Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde is trying to reorganise Nollywood and Nigeria’s music industry to become a money making machine for all the stakeholders as she staged an entertainment fair TEFFEST. Will she succeed?
But behind the glitter, the reality of the film and music sectors in Africa’s most populous nation can often be far less glamorous: wages are low, there are no social protections and copyright law is rarely enforced.
Despite the successes, revenues from Nigeria’s entertainment and media sector in 2018 lagged well behind that of the continent’s other leading economic powerhouse South Africa at $4.5 billion compared to $9.1 billion, PwC said.
That difference is not down to output or demand as Nigeria produces more, exports more and has a domestic market of some 200 million people, four times bigger than South Africa.
Instead industry insiders insist it is a problem of organisation.
“The entertainment industry has grown without structures, without a roof,” Jalade-Ekeinde, nicknamed “Omo Sexy”, told AFP.
But the problems riddling the industry means it is often difficult to invest.
“There is nothing to celebrate here,” said Efe Omoregbe, manager of singer 2Face and former board member of the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), which was dissolved by the government due to an internal conflict.
PwC estimates that 80 percent of the pirate CDs globally can be found in Nigeria and singer Brymo says that in almost 20 years performing he has never received any money from his songs playing on local radio stations.
Lawyer Simeon Okoduwa said he tries to insist on artists signing a contract with producers before working with them.
“Too many film shoots or recordings are still done based on promises and handshakes,” he said.
“Before producers thought I was being pretentious,” she said.
Despite the improvements she still decries the lack of protections for performers or a minimum wage for actors and others involved in the industry such as make-up artists, cameramen and technicians.
Nollywood is a vast employer in Nigeria — with some estimates saying it offers jobs to one million people — but much of that is very precarious.
“We make more money on building a brand than acting,” said Dede.
Despite the drawbacks, the entertainment industry is still a major draw in a country where almost half the population live in extreme poverty.
“Nothing makes me happier than acting,” she said.
“Even though the pay is not good, there is no way I would give up on that.”