About N.8 billion was realized at the fund raising event for the hosting of the 2013 Africa Movie Academy Award, (AMAA) in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital. This amount, which is expected to boost efforts of the organizers in ensuring a successful hosting of the annual award ceremony, is exclusive of the pledges of support made by some corporate organisations. Speaking at the event, which held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, wife of the President, Dame Patience Jonathan, urged filmmakers to tell stories that highlight the virtues of peaceful co-existence among Nigerians.
Dame Patience, who encouraged stakeholders in the movie industry not to be deterred by the challenges currently facing it, expressed the hope that with active private sector participation, the industry would be better placed to compete at the international market and enhance national development. While commending Governor Henry Seriake Dickson for his ingenuity in attracting the private sector in the sponsorship of AMAA, she called on the state government to build a Film City in Yenagoa to further underline the State’s commitment to encourage the film industry.
Corroborating the views of the First Lady, Governor Seriake Dickson said henceforth, AMAA would be a private sector-driven event as a marked departure from the past. According to the Governor, the new Bayelsa project cannot be realized without effective collaboration with the organized private sector which he noted is more enterprising and business oriented than government.
Hon. Dickson, who praised past administrations in the state for pioneering and sustaining the hosting of the event, posited that the Bayelsa State government is supporting AMAA to provide a veritable platform for the state to harness its numerous potentials. He also stressed the need for government at all levels to use the Arts as a tool for promoting national unity and development and assured that the proceeds of the fundraising would be put to judicious use. “The marked departure this year and going forward is that we want AMAA to be a private sector driven event because we believe that we cannot fully realize and bring about the Bayelsa of our dreams without encouraging and working with the private sector.
Our role as a government is clear which is to create the enabling environment and allow individual enterprise to thrive because it is the private sector that knows how to do business. In his remarks, Chairman of the occasion, Alhaji Sayyu Dantata also underscored the significance of the fund raising event, pointing out that supporting Bayelsa on the project would have a positive multiplier effects on the socio-economic fortunes of the country. Alhaji Dantata therefore called on all well meaning individuals and corporate organizations to donate generously to the project, which he described as a worthy cause.
In her welcome address, the Director General of the Bayelsa State Tourism Development Agency, Mrs Ebizi Brown, described AMAA as a platform for hunting and grooming new talents and appealed to corporate organizations to contribute their quota to the movie industry. Also speaking, the Chief Executive of AMAA, Peace Anyiam Osigwe, highlighted the supportive role Bayelsa has played over the years, noting that the story of the movie industry in the country cannot be told without the mention of Bayelsa State.
She pointed out that AMAA has trained over 200 youths in Africa in film making, stressing that Bayelsa deserved all the support it could get to maintain highly commendable level of success it has already attained. In their goodwill messages, Chairman of the Bayelsa Development and Investment Corporation, Ambassador Lawrence Ekpebu, Mr. Ben Murray Bruce and Chief Ndutimi Alaibe lauded Governor Dickson’s initiative on the funding of AMAA.