The current president of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Emeka Rollers, in a brief interview with Happenings, spoke about his proactive plans to not just move the AGN forward, but to also change the face of Nollywood, he also spoke about Government support in movie industry.
Please tell us more about yourself?
I am Emeka Rollas. I am an actor and the president of Actors Guild of Nigeria. What is occupying my mind now is how to leave a legacy for the guild.
What would you want to differently as AGN president?
Things I want to do differently are all entirely my ideas. First of all, understanding what AGN stands for and move it forward. The guild that is meant to be the giant of Nollywood is crawling because of crisis. My plan is to deliver a united guild because presently people have lost interest in the association because of different kinds of leadership tussle and crisis from one administration to another. A lots of Actors have lost interest in joining the association and that is why Nollywood is not working. When we are able to fix AGN, we will fix Nollywood. AGN is the largest in number, it has a base so it is important for us to fix AGN. If I am able to deliver one united AGN, that is okay for me.
Do you think it is achievable because things has gone bad beyond recognition?
Yes, it is achievable, it is by building bridges, mend the fences reach out to members who have been aggrieved for a long time. There are people who are aggrieved over selection on Board of Trustees. We want to go into main roots of some of this leadership tussles and see how we can settle them. There is hardly any president in Nollywood that was not booted-out. It is either by impeachment or different kind of stories. It is not possible for you to impeach a president and he will be happy. We need to address all these issues so that we can become a united association. We are meant to be a union fighting for the welfare of Actors right but we have not been able to achieve this because we are not united. We have put up a reconciliation committee to see to the one united association for everything to fall in place.
When did your cabinet commence?
22 August, 2017. Basically it is like a caretaker committee because we intend to resolve all problems. Since last year, I have begun with restructuring. A lots of members don’t even know why they are members, they don’t understand what the guild stands for. We don’t have any structure on ground. We have begun on how to make our structure work. Presently, we are into development of website, to carry all our members along. We are developing an AGN application. We want to create an account so that there will be records that will be left behind. In totality, this cabinet want to live legally.
The last guild government threw their weight behind PDP but the present government is yet to show their support, what is your reaction?
I don’t want to speak for the government but the present government came into power, the minister of information began to speak grammar but from my own perspective, we have gone beyond Newspapers and Television assessment, whereby you will say Nollywood is worth 5 billion dollars. We need government to come into the industry to develop it. It is not that government should use the strength of the industry to achieve their aim; they need to come to the grass-root to know what is happening. It is not releasing millions of naira that would solve our problems. If we really want the industry to develop as we want, government need to reduce tax on any of our equipment that come to Nigeria. Just recently, we bought a drone from Canada, the item is at the airport and they are asking us to bring the end consumer document if we have a quality camera that is accessible to professional in Nigeria, the young producers at every nooks and corners will shoot better film. But because they don’t have access to such equipment. It is costly and they can not afford it. We are still trying to get the government and let them see where they could assist the industry.
What are your antecedents in the movie Industry?
I started out in 1997 from Onitsha, Anambra State. A lady friend of mine, Nonye a costumier in Nollywood introduced me to the industry. My first film was produced by Emeka Ugwunze. I have featured in several movies. Then in Anambra State, I was the Vice-Chairman of Nigeria Guild of Actors, later it became Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), I later became the PRO in Lagos. After that I contested for presidency in 2005, Ejike Asiegbu won the elections and I was appointed special adviser to the president in political matters, I was appointed National Secretary later. In 2009 with Segun Arinze. In 2012, I contested again for president of AGN and Ibinabo Fiberesima won the elections. We went to a conference in Enugu with the delegation of Chairmen to form a government of National Unity and somebody nominated me said he thing I should head the Committee for government of National Unity. It was put to vote between myself and Emeka Ike and I won by 2 votes to 14.