AGN, Senator Abbo and the controversies

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AGN, Senator Abbo and the controversies

By Gbenga Bada

The Actors Guild of Nigeria, AGN, has always been riddled with controversies which prominently gain attention from the media and the general public.

From the inception of the guild, the choice of who leads has always been a steady case of controversy – from Ejike Asiegbu to Emeka Ike, Ibinabo Fiberesima and Emeka Rollas Ejezie.

However, after several battles and controversies, the first and only female president of the Guild, Ibinabo Fiberesima vacated the keenly contested seat of power after which Emeka Rollas Ejezie took over the mantle of leadership as the president of the Actors Guild of Nigeria in 2017.

Interestingly, between August 2017 and February 2020 – an approximate of 30 months – there has been relative peace within and outside the guild.

Emeka Rollas had ended his first tenure without a hitch. Trouble, however, reared its ugly head in March 2020 – eight months into his second tenure – and this time, it’s threatening to break down the house, if not well managed.

The guild, under Emeka Rollas, had decorated some members of the public as well as members of AGN with honours on March 11. And that move is currently threatening to break down the house Emeka Rollas tried building in the last three years.

Nigerian senator from Maiduguri, Ishaku Elisha Cliff Abbo, was decorated as the patron of the AGN. Though the ceremony, which was held in Abuja, was grand, no eyebrow was raised until Hilda Dokubo and some of her female colleagues got wind of the honours.

Hilda took to her Instagram account to vehemently detest the honours bestowed on Senator Abbo citing his violence against a woman as the main reason he should not be given the honours.

Hilda’s action caused a multiple effect of reactions as several leading female actors in Nollywood took over the baton of rejection towards Senator Abbo’s decoration by AGN as her patron.

From Kate Henshaw to Iretiola Doyle, and Stella Damasus, none of the leading actresses are ready to go with the decision of the AGN excos led by Emeka Rollas.

In the guild’s defence, Emeka Rollas insisted the Senator was worthy of the decoration owing to his impacts on the members of the guild in NorthEastern Nigeria.

The president went further by loosely accusing the actresses of sensationalism and attempting to taint the image of the guild. He didn’t stop there, he queried the actresses’ membership saying he is unsure of their membership as the guild has over 2million members across the country. Henshaw, a season actress, doesn’t seem to be taking the accusation lightly as she accused Emeka Rollas of riding on her influence at different times for AGN causes.

Though Stella Damasus is far away in the United States, her contribution to the industry through her acting abilities is beyond measure. And she weighs in on the controversy saying “While we condemn the decision of the leaders of the actors guild of Nigeria, for putting a woman beater as patron, let’s not forget that there are women in the committee. There are women among them who shamelessly accepted and kept quiet about it. Yes, I said it. Come for me, I dare you.”

For Iretiola Doyle, she says she’s not a member of the guild and her reasons include decisions of the leaders – one of which she says is the decoration of Senator Abbo as the guild’s patron.

Emeka Rollas also stressed that the AGN did not appoint Abbo the guild’s patron as a measure to celebrate him for beating a woman but for his support of the guild members in the North East chapter.

Meanwhile, the NorthEast chapter of AGN had threatened to dissociate themselves from the guild if Abbo’s honour gets retrieved over the protest. The

Reacting to the protest, Chairman of the Adamawa state chapter of the AGN, Jimi Lot stressed that the lawmaker was appointed as a patron of the group because of his philanthropic acts.

Jimi insisted that Abbo has apologised and should not be held down or delisted by the AGN saying the senator is not guilty of assault until proven so by the court.

Already, a stakeholder meeting has been fixed for Monday, March 23 and the president is expected to deliberate with stakeholders to either rescind on the guild’s decision or validate it.

This is not the first time the AGN is facing single- and at times multiple – controversy. Like other previous controversies, this too shall pass, however, no one is unsure if this will consume Emeka Rollas led exco or will just be a passing phase.

AGN, Senator Abbo and the controversies

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