Scheduled for 5pm on June 15, 2021, many guests had arrived on time for the virtual public presentation of ‘Reflections: An Anthology of thoughts on Nigerian Movie Industry – Pioneers, Creativity & Tenacity’ written by veteran entertainment journalist and media trainer, Femi Akintunde-Johnson aka FAJ.
The formal presentation of the book, which was held via Zoom and moderated by former Guardian editor and culture activist, Jahman Anikulapo, kicked off by 5.05pm and lasted till 7.30pm, with a capacity crowd all through. Several artistes and directors from the film industry were in attendance. Also noteworthy was the presence of veteran journalists, clergymen and women, and friends of the author. Pastor Tunde Bakare, the Serving Overseer of Citadel Global Community Church (formerly The Latter Rain Assembly), and his wife, Layide, also ‘zoomed’ in.
The chairman of the event, Yomi Badejo-Okusanya, the Group Managing Director of CMC-Connect Ltd., and president of Africa Public Relations Association, during his short speech, praised the author for his daring and fun nature which made him take up projects that led to some of the growth the Nigerian entertainment industry witnessed in the ‘90s and 2000s.
When called upon to give remarks, the author, who was praised by the moderator of the event as the ‘godfather of Nigerian entertainment reporting’, thanked all who were in attendance. He said: “Contrary to the usual pattern of writing history from the premise of past events, the history of motion pictures in Nigeria is a more difficult assignment, as the industry is still a thriving and continually evolving sector of the Nigerian economy and society. As you can see, it’s still an ongoing project… a nightmare for anyone trying to document its contours and eras. Players change, trends evolve, transitions happen. In the last three months, after writing in the present tense, I have had to revert to the past tense with the demise of Chico Ejiro and Uncle Ladi Ladebo… for example.’
Speaking further, FAJ revealed: “A lot of patience is required … actors, directors, and other workers in the industry are forever nomadic, sort of… and where the internet can be misleading or would sometimes take you off course, you’d need the interventions of real players to correct and validate available information and data. My debt of gratitude to those who responded positively to our prods and queries… and those who continue to support our efforts all through the decades.”
Pastor Bakare, while giving his pastoral blessings, prayed that the author would have more grace to cover more grounds in all his endeavours. He also praised the veteran journalist for his positive contributions to the development of the film industry in Nigeria.
The book, ‘Reflections’, is over 300 pages, and focuses on the history, creativity, and growth of the Nigerian film industry. It is available in e-book and paperback formats, both online (Amazon and Smashwords) and in Nigeria through the author’s website: https://fajswhatnots.wixsite.com/fajalive – or by private placements).
Some of the guests present at the unveiling were Kate Henshaw, Joke Silva, Fidelis Duker, Steve Ayorinde, Lanre Arogundade, Azuh Arinze, Lancelot Imuseun, Edmond Enaibe, Chris Obi-Rapu, Dr. Kunle Hamilton, Sesan Ekisola, Peace Osigwe-Anyiam, Yomi Opakunle, Yinka Akanbi, Sola Osofisan, Marcel Okeke, Hussein Shaibu, Lampe Omoyele, Deji Adeagbo, Lemi Ghariokwu, Nyanknno Osso, Femi Odugbemi, Funke Omidire, Chinelo Chikelu, Mike Effiong, Pastor Kayode and Titi Adeosun, Prof. Akin Adesokan, Ganiat Meshioye, Matthew Simpa, Sola Adewunmi, Pastor and Mrs. Funsho Ige, Soibifaa Dokubo, Johnson Onime, Dr. Arnold Udoka, and a host of others.