Omoni Oboli Was Thinking Like An Actor, Not Like A Producer

Omoni Oboli, Nollywood Actress
This Omoni Oboli's embarrassing and annoying situation was avoidable. There are limits to "go and do your worse". Jude Idada a writer, accused Omoni Oboli a producer, of infringing on his rights to his intellectual property, his script. Omoni defended that the script is hers and she wrote it one hundred percent. And she went ahead and shot it. And was stopped at the venue of the premiere through a court injunction.
There were options she would have followed. Options that would have been beneficial to both parties. Someone, some people could have been called upon to intervene independently and reasonably.
Every profession has its risks, especially a rapidly growing one like Nollywood. And this is one of them. It is a mark of Nollywood growth.

Now her premiere was stopped on at the event venue and in front of her invitees. And the well planned release halted. A stitch in time saves nine, but she took it for granted. Grandstanding can make a cripple run, even when one is right, there is always room and reasons for compromise, no matter how little.

Nollywood has gone beyond, me against you, it is now a collective business, with chains linking each other. One's business has become everyone's business. Jude Idada insists that "Okafor's Law" is his script and a court in the land, thinks Jude has reasons to stop the distribution of "his intellectual property", hence the injunction. Those bringing sentiments must understand that intellectual property issues are not just something you wish away. Jude Idada must have provided "evidence", a simple sign of breach of rights for an injunction to be given to him to protect him. That is the job of state, protection of rights of every citizens. If Omoni Oboli feels otherwise, she has to be in court to fight it. She has to argue for the injunction to be "vacated", she has to counter the evidence provided by Jude. We saw some electronic materials made available by Jude Idada and those materials if true shows contact between both parties. It is going to still be messy as it was then when this issue was raised.

Now everyone is spending money but Omoni Oboli is and will continue to be the worst hit. This issue was avoidable if someone was thinking like a business person and that person is Omoni Oboli. It would have been forgotten if it was handled differently. Jude knew he had an ace up his sleeves, when Omoni called his bluffs and went ahead to shoot the controversial script. There are procedures in handling this and both sides missed the points especially Omoni Oboli. There are ways such issues are handled and smiling faces would have been seen. Now it is a little bit late. It is now fight to finish and that is not good for a producer.

If it were before in Nollywood where films are released in VCDs, nothing would have happened, the film would have still been released into the market and Jude can only cry, shout, curse and possibly sue till he gets tired.

Nollywood is a big beneficiary of this case, writers now see what they can do when their intellectual property rights are breached. Producers now understand that you must know the implication of minor negligible mistakes, distributors will now be more circumspect of controversially produced films. In all everyone will be more careful. Nollywood is no more that "Chima make we shoot film" thing, it is now expanding and we must expand with it.

There is a little gap (though likely to close soon) of a way forward and that excludes emotional outbursts and actions.

Omoni Oboli was thinking like an actor and not like a producer. Omoni at this point will hear hard words, emotional-laden advises, but she really needs to check her options now and in future and take a decision, and take it fast.

Okereke, Movie Director, Screenwriter, and Convener, Nollywood Forum for Development writes from Lagos.

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