Director General of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Otunba Segun Runsewe, has said that the uproar created by the production of a new film, ‘Gang Of Lagos’ calls for strategic rethinking on cultural related narratives by film makers in Nigeria in order to avoid public resentments and reactions.
Runsewe pleaded with the Lagos State Government and the good people of the state, to forgive the infractions contained in the flick, assuring to arrest such cultural insensitivity headlong.
According to him, Gang of Lagos had depicted the iconic Eyo masquerade as enabler of violence, drawing angry reactions from cultural groups in Lagos Island and from the state government which described it a misrepresentation of cultural ethos of Eyo masquerade and insulting to the tradition and history of Lagosians.
Runsewe, who doubles as President, World Craft Council, Africa Region, noted that Eyo masquerade is one of the key cultural tourism products, associated with the history of Lagos nay Nigerian culture, and advised film makers, to be well guided when producing for public consumption, films on Nigerian cultural history so as not to provoke tension and irritations across the country.
“Lagos State Government, for instance has invested and continues to champion the growth of the creative sector, targeting young persons for training in all aspects of filmmaking and production, with community theatre halls built at each its local geospace and even with JK Randle Yoruba Museum, where researches on Yoruba culture and tradition, can be learnt first-hand, so films with narratives on the ways of the life our people must trend on best acceptable and sensitive information profiling,” Runsewe admonished.
Though the world of creativity is said to hold no boundaries, Runsewe noted that when it comes to cultural narratives, careful measures, strategic profiling, dedicated investigation and requests to collaborate with custodians of national cultural and traditional institutions should be thoroughly considered and consulted.
“During the last National Festival of Arts (NAFEST) in Lagos, we at NCAC wrote to the Oba of Lagos, requesting the participation of the iconic Eyo masquerade. We were made to appreciate and understand that Eyo masquerade public appearance is guided by certain traditional ethics and procedure, so we expect our filmmakers to follow the same engagement route. Honestly, we at NCAC appreciate Nigerian film makers for the efforts to use such narratives, not only to contribute to national cultural tourism rebirth and acceptation, including its international cultural tourism value chain but we must advise that a cultural sensitivity context and content analysis should be part of both production and post production ecosystem,” Runsewe stated further.
The NCAC boss informed that a one day cultural conference, evaluating and focusing on all areas of cultural tourism diversity and sensitivity, will be held before the end of this month in Abuja by the apex cultural agency.