My childhood was awesome, thanks to many beautiful sceneries of nature which I was exposed to in the hinterland community which I grew up. However, several other factors added to the glitz and glamour with which my childhood was enamoured, one of which were the Yoruba movies we watched back then. Numerous Yoruba movies came from stables of hard-working producers as presented by their makers then.
Up till this present moment, I remember with nostalgia; those emotional scenes in Yoruba movies, those didactic story lines in movies, the captivating suspense in Yoruba films, and to cap it all, the display of professionalism by the crew.
What I perceive in the actors of those days was commitment and rare display of hardwork in them, while they may be out to make money, they were also there to satisfy their audience to the best of their ability. They promoted our cultural values too.
Sadly, those good qualities and features that made Yoruba movie industry outshined every other bloc of Nollywood are no longer seen in their story-writing, film-casting and professional duty any more. Alas! What has become of Yoruba film industry? Mediocrity is now the order of the day. A movie maker’s major concern is to make money, not mindful of the criticisms and scrutiny from audience and movie experts out there. No element of suspense, diction, and some other attractive features.
Apart from what some people termed “soft porn” which Nollywood has been selling out to the public, Yoruba movie industry has even sank deep into the of abyss of teaching the young ones bad character. This latest trend has further worsened the already bad situation. Nollywood has joined the band of series of factors that have influenced the entrenchment of immorality in our society.
The current trend is the abuse of beautifully crafted religious names, and the portrayal of bad characters through such names. Names like Sunday, Kudirat, Aminat, Monday, Jonathan, Munir, Jeleel have been corrupted by Yoruba film makers under the portrayal of different ridiculous and debilitating characters. Characters under most of these names are depicted through many social vices ranging from hooliganism, armed robbery, prostitution, drug abuse hence, further compounding the woes of a morally bankrupt society which we find ourselves. They often portray characters of criminals with these sacred names which mostly have their roots in the Holy Books. But our movie makers care less about this in as much as they are smiling to the bank. All in the name of entertainment, they have neglected the sacredness of religion as peculiar to the Nigerian society.
The pioneers of acting and movie making profession; dead and alive never had the aim of turning religious tenets to laughing stock neither did they have the intention to swindle their audience by producing movies unworthy of the Nigerian society. As much as they were out to entertain, they also sought to educate their audience. But what do we have today, mockery of religious values under the guise of acting comedies. When current set of movie-makers are supposed to look into the mistakes of their predecessors and improve upon them while availing themselves of the opportunity of modern technology in promoting their work, they are shamelessly retrogressing. This retrogression and lack of professionalism is manifestly developing into a malignant cankerworm which if not checked, it may pose a dangerous threat to the development of movie industry. Already, most kids of today are becoming big fans of foreign movies because they see Nigerian films as lacking those captivating scenes.
Summarily, this piece is a passionate appeal from a fan of Yoruba movie industry that all stakeholders heed the popular call and make amends where necessary. I am sure I have spoken the mind of many fans who do not know where to direct their complaint. I emphatically call on Nollywood stakeholders and Yoruba movie-makers in particular, to please take necessary steps to arrest the ugly trend. I believe with this, Yoruba movie industry can rub shoulders with any industry in the world as it gets back on track. They should help in building our society and not further worsening the societal maladies through their movies.
Quadri Tunbosun Ganiyu is reachable on Twitter via @Tunbolity
Faculty of Law,O.A.U,