognition for these worthy sons of Edo. Sam Loco Efe is extra terrestrial, but Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen is very much with us. Bringing out the drums to celebrate the achievements of these dynamic duo has huge ‘moral generator power’. It is intrinsic.
As a people burdened with vices such as crime, thuggery and agberoism; an award like this is an opportunity to leverage and promote sound moral rectitude for our teeming youths and upcoming generation. In their citations, the NFVB stated that men like Sam Loco Efe and Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen, “have broken new grounds, and continue to do so and open doors of opportunities, and have made indelible marks that have molded the Nigerian film and video industry”. They have brought honour, dignity and respect to the motherland. Such monumental achievements ought to be celebrated. The drums ought to be rolled out to herald these men and women of repute who have transverse our landscape like a colossus.
For Edo state is currently on a strategic transformation under the dynamic leadership of Governor Godwin Obaseki. The zooming lens which our beloved son, Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen has brought on Edo is an added impetus. We can look no further for a motivation or inspiration for our teeming youths and children. A proud Edo son of the irk of Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen needs to be celebrated. Herein lies the challenge for the Edo state Ministry of Youths, the Ministry of Arts and Culture, our print and electronic media in Edo state, and the Uhunmwode local government council where our illustrious son hails from. Na where all of una dey? Where lies the moral regeneration that we all preach? Is it just mere lip service? Are we really serious about the value paradigm shift we crave. We cannot always put the blame of our shortcomings on a Governor or President alone. Yes, they are culpable at times, but each of us has a role to play in the moral redirection of our society.
The likes of Sam Loco Efe of blessed memory, Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen and other Edo state sons and daughters who have put our state on the global map should be celebrated. We are gradually reducing our existence to a four year cycle of political campaigns and elections while other important aspects of our lives dwindles. We cannot afford to remain this way. There’s still ample time to correct this anomaly. The various agencies of government at all levels must be alive to their responsibilities proactively. The glory of distinguished edolites like Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen should be harnessed to inspire a new generation. A movie czar like him is an evidential role model who can mentor upcoming Edo sons and daughters.
So let us roll out the drums and let the music begin.
Dr Tony Osakpamwan Agbons writes from U.K.