She knew it. She knew what she was up against. She knew it would come down to this. She couldn’t have acted out of ignorance. A woman born and brought up in the north knows her people’s deep afflictions towards their religion. She knows how culturally bound her people are. She knows too, that slightest betrayal to culture and religion wouldn’t pass unnoticed especially if the perpetrator is female.
She knows that the public is already not happy with the conducts of the northern film industry. The industry, despites efforts to blend, is still perceived and treated as alien. She knows that the industry is still largely regarded as the devil workshop whose sole existence is ensuring that our values are debased. About a month ago, the federal government had to stop a proposed film village on accounts of excessive rants and screams echoed by clerics and the public. A cleric even vowed to march from Kano to Abuja to protest the proposal, an endeavor he termed “Jihad”.
Those fierce words and agitations couldn’t have escaped her. If one could be willing to go that extreme length over flimsy footages and hearsays, I wonder what he could do when he sees an actress holding and hugging a musician he considers an agent of the devil. She knows that greater proportion of her audience disapproves of such acts. At least they deserve some respect. I think it is a duty of an artist to entertain his/her audience’s culture and norms even if he/she doesn’t believe them. What about the apologists and spectators who wish to see artists on the same stance as the most respected personalities in the society. Isn’t this sand in their eyes?
One would think she learnt her lessons. Not long ago she was involved in a controversy in which she made an image-tarnishing and career-ending accusation against actor Adam A Zango that the actor had tried to sleep with her. She quickly branded her actions as thoughtless, motivated by childish whispers. This time her reaction is a defense not an apology in anyway, for it carry no shades of remorse. She still believes and insists she didn’t “cross” the line and that touching the opposite sex is inevitable in her line of work. To rephrase: she considers grievances labeled against her uncalled-for and that she didn’t do anything wrong.
More so, her tweeter timeline carries tweets of sympathizers who think that culture is dynamic and whoever thinks deliberate contact with the opposite sex is wrong is archaic and should upgrade. Of course, people slip here and there, but this isn’t exactly the kind of reaction I expect from her. She knew it. When it was announced that she was to figure in a Nollywood film, concerns were raised whether she could be able to stay unadulterated. She gave out an interview assuring fans and well-wishers that she wouldn’t cross the line. She knew what people’s concerns were and she knew the impression she left when she said she wouldn’t cross the line. She knew her recent action crossed the line. Yet, she pretended otherwise. She knew she violated her words, yet she stamped the popular adage, “actions are based on intentions.” Seriously? The first stage of an apology is admission, that was an assertion.
And while I believe she should face disciplinary actions, I think expulsion is an overreaction. To begin with, Rahma Sadau is truly a definition of an artist (minus her susceptibility to controversy of course). She is motivated, passionate, enthusiastic, lively, extremely glamorous and humble, even. Within three years, she has established herself as a force to reckon with. She has added sparks and glamour to the industry. She has an outstanding followership and media presence. She is fast becoming the face of the industry. Her expulsion could hurt the industry in number of ways.
The Motion Pictures Practitioners of Nigeria (MOPPAN), on the other hand, has been consistently inconsistent and unprofessional. Shortly after announcing the expulsion, social media became flooded with pictures of male artists in “locked situations” with actresses, a posture more repugnant than hers. Yet, those artists were not suspended, or even cautioned. One could argue that she was simply following the footsteps of those “other” artists. Were they punished, this incidence wouldn’t have happened. Just recently, the actress was seen hugging fellow Kannywood actor in Super Story series but MOPPAN was mum. One couldn’t help but start thinking whether MOPPAN doesn’t have the gut to punish those other artists.
The most interesting thing about MOPPAN is that, they have never made the codes of conduct governing the affairs of Kannywood industry known to public or even the artists. This is confirmed by Ibrahim TY Shaba in his recent interview with Rariya. He said that actors have never received any guidelines governing what to do or not to do in Kannywood. This is of course not an excuse for any actor to do whatever they want but it’s damning for the body tasked to monitor the affairs of a film industry.
This could be the reason why no one has ever respected their decision in the industry. They’ve tried banning other actors before including Rahma Sadau only to go back and reverse the decision because no one would actually serve the ban. Rahma in particular had an overwhelming support from the entire industry the last time she was banned. Producers and Directors “publicly” announced that they wouldn’t respect the ban. Nafisat Abdullahi was also banned before her, but the ban only led to her films being seen more frequently by the audience. You wonder what MOPPAN is actually doing. Our discussion with some actors led us to the fact that most current Kannywood actors are not even MOPPAN registered members and hence, there exists no any signed agreement between most artists and the body on how they should conduct themselves offscreen. You wonder how come MOPPAN keeps issuing bans.
Come to think of it, the general public have no idea who MOPPAN is, who are its leaders, what they do or what really is their role in Kannywood- some people within the industry also don’t. They have no webiste, zero media presence, people don’t know the extent of MOPPAN jurisdictions. MOPPAN only surfaces on the media when an artist is banned. Their recent handling of this issue raises more concerns. They are always quick to jump to expelling without thinking of the outcome.
The whole incident has been a series of bad actions and reactions. From Rahma’s immodest action, to MOPPAN’s lousy overreaction to her remorseless apology. Let’s hope they both learn from it.