BY ‘SEGUN ODEJIMI
How many tequilas did you have before deciding which movie was to win the Best Movie – West Africa, AMVCA?
The last time I checked, Amstel Malta, the official drink and one of the major sponsors of last night’s awards didn’t contain alcohol. If it did, that probably would have explained the glaring bias of naming Genevieve Nnaji‘s Road to Yesterday the best movie out of West Africa in 2015.
Here’s where I need help for my slow brain: Stephanie Linus‘ Dry, according to you, was the best overall movie. That means in the whole of Africa yet you think no one would raise eyebrows when you say Road to Yesterday is the best West African movie. How does that add up? Or did the United Nations move West Africa out of Africa while I was sleeping? Is it now a part of Asia? Why didn’t someone at least tell me that?
For those who don’t know what my issue is, let me try and break it down. I conduct a survey across all states in Nigeria. I publish the report and state that Car Q is the most expensive car in Nigeria. But in that same report, I say that when you go to Lagos, you will find a car more expensive than Car Q there.
Doesn’t that sound like bullshit? No, isn’t that bullshit?
Well, that was the bullshit AMVCA vomited on all of Africa last night just because Genevieve Nnaji is an Amstel Malta ambassador. Is anyone still surprised that Yvonne Nelson questioned the integrity of AMVCA last night? The african film industry will only threaten to be great without actually becoming great if insincerities like this continue.
Road to Yesterday was a good film. Good, not great. It had no right whatsoever to beat Dry on a level playing field. It is controversial enough that a substantial chunk of the major categories at the AMVCA is voting-based. Yes, I know the name contains the phrase “viewer’s choice” but the jury is still out on whether there should be a viewer’s choice awards considering its allowance for voting bias. Sometimes, it all just boils down to how many fans I have and my level of social media presence rather than whether I am the best in that category. As long as it stays that way, arguments will continue to fly back and forth. Whatever your argument is though, the daylight robbery carried out on Dry is too hard to ignore. It is even harder to defend.
Maybe the outcry is a bit muted because Genevieve and Stephanie are friends or because the victim, Stephanie, is also a big name. What if Dry had been made by a “rookie”? It doesn’t even matter anyway. A robbery is a robbery.
And robberies will just keep giving the Yvonne Nelsons of this continent and beyond the sticks with which to beat African awards.