One important fact that all human beings should realize is the fact that in life, no condition is permanent. A man that is up can find himself down. Any woman that is down today can equally make her way to the top tomorrow.

However, there is a very disturbing trend that is going on in Nigeria?s entertainment industry, particularly in the movie world, Nollywood. This issue of celebrities crying out to the public for help has become like a putrefying fart that is suffocating the atmosphere. And people have begun to speak out.

Over the years, a lot of Nollywood actors have had to cry out to the public for help over various ailments that have been plaguing them.

Most recent is that of veteran actor, Kayode Odumosu aka Pa Kasumu who is presently battling a life-threatening Bi-Ventricular Failure (a heart and liver condition). The aged thespian had no choice but to swallow his pride and plead with the public to save his life as according to him, ?he doesn?t want to die.?

Another recent example is that of an actor who has been on the scene for quite a while, Peter Bunor, who was struck with a stroke. At a point, many felt that the talented thespian had given up the ghost because his condition was so bad that he was practically given up on, but only recently, he seemed to have been given a new lease of life as he granted some interviews to journalists narrating his experience. In one of them, he can be quoted as saying amongst other things, ?Since this happened, there has been no single actor that called me to ask about my condition. It?s a shame on their part. Would they say they don?t know that I?m sick?? the actor asked rhetorically.

Continuing, he stated, ?I didn?t study Theatre Arts. I started while looking for avenues to make little money for my school. I was paid about N10 per episode in any soap that is local production, but on network programmes like Cock Crow at Dawn, I got about N150 per episode?.? In yet another interview, he continued his tale, ?I had a stroke and that was the end of it. I was unconscious?I was on admission for a long time before they took me to a church where God healed me?I have given my life to Christ, and I am now a pastor?let me say the truth, after I had this stroke, I did not know how I was looking. That is why I am not happy with this so-called people you call my colleagues,? he poured out his heart bitterly.

Another actor that has cried for help in the not too distant past is Ifeanyi Dike, who is reputed, in some quarters, to have founded the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN). The actor and movie producer battled with a kidney ailment for many years, and called on ?kind-hearted? Nigerians to come to his aid before getting a transplant in India.

Another case that is fresh in our memories is that of ever bubbly actress, Ngozi Nwosu, who acknowledged that she had kidney problems, but is reported by some, to actually be suffering from HIV/Aids complications.

The actress, who was at a time looking like a ghost of herself, pleaded with the public to save her from imminent death staring her in the face. Though it is not sure how much was raised by concerned members of the public, the Lagos state government came to her rescue by sponsoring her treatment in the United Kingdom.

Inasmuch as all these seem to be humanitarian calls that should be heeded by all sections of the public who have the milk of human kindness flowing in them, it is pertinent to make a holistic appraisal of the whole ?situation.?

This whining has become a tad too much. What differentiates some of these our entertainers from the beggars that besiege us at the numerous motor garages splashed across the nation appealing to our core sense of humanity to aid them in their plight?

The entertainment industry in Nigeria is synonymous with extravagant spending, which many have said leads to the artistes living fake lives that usually see them living way above their means.

With the advent and viral spread of the social media in this part of the world, our entertainers have never ceased to show us how much better-off they are than us by regularly flaunting pictures of their latest luxury acquisitions ranging from cars, houses, jewelleries etc.

This is in sharp contrast to the live of drudgery and poverty that most Nigerians are reduced to. The pictures of weather-beaten entertainers who always seem to have been exposed to the vagaries of life, and often appeal to the collective sympathy of Nigerians for help nevertheless, it is un-debatable that the ?ordinary? Nigerian holds the shortest end of the stick.

?Why do Nigerian entertainers beg for help?? many have asked without any answer to assuage their curiosity.

Why can?t their colleagues who splurge as much as $25,000 on just a suit, and ?kids? who would replace crashed Porsches worth $15,000 without batting an eyelid, help them out? One can?t help but wonder.

It is glaring that Nigerian entertainers would continue begging cap-in-hand until the issue of qualitative leadership is addressed in the industry. We do have different guilds catering to actors, producers, musicians, costumiers and others, but sadly, their impact is rarely felt by the people who they claim to serve.

The average Nigerian actor/entertainer is largely left to cater and fend for himself irrespective of the number of years she has spent in the industry. With the poor pay being offered to our thespians, it is no wonder that many of them have practically been turned to beggars, even after years of assiduous sacrifice and dedication to the unforgiving industry.

Until qualitative and comprehensive grassroots-oriented leadership is put in place in the industry, our entertainers will continue to appear like the beggars that regularly appear in motor garages all over the nation.

Furthermore, until our entertainers begin to imbibe the culture of insurance, the sky will remain bleak and pregnant with ominous rain of foreboding gloom.

Major industries like the banking, aviation, manufacturing?rely heavily on insurance to guarantee the survival of their businesses in the occasion of unforeseen circumstances, but it is puzzling that the entertainment industry which is a multi-billion dollar entity can afford to exist without requisite and comprehensive insurance for its members.

Just like it was stated at the beginning of this piece, no condition is permanent, and as such, every reasonable human being ought to plan for the rainy day which will definitely come sooner than later.

Until Nigerian entertainers start to live within their means, they will never be free of financial troubles. Of what gain is it to flaunt cars, houses and jewelries before the ?hapless public,? only to come back crawling and begging for help?

Not only Nollywood is affected by the scourge, it has spread to taint virtually every sector of the entertainment industry in Nigeria.

Maverick and one ?time reigning producer, OJB, who recently travelled to India for kidney-related treatment was in the news for his wide-spread appeal to Nigerians to save him from imminent death as a result of kidney disease; luckily, he was able to generate the needed funds even as many lambast his colleagues who usually flaunt their latest cars and houses on Twitter and Instagram for their lackadaisical approach to their colleague. They concluded that with the unabashed display of wealth by Nigerian entertainers, it is unfair to send the average poverty-stricken Nigerian on a guilt-trip about saving her favourite film heroes.

We look forward to a Nollywood where our actors and actresses would endow funds and grants to help their fellow countrymen, rather than the present ones, where they compound the problems of the burden-laden Nigerians with their incessant cry for help.

Perhaps, this underscores and explains the prevalence of our entertainers seeking help in religious enclaves for desperate salvation, after realizing that they cannot save themselves

It is SAD to note that even though some rate Nollywood as the second largest producer of films in the world, it still largely remains a world of STAR BEGGARS!

Culled from E24-7 MAGAZINE


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