The MTN/Kannywood award night ended around 2am Sunday morning. It was quite a night as most people in the Kannywood industry were deservedly honoured and recognized for their cinematic achievements. It is the first of its kind. New artistic and technical categories were introduced. Some great performance delivered. For so many reasons, a night to remember.
However, the award had so many flaws from start to finish that you couldn’t help but be disappointed at the way the whole event was organized. There were complains after the nominations were released. Instead of the film-makers nominating their movies, it was the organizers who picked and nominated the films for them. Even the nominee lists were released on friday, the day before the award ceremony.
Also the award nomination had the combination of old and the newly released movies. Awards are normally the celebration of cinematic achievements of a given year. This begs the question, which year exactly was MTN/Kannywood awards celebrating? You have to look 3 years or more to find the released date of some of the movies, as if the people nominated with those movies did not deliver a similar or even better performance recently. For example, Nafisa Abdullahi won the best actress for her performance in Ahlul Kitab. Nafisa could have easily won it for her performance in a more recent Lamiraj or Dan Marayan Zaki.
The award took place at Afficient Hall, Nassarawa, GRA, Kano. It’s strictly on invitation. The organizers distributed a gate pass cards with special invitation on them. The cards were supposed to be made available to the actors and invited guests. However, upon arrival, we found the place so crowded you’d think the “special invitation” cards were sold at Kantin Kwari. Security forces from the Nigerian Army and Mopol were beating and humiliating people that I thought we couldn’t get in. It was ridiculous how we had to queue with most of the actors and nominees to get in to the premises of the hall because the organizers failed to provide a more special card or entry for them.
After we went in to the premises, we realised getting in to the award is even more difficult than passing the first gate. The Kaduna State Governor was already there and more politicians were coming in, we knew the security forces wouldn’t be as generous. What was more annoying was how even some of the film makers/actors couldn’t get in. They had to stay with us for more than two hours while the political part of the event was going on. Some of them who tried to get in got beaten and humiliated by the security forces. Isa Bello Ja left the award early with his tattered clothes while trying to get in. Actor Isah Feroz Khan also got injured on his knee and Aminu Mai Dawayya got beaten before he finally went in.
My colleague told me “this is more of a political gathering than an award.” What happened next was so bizarre that it confirmed the assertion. We were still standing at the premises when the chairman of the organizing committee, Hamisu Lamido Iyan-Tama came passing by with a female politician. He was clearly trying to usher her in when he saw Usman Mu’azu- the best film producer in the industry- standing outside with the host of other actors and producers who also couldn’t get in “Ya ku shiga mana” is all he could say and went away without doing anything about it. And just then, someone from the crowd said “wadanda akayi abun domin su ma ba’a damu dasu ba. ” You had to agree with him.
Later we went in to the award hall after the Governor has left. Luckily, only three awards were given, and somehow we managed to know and tweet about them in time. Inside, we found the atmosphere even disorganized. Afficient is a big hall that can contain atleast 1500 people. However, the hall was so crowded the people standing inside almost matched the people sitting at the round tables. The place was well decorated but totally unarranged. No special place was provided for the nominees and actors. The people were just there making noise and hardly concentrating. That was how it went on, with people concentrating only when the award is of enormous interest.
Written By: Ibrahim Umar Bello