01 October 2016

Nollywood enjoys a night of conversation with President Buhari

bhuhariOn Thursday 29th September, Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari invited 300 select young people in the creative industry for an evening of conversations, to share ideas on how to transition the several creative enterprises of today into a viable creative economy.

The night started off with an arts exhibition at the lobby of the State House Conference Centre which featured photographs from the president’s official photographer, Bayo Omoboriowo in addition to various artworks by the following artists: Issac Emokpae, Ayoola Omogbolahan, Ezekiel Osifeso, Johnson Uwadinma, Tyna Adebowale, Ibe Ananaba, Victor Badejo, Fati Abubakar and Ndidi Emefiele.

The exhibition was followed by a panel discussion – moderated by Joke Silva – between the president and select creative entrepreneurs. Wana Uduoabang, Lanre Dasilva Ajayi, photographer and musician TY Bello, Ishaq Sidi Ishaq, Denrele Sonariwo and music producer Cohbams all expressed their excitement for what they do, coupled with frustrations that throng them – namely lack of electricity and infrastructure as well as non-existent opportunities for training.

On his part, President Buhari expressed his admiration for the resilience of the Nigerian youth in the face of the adversity they’ve had to contend with, acknowledging that the creative arts has done more for Nigerians more than recent governments had. According to him ‘You have done Nigeria proud’.

He also promised to invest more in the creative economy by providing the infrastructure young Nigerians so earnestly yearn for. Furthermore, he spoke on the need to enact legislation that will protect the integrity of young people’s achievements.

But the event was not all talk; Waje gave a rousing rendition of the national anthem to commence the night. Simi and Falz performed their wildly popular song, ‘Soldier’ and Darey took time of his compère duties to perform Pray for me. Graffiti artist Osa ‘Osaseven’ Okunpolor also gave a live demonstration of his work while Godwin Strings entertained as he did so.

The crescendo of the night was the launching of a photo-book by Omoboriowo, aptly titled ‘Buhari: A New Beginning’. The series of photographs include certain never-before seen pictures of the president as a child and more of Nigeria’s former leaders since colonial days.

The reviewer, legendary photographer Sunmi Smart-Cole revealed that some of the photographs – which should belong in the National Archives – were purchased at a cost from an individual. Omoboriowo pledged that all proceeds from the event will be donated to buying books for internally displaced persons in the North East of Nigeria.


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