1. I am delighted to be at the 2018 Zuma Film Festival. It is always a pleasure to mingle and interact with members of the Nigerian creative industry, especially as these are the people doing the utmost to burnish the image of Nigeria internationally. I am very happy to be here; and I thank Dr. Chidia Maduekwe, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC), for inviting me.

2. The critical role of the creative industry in the Nigerian economy is hardly a matter of debate. This is an industry that contributes over 5 percent of our GDP, and which is second only to India’s Bollywood in output. Governments at home and abroad continue to recognise the importance of the creative industry in driving development. In fact, as now widely acknowledged in this country, our greatest strength lies not in Oil and Gas but in the creative industry, which employs thousands, and is also a veritable tool for diversifying the national revenue base. It is for this reason that Entertainment has been identified as one of the priority sectors for the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).  

3. As I alluded to, earlier, the Nigerian film industry is also one of the biggest exporters of Nigerian culture across the globe. As many of you will know, it is no longer surprising to see Nollywood movies dubbed in French for the Francophone market, and even into Dutch and Hindi. Nollywood is really going places and creating enduring stars for the world to admire. This festival is therefore a celebration of Nigerian achievement against all odds, and we can all take pride in it as we enjoy the movies over the next few days.

4. It does strike me, however, that there is a need to consolidate the gains made by the industry, by keeping accurate records of its output, especially in digital form. I am therefore of the view that the festival theme, ‘Archiving for Creativity,’ is one that demands all our attention.

5. By way of illustration, if you want to watch movies from the very beginning of America’s Hollywood industry, you can find the reels, if you go to the right places. The same goes for films from the 1930s and so on. Everything is available, preserved and even transferred to the latest formats; film libraries also act as repositories for copies of these movies.

6. Sadly, the same cannot be said of much of our output in the indigenous film industry. Many of the early film classics by pioneers like Ola Balogun, Eddie Ugboma and Hubert Ogunde, are now only the stuff of memories. This was the cause of much reflection when we lost the great Moses Olaiya a.k.a Baba Sala recently, because hardly anyone knows where to find a good copy of his film, ‘Orun Mooru’, these days. With the exception of a few old films which find their haphazard way to YouTube, we cannot be sure of access to older Nigerian films. This should also give us pause about the titles being released now, for where will we find them in 20 years’ time?

7. Truth be told, it will be difficult to showcase the journey and growth of the industry without proper record keeping. The unique ability of films to reflect the culture and values as well as tell stories of the milieu at a given time, makes them an important part of social history. We therefore need better archiving of creative works for the sake of posterity.

8. Let us continue to tell the Nigerian story through film, but we must also ensure that these stories outlive us. Movies are works of permanence to be enjoyed for all time, to find news audiences down the ages. It is therefore my hope we can give this issue the critical attention it deserves during the various sessions at this festival.

9. I would like to commend the very robust and entertaining programme put together for this ninth edition of the festival. With events that provide a tantalising sampling of Nigerian cultures to nurturing emerging talents and recognising the growing influence of women in films – there is a fascinating mix for film enthusiasts. Sessions dealing with the nuts and bolts of being a practitioner, such as business and finance models – will better equip people to thrive in the industry.

10. Furthermore, I note that the Zuma Film Festival is looking at Afrofuturism, which is all the rage after the worldwide success of ‘Black Panther’. There is really something for everyone, and the films themselves take centre stage. It is really a fantastic line-up of activities; and I commend the Nigerian Film Corporation for their efforts in organising a very engaging festival.

11. Let me end by saying that I am impressed with the array of stakeholders and patrons of the industry here present, as well as the throngs of film lovers who will troop to the screenings over the coming week. I wish you all a wonderful festival.

See you at the movies.


Abubakar Bukola Saraki MBBS CON (pronunciationⓘ; born on 19 December 1962) is a Nigerian politician who served as the 13th president of the Nigerian Senate from 2015 to 2019.[1][2] He previously served as the governor of Kwara State from 2003 to 2011; and was elected to the Senate in 2011, under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), representing the Kwara Central Senatorial District, and then re-elected in the 2015 general elections