While revisiting some childhood memories with friends a few months back, unbidden came the knowledge of the considerable influence of classic Nollywood movies on my formative years and how cardinal the lessons I garnered from those movies were in shaping me. Indeed, it was a heck of an epiphany. Before then, I must admit, I constantly refrained from asserting that, while growing up, I spent more hours watching movies than I did reading books. Now, however, when compelled to make the above assertion, I take solace in the fact that I owe, to some extent, my being a responsible member of the society today to some of those movies for the great lessons they taught me. The point is many movies made during my childhood were as instructive as books were; they were as educative as they were entertaining. It goes without saying that the movie industry then extolled its responsibilities of entertaining and imbuing movie audiences with values that engender positive societal changes. Unfortunately, in contemporary times, the industry has neglected, to a large extent, the latter responsibility, evidenced by the widespread pollution of movies with dishonourable content and the promotion of indecency and objectionable acts in the name of garnering wide acceptance. It doesn’t take highfalutin intellect to appreciate the gravity of the problem, as only simple objectivity and the time COVID-19 accorded me helped me to appreciate it.
Last year, the pandemic gave me ample time to watch several Nollywood movies. While it would be sentimental to say all the movies were outright disappointing, it is an unadulterated fact that the bulk of them — replete with poorly-researched information and senseless narrations, whose selling points were corrupting dialogues and adult content — left me biting my nails in regret for having wasted my time. Some were simply advancing practices that stagnate a nation. My utter disappointment at this has made me ask several questions rhetorically: where is the Nollywood of the good old days? With the kind of content predominant in movies nowadays, would movies still be a tool for education in the future? To unsentimental Nollywood fans, the answers are not far-fetched.
For the record, I understand a paltry number of movie producers still favour didactic characters that uphold uprightness and morality in their productions, but would they not be ousted by the proliferating base of contrasting ones soon? The most baffling question yet is, knowing that Nigeria, as it were, is a nation wallowing in the pool of underdevelopment because moral decadence gains more ground daily, what chance do the specks of righteousness left in this nation stand if corruption is constantly promoted through influential tools like movies? Indeed, it is disheartening that the movie industry has joined the crop of immorality peddlers. Anyway, as the onus of reviving righteousness in Nigeria rests on everybody, one would agree that now is the time for the movie industry to lead the cause of restoring morality in Nigeria. May we always remember that only righteousness exalts a nation, I pray.
This article was written by Akinlaja Felix; connect with him on Instagram via here