Yinka Quadri Faults Nollywood’s 20th Birthday Celebration “It’s Total Rubbish”

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March 22, 2013 – Yinka Quadri Faults Nollywood’s 20th Birthday Celebration “It’s Total Rubbish”

Veteran Nigerian actor Yinka Quadri who has been out of the spotlight lately in this recent interview revealed his perception of the recently concluded Nollywood’s 20th birthday dinner that held at the state house in Marina Lagos.

In this interview culled from National Encomium Magazine, below is what the Yinka Quadri said.


What’s your comment on the 20th Anniversary of Nollywood celebrated recently?

Yinka Quadri

It’s annoying to say some celebrated 20th years of Nollywood.  But I don’t know who is to blame.  Anyway, whatever I say on the issue is my personal opinion and I am entitled to it. If we look at it very well, I don’t think there were any criteria for doing that.

On what criteria was the 20th Anniversary based? That’s if we all agree that Nollywood is 20.  Does that mean theatre practice in Nigeria started 20 years ago? Whatever they might have chosen as yardstick for saying Nollywood is 20 is incorrect.

Are they talking of the year stage play started? Or are we talking of the time we started celluloid film or home video? Whatever they may have chosen, they’re still very wrong. But as I said, I don’t know who to blame. I believe somebody just woke up one day and said let there be something to be called Nollywood, which happened just among few people. I don’t think I am that young in the industry to be oblivious of a meeting where Nigerian theatre body was named Nollywood.

To me, it was just an opinion of a few individuals for reasons best known to them.  One of the reasons I said I don’t know who is to blame is that when this groups of people gathered and said they will be bearing Nollywood, some of us in the indigenous theatre group accepted to be part of them, others didn’t. But my concern is this, if we now accept Nollywood as a common identity, won’t there be an executive body that will oversee its affairs.

Fine, we have many association and guilds in the industry, including Association of Nigeria Theatre Art Practitioners (ANTP), Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) and all that. If the combination of all these is called Nollywood, then there is nothing stopping us from forming a national body that will supervise that Nollywood, not just a few people parading themselves as Nollywood.  Then if we must believe that Nollywood is our common name, when did all the stakeholders meet and agree on that name? who are the people in charge?

Left to me, the fault is not mainly from those who are claiming to be Nollywood, it’s those of us in the Yoruba and other indigenous theatre groups in the country that have been folding our arms.  Those of us in the Yoruba movie genre have not gotten our priorities right.  We don’t know whether to be called Nollywood or Yorywood.  The Hausa have given themselves the name Kannywood, and they are forging ahead.

But whatever it is, if we choose to be part of Nollywood, that means it’s just 20, but it’s totally wrong. Unless it belongs to a certain segment of Nigerian movie industry. Let’s go a little historical if they have forgotten.  The first man that started theatre practice in Nigeria was Dr. Hubert Adedeji Ogunde of blessed memory.

That’s a non-contestable fact.  He was the person that commercialized acting in Nigeria.  I was also told that there was a man called Onimole from who Hubert Ogunde got theatre ideas.  The man used to move around Lagos with his cultural group called Arinjo. After Hubert Ogunde had watched him for like three or four years, he came up with a theatre group.

Then, he started with what was called stage play.  That’s the beginning of theatre practice in Nigeria.  He was the one that taught us how to set the stage and all that.  We still have many other late legendry actors, including Adeyemi Afolayan (Ade Love), Oyin Adejobi, Duro Ladipo, Kola Ogunmola, Femi Philiph, Akin Ogungbe and others. Also there are living legends including Moses Olaiya (Baba Sala), they have been acting since 40s. All these people graduated into television.  From there to celluloid films. In 1976, Yoruba happened to be the first to produce a film called Ija Ominira by late Adeyemi Afolayan (Ade Love), after him Hubert Ogunde shot Ajani Ogun that was in 1977. He graduated to 36mm in 1978 when he produced Aye, Jaiyesimi, Kadara, Ayanmo and others.

Baba Sala, Oyin Adejobi and others also produced theirs.  Even, I also took part in celluloid production. That was the low cost film called reversal. That’s 1987. If this wasn’t the yardstick, if they said it was video thing, it was also pioneered by a Yoruba man. That’s late Muyideen Alade Aromire.  He produced Ekun in 1988 which was the first home video produced in Nigeria. I, Abdul Ganiyu Olayinka Quadri followed suit that same 1988. Since then till 1993, I produced about 16 movies including Atitebi, Kura, Danger man, Olonika and others. Among our bosses who later joined us in home video after producing countless celluloid film were Prince Jide Kosoko who came out with Asiri Nla in 1993.  There was no home movie that beat Asiri Nla’s record in Idumota, Lagos, then.  It was a talk of the town movie.  Also, Alhaji Adebayo Salami (Oga Bello) produced Asewo Nla, with good quality in 1993.

Now, let’s have all those that came over night and said Nollywood started in 1993 with a movie, Living in Bondage produced by Kenneth Nnaebue of NEC Video Link.  They are ignorant of how Mr. Nnaebue started producing home movies. I happened to be one of Kenneth actors in 1992 when he said he wanted to join us in producing Yoruba home videos.  He learnt one or two things from us and we gave him our support. I was one of the prominent Yoruba actors he was using then. Others included Fatai Adebayo, Ishola Ogunsola, etc.

He produced not less than 22 Yoruba movies, including Ajeni yami, Ina Ote, Iji Ogede, Agbegi Lere and others, on home video before producing Living in Bondage in 1993.  All these movies were directed by a member of Association of Nigeria Theatre-Art Practitioner (ANTP), Mr. Tade. So, when they are now saying Nollywood is 20, what’s the basis? They should tell the public. It’s annoying. It’s an error. And something urgent must be done to correct it.

For instance, in India, after naming their entertainment industry Bollywood, they didn’t rubbish their legends, the pioneers.  But here in Nigeria, kudos are not given to those who really deserve it. I believe we should follow history.

Interview by National Encomium Magazine

19 thoughts on “Yinka Quadri Faults Nollywood’s 20th Birthday Celebration “It’s Total Rubbish”

  1. Thank you,yinka Quadri for travelling down memory lane and educate a lot of people,as l read along the story l also fact-checked yourstory and found everything okay except that “AJANI OGUN” was from the stable of Ade Love also known as Adeyemi Afolayan.l really want to thank for your deep knoledge of the nigerian theater industry and l feel that you,oga bello,jide Kosoko,Baba wande and other veteran actorsneed to co-ordinate the budding stars,form an indivisible strong nollywood because you guys have the numerical strenght to form the nucleus of the nollywood,you all have let the english speaking actors dictate things for so long,get your acts together and claim what belongs to you the pioneers.

  2. Weldone Yinka,this is highly educative..u ave said it all.they knew but wl never give honor to whom it is due.

  3. Brilliant Oga Quadri,It is not surprising to see those set of people taking over what they didn’t start.Ask an average Ibo man today,he will tell you they own ile ife,will even tell you Ikenne in Ogun state is their own

  4. True talk ,is an insult to our legend,Even Holywood respect their legend, Nigeria always does things upside down. Nigeria is not one and can never be. we are just decieving ourself. until we wake up to reality.

  5. Thanks Adeniyi Balogun,they have kept silent for too long before someone can think deeply and say this out, they have allowed the english speaking actors and actresses as u said to almost take incharge of everything, at least it is the time for them now to do what is right at the right time, if possible they can form their own Rorywood as Yinka Quadri has said. At the same time they can still be nollywood at least to make them one Nigeria without discrimination, Nigeria is ONE. Goodluck to THEM.

  6. Thanks Adeniyi Balogun,they have kept silent for too long before someone can think deeply and say this out, they have allowed the english speaking actors and actresses as u said to almost take incharge of everything, at least it is the time for them now to do what is right at the right time, if possible they can form their own Rorywood as Yinka Quadri has said. At the same time they can still be nollywood at least to make them one Nigeria without discrimination, Nigeria is ONE. Good luck to THEM.

  7. Some Nigerian always downgrades their legends; hardly would they give credit to whom it is due. Irrespective of tribe, we should strive to do things orderly. Even the scripture records that there is order in Heaven. It is absurd to see a president of a nation to grace such a ridiculous event. Presummably, he wasn’t born yesterday not to know that some people including the Ibo icons had been in the industry decades before these hybrid actors and actresses came into the sportlight. It shows that Nigeria has not been one and can never be as stated by Jizzy. We’re a nation of divers culture. The Yoruba Icons in the movie industry should wake up. Most of you guys are not getting younger. It is time you put things in order before it’s too late. What legacy are you leaving for the young ones in the industry if you all couldn’t agreed and stood your ground. Certainly, no sane person would wish his or her efforts and struggle be washed down the drain peace.

  8. This is a rejoinder to my earlier response to yinka quadri,s article,it seems some of us thrives in controversy just to heard talking rubbish,any nollywood that does not give recognition to the doyens of nigerian theater be they deceased or living is bound to be moribound,given the fact that the bulk of the the theater practitioners numerical strenght heavilly fell on the side of the yoruba genre,it is not about weither the present nollywood is functioning,it is about recognising and giving strong representation to those veterans and budding stars in this group and anything short of this is sure to bring imminent revolt from this group which will bring a splinter and very strong group.

  9. Segun, u’r mad!. Do u knw u’r encouragin division into nollywood?,we all kp tlkin abt 1nigeria,1nigeria,bt wht’r u now doing?. Hypocrite!. Idiot.

  10. @kenneth ogazi. Usually i don’t like taking others on for their myopic comments but urs shouldn’t be allowed to go just like dat. Pls be objective and reasonable. What Mr Quadri simply did is setting the records straight for posterity and requests just recognition for all pioneers who are indeed LEGENDS. Infact i’m better informed, enlightned and more APPRECIATIVE of them all. This I believe is what makes us better humans beings and by extension a worthy, ideal society. Cheers.

  11. Kenneth Ogazi you need to read and assimilate peoples comment before jumping to senseless conclusion.Read through the lines very well when next and understand what Mr Quadri is trying to point out to us.

    • @John Emeka’ u ar a big fool. What do u want to say abt Village head master pioneered by late veteran and theatre icons Justus Esiri and Sam Loco Efe of blessed memory. I don’t tink Yinka Quadri is wrong in setting record straright. Fool for nothing idiot. #shift

  12. For those who want to be educated, Yinka has shown them the path to follow. If you have anything contrary to what he has said please educate us for it is only by doing so that we become a better people and not be a laughing stock of our foreign friends who know the works of Afolayan, Ogunde etc and know that truly Nigeria movies is well over 20yrs that some are claiming it to be. Yinka thanks for it better late than never.

  13. yinka you r ****abusive words**! Dont come and divide the movie industry with your self fish thinking! And to all of you sayin thank u you r all mad as well please dont come and divide this country you can keep your opinion to self. Thank you

    • The truth is that all of you opposing this man’s opinion are biased. you all feel that one way or another ethnic bias must be involved. what the man did was to set the records straight. forget the yoruba classics? what of the tv films and series- even by igbos! And all of you who abuse this man, you’re all silly and stupid!!!

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