Cock Crow at Dawn was a popular Soap Opera on Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) in the 80s. The programme also became the darling programme of many households across the country.
A prominent character in that programme, Sadiq Daba (Bitrus), who died this year, also went ahead to feature in many Nollywood films and became a force in the film industry. This programme was shot in Jos, the Plateau State capital, and it became the foundation of other programmes which emanated from the state. Besides the film production, other aspects of entertainment too have a stronghold in Jos, and it is amazing to know that many people who are making waves across the country and globally today began from Jos or as it were, their proper take-off was from Jos.
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And then came the gospel music icon Panam Percy Paul, who has been making global waves from the 80s with his initial hit album titled ‘Bring Down the Glory’. He is still there singing and producing music talents. Jos has fantastic talents in film making, music, choreography, spoken word artistes/poetry, literature, dancers (contemporary and cultural), rappers, among others.
Even before the advent of ethno-religious violence in the state which has affected other industries as well, the entertainment industry has remained underdeveloped, despite the overwhelming products from the industry making names for themselves across the globe.
Stanley Kavwam who is the Chairman of the Plateau State Chapter of Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), said there is hardly a state in the nation that has produced encompassing entertainment talent like Plateau State, with Jos being the centre of attraction.
Kavwam, who also lectures at the department of Social Work, Federal University of Lafia, Nasarawa State, is a poet, non-fiction writer, essayist, public speaker, social science researcher and song composer.
He said should the needed attention be given to entertainment in Plateau and considering the serene nature of the state, the state will surely become the epic centre of the entertainment industry not only in Nigeria but in Africa. He also outlined some of the talents the state has produced as well as the film or music production shot in the state.
He said: “The serene and tranquil ambience of Jos, Plateau State, typifies the serendipity of the city amplified by the avalanche of icons it has churned out in droves over the years. The entertainment industry in particular appears to have taken the largest chunk of the cake as it nestles conspicuously in the heart of the city’s soul.
“The enigmatic charm, glamour and candour of the city of Jos epitomise a state which though small in size, nevertheless stands out as a classic outlier and a wonder that eludes comprehension. The city of Jos first became renown for tin mining during the colonial era as multifarious ethnic nationalities streamed in in their numbers from all parts of the country into the new world in search of wealth.
“Sequel to this prominence that defined the social structure of the city and the heterogeneous disposition it achieved by the influx of people from all over the world to savour the sumptuous delicacy that only Jos could offer, the dynamics of social interaction gave birth to a miniature Nigeria that we are yet to recapture in the wake of the unfortunate incidents that have threatened to bury the state in ruins.”
Regarding the talents that have come out of Jos, he said, “The talents that have come out of the womb of this city of wonder, Jos, straddles all spheres of human endeavours and remain without equivocation an outlier without equal. The list is indeed endless and a chronicle reveals as much as it conceals it.
“Rana Bata Karya which featured Abdullahi Shuaibu (Karkuzu na Bodara), shot at the Jos Museum, is a famous soap opera that kept the audience glued to the screens of their televisions in the 1980s. And so is the famous Cock Crow at Dawn.
“Living in bondage, directed by Steve Gukas, also shot on the Plateau, is the first Nollywood movie ever to hit the screen, thereby opening the window to aspiring actors who today star as gladiators. Also, the popular television soap opera years back ‘Behind the Cloud’ was shot in Jos and featured some Jos talents.
“The list is endless as I said. Desmond Elliot, Segun Arinze (Black Arrow), Saint Obi, Tuface Idibia, Idrees Abdulkareem, Jeremiah Gyang, Ice Prince, MI Abaga, Sadiq Abubakar Daba (the producer of Cockcrow at dawn of NTA), among many too numerous to mention, all resonate the creative zest of the tin city and the ingenuity of its inhabitants who represent the African spirit which is characterized by resilience and indomitable penchant for excellence.
On her part, Debrah Jalmet who is an actress, film maker, script writer, among other entertainment engagements, said the dilemma of the Plateau State entertainment industry is just lack of successive government’s recognition and support of the abundant talents in the state that can boost the industry.
Jalmet, who is also the Plateau State chairperson of the Nollywood Artistes Association and the founder of Plateau International Film Festival (PIFF) and Hometown Media Production, Communications and Entertainment, said before any other stakeholder supports the entertainment industry, the government must be in the lead, so that the others can take queue from them.
She said without the government showing the desired interest in the industry, investors, organizations, private bodies or interested individuals would not be motivated to invest in the industry, adding that the state keeps losing its abundant talents to other states due to lack of proper motivation.
Insecurity and crisis, she added, have also contributed to the challenges facing the industry. She explained that whenever she tries to invite film makers or musicians from other parts of the state to come to Jos for functions, they are sometimes sceptical, even though the insecurity is not as people always perceive from outside and seen online.