Nollywood and Cultural Re-Orientation of Nigerian Youth
Director, Orientation & Cultural Affairs
National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO)
The evolution of Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry to the enviable position of the second largest film industry globally is one of the most positive developments of post independent Nigeria. Apart from the enormous economic benefits of Nollywood such as job creation and significant contribution to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), its strategic importance as a tool for socio- cultural transformation of Nigerian youth is very gratifying. Before the inception of Nollywood, Nigerian youths were largely indoctrinated through foreign films especially western and Indian. These foreign films had negative cultural influence on our youth which culminated in the erosion of our cherished cultural and moral values. With the general acceptance and the popularity of Nollywood among Nigerian youths, the tendency is being reversed. Nollywood now serves as a veritable platform for the cultural re-orientation of Nigerian youths. This study examines Nollywood and cultural re-orientation of Nigerian youths. Through a critical reading of some Nollywood films and interview of youths, we shall interrogate the extent to which Nollywood has fostered the cultural re-orientation of Nigerian youths. The study concludes that Nollywood films have positively influenced Nigerian youths in appreciating and promoting our rich cultural heritage.
Keywords: Nollywood, Cultural Orientation and Youth.
The pattern of behaviour of youths, whether deviant or good, is predicated upon an idea sown directly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously through information. Western films have infiltrated our culture so much so that the youths of our days have absorbed everything they hear and watch from these films. There is no gainsaying that what you watch has a profound influence on you as an individual.
Film is a powerful tool that uses visual effects to communicate and it covers a wider audience. Films have extraordinary influence especially on youths and consequently they imbibe the culture of the society the film is showcasing. These in turn affect the orientation they have of their own culture before watching the films of the other culture. The emergence of Nollywood, which is Nigerian film industry, has helped a great deal in the re-orientation project of Nigerian youths. This paper shall demonstrate to what extent the Nigerian films from the stable of Nollywood with Nigerian storyline, culture, costumes, accoutrements, locale and so on, have become invaluable in the promotion of Nigerian cultural values.
Nollywood, Culture, Nigerian Youth and Cultural Re-Orientation: A Conceptual Clarification
This is the name of Nigeria's movie industry. So, by definition; Nollywood is Nigeria’s film industry by predominantly Nigerian production teams which has gained wider acceptance by Nigerians, Africans in the Diaspora. Nollywood stands for the Nigerian film industry whose subject matter, ideas and materials are indigenous; acted and produced by Nigerians. In fact the first home movie worthy of the name was Living in Bondage – which appeared in 1992 from the stable of Kenneth Nnebue of NEK Video Links. What was meant to be an experiment became an instant hit. This was because early Nigerian filmmakers were frustrated by the high cost of film production using celluloid. With the release of Living in Bondage, which was low budget, the market exploded. ‘Nollywood’ had arrived (cited in Umezinwa 14, 15). Anunike is referred to in Umezinwa to have traced the origin of the word, Nollywood to early 2004, when the Nigeria film industry picked up the name, Nollywood.
The industry is … rated as the largest home video industry in the world … and rated the third largest film industry in the world after Hollywood… and Bollywood in terms of its mass production of films. About 53 films are released every forth night in the industry (Anunike 207 in Umezinwa 14).
Culture as a concept or phenomenon has been defined or interpreted variously by scholars. However there seem to be a consensus that it is the sum total of a people’s way of life. Adefuye defines culture as: The sum total of a people’s way of life, proverbs, songs, preferences, biases and prejudices. It also includes their view of the universe and the way things should be done in general (6).
The complexity of its meaning informs why Birukou, Blanzieri, Giorgini, and Giunchiglia in an attempt for a formal definition of culture aver that it is a slippery and ubiquitous concept. This is because culture means the whole complex of traditional behavior which has been developed by the human race and is successively learned by each generation (Birukou et al “A Formal Definition of Culture”).
In view of this, Akinterinwa affirms that culture is about the thoughts of the people, their feelings and beliefs, values and behaviour. Culture is about the behavioural patterns shared by various racial, ethnic, religious and social groups into which people are involuntarily born and into which people also voluntarily accept to accede. Culture is about what we do on a daily basis. It is about communications. In fact, life is shaped by culture. This partly explains why many scholars believe that culture is about shared patterns of way of life, especially in terms of behaviour and philosophies (36); while Babawale says, “simply put, the culture of a group of people is everything they do that is not strictly biological.” Oni agrees and offers a more in-depth definition: Culture is the aggregate of all the non-biologically acquired attributes by which man, as a group, seeks to leave the world a better place than he met it. It is the mechanism by which the society regulates its affairs, setting standards of right and wrong and imposing sanctions for deviance and reward for compliance (21).
Scholars are also quick to point out and emphasize the importance of culture to man and underscore the dialectical relationship between culture and development. Akanle posits that culture has the capacity to propel development. It is the strength of a people; it reveals their unique identity and shows their future. Alonge in Babawale avers that culture is the road map to any societal development (5).
The Nigerian Youth
Youth is a period of transition from the dependence of childhood to adulthood’s independence. The United Nations, for statistical purposes, defines ‘youth,’ as those persons between the ages of 15 and 24 years, without prejudice to other definitions by Member States. This means that apart from this statistical definition, the meaning of the term ‘youth’ varies in different societies around the world (“UN Youth: Definition of Youth”). Ruhl posits that UN definition of the ages 18 and 24 is in line with international practice, but that the Nigeria Youth Policy Document defined youths as persons between ages 18 and 35, because in Nigeria, any person who attains the age of 18 is legally considered an adult with voting rights. These are persons who normally would have completed secondary education and would either be in tertiary institutions such as the university, striving to secure employment, or be already employed (2).
Youths have a critical role to play in the promotion and preservation of our culture. They serve as the bridge between the present and future; in fact, they represent the future of any culture. From available statistics, youths do not only constitute about 60% of the Nigerian population, major characters in Nollywood are youths. The youth constitute the vital resources for national development if their energy, resourcefulness, creativity and dynamism are properly chanelled.
It is therefore in the interest of nations, especially those which could be at the receiving end of cultural imperialism to formulate polices for youth that clearly sets out the ways and means by which government can fundamentally address the needs and aspiration of Nigerian youth and make them responsive to contemporary challenges posed by competing cultures. They should be given appropriate mental and moral re-orientation for the promotion of cultural identity, patriotism, national unity and economic progress.
Orientation is an integrated set of attitudes and beliefs, while reorientation is the act of changing the direction in which something is oriented. It is a fresh orientation; a changed set of attitudes and beliefs (“reorientation”). Contextually, cultural re-orientation can therefore be viewed as a systematic process of re-inventing in a group of people their cherished cultural values which were lost due to negative external influence occasioned by colonialism, neo-colonialism or globalisation. The strong advocacy for cultural re-orientation is predicated on the truism that there can never be any meaningful and sustainable development in a society without a solid cultural foundation. Cultural Reorientation offers new perspectives for preserving cultural heritage through conscious and concerted efforts. The core programmes of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), such as, Nigerian Dress Culture and the Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP) are geared towards promoting our cultural heritage. Example of cultural reorientation is clarified by the Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, as he noted how Nigerian banks used to devote every Friday to wearing traditional African or Nigerian dresses. He said, On those days, bank workers wore various attires to reflect their cultural background. That was when you would see agbada, babariga, etibo, woko, opu shirti, jumper, shokoto, kente, akwete and so on. Unfortunately, that tradition has been abandoned because bank workers now wear mostly branded t-shirts.
NICO organizes national workshops on “Promoting Nigerian Dress Culture” (“Cultural Reorientation in Africa: Nigeria's "Project Runway").
Nollywood and Cultural Re-Orientation of Nigerian Youth
Usman et al, citing Finnegan and Okpewho, aver that oral tradition consists of history, religious practices, cosmology, rituals, folktales, proverbs, riddles, games, songs, dance, magic, epic tales, myths and narratives. The African incorporated the everyday rhythms of life into his expression. African traditions of communalism, respect for elders, rituals of life and death, child rearing practices and storytelling are shrouded in controversies among different scholars of folklore, because Western historians have not accepted the African oral tradition as a legitimate and effective system of documenting history. African history that was preserved orally as opposed to being written down is therefore viewed as inferior and invalid (236-238). There is an influence western culture is having on Nigerian culture as portrayed in Nigerian video films (NVF). For instance, apart from the British that colonized Nigeria, the American film industry has had a profound effect on cinema across the world since the early 20th century. There are the creation of Hollywood's hegemony and dominance of world cinema as the industry sprang to life and systematically fed the world, through motion pictures (Giwa “Nollywood: A Miscellany of Western and Nigerian Cultures”).
Consequently, it is important to note that the forgoing formed Africa, Nigerian culture inclusive which builds the orientation and pass moral traits to the youths. The preservation and transmission of cultural value is normally achieved through many methods that include; books, storytelling, tales, folkways, songs, drama and plays in addition to entertainment as well as the movies (Usman et al 238). Indeed, the ways film helps in building the cultural orientation of a people is further captured by Usman et al by referring to other scholars: Film is a powerful tool for the transmission of cultural values. In an analysis of how film could further the course of cultural identity, Arulogun identified four main areas. As a propaganda tool, film remains a vehicle employed by governments and others interested in the art of subtle diplomacy. Because of its popularity as an entertainment medium, it easily becomes a means of relaying and reinforcing information meant to promote a certain reality. Film also plays the role of stereotype, helping to shape perspectives on a people's culture. The impressions which viewers develop about a people and their cultural values are greatly influenced by film portrayals. As an educational medium, film covers issues in the school curricula or things about their country of origin which tell viewers about different countries and peoples (236).
The above view of how film tells viewers about different countries and peoples, Lobato informs why through films, Africans, Nigerians inclusive have, until very recently, been ‘foreigners in their own countries.’In Nigeria, a few features by prominent directors such as Ola Balogun have had some success but cinema screens have long been dominated by imported American, Indian and Chinese movies. Since the 1970s, 35mm production has been largely defunct and 16mm features only a handful per year (Haynes 97). Furthermore, the kind of African cinema favoured by film festival programmers in the West has virtually no audience in Africa itself – works by directors like Souleymanne Cissé or Ousmane Sembène are rarely screened outside foreign embassies in Nigeria and are referred to by the new generation of video directors as ‘embassy films.’ This state of affairs has its roots in a set of historical and economic factors which rendered celluloid cinema a redundant medium across most of Africa and cleared the way for low-cost video productions to emerge. The backdrop to this is the colonial communications policies which regulated the experience of cinema for Nigerians until the 1960s. In West Africa, film has functioned throughout the 20th century as a vehicle for propaganda, a signifier of Western modernity, and a status symbol for elites, but rarely as a means of communication or a driver of social change for and between Africans. Cinema has largely disappeared as a social practice in Nigeria, due to the closure of theatres and the deteriorating security situation in urban areas (339-340).
What marked a turning point for the youths was the change to all this in the 1990s, when video production emerged as a homegrown alternative to celluloid cinema. Today, Nigeria’s ‘radically horizontal’ film industry – or rather, the patchwork of different video industries; Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, in addition to smaller regional industries that together make up Nollywood is the most energetic in the world. Street markets across the entire African continent overflow with tapes and discs on a weekly basis. Nollywood has its own star system – video film actors like Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde and Ramsey Nouah, among others, are wildly popular in Nigeria and are now veritable superstars throughout the African Diaspora as well, attracting large crowds of fans on trips abroad (Lobato 340-341).
The above shows that Nigerian video film actors and actresses have attained star status with the growing popularity of the films and these stars are seen as role models by the audience comprised a greater percentage of youths, in a bid to emulate these film stars unlike when the youths are always talking of Bruce Lee, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Eddie Murphy, Shakti Samanta, and so on. Nigerian video films from Nollywood find in Nigerian youths, a large and dedicated viewership. The additive nature of film and the freedom to sit at home and slot in DVDs and VCDs or tune to any cable network has made it possible for even underage kids to watch (Utoh-Ezeajugh 66-67). These now give the youths a reorientation from the foreign films. Also, the stories in Nollywood have Nigerian cultural background. These stories which use Nigerian background, locale, plot, characters, costume and make-up dramatize with even indigenous languages where the films by Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba producers use either these languages with or without English sub-titles. Popular themes which recur are love, infidelity, fraud, violence, intrigue, conflict and other such subjects which are designed not only to entertain, excite, provide escapism and appeal to the emotions but also to instill the right values and teach good morals which are aspects of cultural reorientation. These stories are made in such a way that they strengthen the children and the youth alike. For instance, in Hausa language, the qualitative impute of stories from folktale in film making is obvious. The frequent use of folktale by the Hausa people in their films has proved that they are inevitable aspects of Hausa culture as what the youths need for cultural reorientation. Since the advent of Hausa movie industry, it has served as one of the significant source materials for the popular Hausa video movie. “Oral tradition in Hausa movies has discovered the use of films as meta-narrative in exploring the cultural and religious identity of not only Nigerians but also Africans” (Usman et al 237, 239). Omoera further avers that: Aside from the known film schools or acknowledged Nigerian film cultures of Yoruba, Igbo/English and Hausa,), there are massive cultural productions in Nupe, Ebira, Afemai, Tiv, Efik, Idoma, Ibibio, Itsekiri, Ijaw and Benin subsections of indigenous language films in Nigeria. These forms of media productions appear to have raised the ante of the ‘glocalising order’ in Nollywood because of the increasingly diverse and powerful cultural and linguistic energies they throw up (19).
Meanwhile, some movies that have promoted cultural reorientation of the Youths in several ways include; the Hausa movie, titled, Daskin Da Ridi, which is based on a story about an Emir who traveled on a tour transferring the day-to-day running of the affairs of the Emirate to a Senior Counselor, Wambai. Before he travelled, he urged his son, Yerima, to select a wife-to-be before he comes back. It is a moral story that stresses on the virtue of humility. This story is a folktale told for the purpose of knowledge transfer and personality development. The movie, Sangaya, is another movie based on folktale as produced by Sarauniya Film Production, Kano. It is about a love affair between a Prince, Maina and a housemaid, Zubaina. It is a folktale on morality that proves that destiny has no obstacles. The movie, Karshen Makirci, is another folktale on morality. The movie was produced by Mansur Abba Sheriffs Company, Ibrahimawa Film Production, Kano. The movie is about a girl, Sadiya who was neglected by her father, Alhaji Usman, following her mother’s divorce. In the absence of her mother, Hajia Zainab, Sadiya finds herself in a difficult situation because her stepmother, Hajia Asama’u maltreats her like a slave but later gets happily married to a caring and responsible man. It also emphasizes on the moral fact that the evil that men do follow or lives after them. The movie, Sai Na Dawo, is a Hausa folktale about an honest man with contentment and humility. He discovers that he is not the legitimate heir to the kingship throne and steps aside in humility for the rightful heir to the throne. It is a moral lesson to all political aspirants, leaders and appointees who force their way to leadership by any means, hook or crook, rigging election, violence or crisis to embrace peace and honesty when vying for political positions. This sensitizes the need for a change in our attitude. Let the people’s votes, views and rights be respected. The movie, Samu, is another folktale about the reality of life. From what transpires between Musbahu (the spirit) and Khalifa (the prince), preaches the fact that we should be good to the people we meet up the ladder because we might need them on our way down. This, by implication, is telling us to be good to people (Usman et al 238).
Omoera cited other scholars to further assert that it is important to note that these indigenous language films have received and will continue to receive scholarly attention from many disciplinary backgrounds, nationally and internationally. Ekwuazi, Ugor and Enem affirm that there is an undeniable trend which runs through the Igbo video-film: the inherent drive for individual success which has made the Igbo personality to be seen as a victim of egoism and craze for materialism. The Yoruba video-film, on the other hand, is to a great extent influenced by the animated cosmos of the Yoruba people. Life to the Yoruba mind is cyclical, involving the worlds of the living, the dead and the unborn. Therefore the Yoruba film is steep in mysticism, reincarnation and rites. This, perhaps, explains why Okome argues that the Nigerian video-film has an unchallengeable presence, which has called attention to itself from the world on its own terms (24). Be that as it may, this world of its own gives it an identity for the youth and reorientation of culture as Giwa cited Okome as stating that from its humble beginning in the late 1970s, the Nigerian video film has transformed itself into a national art, creating its own version of the world and attracting the serious attention of government for the first time. "The motion picture business grew from an estimated turn-over of about N250 million (US$1.9 million) in 1994 into a N3.4 billion (US$26.4 million) nationwide enterprise in 1999" (Okome quoting the National Film and Videos Censors Board). The Nigerian video film is the link between Nigeria's transnational community and their homeland. The development of this decade-old phenomenon has resulted in the production of over 600 films a year and this makes Nigeria one of the largest film producing nations in the world (Giwa “Nollywood: A Miscellany…”).
Many of these Nollywood movies though promote the Christian or Islamic faiths, and some movies are overtly evangelical. Others, however, address questions of religious diversity, such as the popular film, Not Without My Daughter, which is about a Muslim man and a Christian woman who gets married and comes face-to-face with many obstacles. Many of Nollywood's films deal with AIDS, corruption, women's rights, and other topics of concern to ordinary Africans. However, many have themes that deal with the moral dilemmas facing Nigeria, which educate and enlighten the youths on cultural matters. One basic fact about people especially Africans, is the fact that our lives are shaped by our culture, because it's a way of life that affects the youths. This culture has reflected in our movie industry, Nollywood (Opeyemi 283, 285).
To reinforce this cultural orientation through indigenous language, some film scholars, film producers and film aficionados work on various film projects that explore their cultural and tribal affiliations. For instance, Mabel Evwierhioma is working on Urhobo video-films (Evwierhioma in an interview with Patrick Obi). Prolens Movies Limited has produced Ukpebuluku in 2009, an Urhobo film. Supreme Movies Limited has produced another Urhobo video-film, Urhieuvwe in 2010. Steve Amedu is already producing films in Esan language (Steve Amedu in an interview in 2008). Tony Boye produced Inaghomi in 2008, an Itsekiri video-film; Alex Eyengho also made Oma tsen-tsen and Suaro La in Itsekiri language. Uncle City has produced Igbabo-Eva in 2009, Ifiogbodon Se Eraman in 2010, Emo Isagbo in 2010, Okpor-Ogie in 2010, among others, in Afemai language. Emem Isongpremiered an Ibibio language movie, Mfina Ibagha in 2006; and many others have beenproduced in other Nigerian languages such as Fulfulde, Kanuri, Tiv, Efik, Ijaw and Benin. For instance, some Benin movies are Ikoka in 2003, Ikuemitin in 2007, Emotan in 2003, Ekuase in 2004, Okpaniya in 2006, Agbawu in 2007, Yasin in 2008, Olidara in 2008, Ebuwa in 2009, Ovbimwen Osemwen in 2011, Okagbe N’ogbeti in 2011, Adesuwa in 2012, among many other great Benin films. With these, the Benin subsection of Nollywood use films to reorientate the youth as the film are linked with the Oba of Benin or royalty, but they generally explore mundane and contemporary issues as well as matters from previous epochs, using Benin language, proverbs, folklores, costumes, artifacts, songs, adages, among other iconic-cultural paraphernalia as distinctive means of communication, which are quite informative to the youths (Omoera 25-26).
Many Nigerian youths were interviewed on how Nollywood has affected them and enhanced their knowledge of Nigerian cultural heritage. Patrick Ekabeo, who hails from Cross River State, mentioned how he used to watch American films, but though he is from Cross River ever since Nollywood came on board he fell in love with the Yoruba films (Interview with Gwautsa). So, Ekabe is right when he said that: I watch Yoruba movies now, a lot more than I watch American films before. I am not a Yoruba but I am fascinated by their storylines. The stories in their films are captivating. They are stories that are better than too much kissing, shooting of gun, and erotic scenes in the foreign films. Such things are not our culture. They corrupt we the young ones when we watch them. But the Yoruba films tell the story of our people. Nigerian culture is fully represented as in their dressings (costumes), language and dishes. These offer the right cultural orientation and mindset to the teeming youths. They restore the western cultural orientation the foreign films have instilled on the youths. So, there is total reorientation of Nigerian culture (Interview with Patrick Ekabeo).
Jerry Owolabi validates the forgoing, saying that, as a Yoruba though a Christian, he does not like the content of some of the stories, but he prefers to watch them instead of foreign films, because the stories remind him of certain morals obtainable in Yoruba culture, which the foreign films tried to erode. For instance, you cannot see a little boy holding gun in the house, guns are meant for hunting. The violence promoted in foreign films are alien to the culture but in Nigerian films, you watch stories of Nigerian culture as they unfold and you want to watch them till the end, because you are involved in one way or the other in the culture being shown in the film (Interview with Gwautsa). Holm referred to Haynes to describe Nollywood of today as by far the most powerful purveyor of an image of Nigeria to domestic and foreign audiences. Nollywood is an example of specifically situated, localized social activity, networked with other sites that produce something fundamentally different from Hollywood in production, distribution, consumption and aesthetics. Nollywood is structured horizontally with plenty of small entrepreneurs and market networks. Nollywood is actually considered to be Africa’s first mass popular culture influence that has spread across the continent. The industry succeeds by telling familiar stories that resonate with local sensibilities (Haynes 132 in Holm 1, 23, 24).
Monday Maikudi said that this success story is beneficial to Nigerian Youths because there is nothing much to gain in many American films, especially when it involves shooting of gun, whereas Nigerian movies reflected Nigerian culture that will benefit the society. The truth is that when the youths are acquainted with the culture, the whole society is at advantage because the youths are the leaders of tomorrow and culture is the bedrock for purposeful leadership. In Nollywood films, the use of proverbs and idioms are commendable (Interview with Jacob Gwautsa). This prompted Abubakar Sadiq to note that the Nollywood films he has been watching, especially the Yoruba films use the proverbs in them to teach and as such Nollywood is a teacher of African wisdom and philosophy and this is where culture lies. This is better orientation for the youths than the kissing on the streets seen in the foreign films. It is not Nigerian culture to kiss woman on the street. There are other ways to express love in Africa. In terms of dressing, look at the way most Nigerian youths dress and expose their bodies, they call it sagging, even the hairdo where the men plait their hair. They learnt all those from foreign films (Interview with Ajumobi et al).
As a result of these, why foreign films should be discouraged is further adduced by Nwosu, Onwukwe and Okugo because according to them, films are not only used in exalting the culture and values but also used to reveal and communicate some vices, drug abuse and other social disintegration. It is notable that nudity runs contrary to our cultural values especially with women, hence it follows that people do not always accept nude displays within our society. Again, women are seen as creatures with dignity and pride which must be guarded jealously. For instance, Saworoide (Brass Bells), written by Akinwunmi Ishola, Produced and Directed by Tunde Kelani, is a story set against the backdrop of a Yoruba community seeking to create checks and balances in order to prevent the excesses of the king and his aides. It is the story of the pact between Jogbo, an ancient community, and the kings that rule over it. King Lapite (Kola Oyewo) refused to partake in some traditional rites at his ascension because he knew he would not be able to indulge in corrupt practices if he did. He muzzled all opposition into submission and induced the local chiefs with money in order to perpetuate himself into power. Saworoide, the insignia of authority in Jogbo, eventually led to the dethronement of Lapite. Tunde Kelani’s creative interpretation shows oath taking as an agency of accountability and good governance. He ultimately celebrates aspects of African history and culture and tries to enlighten people about these (“Nollywood Yoruba Film Project”).
Mohammed Nura appreciates the cultural revolution Nollywood is bringing to the Nigerian society, but he observed that their focus is only on entertainment in which they alienate certain cultural values which are didactic in nature. In this regard, he is of the opinion that Nollywood producers should have their audience at heart by producing Nigerian films that will not portray Nigeria as a home of ritual activities (Interview with Gwautsa). Christy Oborgu who used to watch American films, said no matter the faults in Nollywood, they are better for her than foreign films, because in most cases you do not hear the foreigners when they speak but in Nollywood, you hear and understand the language, the message of the film is clear to all including the youths who then apply the message to their day to day activities. This helps the growth and development of the society (Interview with Ajumobi et al). Amarachi Ogbe, apart from foreign films watches Ghanaian movies as well as Nigerian movies. Her conclusion is that Nigerian movies are superb when it comes to showcasing peoples’ cultural heritage and societal values (Interview with Gwautsa). Helen Agbo was proud to say that she is a 16year old Idoma from Benue state and she has been helped by the English version of Nollywood to build herself and confidence, because there is confidence in the actors and actresses. She counseled that: Nollywood should receive kudos for what they are doing with Nigerian culture. But they have to listen to people who watch the films and take corrections. The point is that Nollywood filmmakers should be conscious of the fact that kids watch them and produce more of the stories that should teach morals to kids, because the kids mostly watch them. As children they are the youths of tomorrow and the youths will make the elders and leaders of our future. Whichever culture they imbibe, becomes the orientation of Nigeria as a society (Interview with Ajumobi et al).
The above is important because watching home movies affects the behavior of people. The actions seen on movies have effect on young people. Nigerian youths copy the life style of actors/actresses in terms of dressing, fashion, hairdo, language and personal carriage (Umezinwa 58).
In this paper, we have tried to establish that the emergence of Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry is a positive development for Nigeria. Apart from its socio-economic benefits which have reflected in the employment of over one million Nigerians and significant contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), it has also become a useful platform for the promotion of cultural values among the youths. It is an acknowledged fact that Nollywood films appeal to Nigerian youths and are gradually replacing foreign films. Also, very gratifying is films in indigenous languages subtitled in English which are helping our youth to understand the indigenous language which is a vital component of culture. Despite some criticisms that Nollywood is helping to adulterate Nigeria’s cultural values, it is the contention of this paper that Nollywood films are doing more to promote our cultural values than foreign films. We are therefore hopeful that as the industry evolves, it will become more responsive to our desire to serve as veritable platform for the promotion of our cultural values especially our youths.
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