The leadership of the Actors Guild of Nigeria has come under fire from some of its members over the appointment of Elisha Abbo, a senator from Adamawa State, as its patron.
Mr Abbo made the headlines in July 2019 after PREMIUM TIMES exclusively published a video of him physically assaulting a woman at a sex toy shop. Mr Abbo was later charged to court for the attack. The trial has continued since then.
The senator has since tried to improve his image in the public by courting public recognition. He was recently given a ‘beacon of hope’ award by a group.
The appointed has drawn criticisms from some Nollywood actresses. Hilda Dokubo has vehemently opposed Mr Abbo’s appointment and is demanding his immediate removal from the list of patrons.
In a lengthy Instagram video, Dokubo, described the lawmaker as a “sore thumb sticking out of the list of other patrons”.
“I’m therefore calling on all well-meaning, mentally balanced, honourable, male and female members of the Actors’ Guild of Nigeria to stand up and reject Elisha Abbo as patron of the Actors’ Guild of Nigeria. My name is Hilda Dokubo and I’m not going to have an abuser serve as patron in an organisation that I belong to.
“How did you not know that putting something that ugly in the midst of that beauty will mess up the whole place? Looking at that picture, it was so annoying and disgusting that I felt like throwing up. Did we not know that having Abbo or whatever he calls himself, makes a mess of all other honourable people on that list?
“Let’s cut the crap. However he got on that line, get him out of that list. He does not qualify to be a patron of an organisation whose responsibility is to educate, entertain and motivate into positive action. Hell no. Get him out.”
Another Nollywood actress, Kate Henshaw, reacted to the development on her Instagram page on Monday.
She wrote, “Still waiting on your response, Emeka Rollas, I will reach out to you again like I did yesterday and I would like you to kindly explain what thought processes led to this! The Actors Guild Of Nigeria deserves better and this is definitely not it!!!”
Meanwhile, the Vice President of the North-east chapter of the guild, Marcus Maina, on Tuesday, defended the choice in a statement made available to PREMIUM TIMES.
He said the lawmaker is deserving of the position as well as the award presented to him.
Listing some of the achievements of the senator in his constituency, Mr Maina said their recommendation was based on performance and support to actors and youth in North-east.
He added that ”Mr Abbo was there for the guild when they lived in fear of the insurgency that ravaged the North-east”.
“Where were our senior colleagues who are paid to smear the image of our Patron when Boko Haram destroyed the creative industry in the North-east. How many of them even called us to find out if we are alive.
”Every professional organisation supported their members in the North-east over the crises, how many of our stars organised any welfare program in our support,” the statement read in part.
He said attempts to tarnish the image of the patron ”will no longer be tolerated as he is their choice and their choice should be respected”.
“We the members of the Actors Guild Nigeria North-east have resolved that no amount of attempt to drag the name of the Senator into the mud would be tolerated; we are solidly in support of his award.”