NIGERIAN WRITERS SCHEMED OUT OF FG COMMITTEE ON COVID-19 FOR THE CREATIVE INDUSTRY
Good day Sir, we appreciate you for granting us an audience with you.
1.We are aware of your position as a member of the Federal Government Committee on the Creative Industry. Can you share with us the goals of the committee?
The committee is to come up with ways to mitigate the effects of Covid-19 on the Creative Industry which writers belong to. We have four weeks to complete the assignment. As we were made to understand, palliatives in form of credits, grants and supports would be designed for the industry by the Federal Government to cushion the effect of the pandemic.
2. We also want to know what roles you have played in seeing that Writers and other creatives within it’s sub-sectors gets the recognition and support they need in the scheme of things?
It is the reason why I lamented on Facebook. FG initially excluded writers, so, it was our cry that led to my admission into the committee. A member of the House of Reps, Hon. Saidu Musa Abdul from Niger State (a supporter of Nigerian Writers in Niger) presented our case to the Hon. Minister of Information who later appointed me into the committee. My life has all been about the promotion of literary art and writers. I argue strongly on the committee for writers. This view point led to my expulsion by the comedian called Alibaba. He chairs the committee.
3. We are aware of the deliberate ploy to sideline writers even in the initial setup of the committee, are the writers getting the right foot hold in the committee?
With my removal, the road ends for Nigerian writers on the committee. I want to guess that perhaps, the idea to convene the group was Alibaba’s seeing the unilateralist stand he removed me with. He did so without informing the Minister who appointed me and him. Very dictatorial a character he was. All the caricature he makes of our leaders in his comedy is a representation of himself. Very strange that the Minister allowed it without a word.
4. So where do you stand now?
It is for the Nigerian Writers to take a stand. I made a case for them which resulted in the few strong positions I took. I have reported to writers in our platforms. I have sent them the screen shots of the discussions that led to my eviction. The rest is theirs, it is not me. Nollywood has unlimited powers in the Federal Ministry of Information, writers have none. It is not fair because we all own the government.
5. Why are writers so neglected by governments in Nigeria but giving honour to Comedians and Nollywood?
Popular culture gives attraction more than critical culture. Nigerian Federal Government loves them more than us. Government ought to be a critical enterprise than should be friendly to writers for input. However, if they tilt towards comedians, it is a choice of their attraction.
6. Who will stand for writers in the absence of FG support for their growth?
Writers should organise themselves and look for outlets for themselves. They should unify their goals for greater result.