BY ‘SEGUN ODEJIMI
Na wah o! On top wetin nah?
I had planned to write an open letter to AMAA. I planned to address the organizers of the prestigious Africa Movie Academy Awards, what is supposed to be Africa’s most respected movie awards. I had planned to attempt to explain to them how the last few days has not been about people hating AMAA or praying for it to ultimately fail. I had planned to also tell oga Shaibu Husseini, someone I have a lot of respect for, that people have the right to express their disappointment at how things turned out on the night of the 12th edition of the awards. His conversations on Twitter shows that he seems to have missed the point. People are not just criticizing AMAA while ignoring the positives. Truth is, it is hard to find any other positive apart from the fact that the winners were largely deserving of their wins. But let’s be realistic. Even that is not likely to dominate the event review conversations when there was a protracted power outage. I was going to remind AMAA that it is to be expected that people who hoped for a “bigger and brighter” ceremony, which the organizers threatened to give “2 billion people” worldwide, would decry how the show actually did not stream “live on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and AMAA website” as promised. I wanted to point out to them that NTA‘s gaffe, especially with the captions, was still their failure. They chose NTA, and their media team should have ensured such embarrassments were avoided.
I wanted to tell them that they should quit trying to tell us how much effort they put in behind the scenes and that what matters is the end result. I wanted to give them the example of a bad movie: The individual who watches a movie does not want to be told of how the cast and crew members were lodged in a 5-star hotel and adequately taken care of during shoot when he complains of how bad the movie he has just seen is. All he cares about – and has the right to care about – is the quality of what he has just watched. I wanted to also use the analogy of football. If the team I support gets beaten 8-0 by an opponent, the last thing I want is for the coach of my team telling me not to ignore how beautiful the jersey the players wore is or how the team trained under the rain for the game.
I wanted to write AMAA until I read what you, the AMAA boss, Peace Anyiam-Osigwe wrote on your Facebook wall.
In trying to praise your friend Kingsley Ogoro for his efforts, Madam Peace, you did something entirely unexpected from someone of your caliber. You referred to people who thought the blackout was due to the organizer’s reliance on PHCN as daft. AMAA is fast becoming a laughing stock and statements like these from someone many people look up to in the industry cannot help matters. Rather, apart from this appearing to be a desperate attempt to lash out at critics, your statement is also an indictment of how bad we are at handling criticism in this part of the world. This is bad PR. An “elder” shouldn’t be doing this. Let this information be contained in an official post-event statement rather than a Facebook insult.
One thing you and your people need to come to terms with is the fact that it is not because people “hate” you or AMAA that criticisms have poured out this much. It is actually because people care and want to be proud to refer to AMAA as “our own” and the best on the continent; not something that will forever be found in the shadows of the AMVCA. And whether we like it or not, comparisons with AMVCA will arise. AMAA prides itself on not being a popularity contest. Many of us don’t like popularity contests either, but you people have had 12 years to get it right. You have arguably the most respected and credible jury assembled so why is it so difficult to organize a hitch-free event? Why is it also hard to accept criticism and try to work on issues raised instead of going about using terrible words on social media?
Go on Twitter and other platforms and see how disappointed people were on Sunday morning. Many of these people have no affiliations with Nollywood. They just wanted to enjoy an awards show. They probably have watched the Oscars or the Grammys and wanted to see, not a perfect, but a well put together ceremony.
And like a few people have advised, it is better to temporarily discontinue the awards rather than annually putting in a lot of effort and money to organize something that will still turn out as an embarrassment. No one will die if AMAA does not hold next year. Get things right and come back bigger and better.
Madam, I am disappointed by your “daft” jibe and I’m sure a lot of people are.