The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Management Services) of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and an astute theatre scholar, Professor Duro Oni, has recommended Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma’s masterpiece and phenomenal work, Trends in Nollywood to every student of the Department of Creative Arts of the University and Nollywood practitioners, adding that they must read and put into practice what is contained in the book for continuity in the theatre profession.

Speaking as the Special Guest of Honour in a public presentation of Trends in Nollywood on the 2nd of December, 2014 at the Cinema Hall 2 of the National Theatre Iganmu, Lagos, Professor Oni traced the history of Nollywood in Nigeria, the performances and the soap operas recorded on celluloid to the video format, commending scholars who have contributed immensely to the development of Nollywood.

He said there have been the likes of Ola Balogun, Baba Sala, Chief Hubert Ogunde (the Travelling Theatre), Wole Soyinka, Jonathan Haynes, Hyginus Ekwuazi, Foluke Ogunleye, Onookome Okome, Femi Shaka, and his humble self, who had made invaluable contributions to film studies in Nigeria, and that Barclays Ayakoroma had joined the league of such film scholars.

He also highlighted the issues that had been confronting the Nigeria film industry, its stakeholders and Nigeria Film and Video Censors Board from inception till date, ranging from issues of technology, economics, and of translation from Nigerian indigenous languages to English; and that amid the challenges facing Nollywood, he believed that,  “Nollywood indeed  is a gift to Nigeria and a gift to the world,” and should be given professional touch in all its ramifications.

A Nigerian actor, director, teacher and now Director-General of Rivers State Tourism Development Agency (RSTDA), Dr. Sam Achibi Dede, speaking in the capacity of a key player in the industry, affirmed that Nollywood has come of age and there was every need for stakeholders to create a trend that should be uniquely theirs in the industry and as a nation; and that, the only way to do so was through theories, research and documentation which Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma had done, setting the pace with the book, Trends in Nollywood.

As one who has been part of the development in the industry, on what started as home video, Dede called on all the Nigerian actors and practitioners to define their place and what exactly they contribute to the global stage.

The Igodo and Issakaba protagonist commended the over 400 pages book as a very heart warming research material for theatre students, up-coming artists, actors/actresses, entertainers, professionals, lovers of the industry and the Nollywood at large, promising that, the RSTDA will equip its library with the book for researchers and readers.

Dignitaries in attendance for the Lagos Book Launch were the Representative of Ijaw National Congress (INC), Lagos Chapter, Chief Regent Youmo; Head, Department of Theatre and Cultural Studies, Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK) and Book Reviewer, Professor Emmanuel Dandaura; Director-General, Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC), Sir Ferdinand Anikwe; Dr. Dipo Kalejaiye of the NICO Training School, Lagos; as well as the CEO Kraft Books Ltd, Ibadan, Mr. Steve Shaba, the  book  publisher and immediate past Mayor of Yenagoa Local Government Council, Hon. Michael Ogbolosingha.

In the category of Nollywood practitioners that graced the occasion were prominent and frontline movie producer, Chief Zeb Ejiro, OON; Head, Productions, MNet Africa, Mr. Yibo Koko; action movie director, Teco Benson; comic actors Charles Inojie and Victor Osuagwu; veteran actor, Mr. Larry Williams, Mr. Steve Eboh, Miss Grace Amah, Mr. Jide Kolade, a contemporary of Dr. Barclays Ayakoroma in the PEC Rep Theatre, Lagos days, and DGN EXCO Member, Eliel Otote, among others.

Trends in Nollywood, the latest book of the Executive Secretary of National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, has been added to the repertoire of books that he would be remembered for in the theatre and film industry.

Njideka Dimgba

Corporate Affairs Unit

NICO Abuja