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Dr. Chidia Maduekwe’s Narrative Change At NFC A Spawn For President Buhari’s Blueprint In Nigeria’s Film Industry

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Dr. Chidia Maduekwe’s Narrative Change At NFC A Spawn For President Buhari’s Blueprint In Nigeria’s Film Industry
Dr. Chidia Maduekwe

The Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC), established in 1979, is empowered to lay a solid foundation for the development of viable and sustainable film industry and cinema culture in Nigeria with the mandate of planning, promoting, and organising an integrated and efficient growth and development of the Nigerian film industry, including support and training for Nigerian filmmakers. The Corporation is therefore charged with the responsibility of planning, promoting, and organizing an integrated and efficient development of the Nigerian Film Industry.

Since his appointment as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Chidia Maduekwe charged with the responsibility of redefining the corporation has pulled several strides in the areas of digitalization, international partnerships, funding, and capacity development of the NFC.

Who then is Dr. Chidia?

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Dr. Chidia is an Asaga Ohafia born erudite medical practitioner, politician, public officer, creative economist, and public affairs analyst.

He had his primary and secondary education at St. Thomas Anglican Primary School, Umuoso Nsulu, and Sacred Heart   Secondary School, Aba respectively. After he obtained his O-level General Certificate of Education (GCE) at the Birch Freeman High School, Lagos in 1973 then proceeded to Kwara College of Technology where he obtained his Cambridge A –Level in 1975. With his brilliant academic performance that year, all existing Nigerian university colleges of medicine at that time offered him admission to study medicine, while he finally settled to study medicine at the University of Ibadan Medical School, UCH.

In June, 1980, after graduation from Nigeria’s premier medical college – University College Hospital- UCH, Ibadan Maduekwe moved to Aba where he worked as a medical officer at Aba General Hospital before proceeding for the mandatory National Youth Service at Mary Slessor Joint Hospital, Itu. Within three years post-graduation, his restless mind conceptualized and birthed Kesandu Rural Mobil Medical Scheme. This focused on the humanitarian aspect of medical services.

Dr. Chidia Maduekwe began early in life to contribute on matters that affect the lives of the common man, in addition to proffering solutions in making Nigeria a greater nation. He founded and funded a usual off-road private primary health care mobile clinic project known then within the rural communities as KRUMM SCHEME. The scheme, shortly thereafter, attracted global attention when the German government shortlisted and dispatched German medical experts/equipment (under the auspices of GTZ now referred to as GIZ ). This foreign support was based on the German/Nigeria Technical Aid Agreement Protocol of 1981. Some local government areas in the then Imo State ( such as Arochukwu-Ohafia LGA, Bende LGA ) and Bornu State, became beneficiaries of KRUMM SCHEME intervention for primary health care with mobile clinics. This exceptional feat delivered medicare to several rural communities.

Between 1984 and 1992, Dr. Maduekwe served as Chief Executive/Medical Director of Kesandu Hospital, Aba, a subsidiary of Kesandu Medical Services Ltd. This was in addition to him also being the Founder and Principal Partner Kesandu Rural Mobile Medicare Scheme (KRUMM SCHEME).

Having cut his teeth in community and rural health care delivery, his name gained him some traction and political currency which launched him into politics in 1990. He contested and won election into the 3rd Republic House of Representatives, he served as the Chairman, House Committee on Defence in 1992.

His foray into politics created an avenue for him to contribute more into the political development of the country. He has since remained upwardly mobile, traversing from one political office to another at the federal level with noticeable footprints as a man whose mantra remains fixated on community service.

He was appointed Director of Media, Buhari Support Organizations (BSO & BSGC) in 2014 by President  Mohammadu BUHARI who was, at that time, one of the presidential aspirants in the All Progressive Congress -APC. Dr Maduekwe deployed his fertile mind to conceptualize and supervise the execution of an effective media management blueprint for His Excellency, President Mohammadu Buhari (GCFR).

By 2015, he was appointed by the DG of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, H. E. Rotimi AMAECHI, as a member of the Media Committee of the APC Presidential Campaign.

In 2017, he was appointed Managing Director/Chief Executive of the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) and was recently re-appointed to the same position for another term of four years by the President and C-in-C. It is on record that he is presently championing several innovations and immeasurable changes that are positively impacting Nigeria’s Film Industry and its frontiers, domestic and foreign. These are being achieved through the awesome display of administrative, business, and leadership skills and experience acquired during his over thirty-five years of diligent public service.

NFC In Focus

The Nigerian film industry, also known as Nollywood according to statistics produces about 50 movies per week, second only to India’s Bollywood—more than Hollywood in the United States. Although its revenues are not on par with Bollywood’s and Hollywood’s, Nollywood still generates an impressive $590 million annually. Believing that if the industry is properly managed, a million more jobs could be created in the sector.

The Industry is a significant part of the Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation Sector which contributed 2.3% (NGN239biliion) to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2016. It is one of the priority sectors identified in the Economic Recovery and Growth plan of President Buhari’s Administration with a planned $1billion in export revenue by 2020. Nonetheless, existing challenges will have to be addressed to take Nollywood to the next phase.

Currently, the World Bank is assisting the Nigerian government to create a Growth and Employment in States project to support the entertainment industry, along with other industries.

In tandem with the Federal Government’s initiative under Chidia, NFC has witnessed monumental rebranding and development. It now has a new payoff line of ‘’Powering Possibilities”, arising from the aggressive desire to strengthen its operations and deliver on its mandate. Also, under his design and supervision, the NFC acquired the first-ever mobile film school MAV-01 as part of the six for other geopolitical zones. This consists of a well-articulated 40-feet expandable audio-visual training platform, designed and equipped with modern film training and production equipment to be deployed nationwide for massive entrepreneurial and youth training programmes.

Equally, in line with his quest, and determination to energise the operations of the NFC and remove it from the shackles of huge indebtedness, Dr. Maduekwe spearheaded and secured office accommodation nationwide that were non-existent in some states and zones starting with a new NFC Zonal office space at phase 1 Federal Secretariat in Abuja. Other achievements include but not limited to the relocation of the National Film Institute to its permanent site in Jos, on a 183-hectare piece of land at Nukpis-Lamingo, Plateau State.

Dr. Maduekwe has, within the past years, initiated and actualized a collaborative partnership with CNC, the French counterpart of NFC, which resulted in signing the very first audio-visuals co-production Memorandum Of Understanding (MoU) between Nigeria and any foreign country. Furthermore, AFD, a French funding development agency, is set for the full provision of physical film infrastructure and training equipment at the National Film Institute, Jos. The value of the project is estimated at tens of billions of naira. It is planned that Ohafia in Abia State and the corporation’s Lagos Zonal office shall be beneficiaries as NFC operational outlets in the respective states.

Due to his astute and pragmatic leadership, Dr. Maduekwe engineered the creation of additional offices in Asaba, Umuahia, and Yola as centres of revenue generation, the creation of the first NFC Cineplex at its Lagos office, expansion of the activities and equipment base of the National Film Video & Sound Archive in Jos, the commencement of full digitilization of our archival footages starting with the film, “Shaihu Umar”, the introduction of Masters Degree Programme in Film Culture & Archival Studies at National Film Institute, while Ph.D. program is currently upcoming as well as the collaboration with the German funding institution which has been impactful and can be felt within the operations of the National Film Video and Sound Archives.

Some other remarkable achievements recorded within his first 4 years as the chief executive of Nigeria’s flagship agency for the development of Nigeria’s film industry, include: The acquisition of a film scanner, which is a key requirement for the digitalization program being embarked up by the corporation, the development of robust inter-agency collaborations and partnerships, including that with the Nigerian Defence Headquarters on the need for the proper representation of Nigerian armed personnel in Nigeria and the exponential production of Nigerian military action-packed movies, the collaboration with National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) for the comprehensive first-of-its-kind study and analysis of the film industry in Nigeria, the reintroduction and rebranding of ZUMA FILM FESTIVAL, Nigeria’s foremost film festival after it had not held for close to 5years and making it an annual film festival as against its biennial status. It successfully held in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020, the development and processing of a National Film Archive Policy for Nigeria that is targeted at preserving the nation’s rich audiovisual cultural heritages, the National Policy on Data Tariff and Content Distribution as reflected in the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy recently cutting tariff by 50%.  He also upheld the continuity of the Nigerian Film Corporation’s (NFC) Annual Film Essay Competition.

The most recent of his achievements is the partnership with the Smithsonian Film Institute in Washington DC, USA who recently communicated their interest to partner with the NFC to produce documentary films going back into the history of which Nigerian history would be showcased for one year from 2021 to 2022 at the national museum and art archive.

Through re-energizing institutional collaboration and partnerships processes, Dr. Maduekwe, on behalf of the nation, signed Nigeria’s first film co-production agreement with France in January 2020. Others under processing are those of the Republic of South Africa, Morocco, Isreal, South Korea, India, Argentina, Brazil, and China. The NFC has established a sustainable partnership with GOOGLE that addresses content creation and distribution of audio-visual production using digital platforms such as YouTube which the young generation and Nigerian youth can seize the opportunity. He recently opened up conversation with NETFLIX, another established and fast-growing digital exhibition platform for content distribution and academic sponsorship of film students. This is focused on how the Nigerian film market can seamlessly increase in quality and monetization benefit.

Dr Maduekwe who is present Chairman; Governing Council, National Film Institute and Member; Governing Board, National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies – NIPSS, Kuru. Jos has previously served in different political capacity which includes; National Chairman; Amalgamation of Nigerian Youths Association (1995 – 1996); Special Assistant (Youth Development) to the Honourable Minister of Youth & Sports (1995); Pioneer Honourable Federal Commissioner, Federal Character Commission (1995 – 2001), Member, Board of The Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi, Benue State (2009 – 2010); South-East Representative, Border Community Development Agency, The Presidency, Senior Management Staff, Petroleum Equalization Fund MGT. Board (2001 – 2010), Chairman/Chief Executive, Steady drive Petroleum Services Limited and Steadytel Nigeria Limited – The first company to be licensed by the NCC for Digital Trunk Radio Deployment in Nigeria.

Among other Memorandum of Understanding signed by the NFC under Dr. Chidia’s leadership is the signing of film production training with the University of Jos, also worthy of mention is the entrepreneurial and empowerment project on Film Production with the Nassarawa State University and the National Film Institute have an entrepreneurial and empowerment project on Film Production.

His love and passion for youth development and empowerment is extremely evident as he had held several key positions involving the youths such as; Deputy Chairman, Ministerial Committee for the Successful holding of the West African University Games (WAUG) the University of Benin; Deputy Chairman, Ministerial Committee for the Relocation of The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports from Lagos to Abuja; Member, Federal Government Delegation To Port~ of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago for Commonwealth Youth Ministers Meeting; Member, Federal Government delegation to the United Kingdom to understudy ethnic diversity harmonious mechanisms in governance.

At the Home Front

More evidently, on his passion for youth development, Dr Maduekwe is currently the Patron, Ohafia Students Association,  Abia State University; Patron, Ohafia Youths Incorporated; Founder, K’anyi Kesandu Foundation (KKF);  President and Initiator, Ka Anyi  Kesandu Youth Scheme. Chief Promoter, Ka Anyi Kesandu Football Club, Ohafia., and FOUNDER Ohafia Federal Constituency Youth Empowerment- OFECOY.

Focused and determined, Dr. Maduekwe’s quest for good governance, equity, justice, and socio-economic development of Nigeria has not been in doubt. Through personal efforts, and with the assistance of those who share his vision of bequeathing to the present and future generations, a nation where peace, justice, freedom, and progress shall reign, he has consistently stood tall in all his endeavours, whether as an appointee of the federal government or in an elected position.

Dr Chidia Maduekwe has proved himself worthy as an astute, altruistic, and affable leader who is always conscious of prolificacy at every opportunity given. He is no doubt a man to bank on for effective leadership.

Kenneth Cole a Film Researcher writes from Abuja

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