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‘Nowadays it’s the non-talented ones who are succeeding’

Richie Oganihu: I have a military background. I was trained and brought up in the barracks. I am an entertainer. I am a musician and…

Richie Oganihu: I have a military background. I was trained and brought up in the barracks. I am an entertainer. I am a musician and an actor. I am a fine artist also. In generality I am an all round artiste. I am an entrepreneur and I run a company tasked with that. I run a television program called ethics. It is an all embracing program. I also handle an outfit that is into modeling. We train musicians and expose them to international limelight. We do the same thing with actors.

Can you talk a bit about your military background?

I do not like talking about that aspect of my life.

Any particular reason, why?


What have you been up to lately apart from what you just told us? Any particular engagement?

We do a job that does not have retirement benefits. As one of the pioneers of the movie industry in Nigeria, I have learnt this. And that you do not put all your eggs in one basket. In Nigeria, actors and actresses manage themselves. They look for job for themselves. They equally bear the attacks that come with stardom. They are exposed to all the upheavals of the industry. We do not like how this honorable job is being done despite the fact that it has a colorful future.

As it is it means that we are suffering from pioneers’ syndrome. As pioneers, we have to go through these teething problems. We are hoping that those who will take over from us will be well packaged. That is why some of us have decided, to a little bit, repackage the industry so that we can create a future for those coming behind us. That is why I am engaging right now in managing and training artistes especially the upcoming ones. That is exactly what I am doing at present.

Professionalism appears to be on the decline in the movie industry now. What are veterans like you doing to ensure that the industry does not take on a toga of lack of seriousness being presently ascribed to it by some critics?

A lot of youthful exuberance has entered into the industry. When we started it, it was not so. People then were more mindful of the profession rather than money. Nowadays, it is all about the crave for money and putting in little. We now have people who are easily influenced by money. Things that were not in the industry are now being allowed into it. There are a lot of unnecessary influences in the industry today. An industry where God is expected to reign and a place where people are supposed to come in and receive peace of mind, a place where correct things are put in place is now unfortunately, not so. It is not how it used to be. During my days we were sold out to this industry. We wanted to make an impact. We were not looking for whose ego to bruise or who to die for us to live. We were not looking for whom to fight. During our own time, we had one leader at a time.

Nowadays, people want to be in power rather than do the job. Ask those people who are struggling for power: what is their real agenda? Their agenda is not clearly spelt out to ameliorate the plight of the practitioners in the industry. What are the existing problems of the industry? We want to give every actor a future. We want the Nigerian millionaire to see the industry as a viable sector to invest in. We want to boost the industry and correct the impression that the outsiders are having about Nollywood. Today, Nollywood is rated second in the world due to its large network and distribution. It used to be Bollywood. In proliferation, we are number one. We have gone round the world in audio visuals than any other industry. Yet, we are hosting the highest number of pauper stars. And the government is not doing anything about this.

Piracy appears to be another challenge…

Piracy is not a problem. I have always said this. Our problem is our inability to harvest what we have. We have grown so big that we have forgotten how many children we have. That is the problem we are having rather than piracy. The system here is so porous that if you leave the rudiments, other people will harvest what you have for you. What is this rudiment? Put in the money and put in enough security.

You get the security with money. The movie industry is a systemic industry that operates on rudiments. I repeat, if you do not follow the rudiments, other people will harvest for you. We have grown so much fruit all over in a short time. But we do not have the capacity to harvest it. You have to learn how to harvest it. The bourgeoisie in Nigeria should step into it. We should also take a leap more into celluloid production.

Why did you go into entertainment?

I cannot categorically tell you why. I have been into entertainment as far as I can remember. I was born into it. My father was a singer. My mother was a model. At the age of 12, I was in the choir singing almost all the parts. My first national award I got as a musician-the Nigerian Song festival. Before I started acting. I was initially a model, a star model. Artistes who are models can easily be distinguished in their acts. Entertainment has been a lifestyle so I cannot tell you this is why I joined it.

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