By Tony Ogaga
Amid agitations and calls for secession, terrorism and banditry, including corruption and embezzlement of public funds by politicians, Nigeria has found herself at the crossroads lately.
Perhaps to amplify the problem, in a recent sermon, Pastor Adefarasin of The Church on The Rock advised Nigerians to have a plan B, as the nation tethers on the brink. It is in this light that Rotimi Adeola’s movie, The New Patriots, offers hope to a beleaguered nation by tapping into its strongest recourse – its teeming youth population and the role they could play in redeeming her fortunes. Little wonder, the film has received positive reviews after being screened at several international film festivals.
Indeed, The Patriots is a timely movie which x-rays Nigeria’s problems, and with June 12, the Democracy Day around the corner, the premiere of the movie is nothing short of timely.
Set in the fictional and tiny Republic of Araguna, The New Patriots is the story of a nation under the grip of terrorism, banditry and endemic corruption, tethering on the brink. It demonstrates how positive and non-violent contributions from the youth can normalise the floundering and corruption-infested political reality of the Republic of Araguna.
A social engineering movie, The New Patriots is centered on exposing societal ills in governance, ranging from misappropriation and embezzlement of public funds to vote buying, election rigging, thuggery, ballot snatching, killings, kidnapping and all forms of misconduct practiced by politicians in their quest to seize power and appropriate the ‘national cake’ to themselves and their cronies. It also exposes the state of Araguna’s fragile security architecture and by extension, Nigeria’s, amid the gale of terrorism and banditry currently sweeping the nation.
The New Patriots carries a message that if well channeled could empower the youths by awakening in them their innate powers and talents, and re-enforcing in them their role in nation building, through responsible participation in the political process made urgent due to the failure of the older generation of politicians.
The message of The New Patriots is simple: instead of riots and meaningless protests, youths should leverage their population and engage in mass education of the electorate on the dangers of thuggery and cash-for-vote. Indeed, for Nigeria to rise from the doldrums, it needs the commitment and contribution of its youths through a paradigm shift.
It is a Robin Hood situation, as the story of The New Patriots revolves around a group of youths scrambling for economic survival while engaged in robbery, kidnapping and all sorts of crime to make ends meet. However, after each robbery, they donate the proceeds of their crime to the underprivileged children, the homeless, poor and vulnerable in the society. But things take a new turn after the president’s daughter is kidnapped, and in a strange twist takes the movie to a shattering and unexpected climax.
An adaptation of Nnenna Ihebom’s Patriots and Sinners, the film was directed by Adebayo Tijani and produced by Rotimi Adeola. It boasts a rich coterie of talents like Akin Lewis, Lateef Adedimeji, Bimbo Oshin, Dele Odule and Taiwo Ibikunle among others. Script contributors include Tunde Kelani, Rotimi Adelola, Niji Akanni, Muritala Sule, Dami Taiwo and Jibola Soyele, and produced for Number One Film Studio by Dr. Rotimi Adelola, former SSG of Ondo State.
The New Patriots will start showing in cinemas nationwide from June 11, heralding the celebration of June 12, the Democracy Day.