With the election less than 24 hours away, one cannot help but ask, “Which way, Nigeria?”
However, before we provide answers to that question, let’s discuss how, since its inception, Nollywood has remained on the frontlines of telling stories that are a reflection of the political and social climate in Nigeria.
In addition to their entertainment function, Nigerian films have served as an effective medium for social commentary, be it through crime thrillers or political dramas. Nollywood’s recent growth has paved the way for more authentic storytelling free of filters and “censorships.”
This has equipped producers with the courage to tell stories that shed light on several important social issues.
As Nigerians gear up to vote at the polls on Saturday, here are ten Nollywood films reminding you of the country’s current situation.
King of Boys
The terms corruption and godfatherism are not unfamiliar to the average Nigerian, especially one who follows political news.
Directed by Kemi Adetiba and released in 2018, it takes a deep dive into Nigerian politics. Through the main character, Eniola Salami (Sola Sobowale), we are given a brief glimpse into the themes of godfatherism, corruption, and blackmail among politicians.
Following its release, it sparked a nationwide debate about Nigeria’s political underworld, landed a Netflix sequel, and catapulted names like Toni Tones to stardom.
Ireti Doyle plays Mrs Tabi Johnson, a woman who finds herself tangled in the complex world of politics. Being the vice president of a fictional nation, Bangidi, she is faced with opposition from other principal officers who conspire to seize power by assassinating the president.
This elevates her to the position of president, which starkly contrasts the Nigerian political system, where a woman from a major political party has yet to run for president fifty years after the country’s independence.
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Madam President does an excellent job of examining our political situation through the lens of a woman, tackling the issue of misogyny that predominates in our society.
Deyemi Okanlawon, Okey Bakasi, Nobert Young, Fritz Baffour, and Kalu Ikeagwu play supporting roles.
Released in 2016, the political drama series follows the life of Angela Ochello (Caroline Chikezie) and her journey to becoming the governor of a fictional state in Nigeria.
Similarly to Madam President, The EbonyLife distributed film seeks to reposition the perception of women in society.
Through compelling and bold storylines, the series supported the notion that a woman’s role is beyond the home, and she should be given the same opportunity to compete with men, either in business or politics.
Set against the tumultuous years following Nigeria’s independence, this 2016 film tells the story of a young soldier accused of plotting a coup against the government.
Ramsey Nouah plays the role of Joseph Dewa, a young soldier whose innocence is dependent on his wife, Suzie (Rita Dominic).
76 provides an ahistorical type of leadership back then and explores the theme of inter tribal discrimination.
Another historical drama, the events in this Kunle Afolayan-directed film, take place a few days before Nigeria’s Independence day.
When Inspector Danladi is summoned to investigate the killings of ladies in a rural community, the pressure becomes intense as he is to solve the case before October 1st.
October 1 remains a crucial part of Nigerian film history. It takes us back to the colonial days and doesn’t fail to shy away from a societal scourge, rape.
If I Am President
Star of the hit Web series Skinny Girl in Transit, Ayoola Ayoola embodies Zinachi Ohams, a 37 years old presidential candidate of the Nigerian Rebirth party.
His party is filled with young idealists who navigate the complex and faceted world of Nigerian politics.
If I Am, President reflects present-day politics, where young people are more than ever passionate about change.
From the creative mind of Tunde Kelani comes a thought-provoking film that highlights the importance of democracy, good governance, and community participation in decision-making.
The film also explores the themes of corruption, oppression, and the struggle for political power.
Kola Oyewo, Bukky Wright, Lere Paimo, Larinde Akinleye, and Peter Fatomilola star in the 1999 film.
The movie, which features the acting talents of Zack Orji, Eucharia Anunobi, Yaw Comedian, Uzo Arukwe and Gabriel Afolayan, revolves around a young lady who is an aspirant for a gubernatorial election.
However, specific forces don’t want her to win, so they kidnap her.
Code Wilo also talks about women in politics and kidnapping as a tool politicians use against their counterparts.
A recent addition to the political drama hall of fame, Shantytown, directed by Dimeji Ajibola, tells the story of a group of women whose freedom depends on a ruthless leader, Scar.
While the 6 part series is more of a crime thriller, it exposes political corruption and the need for transparency among politicians.
Released in 2019, 4th Republic tells the story of Ikechukwu Obiano, a young idealistic deputy campaign manager for industrialist Mabel King, competing against incumbent Governor Idris Sani in her bid to become the first elected female governor in the country.
Grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Open Society Initiative for West Africa funded the 4th Republic.
The film was screened in seven universities in Nigeria in collaboration with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Enough is Enough (EiE Nigeria) to curb electoral violence. It was also endorsed by the National Orientation Agency (NOA).
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