Odunlade Adekola, Fathia Balogun shine at Yoruba Movie Academy Awards

By IAfrica
In Nigeria
Apr 5th, 2014
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FOR all the stakeholders in the Yoruba movie industry, Sunday, March 30, will go down as most eventful. It was, undoubtedly, a day of glory for a number of actors, directors, producers, marketers and editors, among others, as they were celebrated and honoured for their dedication and commitment to their art at the Yoruba Movie Academy Awards (YMAA) held at the Ibadan Civic Centre, Agodi, Oyo State.

Packaged by Tunde Oshinibosi, the CEO of Laface Entertainment, the colourful ceremony, which kicked off at the exquisite poolside terrace of Asake Suites Davis Hotel in Bodija, Oyo State, had all the trappings of a world-class event, thereby living up to its billing. Like in the maiden edition of the awards ceremony in 2012, the stars, after some hours of backslapping, meeting of minds and networking amidst drinking and eating, were later chauffeur-driven in three white limousines to the beautifully decorated Ibadan Civic Centre. Unlike the typical red carpet synonymous with showbiz, there was a long strip of creatively designed mats laid on the ground for the gladiators in the Yoruba movie sector as well as the guests to walk on when arriving or departing.

Anchored by the duo of Premier FM’s Remi Femi Omolola and Amuludun FM’s Aderemi Adetoro, the organisers first honoured some acting heavyweights, some of whom are late, for their contributions to the development of the Yoruba movie industry. In the YMAA honour list, posthumous awards were given to the late Duro Ladipo, Kola Ogunmola and Bisi Komolafe, while Prof. Akinwunmi Ishola, Pa Adebayo Faleti and Mrs. Lanre Hassan( Iya Awero) were also honoured.

As the guests waited with bated breath for the organisers to unveil the lucky winners in the different categories, Alhaji Muritala Sule, Head of YMAA Jury, lamented the challenge his committee faced while screening the entries. According to him, some producers would have won awards, but the DVDs submitted for the contest were damaged, thereby making them difficult to be viewed. He, therefore, urged the producers to submit clean DVDs in subsequent editions of the awards.

Thereafter, the hall became charged, as the previews of the works nominated in the 16 categories were displayed on a screen, one after the other. It even became supercharged as winners were announced in different categories. It was obvious that there was no hint of discontent among the audience over the winner in any category, a situation that attested to the incontestable judgment of the jury.

The highpoint of the evening was when the names of the YMAA Best Actor in a lead Role, Odunlade Adekola and Best Actress in a lead Role, Fathia Balogun, were announced. Though Fathia’s award was received by actress Toyosi Adesanya, Odunlade forced almost all the top actors in the hall on the podium. They showed him love, while he, in return, poured encomiums on his senior colleagues and mentors in the industry, thanking them for propping him in his acting journey in the past years.

However, what read like a thread in the various speeches delivered by some personalities at the event was the lackluster attitude and seeming lack of interest in the awards by some of the invited guests. Many wondered why there was no impressive government representation, in spite of the buzz generated by the awards. Laolu Ogunniyi, who expressed the same sentiment, however, promised to investigate the likely reason why there was no government representation as advertised. The organisers had planned to confer the honourary awards of ‘Agba Sa Ga’ and ‘Yeye Agba Sa Ga’ on the Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi and his wife, Mrs. Florence Ajimobi for their “immense and unquantifiable contribution to the development of culture, tourism and the Yoruba movie industry in line with the development agenda for Western Nigeria.” But this might probably hold another day!

Except for the dull performance by Ayanbinrin, a popular female drummer, the not-too exciting performance by the Oyo State NYSC Dance and Drama Troupe, the dull fashion parade as well as the staccato speeches of the awardees, the event was another milestone in the annals of Yoruba movie industry.

Ojopagogo wins first movie award

POPULAR comic actor, Rasak Olayiwola, a.k.a Ojopagogo, is one of the household names in the Yoruba movie industry. He started acting some decades ago and has a large following in the industry. However, his unwavering dedication to acting was duly recognized and appreciated, for the first time ever, on Sunday when his movie, Olojojo, won the Yoruba Movie Academy Awards (YMAA) Best Comedy Movie. Other nominees in the category were Ile Ayo, Ijewuru, Alani Baba Labake and Iyawo Gbajumo.

Ojopagogo, who was overwhelmed with joy, in an interview with The Nation, said, “I feel overwhelmed. This is my first public and standard award since I started acting. In the past, I had been nominated for several awards, but I didn’t win-and I didn’t attend the ceremonies. But I decided to attend today’s awards ceremony and I don’t have any regrets.”

Olojojo, which was written, produced and directed by him, centres on a Yoruba tradition, where a woman is expected to help out her daughter-in-law when she is delivered of a child. But typical of a comedian, Ojopagogo tries to distort this tradition. According to him, “In the movie, a man is made to carry out that task, thereby creating some controversies.”

Obesere in show of shame

TOP Fuji musician, Alhaji Abass Akande, alias Obesere, has a way of constantly remaining in public discourse, either for a good or bad reason.

A few weeks ago, he was alleged to have raped a 29-year-old woman, Olanike Olaiya, who had gone to discuss business with him at his Okota, Lagos residence.

However, even as the dust raised by the rape scandal is yet to abate, Obesere shamelessly trivialised the issue when he was invited to present the YMAA Best Picture to the winner.

With palpable clownish tendency, Obesere, who was dressed in a black suit, spent almost five minutes ‘acting’ on the podium. It all began when he lashed out at his perceived traducers in a song: Mo ja fori mi de panti/ Ma sun o/ Ti o ba go/ Wa lo san owo omogo/ Won fe fi ipa gba owo lowo mi/ Won o mo pe emi naa ja si. The lyrics were laced with some argotic expressions, which generated condemnation in a corner of the hall. He even ignored the master of ceremonies who wanted him to end his uninspiring drama and went further to narrate, in a comical way, what transpired at his birth. According to him, “My parents made a special request during my naming ceremony. They gave the Muslim clerics (Alfa) money and begged them to pray Allah not to make me a dunce. So, I am not a fool; I am wise. I urge all the men in this gathering to be clever when dealing with women.”

With his eyes literally roving all over the female usher on the podium, Obesere, who disclosed that he would share his experience about the rape saga with his fans in his forthcoming album, said he still loved women, in spite of all that the woman (Olanike) had done to him.

Saka’s pain, gain

WHEN comic actor, Hafiz Oyetoro, a.k.a Saka, was invited to the podium to receive his award for the YMAA Best Comedy Actor, the hall literarily rose and tumbled. Shout of Saka rent the air, a situation that confirmed his popularity.

Although he won in the same category in the maiden edition of the YMAA in 2012, this year’s award, as he later explained, had assuaged the pain in his heart. With mixed feelings he disclosed, shortly after receiving the award, that the plaque he received in 2012 was one of the treasured items he lost recently when his office at the Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Ijaniki, Lagos State was gutted by a mysterious fire.

He was nominated alongside Olaniyi Afonja( in Amisu), Wale Akorede( in Ile Alayo), Adekola Tijani( in Jonathan) , Tayo Amokade( in Kofo Tinubu) and Ronke Ojo( in Awa Meje).

Laface’s lamentation song

TUNDE Oshinibosi, CEO of Laface Entertainment, is the executive producer of the Yoruba Movie Academy Awards( YMAA). Like the late American activist, Martin Luther King, he said he had a dream that “one day, the Yoruba movie industry will take giant strides and become a major force to reckon with across Africa and the Diaspora.”

With this pristine vision, Laface, as he is popularly called, set the machinery in motion to organise the awards in 2012. From all indications, the maiden edition was a huge success, especially as it got encouraging sponsorship and was well received by the host state, Ogun State.

But the music changed slightly on Sunday. And he didn’t hide his disgust, pain and frustration in his speech, which gravely tugged at the heartstrings of some members of the audience. It could be described a lamentation song of sorts. Though it was a Yoruba event, where the medium of communication was supposed to be Yoruba, he seemed to lack the linguistic competence in Yoruba to convincingly express his anger, nay frustration. Consequently, he spoke extempore in English (which he was more comfortable in) and intermittently switched to Yoruba.

According to him, he had to sell one of his properties to raise some money in the face of the mounting challenges, as the event drew approached. He said: “We don’t appreciate what we have. We need to rethink, rebrand and reposition. What do you think you can do for the Yoruba race because the future of the Yoruba movie industry is great?”

While lamenting his frustration, he said a top Nollywood actor and producer, who happened to know about his pains, first offered him N500, 000( Five hundred thousand naira) for select awards in the 16 categories and another N500,000 for logistics from the Goodluck Jonathan/ Godswill Akpabio Endowment Funds. Not ready to entomb his dream, he further revealed that he had to ‘beg’ the management of the Ibadan Civic Centre for consideration. According to him, his effort yielded fruit as he was given a 50% discount on the facility, so the awards ceremony would not remain a mere dream.

He, however, expressed optimism that “the Nigerian government and governments of the South-West states in particular, through their respective culture and tourism ministries, will sincerely see the Yoruba movie industry as a major platform for strategic investment in line with the development agenda for West Africa.”

Laface, who lauded Alhaji Tajudeen Kareem, the technical director of the project and CEO of Zmirage, called on all the stakeholders in the Yoruba movie industry to see the YMAA as their own ‘baby’ that must not die.

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