Speaker of the house of representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila says Nollywood contributes 2.3 percent to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) with more than 2,500 movies produced yearly.
Gbajabiamila stated this on Friday at a two-day leadership master class training for Nollywood actors arranged by Ndudi Elumelu, the minority leader of the house, in Abuja.
The speaker said it was appropriate to recognize and celebrate Nollywood actors and actresses along with others who constitute Nigeria’s entertainment industry.
Gbaja also pronounced that the burden now rests on the government and private stakeholders to assist the industry for it to grow beyond it current status.
“With adequate investment, a supportive regulatory environment, better training and capacity development, Nollywood will grow beyond our present dream and surpass our highest ambitions,” he said.
“It falls on all of us in government, the private sector and across the society to identify ways we can help the industry reach the heights and we all know is possible.”
Gbajabiamila said that apart from the questions of economics and profit, the industry has key roles to play in influencing the culture, defining national character, and promoting national identity.
“As actors and entertainers, you directly exert tremendous influence on the lives of hundreds of millions of Nigerians, they are impacted by the roles you play, the stories you tell and the realities you explore in your movies,” he said.
“You also have a responsibility to tell the best stories of our beloved country. I do not propose to turn you into cheerleaders for a Nigeria that does not exist.
“But the stories of men and women thriving through adversity and innovating for prosperity needs to be told, and it falls to you to tell those stories.”
Ndudi Elumelu, in his own words, said the training, was a much-needed strategic multi-sectoral effort to secure the coveted rebound and repositioning of the movie industry in Nigeria.
“Nigerians are passionate about the movies you produce as it sees their personal and shared challenges, struggles, anxieties, aspirations and achievements in the lives of the characters you aptly portray,” Elumelu said.
Reacting, Emeka Rollas, national president of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), said that knowledge was vital to leadership development and a sustainable society.
“We need leadership sustainability in the industry through training and retraining to enable us grows the business to keep meeting global demand,” he said.
“The training will enhance our management skill, strategic plan, thought process, new adaptations, and risk management among others.”