The Federal Government decided to scrap a plan to build a film village in Kano because of complaints lodged by some clerics. They cited reasons that have something to do with Islam and culture. The truth is Hausaland cannot be more Islamic than Saudi Arabia and Iran. Saudi Arabia is the birth place of Islam and of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). It is an Islamic country with near 99% Muslim population, a Sunni nation.
Iran is an Islamic Republic with about 99% Muslim population that adopts Quran as its constitution. It is a Shia nation. The two countries mentioned above make up the largest and most popular Islamic sects in the Muslim World. I am using them as examples for people to learn. Both countries have film industries. Saudi Arabia has 30 film companies that operate cinema houses. Keif al-Hal was a film released in 2006, which was billed as Saudi Arabia’s first film; however, it was shot in the United Arab Emirates and the lead female actress role was played by a Jordanian.
The 2012 film Wadjda had an all-Saudi cast and was the first feature film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia. The film Barakah Yoqabil Barakah was directed by Mahmoud Sabbagh and shot in Jeddah in 2015, and premiered in the 66th Berlin International Film Festival, making it the first feature film to participate in the festival. The Iranian film industry or the Cinema of Iran produces a variety of commercial films annually. Iranian art films have garnered international fame and now enjoy a global following.
Along with China, Iran has been lauded as one of the best exporters of cinema in the 1990s. Some critics now rank Iran as the world’s most important national cinema, artistically speaking. A range of international film festivals have honoured the Iranian cinema in the last 20 years. World-renowned Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke and German filmmaker Werner Herzog, along with many film critics from around the world, have praised Iranian cinema as one of the world’s most important artistic cinemas. If Islam was against movie and film industry the two countries cited above would have outlawed cinema the way they outlawed alcohol and adultery.
Nowhere in Islam is the film forbidden. It is a vehicle for enlightenment and education. Hausaland cannot be more Islamic than Saudi Arabia or Iran. Those clerics against the growth of film industry in Kano are doing it out of narrow understanding of Islam, based on extremist tendencies and ignorance. It is truly sad that President Muhammadu Buhari listened to Kano clerics to cancel the Film Village project in Kano. The three billion naira complex has a movie academy, hotels, cinemas, a housing complex, shopping malls and other businesses that would have tripled income and employment in Kano.
The Kano State governor and the Emir of Kano should follow up and ensure this decision is reversed. It is a symptom of backwardness to resist modernity, change and progress in the movie industry. The president should have made wide consultations and got other alternative views before taking a decision. Kano can produce films without hurting Islam or its traditions and culture. It can use it as tool to promote its religion, traditional institutions and material culture. The alternative is to have films produced outside Kano’s censorship control in whatever manner and still be watched by Kano people via Nilesat and DSTV. The state is the biggest loser in terms of revenue generation, businesses growth and job creation.
The bitter truth is that Hausaland has become backward simply because we allow culture, tradition and religion to hold us back. There is a difference between westernization and modernity. It is the same confusion that made Kano leaders to reject western education in an effort to avoid westernization, rejecting modernity in the process. About 60% of the population, the females, were denied education in an effort to avoid western culture. Yet Kano people complain about southern male doctors delivering their women of their babies.
Ask how many female gynaecologists Kano has and its ratio to the population of the state and you will weep for the people’s attitude to girl-child education.
The attitude of the government towards western education is what led it to having the largest number of children outside the four walls of primary classrooms. Almajiri is a social disease and a disgrace to Kano people. Kano has the largest number of destitute than any state in Nigeria. Spot an Igbo boy on any traffic light and you will see he is trying to sell something. Spot a Hausa boy and you will know he is begging for food or alms. Even the adults are not left behind. The people reject music but travel south to hire musicians to grace our weddings. Because of the rejection of modernity, Hausas are fast losing their music. The Dankwairos, Danmarayas, Haruna Ojis and Shatas had left without replacement. Their musical products are not even recorded and saved on DVDs.
Today there is no musician worth his name from Kano except a few praise singers. They reject movies but have satellite receivers to watch those films made outside their land and delivered to their bedrooms. That is hypocrisy of the highest order. Tell me one cleric without a TV set in his house. The state has dozens of cinema houses all showing movies made outside Hausaland which the people pay to watch, while the government collects taxes. Hypocritical Kano with its jaundiced clerics is running in circle without progress. That was how they shot down the polio immunization program and Kano continued to produce cripples and export them to the South as beggars. Imagine a movie village complete with an academy, hotels, cinemas and shopping malls gone in smoke because of leaders’ aversion to modernity and progress. They want to be like Arabs, forgetting that the Arabs have enough wealth to afford to be lazy. Iran, despite its oil wealth is an industrial and creative society that produces planes and locomotives. Saudi Arabia is 100,000 times richer and more advanced than Hausaland and is sitting on one of the largest oil reserves in the world. Hausas have nothing. They should either be creative or perish in poverty and disease.
All hail the armed Road Safety Corps
The FRSC Act 2007 did not permit the road marshals to carry gun. But the FRSC headquarters said it would issue its field operatives with weapons any time from now. For an agency that is tasked with providing safety and rescue operations, the idea of carrying arms while discharging its duties is laughable. My understanding is that the decision has more to do with the lawlessness of Nigerians under steering wheels. Why should one wait to be forced at gun point to wear the seatbelt or drive within speed limits? We had cases where road marshals were run down or beaten-up by motorists, for simply trying to enforce safety laws.
To carry weapons, the FRSC 2007 Act would need to be amended. I hope the commission’s leadership is aware of that. I also strongly advise the FG not to accede the requests by the FRSC. The agency does not need arms to carry out its duties. We understand the Customs, NSCDC, Immigration and Prisons have started carrying arms. That is understandable, because their jobs involve confrontation with dangerous criminals.