By Prince Bubacarr Aminata Sankanu
Anyone who compares the maps of the Gambia with those of Ghana and Nigeria would know that I am in fact doing the Nollywood people a favour by warning them of the traps. They are not the first to be enticed into the Gambia only to be used and expelled by the very Jammeh system that invited and pampered them. They are however too arrogant and greedy to see the point. The land in our little Gambia does not belong to the temporal leader in authority for him to play with it as he deems fit. The Gambia is also not a theocratic state where the irrational decisions of a self-confessed dictator must be the final words of God. The Gambia is Secular Republic with checks and balance even though we “tolerated” executive excesses far too long. We were politically cheated through the removal of the term limits clause hours before our people voted in the referendum on our 1997 Constitution.
People should be sincere for a moment: will you like it when your resources are snatched from you by your national president, state governor or local government chairperson without prior consultation and given to parasitic visitors? I know some people in Nigeria and Ghana are celebrating the Gambian land grab and illegal money rain on the home video hustlers since the glorification of gangsters and looters of public assets is like national religion in their home countries. For them it is okay to snatch from the poor and give to the rich because the leader in authority says so. No wonder Africa is in a mess. Not enough brain cells are left for the defence of social justice and responsibility.
Ejike Asiegbu, Francis Duru, Segun Arinze, Monalisa Chinda, Patience Ozokwor, Eucharia Anunobi, Tony Umez, Ngozi Ezeonu, Kanayo O Kanayo, Chika Okpala (Zebrudaya) Harry B Anyanwu, Chinedu Ikedieze, Osita Iheme, Rukiat Masud, Jackie Appiah, you name the other presidential event decorations, are not the builders of our Gambian film industry. They are there as paid praise-singers and court jesters of President Jammeh. They are free to praise-sing for the money but they should be honest by keeping our CINEKAMBIYA Film Industry out of their greed. We don’t need them as they don’t have the competences to build a serious film industry. If they are competent as some people would like us to believe, they would have long found solutions to piracy, mediocrity, corruption, tribalism, greed, vanity, cabalism and other vices that are plaguing their Nollywood and Gollywood industries. We don’t want to copy their vices into our Gambian film scenes. This defiance is emphasized in the choice of CINEKAMBIYA (cinema from the land of River Gambia) as the generic brand of our Gambian film industry. We have the brainpower, capacity and dexterity to build our sustainable film industry without political hypocrisy. Even if President Jammeh is being advised to keep on marginalizing us the ethical Gambian film professionals, the future belongs to us and we are not rushing. I, for one, am ready to collaborate with all genuine film professionals on the African continent and the Diaspora but not on the current dictatorial, colonial and hypocritical terms.
As a reminder, Donald Duke, the former Executive Governor of Cross River State of Nigeria built the massive TINPAPA film studios complex in Calabar with cutting-edge film production equipment and enough space to accommodate all the serious filmmakers in Nigeria and West Africa. Instead of working with him and his successors of the Cross River State Government to advance Studio Tinapa for our Pan-African use, the scavengers left it to waste away while they brag about colonizing Africa with their selfishness. Public money was used to build the studios at Tinapa. If Ejike Asiegbu and his fellow parasites care about Nigerian and Gambian taxpayers, they would first use Tinapa which is just a stone throw from Lagos, to develop good inter-African collaboration films. But the free monies and lands from little poor Gambia are better for them that the world class film facilities in Calabar.
I am not expecting fat bank cheques from Nollywood and Gollywood hustlers who are already draining our meagre resources. Gambia is ranked the 4th poorest country in the world by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2015 but that is not preventing sharks like Ejike Asiegbu and his gang of shameless predators from gulping our monies and other assets because they are “gifts” from an ill-advised president. Stealing from the poor under the pretext of Pan-Africanism is the favourite past time of all those stars fooling President Jammeh. The greedy Ejike Asiegbu is not interested in knowing why the land gifting process was shrouded in secrecy. He is too stupid to accept the truth that the Jammeh system has alienated itself from the Gambian people and would prefer to use mercenaries from Nollywood and Ghana to sow discord between genuine Gambians, Nigerians and Ghanaians than to engage ethical Gambians in sincere nation-building.