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Why I Recommend Rogba Arimoro’s Short Film, “Tokunbo”




For most of this morning, I was rummaging YouTube. I watched tens of Trevor Noah’s The Daily Show videos. Dude’s a comedy genius. After having my fill, I decided to switch and gulp some Nigerian content. Some of them didn’t do it for me until I stumbled on Tokunbo.

Tokunbo is a 2018 short film written and directed by Rogba Arimoro. It is based on a true life story and it simply asked: if your car could talk, what stories would it tell? So yes, it largely tells a young man’s story through the eyes of a tokunbo car. It features themes that include love, family, health and disappointment conveyed brilliantly through fewer words and more visuals.

Kiki Omeili and Ibrahim Suleiman play the leads and although they seem a slight mismatch as per acting abilities, the duo still manages to do a commendable job in their roles of man and wife. Omeili particularly has the weightier role to carry and she shoulders it well. Being the more talented of the two, she also does well to help them to a believable chemistry.

Arimoro and co should be proud of how well they are able to tell a story through several years in a car and still manage to not lose its feel. It was always going to be difficult doing this and despite their rather successful effort, some questions need to be asked about a few details.

The biggest of them is about the car. 20,000 miles? After – let’s even put it at five years? That’s almost like the car never leaves the neighbourhood. And no, some wear and tear should appear on the visible parts of the car after the implied period.

According to the YouTube blurb, the film was shot on Galaxy S9 Plus which is pretty cool. Good picture for that level even though the sound design could have been better. Another element which could have been better is the dialogue. Dialogue still, in many films around here, feel dissimilar to reality.

An early example – in the opening exchange during the montage, we hear:

 – …as e be now, your car don land
– ah ope! how far, where you dey? i fit come pick am now?
– yeah yeah yeah
– perfect timing, because i get one…i suppose see somebody today so I go like use am  today
– [in a slightly raised tone] oga you know say i no fit disappoint you. see just come carry am

I am confused as to the relevance of the first part of the last line in this context and why it was delivered the way it was.

Tokunbo is a decent job that I recommend for its simplicity in telling such a powerful story.

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Written by Segun Odejimi

Apostle of Sarcasm. Writer. Former Editor of TNSnigeria. Producer, Segun & the Gang. Facebook Nigeria Trainer.

Trained as a media/theatre artist and has worked in advertising, TV and radio.