Film:My Nigeria… From Doha, Lens Zoom On The Giant

DohaOne communication activity observers expected to follow the launch of moribund late Prof. Dora Akunyili’s ‘Good Nation, Good People’ campaign of the Federal Government or even the dead-on-arrival Edem Duke’s ‘Fascinating Nigeria’ campaign is the production of enough jingles and documentaries that would truly celebrate Nigeria, its people, achievement and culture.

Except for a few jingles, there has been no known documentary produced to back the campaigns. Even a few of the documentaries that some observers monitored back then focused more on sectoral developments and achievements like agriculture, sports and petroleum than it did on celebrating Nigerians and their way of life, the reason ‘Good Nation, Good People’ campaign was launched in the first place.

But there is an intervention. Ironically, it is not from home, but from Doha, Qatar, the operational base of international broadcast news network Al Jazeera.

The broadcast network has just announced the launch of a documentary series titled My Nigeria. Promoted as a first-person account from Africa’s largest economy, the documentary which will formally premiere on Al Jazeera English on August 24 is a series of six half-hour documentary that pulses with the energy of Africa’s leading economy and tells the human angle story from the perspective of everyday Nigerian heroes and celebrities including Bright Okpocha aka Basket Mouth, the actress Kate Henshaw and the clothier Deola Sagoe.

So, from stand up-comedian Basket mouth to Nollywood star-turned politician Kate Henshaw, from ICT expert Gbenga Sesan to fashion designer Deola Sagoe, from football coach Femi Bamigboye to female mechanic Sandra Aguebor, each film focuses on one central character, who invites us into their world to share their story in their own words and in the environment where they work or do business.

Shot across Nigeria by the award winning directors Brian Tilley and Clifford Bestall, head of documentaries at Al Jazeera English Ingrid Falck said the series was commissioned specifically to support Al Jazeera English brand “to bring people’s stories directly to our screens, told in a first-person style without mediation, offering a range of authentic views”.

According to Ingrid, “It is to hear the human story, and to get beyond the clichés of Africa, as there isn’t a better place than Nigeria. For every stereotype of corruption or extremism, there are millions of ordinary Nigerians making this African powerhouse tick.

Our series focuses on these individuals to see firsthand how Nigerians are busy making a difference.” It is the series on the stand up comedian Basket Mouth that will begin My Nigeria narrative on August 24.

Titled ‘Trash Talking’, Basket Mouth’s take on Lagos, as the statement from Al Jazeera reveals, is “elite is upbeat, irreverent and challenging”.

Following the episode on Okpocha will be time out with Nollywood diva Kate Henshaw on August 31. Titled ‘Playing a Part’, the series will follow the life of the amazing actress and show host who, having featured in over 70 films, recently decided to leave the make-believe, fictional world for a seat in Nigeria’s House of Representatives.

The spotlight on the Information and Communication Technology expert Gbenga Sesan titled ‘Connecting a Million’ is billed to premiere on September 7.

Gbenga is an ICT expert who is spreading his good fortune by teaching ICT and life-skills to young adults in Nigeria’s poorest neighbourhoods.

The spotlight will also bean on the clothier Deola Sagoe on September 14. Her episode is titled ‘Top Drawer’ and for those who know Deola, she is one Nigeria fashion designer who has led the current Nigeria fashion expansion, particularly its breakthrough in Europe, America and all over Africa.

Sagoe shares her story, particularly how her father, the prominent Nigerian businessman Chief Ade Ojo, never wanted her to go into fashion. The engaging stories of the unsung football coach Femi Bamigboye and Nigeria’s first lady mechanic Sandra Aguebor would follow on September 21 and September 28 respectively.

Bamigboye is the coach and founder of the Remo Football Academy in the small town of Iperu. He is reputed to have produced a line of young players who represents Nigeria at age group level, including two players who will represent Nigeria at the Under-17 World Cup at the end of the year. Sandra runs the lady mechanic initiative which has spread from city to city.

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