1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Nollywood films have gained widespread prominence, especially within the African continent, since the advent of video filmmaking in Nigeria, which has developed the Nigerian video film industry, ranking it the third largest film industry in the world. Although this development gives global recognition to Nollywood’s feedback and contributions to the entertainment industry through its representation of the African continent, there is an urgent need for Nollywood to be repositioned to promote the place of home videos in socio-political, cultural and traditional activities, security and national development. According to Kunzler, Nollywood films are an industry that has grown out of a domestic and foreign cultural, technological, and political background. It is heterogeneous in nature and can be loosely split into video films by Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo that designate their production centers in Nigeria’s South-West, North and South-East respectively (Kunzler, 2017). The Nollywood of Nigeria remains the dominant film industry in Africa that is able to advocate the film projection of Nigerian cultural values. Via the efforts of the European merchant, colonial government and the church, Nollywood’s production dates back to the colonial period (Ibie, 2014). The first viewing experience in Nigeria was at the Clover Memorial Hall in Lagos on August 12, 1903 (Uchegbu, 1992). In terms of quantity, the industry that began as a joke now ranks and competes with Hollywood and Bollywood (Fafiolu, 2013); locally outsell international ones and are still appreciated worldwide (Akpabio, 2017).
Despite the contributions of Nollywood to telling African stories to the rest of the world, however, the need to contribute to the reconstruction of Nigeria, its home base, has now become important at a time when the country is afflicted by various social, economic, cultural and political issues that endanger national unity. In reality, as Pierre Barrot states, while Nollywood is “conquering new territories because the domestic market is too small,” as other cinemas have done elsewhere, it remains deficient in having an “impact on national unity” (Barrot, 2015). Of course, many racial and religious tensions are currently confronting the Nigerian state, including the continuing clashes between the Islamic fundamentalist community named ‘Boko Haram’ and the Nigerian security forces. The attempts of the hero’s history to shift this story are worthy of praise, considering the negative depictions of Nigerian painted in “Palaver”. Nevertheless, we should not depend on the past laurels of these valiant heroes, but we must continuously establish and advance the Nigerian agenda of reconciliation that is central to our beloved nation’s economic growth and stability.
Since “Palaver”, the development of the Nigerian film & video industry has been quite exciting. Her large population, her rich culture complimented by a multitude of talents made her film & video industry’s outstanding growth almost a guarantee. It is important to understand, with such extraordinary outreach, that Film & Video played a major role in facilitating the national integration of Nigeria. Cock Crow at Night, Second Chance, the New Masquerade, Basi and Company are examples of some of the films reflecting a true image of the history, tradition and togetherness of Nigeria. For e.g., Second Chance was funny and featured Nigerians from different ethnic affiliations uniting in a class to gain adult education with each character dressed in his or her own traditional attire. Our unity to accomplish a shared purpose was depicted in the film. It is also possible to throw Movie 76 into this category; this film demonstrated the ideals of patriotism in several respects.
Film & Videos is the warp and weep of the national development and unity of Nigeria. Its capacity to draw the intelligence, passions, and will of the people gives it the primacy of position in the business of improving the national integration of Nigeria. Stories may be words that are written, but they exist as pictures in our heads. We use imagination when we read or listen to stories to give the characters in the story a physical attribute. Films and movies inspire one to bring the stories to life and form how the viewer perceives them. With stories that represent culture, violence, satire, economic inequality, racial relations, religious tolerance, and all in between in our society, we are blessed with the ability to make a positive effect on progress through films and videos. The shift that affects brains, questions misunderstandings, extends our outlook, and encourages us to learn more than we did before deciding to play. The outstanding aspect of Nigerian films and video is how these works of fiction are so much linked to reality. They act much of the time as a gateway into the world of other people that we are not aware of. They make it possible for us to see life beyond ours and to represent others who are always oppressed. Not only does it encourage a sense of national identity and group representation to bring people’s experiences to public notice, but it helps audiences to recognize their challenges, empathize with them, and maybe even uplift them, which is an important commitment to harmonizing our differences.
Development and unity are rooted in shared understanding and films are a successful way of teaching and enlightening. Take the “October 1st” movie and how it engulfed audiences in what it was like to be a police officer from another country investigating inexplicable killings at the tail end of colonialism. We understand various viewpoints on this monumental shift through knowledge and nuance through the eyes of different characters and learn about something that few of us have lived through. Or “The Wedding Party” and its brilliant show of the collective pomp of Nigeria at weddings for grandeur and ostentatious display, demonstrating the richness of dressing, language, food, and lifestyle, and using humor and drama to illustrate that our parallels outweigh our distinctions.
As mere escapism, some dismiss movies and images, but their influence is profound. You’ll find that they are the forces of transformation as you still look at the biggest audience watching films and videos; young people who are now growing up to counter negative perceptions and promote unity and diversity. The Voice” is a widely viewed musical reality show that, despite differences, has illustrated to Nigerians that it is possible to live and progress together, and shows our innate talents to a large audience.” The likelihood of impacting millions of minds for solidarity and culture, amplified by the massive outreach capacities of films and videos, is unique to films and videos. The same attitude is motivated by seeing a lead actor or actress take center stage and work for a shared national goal, as in the movie “Up North.” Viewers idealize and put themselves in their shoes for those characters and situations. The film taught positivity and ignited with diversity and crafty marketing against certain negative perceptions created from the darkness of prejudice.
Similarly, in other Nigerian films, the didactic and moral lectures alert audiences of the significant implications of involvement in crime and corruption. This capacity to admonish through entertainment is a cogent instrument without force for achieving lasting peace. There is barely a discussion about the potential of film and video to alter births. It should be remembered, though, that as far as film and video should be used as a force for good, it can become a weapon in the wrong hands to expand the limits of bad. As the Executive Director of the prestigious National Film & Video Censors Board (NFVCB), my service to Nigeria has been a humbling and transformative experience. It’s got me fitted with the apparatus to contextualize both the challenges and realities of the film and video industry’s promotion of national unity.
As a regulatory agency, the NFVCB urges film & video makers to tell stories of “unity” in ways that people may see and experience the connection between them and concepts of national unification that would otherwise have become vague or non-existent. Our mandate to regulate content and encourage positive values while protecting originality positions us at the forefront of fertilizing transformation and transforming minds towards solidarity and compassion. There has been a great deal of change that could not have been accomplished without President Muhammadu Buhari’s transformative leadership, which is committed to ensuring peace, stability and, most notably, the unity of the country. The indispensable oversight and direction of the Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism under Alhaji’s leadership. Lai Mohammed has also been immensely supportive to the NFVCB. A chorus of commendation also goes to the Sons & Daughters of this great nation who have demonstrated the ideals of nationality, merits of unity while also keeping us entertained by their tenacity and evident talent in the film & video industry. Previous research indicates that Nollywood films could serve as a tool for socialization, information, mass education, and overall national development. It is a way of contact and awareness of the cultural beliefs of people. Therefore this study will look at the impact of Nollywood in promoting national development and unity in Nigeria.
1.2. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Nigerians experience in everyday life communal mutuality in village festivals, traditional dancing tunes and steps, religious worships and socio-cultural cooperation in works. This experience may be identical except the language use. Some years ago, the appearance of cheap and easily operated video equipment made possible a whole new kind of filmmaking that escaped the problematic of celluloid cinema and steadily proved phenomenally successful with the public. The video boom arose on a commercial basis: not the corporate, capitalist commercialism of Nollywood, but the commerce of the Nigerian market an enormous energy of exchange, but without large capital formations, bank loans, or much relationship with the formal sector at all. The Nollywood viewers cut across the geopolitical zones in the country and this raises the question of national unity and development integration. As the death toll from the activities of the Islamic sect continues to rise, the bombing of mainly churches and government buildings as well as other public institutions such as the United Nations building in Abuja has introduced a new form of warfare previously unknown to the Nigerian state. Christians and moderate Muslims in the Northern part of the country are constantly under the threat of attacks. The resumption of militia activities and increasing pirate attacks around Nigeria’s coastal areas by the Niger Deltans, despite the amnesty program that restored calm to the region, has further heightened the security situation in the country. These problems in addition to the spate of kidnappings all over the country of both Nigerians and foreign nationals alike have increased the crime rates in the country as a whole. These security threats come amidst rising poverty levels that force many unemployed youths into crimes such as armed robbery. As a result of the growing levels of insecurity in the country, calls for a national conference to debate the future of Nigeria have been renewed in the recent months. The battered image of Nigeria as a country beset with ethno religious conflicts and high levels of all kinds of heinous crimes has reached new heights regardless of any effort to launder the image of the country. Nigerians have become soft targets for deportations from all countries in the world, not least African countries that, amongst other concerns, fear that Nigerians might become refugee claimants should the country continually go the path of conflict. Consequently and in due consideration of the current socio-political cum economic and national unity challenges that the Nigerian state is presently confronting, in what ways can Nollywood contribute to creating a new national identity for Nigeria that goes beyond the current narratives of a country where poverty and ethno-religious conflicts predominate? This research will provide a background to Nigeria as a state and highlights the taproots of the current problems being encountered in the country, an argument for a redefinition of the Nigerian state and the role of Nollywood in Nigeria’s national unity and development.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examine the impact of Nollywood in promoting national development and unity in Nigeria. Other specific objectives of the study are
- To examine the cultural components depicted in Nollywood
- To examine the impact of Nollywood in promoting national unity and development
- To examine the relationship between Nollywood and national unity and development.
- To examine the factors that militates against effective national unity and development of Nigerian society by Nollywood
- To examine how Nollywood affect the promotion of national unity and development in Nigeria
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What are the cultural components depicted in Nollywood?
- What is the impact of Nollywood in promoting national unity and development?
- What is the relationship between Nollywood and national unity and development?
- What are the factors that militate against effective national unity and development of Nigerian society by Nollywood?
- How does Nollywood affect the promotion of national unity and development in Nigeria?
- RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H1: There is no significant impact of Nollywood in promoting national unity and development
H1: There is a significant impact of Nollywood in promoting national unity and development
H1: There is no significant relationship between Nollywood and national unity and development
H1: There is a significant relationship between Nollywood and national unity and development
- SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This research is considered important given to the fact that it will be of high relevance to media houses. The media houses will find the findings of this study relevant as it will introduce some reforms in the airing of Nollywood movies. The findings of this study will also enlighten people as it will expand their horizon on the issue of Nollywood movies and its impact on national unity and development. The general public will also find this research relevant as it will educate them on the subject matter. Finally, this research will be an addition to the existing stock of knowledge.
- SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study is restricted to the impact of Nollywood in promoting national development and unity in Nigeria.
1.8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview)
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.9 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Nollywood: “Nollywood is a sobriquet that originally referred to the Nigerian film industry, the origin of the term dates back to early 2010s”. It is the name given to Nigeria film industry, which oversees all aspects and genres of film production in Nigeria.
Culture: culture is seen as “a complex whole which includes knowledge, beliefs, arts, crafts, law, moral, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society”.
National Unity: National unity is the desire of the citizens of a country to promote peace and stability (common interest) in their country.
Development: Development is a process that creates growth, progress, positive change or the addition of physical, economic, environmental, social and demographic components.
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