When looking for elders in the Nigeria motion picture to interpret movie roles with astuteness, Christopher Obioma Cyprian Nze popularly known as Commander COC Nze is certainly on top in that list. He is an actor, musician, movie producer and the founder and president, African Christian Movies/Music Award (ACMA). In this interview with DUSTAN AGHEDO, the veteran actor speaks on the need to promote evangelization through entertainment amongst other burdening issues.
Looking at 2018, did you accomplish the goals you wanted?
I would like to think that to a large extent I did. And it all boils down to the African Christian Movies/Music Award (ACMA) that I have for the last five years been trying to make a reality but by the grace of God the maiden edition kicked off late last year. Finally accomplishing that alone covers for other things.
Could you share more light on the ACMA?
I am the president and founder. The idea was conceived in 2013 but due to so many problems as it relates to finance and commitment it couldn’t come to light. Since that 2013, I got it registered, got my fellow artistes, colleagues involved because a tree does not make a forest. I told the authorities, Catholic secretariat, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and when they gave their go ahead I then contacted all other Christian entertainment practitioners. But 2018 wasn’t going to pass us by and as such we were able to make it happen at the Alpha and Omega Hall, Lumen Christi television house, Lekki, Lagos, where some other African countries were also involved.
What is the motive behind it?
Very simple, evangelizing through entertainment. We want to promote evangelization through entertainment. There are so many secular awards today and it is unfortunate to know that those in entertainment evangelization are not recognized. So we have been doing a lot of things in the secular world and I felt it was hard time we used our talents to come together, like minds and those interested in promoting evangelization. There is a Chinese proverb that says “what I hear I forget but what I see I remember,” people tend to forget easily what they hear compared to what they see. If we begin to do evangelization entertainment, promoting quality video content, people will tend to remember more of what they watched. So basically our motto is to promote evangelization through entertainment.
With the introduction of this ACMA, what are you looking to change in the movie industry with it?
We are looking to fight many things with it. Today if you watch some movies and musical videos you just want to switch off your television because some nudity that is been promoted is very disturbing. With this award when people do good films and get appreciated for it, it will make them want to continue in that line and in turn bring about a positive reform and reshape in this creative industry. Gradually, people will begin to see reasons why they should embrace godliness, do good films and sing good music that will promote Christian values and evangelization. So it should serve as a platform to change the society for better when the recognition cuts across deserving members.
Does ACMA have any affiliation with Mount Zion Film Company?
We did write to them to be part of this. They are the people we should certainly work with, so yes we are working with them. The man behind it all, Pastor Mike Bamiloye, was supposed to get an award but was unavailable. Mount Zion Movies have been there and still doing a very good job for three decades now. So we would definitely contribute our own quota by encouraging, promoting and supporting them.
You have paid your dues in the industry but can you recall when it all started?
I have literally been an entertainer all my life. I don’t know any other job, just this entertainment because I was once a soldier and before I left the Air Force I was a musician and I also acted. I was a highlife musician. While I was in the military I was a member of the Air Force band, we formed the Nigerian Air Force Band in Lagos. After I retired from the military, I formed my own band. While handling the band I ventured into Nollywood but I still play music up till now. I am over 23 years in the industry.
Can you recall your first movie?
I think that was ‘Cradle’ in 1998.
Which area in the movie industry would you want government’s intervention?
That would be piracy. It is only government that can come in. We as individuals or associations cannot help ourselves in that regard. It is only the government that can come in to either put heavy tax or fines on electronics, gadgets, tapes that they use to mass dub films; and they should even test cable stations that are undoing us. There should be a way government can save us, save Nollywood from collapsing.
What is your take on the so much-talked about sexual harassment and exploitation in Nollywood last year?
I must correct the notion that a lot of people carry around that sexual immorality is more peculiar to Nollywood. That is not true. We cannot specifically relate it to Nollywood because the society itself is sexually immoral. Just because we are popular, the eye of the public or the mirror of the society, people tend to see us as extraordinary people. We are just like every other person; we belong to the society. It is something that is faced everywhere and for that the purpose of evangelization through entertainment cannot be overemphasized.
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