Veteran actor, Alex Osifo, has distinguished himself as an actor of no mean repute over the years. Appearing in both English and Yoruba movies, Osifo is one actor who almost always gets it right in the delivery of his lines. In an exclusive interview with E24-7 MAGAZINE’S TOFARATI IGE, he speaks about the movie industry, piracy, amongst other issues. Excerpts…
There appears to be tribal segregation in the Nigerian movie industry, why is this so?
Well, that’s not such a difficult question to answer. It could be because we have a lot of ethnic groups, and of the three major tribes in the country: Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa, the Igbos are more enthusiastic towards sponsoring movies.
The Yoruba industry has been around and it’s growing, but it has not been able to match the pace of the so-called English movies. I don’t know much about the Hausa productions to speak about them. When you talk about factions, I think it’s just the mentality of our people. They are not satisfied with the way some associations are organized, and greed could also be part of it. A lot of people are just self-centered, but I think there is need for all of us to actually co-operate. Our focus should be the same if we must move this industry forward. As for me, I don’t belong to any faction.
Would you say the entertainment industry is contributing enough to National Development?
I wouldn’t say we’re doing enough, but we’re not doing badly either. The comedians are doing very well, but if you ask me, I think they also need to do a lot of home-work. They have a way of insulting people…and I don’t subscribe to that, so they should brush up in that area. If you talk about music, if you go to other African countries such as Gambia, Malawi, Kenya etc., they play our music a lot, so in terms of music, we are doing very well. However, I believe that we can always do better, so I wouldn’t say that we have arrived; we still have a lot to do.
What move is the industry actually making to curb piracy?
Well, the people in charge of that would tell you that they’re trying, but I know about the efforts of someone like Andy Boyo who I toured some African countries (Malawi, Ethiopia, Zambia…) with recently to see how we can fight piracy. I think individually, we’re trying, but I don’t know what the government is actually doing. Maybe we have certain policies that are not exactly well-implemented, but I think the government should take the issue more seriously. Furthermore, we should carry out research; it’s not just trying to fight something…let’s know how terribly piracy has dealt with the industry and the people behind it. That way, we’ll be able to come up with better solutions.
The name ‘Nollywood’ was coined by a foreigner, are you comfortable with the Nigerian movie industry being identified by that name?
Initially, I was even quarrelling with the name, but since it’s beautiful and has been accepted all over the world, I think it’s in order. It doesn’t stop us from changing it later, but my fear is that, it has really gained grounds.
What next should we be expecting from you?
I have no comments about that for now…thank you.