BY ‘SEGUN ODEJIMI
This time, in the last five or so years, Nollywood would have been getting hyped for another edition of what is referred to by some as a popularity contest – the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA).
AMVCA has grown to become the only other sensible and well-organised alternative to the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) and due to the fact that it’s organisers – MultiChoice – had a lot of money to throw around, AMVCA had become – to many – a better organised version of AMAA. Well, without the highly-respected jury that is.
Personally, I had become a fan of AMVCA because of its thoughtful organisation and proper live-event style. Unlike AMAA, light the out at the venue and Ndi Feem didn’t get stranded in South Africa because of shoddy travel arrangements. And then, it had a platform. Not the already-in-its-grave NTA. that made light work of changing culture critic and AMAA Jury boss Shaibu Husseini‘s name to Shaibu Amodu barely weeks after the former Nigerian coach had passed away and those related Nigerian football were still mourning.
But then, something was always going to be a long-term trouble. Money. While for years AMVCA could boast of a bourgeois collaboration between MultiChoice and Amstel Malta, last year saw a change to MTN. That was when we began to see the signs of an impending coma.
First off, VIP tickets were put up for sale by the organisers. When it’s not AY’s Eko Hotel comedy marathon. Then, last year’s edition of the show was so unheralded and despite squeezing itself to deliver a good live show, the fanfare of previous years was missing. Two or three years ago, the package in which the invite came in was collector’s item. Last year, if you weren’t a VIP, you were handed out a small black which contained your carded pass.
The writings were on the wall last year, but many of us hoped it was simply just the show witnessing a serious Nigerianization. You know, when South African TV shows and series first came to Nigeria, a lot of money was put behind them until the Nigerians started taking over.
Sometime last month, I received a call from a Nollywood producer who wanted to know if AMVCA would hold this year. I didn’t have an answer so I just told her that I hadn’t heard anything. I still haven’t heard anything and I don’t want to be in touch with my MultiChoice contacts until I am done with this speculative piece. Hopefully by the time I reach out to them, I will get better news than what I currently fear.
As is usual with most of Nigeria and Nollywood, a lot of people have seen this AMVCA blackout as an avenue to have a dig and continue the comparisons with AMAA that has held for over a decade. Personally, while I salute AMAA’s consistency, a death of AMVCA will not be beneficial to our industry regardless of its credibility or popularity contest enthusiasm. At least, while it lasted, AMVCA didn’t depend on our clueless government for handouts and an inevitable Lai Mohammed speech.