By Anote Ajeluorou
A veteran of the film industry, Chief Eddie Ugbomah, has for many years now been rebuilding history for the creative sectors of film and music, twin entertainment arenas where he dedicated much of his last 50 years. In his quiet Ilogbo-Eremi country home on the outskirts of town, along Badagry Road, Ugbomah, who turns 74 on December 19, has devoted much of his talent and resources to erecting two Halls of Fame for movies and music, as he has his eyes set on providing historical materials for posterity.
For this reason, the portraits that make up the two galleries will soon be relocated from Ilogbo-Eremi to town. Frustrated and disappointed by his inability to reach his own governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, to fulfill his promise of hosting the galleries in the state capital Asaba, Ugbomah is mulling his options. Relocating the galleries to main town Lagos seems the only option left him since Uduaghan seems reluctant to keep his word. Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, Ugbomah noted, is also reluctant to play a part. In any event, the indefatigable filmmaker is determined to forge ahead and bring to the open space the work that has tasked much of his talent and resources.
His set goal is simple: history and record-keeping are poorly served in this part of the world. Ugbomah contends that it’s for this reason that many blunders are being committed in the movies and music currently being made in Nigeria, which fail to draw from the richness of what obtained in the past resulting in the flatness and drabness on display. How to redress this? Keeping history alive! To achieve this, the former Chairman of Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) started creating the two galleries that document the history of personalities that have made impact in music and movies. He has had portraits made of past and present major players in bother genres of entertainment along with a documentation of their specific parts in shaping their respective industries. Stretching it further, he is in the process also of conducting interviews with these masters of their craft for a composite documentation comprising of portrait and film documentation.
And so on his 74th birthday at the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos, on December 19, Ugbomah will show some of the films that set him apart from the current crowd of home video makers and why he remains a force in the industry. Some individuals will also be inducted into the two Halls of Fame in movies and music in a two-part celebration that ends on January 15, with a big concert to raise funds for scholarship for indigent students.
In spite of failing to get Lagos and Delta States’ chief executives and the Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Edem Duke, to do the needful and preserve history to serve posterity, Ugbomah said the show must go ahead as planned. Deserving musicians and moviemakers will be inducted into the Halls of Fame on his birthday, he has said, adding, “I want to keep the gallery and history; that is why the boys and girls are singing and shooting nonsense. They don’t have anything historical to fall back on, somewhere they can learn how to do it, where it had been done before.
“The gallery must leave Ilogbo-Eremi to town to an open space for people to see history of Nigerian entertainment”.
For the January 15, which he calls ‘A Rumble in Lagos’, Ugbomah said 12 old school musicians will face 12 comedians plus a sprinkling of 8 new artistes. Orits Williki, Ras Kimono, Sir Shina Peters, Dele Abiodun, Adewale Ayuba, Stella Monye, Charlie Boy, Daniel Wilson, Daddy Showkey and Tee Mac make up the old school. Julius Agwu, Nkem Owoh, John Okafor (aka Ibu), Charles Awurum, Bovi Ugbomah, Yaw Yaw, Akparoro with negotiation still ongoing with Ali Baba and Gordons, who will make the comedy pack. Young artistes include DJ Gallaxy, G Lord and actress-singer, Jennifer Eliogwu.
Ugnomah said he has been promised media blitz from AIT, STV, Channels TV, Vanguard and Gallaxy TV , which will give full weight to his 50 years in entertainment business in Nigeria.