A Nollywood actor and filmmaker, Thomson Makolo Jnr. has taken a swipe on the Deputy Governor Edward Onoja’s Chief Press Secretary, CPS, Promise Emmanuel over claims that Mercy Johnson is coming second to late Prof. Francis Idachaba in the hierarchy of those who reformed the state.
Recall that the CPS, in an article titled: ‘The Mediocrity, Like Francis Idachaba, like Mercy Johnson’, had claimed that with the coming of Mercy Johnson’s movie, ‘The Legend of Inikpi’, the existing mediocrity in the film industry in the state would be wiped out.
However, Mr Makolo in a swift reaction, said that there was nothing exceptional that Mercy Johnson is bringing to the table, stressing that before her appointment into the state government, a lot of movies had been churned out by prominent actors and moviemakers in the state.
“I would like to set the record straight. Before Mercy Johnson’s appointment as an SSA to the governor on Art, Culture and Entertainment, there was an industry and certain people have laid a foundation for what we have today as arts and Entertainment industry in the state.
“In 2005, I was the chairman of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, Kogi Chapter. I was the youngest to ever occupy that office in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. By 2005, I had invited a veteran director and filmmaker, Zack Amata, to come to Kogi to shoot my movie titled ‘Makafa’. That movie also starred the likes of Segun Arinze and many others.
“In 2007, I also shot a language movie that brought in Aquila Njama as Director, with top-class Igala actors drawn from home and outside.
“I would like to ask, what exactly is mediocrity? The mediocrity that before Mercy came to do a film there was no film making in Kogi State? What exactly is mediocrity in this context?
“For me, the true mediocrity is one who was appointed as an assistant to the governor in a certain area and, instead of you assisting the governor to bring up ideas, create a platform for engagement and derive certain values, all you chose to do in your four years of appointment was to produce a movie. Can that make you a matured person?
“My pain is the fact that there is a general insult that is going around now that before this movie was produced there was no effort in film making in the state.
Again, there is a sentiment they are whipping that I don’t understand. Mercy has not done us a favour by making Inikpi film. Mark you, other producers have made Inikpi in the past without any government sponsorship,” Mr Makolo Jnr. stressed.
The filmmaker, therefore, challenged the producer of the movie to declare the budget of the film, “so that we would be able to evaluate whether the movie meets the standard of what has been brought to the market”.
According to him, by producing ‘The Legend of Inikpi’ Mercy Johnson is not doing any favour to the Igala people.
Mr Makolo Jnr. said: “There is nothing exceptional that she has done. Telling the Inikpi story is nothing for me exceptional.
“If Mercy was passionate about the industry. Why are they making it look like it’s favour she has done by telling the Igala story? Is it because she is non-Igala?
“Tell me, did she do a favour to the Igbos when she was cast as Igbo character? The answer is No. It is just because she had something to offer that was why she was given such roles,” he added.
The filmmaker, however, advised the government officials in the state to face their governance activities and stop delving into professions they scarcely have experience in.
“I would like them to face their government activities and do not delve into the professional sector.
“At what point has government aide started speaking for movie producers in Kogi State?
“So, to say that there is mediocrity and Mercy has come to set the record straight is what I do not agree with. Let them go and check the records.
“If it is so much in the interest of Kogi State government to invest in the film industry in the state, let them set a counterpart funding and give other filmmakers the opportunity to come and access the fund and tell the world what they can do to, not by funding one person and making the others look like they don’t know what they are doing,” Mr Makolo Jnr. added.