A day before this year’s edition of NECLIVE, I had been a little ill and was afraid I might miss out on it after all. Uh oh, there goes my chance of hearing Adesua Etomi speak, was my most dominant thought.
Thankfully, I was slightly better the next day and was good enough to attend. I got there a few minutes to 10 o’clock and luckily, registrations were still ongoing so there was just enough time to settle in properly and get ready for the big event.
The first panel, titled ‘Is it really Africa’s time?’ featured speakers like Chichi Nwoko, Ade Bantu, Frank Donga and moderator, Mike Effiong.
Listening to people like Frank Donga – who spends most of his time making jokes and doing his best to look like the most clueless person in the world – speak intelligently on important matters that concern the entertainment industry was quite an interesting surprise.
My ears were on major alert mode all through. It was quite an educative panel.
Next came my all time favourite panel of the day. The fact that I’d been looking forward to this particular session made it a lot easier for me to immediately connect with the conversation.
Not only was I curious about the topic: ‘How Nollywood is reclaiming the market from Hollywood’, I was also looking forward to seeing a different version of one of my favourite actresses, Adesua Etomi, who I admired for many reasons that went beyond her acting skills and beauty.
Maybe the fact we both attended the same secondary school had a little to do with my admiration (even though I never knew her back then), but I sure do love the woman.
Other panelists included actor, Toyin Abraham, veteran broadcaster, Patrick Doyle, MD, Multichoice Nigeria, John Ugbe and moderator, Channels TV reporter, Seun Okinbaloye.
The first few minutes were kinda playful, as the panellists exchanged friendly banters and even shared a few hi-fives here and there.
Things got quite interesting when Adesua pointed out that the Nigerian movie industry did indeed have some (a lot of) problems which made it a little difficult to actually call it a well-functioning one.
Patrick Doyle, who was having none of that, reminded her of how this same industry she was now attacking gave her the fame and career she is presently benefitting from.
Thankfully, she had the perfect answer, reminding him that she could have stayed back in the UK where she spent money going to film school after film school to hone her skills, but instead chose to bring those same skills back home to share with her own people and make Nollywood a tad better. I was fighting to control my raging admiration and urge to stand up and give a resounding round of applause at this point.
Not missing a bit, Toyin Abraham added her voice and asked Adesua if she was a member of any of the actors’ guilds. The younger actress’ negative response was met with a ‘then you’re part of our problem’.
Adesua quickly defended herself by reminding the now heated panel session that her point was not to condemn the industry, but start a conversation that would make them open their eyes to the flaws in the system, instead of living in denial of their shortcomings as an industry. There was a roaring round of applause at this point, the loudest being mine of course.
A few minutes later, the panel came to an end and everyone was back to smiling at each other and pretending like they were not close to throwing blows (I exaggerate) minutes before.
I was super excited to have witnessed that intense conversation.
I rushed after Adesua the minute she got off the stage and headed towards the back. She struck a few poses for our ready cameras and phones, a kind smile lighting up her face every now and then.
So much beauty and talent in one petite body, I thought in admiration as I watched her take a few more photos with some fans and answer some questions before leaving.
There were four other sessions and a few break-out ones afterwards, but I’d already had my highlight for the day and nothing could beat that for sure.
And so, I spent almost the entire day sitting through a conference, which ordinarily should have been boring, but I left there with the feeling of someone that had just been on an interesting adventure.
It was well worth it.
And by the way, congratulations on your engagement, Adesua. I’m super excited for you and wish you and your soon-to-be husband, Banky (who I happen to love as well) a happy home.
Do you by any chance need an extra bridesmaid?
This post first appeared on NET.