The Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, who is also a Visiting Associate Professor with the Department of Theatre and Cultural Studies, Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK), has said Nollywood has the capacity to play a critical role in ensuring religious tolerance in Nigeria.

This was contained in a paper he presented at the just concluded 2016 Annual Conference of the African Theatre Association (AfTA), which was hosted by Nigeria at the University of Abuja located in the nation’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

In the paper, entitled, “Reinventing Nollywood Christian Genre Films as Media for Inculcating Moral Values in Nigeria: A Critical Reading of Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen’s Private Sin”, with a focus on how these films can inculcate moral values, Ayakoroma disclosed that the Christian genre films have the full capacity to spread the word of God and bring people to Christ.

His words: “Nollywood producers can use Christian genre films to really preach religious tolerance. You know we are having various issues in this country, especially that of religion. As far as religion is concerned, there is religious intolerance and this is where Nollywood can come in to play a critical role to ensure that we tolerate each other.”

“The Christian genre film is all about preaching the word of God. Before the advent of Nollywood, Mike Bamiloye and his Mount Zion Films really did a lot about Christian drama; but unfortunately, the video films did not make much impact because the productions depended on the congregation and these were persons who, majorly, are not trained theatre artists and there is no way they would give the best.

“Helen Ukpabio also suffered the same fate. Her breakthrough only came when she decided to partner Teco Benson in her film, titled, The Price. The success of this film actually opened the floodgates of Christian genre films. And we began to see the catch-phrase, ‘To Go Be The Glory’”

Ayakoroma, who is an accomplished film scholar, maintained that the Christian genre films can play roles in inculcating moral values in the citizenry by encouraging hard work, curbing excessive love for money, knowing that a prayer-less Christian is a powerless Christian, and realizing that true repentance is an essential in Christian living among others.

Caleb Nor

Corporate Affairs Unit

NICO, Abuja