Popular comedian, Atunyota Alleluya Akporobomerere popularly known as Ali Baba claims that Nigerian entertainers have been meeting privately with President Muhammadu Buhari.
Ali Baba made the revelation during an interview session with THE TELEGRAPH. He said, ”It’s totally wrong for anyone to think President Muhammadu Buhari is not favourably disposed to entertainment. The man had called us for about three meetings actually and in the meetings, he said he wanted the entertainment industry to produce at least 20 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). We opened his eyes to it.
”We opened the eyes of those who led the past administrations and they didn’t take any concrete decision. We gave him (Buhari) just a few; one of the reasons the fashion industry is growing hugely is Instagram and celebrities. Why is it growing? If a celebrity wears an outfit once and it’s posted on Istagram, he or she cannot repeat it.
”And what it means is that the fashion industry will continue to sell. People don’t look at that dynamics. So, a lot more people are designing clothes for celebrities and even those who are not celebrities; as you make clothes and wear them and the pictures are shown on the social media, you don’t want to repeat the clothes. So, you make more clothes.
”This means that there are more platforms for all these things to happen. It grows the fashion industry. Then there’s a lot of money in fashion. Look at Mudi, Yomi Casual, Zizi Cardow, Mai Atafo and so on. You find out that a lot of these people are beneficiaries of showbiz because the more clothes they make for artistes, the more profits they make.
”Coming to entertainment- when we spoke to the president, he asked what is it that the entertainment industry needs to make a lot of money? We told him for instance, look at AY’s movie, 30 Days in Atlanta, it’s grossing nearly N300m now because as at the last check it was about N260m. And that’s just one movie.
”What it means is that if every other movie gets that kind of support the industry will make more money. If Buhari is even running for election, AY can say, ‘take N20m’ instead of expecting Buhari to give him money. That’s just creating an enabling environment for people to make it.
”The good thing is that automobile business is another one that favours the entertainment industry. Celebrities live well – they have a very high lifestyle. It means that the industry can as well drive the automobile industry. So, all you just need is to ensure that the cars are available.
”We need platforms- I mean places where talents can exhibit their creativities. So we need a lot more TV stations, more airtime and be paid for our creativity. So, if royalties are being paid, a lot of musicians won’t be depending on concerts. So, if they’re getting royalties, it means that they will be paying their taxes and there won’t be an informal sector anymore.
”It will be sector that is well structured and that is what Mr. President is working towards. The need to put proper structures in place was the reasons we were talking to past governments. We were talking to past governments to make sure that there are structures that protect the artistes and provide them enabling environments to grow so that we can make a lot of money.