I am compelled to respond to a certain Prince Bubaccar, after reading his rather lengthy and winding attack on Nigerian and Ghanaian actors titled “Nollywood Actors, Others Must Stop Scavenging On Our Meagre Gambian Resources”, published online last week. One would have allowed him to enjoy the satisfaction of pandering to his perverted sadistic frustrations, but then, that would be watching a monster go untamed at its infancy.
Bubaccar, if not told some mind jolting truth now that his monstrous tendency had not grown out of proportion, we all would be held responsible for allowing a monster to grow. At the end, the whole of Africa, not just The Gambia, will suffer the consequences.
Despite his self glorification and bragging that he had not collected a ‘dime’ from the President of his country, Gambia, Alhagie Yahya AJJ Jammeh, Bubaccar appears to be seething with hate and malice. Listen to him: “Personally, I see it as a blessing in disguise that President Dr. Yahya AJJ Jammeh has so far not given me a dime for my Gambian film industry projects,” Prince Bubaccar’s piece clearly shows a man pained that his President had not satisfied his selfish desires which he had tried albeit unsuccessfully, to hide. He has therefore resorted to cheap emotional blackmail that has put him in a bad light further.
Bubaccar’s hate filled attack on Nigerian and Ghanaian actors stemmed from the recent news that President Jammeh gifted 15 movie stars piece of land in the Gambia, in the president’s latest move to open up his country’s emerging film and video culture not only to Africa but the world in general.
However, Bubaccar, a Gambian who felt sidelined by his President despite his claim of having been making films for two decades, like the proverbial woman that was scorned, decided to vent his hate filled fury against Nollywood and Ghanaian film stars calling them offensive names such as ‘scavengers’ and ‘hustlers’.
While Bubaccar’s infantile and attention seeking rage only succeeded in putting him in a bad light, he needs to be reminded that Nollywood practitioners have been involved in collaborative initiatives with the good people of the Gambia, geared towards growing the Gambian movie industry inspired by Nigerians and Gambian citizens. These collaborations began as far back as 2007, a move encouraged by President Jammeh.
Some of the initiatives led to capacity workshops undertaken by Nollywood actor Francis Duru and other notable practitioners on pro-bono basis out of the interest zeal and passion of the Gambians towards Nollywood and the Nigerian people.
It should be noted that President Jammeh’s respect and love for African contents especially Nollywood goes a long way to express the intensity of his Pan African drive towards restoring and protecting the heritage of Africa. It was President Jammeh’s request to come up with collaborative initiatives to help build the Gambian movie industry to satisfy the hunger and interest of the good and peaceful people of the Gambia.
How then did an invitation extended by President Jammeh to Nollywood to collaborate and share ideas translate to ‘scavenging’ and ‘hustling’? If Bubaccar is not displaying crass ignorance, he should know that there are over 30, 000 Nigerian businessmen doing business in the Gambia because of the enabling environment provided by the president. Will Bubaccar in his fleeting infantile state of mind also call these hard working private businessmen ‘hustlers’ and ‘scavengers’? If a dangerous character like Bubaccar ever becomes President of the Gambia, one does not need a soothsayer to know that he will place an iron curtain over the country and bar foreigners from investing and or doing business in his country thereby causing his people pain and suffering.
Just so that the sore loser Bubaccar know, it is on record that President Jammeh appointed ministers to midwife the collaborative projects which are already on early course.
It is also on record that the Nigerian/Gambian relationship extends beyond the judiciary and education.
Zenith Bank, GTB, Access, Finbank and First Bank, all Nigerian banks; have a robust business operation in the Gambia. Are they scavenging and hustling Gambians too?
Each time Nollywood actors went to the Gambia as a group, it has been at President Jammeh’s invitation. Artistes from Senegal, Mali and the Diaspora are all invited in line with President Jammeh’s Pan African spirit.
One will forever remain grateful for the value President Jammeh has placed on our industry and for his magnanimity towards our colleagues especially the choice piece of land, so we are not threatened by Prince Babuccar’s infantile threats.
The relationship between the good people of the Gambia and the Nigerian people is one which has come to stay and the likes of Barbucarr cannot break it out of sheer hate for his country’s president.
He claimed to have been investing in Nollywood since 2006, maybe Bubaccar should list projects he had invested in, instead of this lame attempt to be seen in a positive light when of a truth, his intentions are far from noble.
One expected Bubaccar who claims to have been practicing for 20 years to be the liaison between Nollywood and his country as regards President Jammeh’s move to build a vibrant local movie industry instead of this irritating as well as annoying postulation.
Instead of sitting in his small room, brooding and spewing hate from his laptop in a cheap bid to incite his people against Nigerian stars who have done nothing wrong, he should reach out to his president and be the liaison between his local industry and Nollywood, using his ’20 years’ of experience positively for once. But then, he must change this bad loser attitude and remove partisan politics from entertainment. It is shrouding his sense of objective reasoning.
Obviously, Bubaccar has some personal issues with the president of his country and like a keg of gun powder close to the fire place, it took the gift of a piece of land to Nollywood stars to ignite Bubaccar to spew hate and xenophobic sentiments. Read him: “I am therefore calling on the named home video peoples not to rush in developing the land that President Jammeh reportedly allocated them… Governments come and go but the people and their land problems will remain. No sane person can guarantee that the Jammeh government will continue to rule the Gambia for the next 20 years. Being a Nigerian or Ghanaian so-called celebrity will not immune you against future court appearances over land and other contractual disputes. Future governments have the prerogative to nullify land allocations and revise destructive decisions of the current regime.”
Bubaccar, as a matter of urgency, should be placed on the security watch list of the AU because his unstable nature is a fertile ground for xenophobia. After Nigerians lost their lives in scores and millions of dollar investments in South Africa in the last wave of xenophobic attacks, it has become imperative to put the likes of Prince Bubaccar on the continent’s security watch list because he is not only a danger to himself but to the entire continent and the world at large because not only Gambians live in the Gambia.
Simply put, Bubaccar is a walking xenophobia!
For someone who claimed to have been investing ‘heavily’ in Nollywood since 2006, yet he bad mouths Nigeria and Nigerians calling them names and tagging them as ‘corrupt’ people who are destroying the Gambia. Hear him again: “Successive Nigerian governments have been blindly sending lawyers and judges to assist in building a progressive Gambian judiciary but most of them ended up as corrupt mercenaries ever-ready to jail more Gambians just to appease the executive branch of the Gambian government,” one wonders the kind of investments someone like Bubaccar may have in Nollywood that only him seem to know of.
If the piece of land given to Nollywood stars (some of them who have spent over three decades in the acting world) among others is making only one person who claims to be a Gambian filmmaker very angry, while others are appreciative of the positive impact Nollywood has made on their local movie industry, then no one should lose sleep over that. When a gift is given in appreciation of someone’s immense contributions and or efforts, it will be foolhardy to reject it. Almost all the Nollywood stars, recipients of President Jammeh’s land gifts, already own befitting homes in Nigeria, so if Bubaccar thinks they went out of their way to solicit for this land that is already generating bad blood; then he is mistaken.
Nollywood stars are not scavengers, they are not hustlers either. That some of them supported and campaigned for former President Goodluck Jonathan does not make them scavengers because if Bubaccar was as enlightened as he claimed, he would know that over 200 Hollywood stars campaigned for American President Barrack Obama in his two elections. Going by his rather erratic submission, then the Hollywood stars and American celebrities are also scavengers and hustlers.
The emergence of Nollywood gave birth to a vibrant home video industry across sub Sahara Africa and there has never been a time players displayed any form of pride or haughtiness. That was why a Francis Duru on his first visit to the Gambia on invitation by a Nigerian businessman, eight years ago, did not hesitate to train 85 Gambian youths at no cost at a two day workshop.
I, a former president of the Actors Guild of Nigeria have been part of Nollywood training programmes aimed at imparting film knowledge in young people in Zimbabwe, South Africa among other African countries. Prince Bubaccar should be happy about the robust relationship between his country and Nigeria.
When next Prince Bubaccar experiences diarrhoea of the mouth, he should realise that no man is an island. Nigerian Nollywood relies on assistance from Hollywood practitioners in terms of capacity building and no one has complained when the professionals are paid either in cash or kind.
Bubaccar, stop being petty and myopic!
Asiegbu, an actor and civil rights activist, lives in Lagos