‘We still have a lot to do’
THE National President, Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Ibinabo Fiberesima has finally declared interest in the forthcoming guild’s national elections. Disclosing this in an interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly, on Thursday, June 26, 2014, at O’Jez, Surulere, Lagos, Ibinabo said she can’t afford to abandon AGN after investing so much to turn it around.
And confident she could take the guild to greater heights, the former beauty queen, star actress and board member, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), told us her interest in second term is in the overall interest of not just actors but Nigerian artistes at large.
Meanwhile, Ibinabo has continued to appreciate the effort of the Goodluck Ebele Jonathan government in assisting AGN. She specifically hailed President Jonathan for the Abuja property he released for the guild’s secretariat. Ibinabo also revealed that the contract for the ultra-modern structure that would provide for a leisure centre, offices, among other facilities, has been awarded.
She hoped the mega project would be commissioned by the President before he leaves office.
Relatedly, the AGN boss said the guild is committed to the health and welfare of Nigerian actors. She further explained it was the major reason she has been promoting the health insurance scheme and benevolent gestures where ailing entertainers have been given free medical services and cash running into millions of naira.
The AGN boss made copious references to the cases of Chike Bryan, the National President of Screen Writers Guild of Nigeria, who has a kidney problem; New Masquerade star, Romanus Uchenna a.k.a Natty who was recently rumoured dead and yet another ailing Nollywood actor, Osita Okeke, among others.
Ibinabo said it is important to make public those who have benefitted from the benevolent fund for the sake of few detractors who doubt her administration’s laudable efforts.
You recently unveiled artistes who have benefitted from President Goodluck Jonathan’s support to ailing entertainers. Why did you have to do that?
There has been a lot of side talks that we are not doing anything. But we are not just sitting down, we are working. We have the interest of our members and entertainers at large, at heart. We are working round the clock. Wherever you are in Kano, Sokoto, Yobe, Rivers, Ekiti, we are reaching our members, changing their lives. As long as you are an actor, we would help you.
What are you currently doing?
Quite a lot. We are preparing for our inter-state cultural competition in dance drama. We are looking for talents across the country to push them. Of course, the AGN election, we are having it pretty soon.
Are you going for second term?
Yes, I’m running again. I have let it out. Yes, I am running against because I won’t work so hard to restructure the guild on the path of progress and let somebody ruin it. Let me consolidate on the structures we are putting on ground. Anybody that succeeds me can now take it off from there.
You have confirmed that the AGN National Secretariat in the FCT, Abuja, has been awarded to a contractor. What are you really putting up there?
We are going to have a leisure centre, a cinema, offices and many other facilities.
How soon, ma’am?
It has been contracted out. It is named after President Jonathan. And it would be soon completed.
So, what is your word for Mr. President who has been quite supportive?
I cannot stop thanking him. I will continue to pray for him. Every day, I will pray for Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan because he has heard the cry of actors and has been taking good care of us.
How many plots of land do you have in Abuja?
I wish I knew how they divide it (lands), but I know we were given a vast area of land to build AGN secretariat.
You also presented the papers of the land…
Yes, our titles have been approved and given to us by the Presidency. That was what I presented today (Thursday, June 26, 2014) to the Board of Trustee of AGN. I also used the opportunity to intimate our members with the much we have achieved so far.
You got a recognition award from one of the celebrity journals recently, how does it feel?
That was amazing. I feel appreciated. I didn’t even realize the import until I got to the stage to behold the huge crowd and the love I got. It was a good thing I was being appreciated finally for my hard work and contribution to the growth of the entertainment industry. And I’m so, so grateful to the organizers of the awards.
Lagos AGN boss, VICTOR OSUAGWU flaunts scorecard after 365 days in office
‘We surpassed our expectations’
STAR actor, Victor Osuagwu recently spent one year in office as Lagos chapter chairman of Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN). Held with a party at O’Jez, National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, on Thursday, June 26, 2014, the event also featured the presentation of the Certificate of Occupancy of the land the Federal Government recently allocated to the guild.
ENCOMIUM Weekly used the occasion, attended by over 2,000 AGN members, the guild’s National President, Ibinabo Fiberesima and other stakeholders, to ask Mr. Osuagwu how he has been running the association. He also unveiled his achievements in the past 365 days he has been at the helm of affairs and his plans for the guild.
How does it feel to mark one year in office today, Thursday, June 26, as chairman, Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Lagos State chapter?
I feel good and great. I also feel blessed because I have been praying for a day like this.
What have you really achieved in the last 365 days in office?
A lot of things have happened within this period. To be candid with you, I give glory to God. First, we have fulfilled the promise of getting a befitting secretariat for AGN in Lagos. We never inherited even a one-room apartment. Now, we have a world-class secretariat for AGN, Lagos chapter.
We have also launched a medical outreach thrice for our members. We didn’t stop there, we follow it up with continuous medicare too. This we have been doing in collaboration with our National President, Ibinabo Fiberesima. We have also embarked on a walk-for-life activity to promote the health of our members. We work together with the Rotary Club of Nigeria with the support of the German Fitness Club. Just to keep fit which enables you to be free from certain health-related problems. We also organized Christmas carol last year with St. Bath Anglican Church, Surulere, Lagos, the biggest church here in Surulere.
What more are you planning for AGN?
What we currently have in the pipeline is the Actors Week, which starts from August 23 to 29. Part of the activities is also the Walk-for-Life Campaign. There is equally an initiative to clean Lagos during the week as well as a novelty match. Stakeholders would also discuss the state of the industry in a symposium during the Actors Week.
Also, part of the programmes lined up for the week is Miss AGN. The winner is going home with a brand new car. So, we are calling on our members to please come to our office on Alhaji Masha Road, Surulere, Lagos, to obtain their forms for the pageant. On the day of the pageant, we are going to give awards to outstanding Nigerians.
What would you love to be remembered for when you leave this office?
I want it to be forever that when I was Lagos AGN chairman, I did something good. I stamped legacies no one can ignore. I’m working with my National President. We are happy today because she presented to us the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) of the land the Federal Government gave to AGN for our secretariat in Abuja. She also said that work will soon commence on the site with a very big structure in place.
Don’t forget she recently secured N10m for one of our members, Chike Bryan. She also gave cash to other ailing actors. Ibinabo Fiberesima also got accommodation for AGN first National President who has been without a home for years now. She has done quite a lot for the guild.
You seem to enjoy a good working relation with Ibinabo?
I can’t afford to quarrel with Ibinabo. She is a pleasant woman to work with. She, in fact, motivated me to contest for this office. I saw what she was doing and I believed I can also follow her footsteps. I contested for AGN Lagos chapter chairmanship so we could move the guild forward together. And that is what I have been doing in the last one year in office. I don’t think any AGN president has achieved Ibinabo’s feat. She is a wonderful woman. She is going for a second tenure and she has our unflinching support. I will do all in my powers to make sure she returns as AGN president because we all need her.
– Interviews by UCHE OLEHI