There have been responses on the manner with which the 50th birthday celebration of governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and 10th Anniversary of Rochas Foundation which is also owned by the Peoples’ governor, were organized.
Last time the DG of Imo Talent Centre, Emma Duru defended the importation of artistes to the state on October 8, 2012 as well as the manner withwhich the event poster was designed, saying that the event was not a state government event and was organized by Rochas Foundation, which is independent of the state government.
“The foundation could have chosen another part of the country for the anniversary, we chose Imo because it coincided with the Governor’s birthday and I did not plan the programme, I only worked with the acting DG of Rochas Foundation Uloma Okorocha.” He added.
In response to the publication ofNigeria Newspoint, October 19-21 edition and www.otowngist.com, renowned highlife artiste and one time Nigeria Highlife Artiste of the year award winner Ugo Stevenson have berated the organizers of the October 8 event, for insulting and neglecting Imo State based artistes.
Against the report in Nigeria Newspoint October 19-21 edition and otowngist.com, Ugo Stevenson who is the facilitator of Imo State Based Artistes (ISBA)saidthat Imo artistes are not complaining, claiming that artistes in the state have gone past the level of complaining to anyone.
“We have complained in the past when former governorIkedi Ohakim appointedOkey McAnthony SA on entertainment. He went about importing artistes in state’s even, and same ugly seneriorepeated at Owelle’s 50th birthday celebration. We complained but have come to realize that it a culture in Igbo land. Chinua Achebe wrote in his book Things Fall Apart, that Unoko, Okonkwo’s father is nothing but a lousy debt ridden fellow, who does nothing but to blow his flute away. Igbo believes that the artiste is so poor, debt ridden and should be toyed with. But we have realized that we are not what they think we are and cannot be toyed with.
The word discrimination and marginalization does not exist in this case, what exists are insult and neglect. When you neglect an artiste, he turns into a flood and sweeps away the house. We know our value and worth.”
“Even if its thefriends or enemies of the governor that organized the event which he was part of, he is supposed to call the people he represents and tell them to be part of what he is doing.
For a governor who says that he loves and respects Imo artistes so much by building the BongoCentre for them, a place which has been taken over by grass and yet no single bongo artiste was invited . They don’t know how we feel”
Stevenson also expressed his displeasure on the way entertainment is being run in the state, citing the proposed opening of Movie Village at Oguta Blue Lake of Treasure, which was done without the knowledge of entertainers in the state, while people from Anambra and other states wereused to execute the project.
“Imo state runs close to 60% of Nollywood, does that mean we cannot handle our projects? The issue is that in Imo State, our charity begins from abroad, but why is it that when an artiste leaves Imo State, he becomes a super star. The insult and neglect has prevented us from making our own super stars in the state.
Politicians who want to help, want to turn the artistes into praise singer and when they are relieved of their duty, nothing happens on the side of the artistes again”
Although some might see this as Ugo Stevenson’s opinion on the neglect of artistes in the state, but it might represent the opinion of many artistes who cannot speak out.
The governor should see that the area of entertainment in his cabinet is organized by appointing an SA on entertainment who people can speak to in a case like this.
The government has a big role to play in providing a platform for entertainment to grow and it should be given a great voice in the planning of the state budget and the implementation should not be placed in the hands of politicians who know nothing about entertainment, but in the hands of experienced entertainers or promoter who has paid their dues without bias to any category of entertainment in the state.