How tussle for leadership tore Yoruba movie industry apart -Jide Kosoko

Jide Kosoko
Jide Kosoko

The tussle for leadership in the Yoruba movie industry has torn it apart.

After years of staying quiet, Prince Jide Kosoko, who has been there from the outset, explains how it got to this level.

In a new interview with Punch, he admitted that there were multiple associations in the Yoruba movie industry, as many people became ambitious. According to him, the industry is still new and various things are expected to happen.

He stated, “Ambition will make people establish other associations and it will make people think they have better ideas than their leaders.

“Also, some people feel they can use the leadership of their respective body to make money for themselves. Others believe that their participation in the administration will help get more jobs. And if some people don’t have a cordial relationship with the leadership of an association, they think the best option is to leave.”

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While speaking on the genesis of the problems, he insisted that it got to a point that certain people felt himself and Oga Bello were too powerful and they wanted to weaken them.

“We established the Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts  Practitioners, which is the foremost association. Though I was not part of the formation, I was at its inaugural meeting. I was even elected to be one of the national executive members under Hubert Ogunde. So, looking at that period till date, you will realise that I have contributed in no small way to the development of theatre association and I worked hard to make the association popular. From being the PRO, I rose to the position of the president.

Jide Kosoko
Jide Kosoko

“While I believed I had served the association well, it got to a point when some elders in ANTP thought Oga Bello and I were becoming too powerful in the industry. They felt it should not go on like that. They even went ahead to convince Bello to betray me. But in his own wisdom, he knew they were difficult people to understand and he didn’t do that. He came back and designed a way forward for the association. But in a situation where we had an enemy who was determined to hijack the association for selfish reasons, what do you expect us to do? For more than nine years, we were in court and they later claimed he (Victor Ashaolu) won the case.

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“Since he is not a professional and he is not practising, we see him as someone who has nothing to offer the industry. I fought the situation. But when my colleagues told me that we shouldn’t drag a case with him if we meant well for the association, I left him to do whatever he wanted to do. With the support of some elders, he went on.  But few months after we left, they started fighting each other and divided the association into two. Ashaolu now leads one part while Jimoh Aliu leads the other. We were thankful to God for letting us pull out before the split.

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“At my age, should I even be fighting for positions? We have children and younger actors who are experienced enough to take the mantle of leadership. What people like me and Bello should do is to give them the necessary support because I believe that is what we need in the industry. Everyone must work together to move ahead.”