Frontline Nigerian actor, director and movie producer, Prince Jide Kosoko has reacted to the issues surrounding the movie, Gangs of Lagos, wherein the revered Eyo masquerade was depicted as a tool for criminal activities, especially murder.
The wrong depiction of the Eyo in the movie has drawn the ire of the custodians of Eyo masquerade in Lagos, the Lagos State Government and concerned indigenes of the state, who all condemned what they called the bastardisation of the revered culture of the people of Lagos.
Kosoko, a Prince of Lagos, in his reaction, noted that it is sad that the respected Eyo is being depicted as a tool for criminality, leading to the desecration of the culture of the respectable and accommodating people of Lagos, said that the major problem is the lack of respect for culture by Nigerians, which include movie industry practitioners and lack of quality research by movie makers in the process of coming up with their scripts.
“I find the issues surrounding the movie sad, not because of lack of technical quality but for the desecration of the culture of the good people of Lagos.
“Let me say here that the movie industry in Nigeria, especially movie producers and directors are more guilty of lacking respect for our culture and failing to carry out quality research on their storylines before embarking on a movie project.
“Culture is vast and can actually provide us with quality storylines for great movies if only we pay good attention to details and carry out researches. That’s the only way we can compete favourably with other movie making countries around the world. Stories woven around our culture are the best movie materials we can export to remain competitive. If we, however, destroy and desecrate this same culture, what then do we have to compete with?”, Kosoko asked.
He further stated that quality research will expose filmmakers to the origin of such cultures and traditions, thereby exposing them to the dos and don’ts.
According to Prince Kosoko, despite the fact that such films as The Gang Of Lagos and its controversial content rests solely on the shoulder of the producer, actors, who were only called in to act their parts, becomes victims of the controversies, as the aggrieved parties, most times do not care to know who should bear the responsibility.
He said further: “The controversies surrounding The Gangs Of Lagos reminds me a similar film I was involved in that depicted the Egungun masquerade in bad light, to the displeasure of its adherents. I had a hard time convincing and placating adherents of Egungun masquerades. If I went through this, because of the insensitivity of a producer, I can only imagine what actors in The Gangs of Lagos are going through.”
Prince Kosoko however called on other leaders of the industry to come together and work out ways that will ensure such issues do not come up again.
He also said there maybe need for the industry to host workshops and seminars that will educate producers, directors, scriptwriters and even actors on proper usage of culture contents in movies. This, he said will no doubt curb the growing abuses of culture and the traditions of the people in movies.