The once upon a smooth and cordial relationship between the Nigerian and Ghanaian movie industries is alleged to be gradually going sour as a result of unhealthy rivalry. Patience Ivie Obhafuoso in this piece examines some salient issues in the alleged feud.
The Nigeria movie industry (Nollywood) has gained much popularity within and outside Nigeria over the years. Being the second largest film industry in the world, Nollywood is a household name in virtually every family across the country.
Ghollywood on the other hand, is the Ghanaian version of Nollywood. Looking at how the relationship between Nollywood and Ghollywood began, some say that Ghanaians have been involved in Nigerian movie productions since the inception of Nollywood, while some others believe that their presence is a recent development. However, some agreed that the Nigerian movie industry served as a launch-pad for its Ghanaian counterpart.
According to the NigerianFilms.com, this was achieved through the appearance of Ghanaian faces in Nollywood productions with the popularity of the industry serving as a vehicle which launched them into stardom.
Instead of continued partnership, the Ghanaians borrowed a leaf from their host industry and set up their own Ghollywood, thereby started featuring popular Nigerian actors and actresses in their productions.
It was gathered recently that the authorities of the Ghanaian movie industry issued a directive stating that no Nigerian actor/actress would be allowed to work on any of its movies unless they pay a fee of one thousand dollars each.
In response, the Film, Video Producers and Markers Association of Nigeria (FVPMAN), placed an embargo on Ghanaian films from August, 2012. The association has also resolved to halt the distribution of films produced by non-professionals. It insists that if such film(s) must be distributed, its right of ownership should be transferred to its members on negotiation.
The FVPMAN chairman, Onitsha branch, Mr. Uzo Godson Nwosu, said the decision became necessary following the position taken by their Ghanaian counterparts who have banned the distribution of Nigerian films in their country long time ago.
Speaking with LEADERSHIP SUNDAY, Nollywood actress, Ibinabo Fiberesima, condemned the rivalry between the industries, saying that both Nigeria and Ghana are west African countries and are expected to love each other.
“We started acting movies together and all of a sudden…there is really no need for this. I am not blaming either Nollywood or Ghollywood, all I am saying is that it is not worth it”, she said.
Also, Nollywood actor, Bob Manuel, condemned the contention, describing it as an unfortunate incident.
According to him, “I am not aware of the situation but if it is true, it is unfortunate because Nigeria and Ghana share the most of similarity. The natural thing we did was to involve Ghana in our movies. If that is true, it is really unfortunate because it’s like extending a hand of friendship to somebody you consider as a friend.
“They should not forget that Ghana is a small country and what we need is to complement each other. It is an unhealthy development and an ill wind that will blow neither country any good.”
However, the Director-General, Nigeria Film Census Board, Mr. Emeka Mba, dismissed the claim. He said, “We have not banned Ghanaian films in Nigeria and I have no official report as to whether Nigerian films have been banned in Ghana. I heard it just the same way you heard about it”.
He revealed that part of what he learnt was going on in Ghana was that there were certain processes required of a film producer to shoot a film in Ghana. “If they don’t go through these processes, the film could not be allowed to circulate in Ghana. That is probably what people are speculating”, he said.
Whatever might be the true position of the story, unhealthy rivalry will do both countries no good. Let’s clear our differences and move our industries forward for the betterment of West Africa and Africa at large.