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Emotion, ecstasy ruled at 2017 AMVCA

For millions of viewers and fans who watched and witnessed the 2017 African Magic Viewers’ Choice Award (AMVCA) ceremony days ago, the spontaneous emotions and…

For millions of viewers and fans who watched and witnessed the 2017 African Magic Viewers’ Choice Award (AMVCA) ceremony days ago, the spontaneous emotions and ecstasy awardees burst into when their names were announced formed part of the captivating frills and thrills of the night.

While some were overwhelmed with emotion and could hardly utter coherent sentences when giving acceptance speeches, others simply turned comedians, sending the audience into rapturous laughter.

Rotimi Salami won the Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Movie/Television Series, for his role in ‘Just Not Married’, Michael Ogunlade won the Best Sound Track for his role in ‘Encounter’ and Somkele Idhalama won the trailblazer award with GAC Motors SUV.

Funke Akindele, whose ‘Jenifa’s Diary’ won the Best Television Show, also won Best Comedy Actress in a Comedy/Movie Series. Imeh Bishop Umoh won the Best Actor in a Comedy Movie/TV Series based on his performance in ‘The Boss is Mine’ and veteran actor/comedian, Chika Okpala won the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Half a decade in its journey as Africa’s biggest platform to nominate and seek recognition for movie producers, actors and actresses, the 2017 AMVCA also threw up a number of surprises. One of the surprises of the night was the emergence of Sambasa Nzeribe as the Best Actor in Movie/Drama Series. Nzeribe had played a pivotal role in the flick: ‘Slow Country’.

What perhaps made Sambasa’s win quite unique was the fact he was perceived by many as the underdog among high profile stars who were also nominated for the award category. Within that space were titans such as Olu Jacob and Richard Mofe Damijo (RMD) from ‘Oloibiri’ and Ramsey Noah from ’76. That he defeated all to emerge as the viewers’ choice best actor was a difficult reality he found hard to believe himself.

“Thank you Jesus,” were the first words Nzeribe said on stage. “I never thought I would be in the same space with the gods of African cinema and emerge winner. Olu Jacob, Ramsey Noah and RMD are all great actors. I know it was with your permission I won this.”

The young actor also did the most unthinkable on the podium as he received his plaque of honour. He prostrated for the A-list actors he dubbed:  gods of African Cinema.

“I have to do that because those great actors you saw there have been acting films even before I could pronounce the word, actor,” Nzeribe said in a post-award ceremony chat with Daily Trust.

“I must confess that since the list of nominees for this category was released, I had thought of letting go because I never saw myself defeating any of the titans I was being paired with. I even said the fact that I have been nominated for this category alongside all these popular faces was a plus for me and I won’t mind indicating that in my CV. But I remembered that there were friends and associates who said to me, ‘boy, what is wrong with you? You have been nominated, go for it’. And that was how I started mobilizing my supporters and fans to go online and vote for me. And in this regard I must say a special thank you to women of St. Mary Catholic Church, Isolo who kept mobilizing people massively on my behalf.  The Catholic women have been my guardians since I lost my parents,” he said.

In what also appeared as another surprise to many who were at the event, the popular blockbuster, 93 Days, which garnered a total of 13 nominations at the AMVCA could only win in two categories, Elliot Sewape’s Best Lighting Designer (Movie/TV Series) and Somkele Idhalama’s Trailblazer awards.

In anticipation of a likely furore that may be generated with the outcome of the voting process and award of honours, M-NET West African Regional Director, Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu stepped out to make complimentary remarks on iconic films of the year, minutes before the formal announcement of ‘76 as the AMVCA best overall movie of the year.


Mba-Uzoukwu said on behalf of AMVCA judges, it was worthy of note to say that three movies ‘Oloibiri’, ’76 and ’93 stood out as classics. She added that regardless of whether they won an award or not, the judges appreciated their classical nature because they told the true Nigerian stories with reverberating effects across Africa.  


Perhaps, the greatest message emanating from the 2017 edition of the award was the passionate pleas made by Rita Dominic, who emerged as Best Female Actress in a Drama Movie/TV Series for her roles in ’76. Dominic had pleaded with the Nigerian government to see to the restoration of history as a compulsory subject in Nigerian schools.

“Not until I was given the script and the role to play in ’76, I never had prior knowledge of what transpired in the past in my own country. History is fading out. I consider it important now that we teach our children our history. This is very important and I think the government and all of us have roles to play in this regard,” Rita said.

The 2017 AMVCA was not devoid of scintillating musical performances to spice the moment.  Renowned musicians, Timi Dakolo, Lira and Waje, were on hand to thrill the audience. Other performances were from ‘The Voice Nigeria’ winner Arese’s tribute to departed actors, and the renditions by other Voice alumni, Chike and DNA. The performance by dancers from the stable of Bolanle Austen-Peters Productions also added glamour to the event.