DGN NATIONAL CONVENTION 2023 IN RETROSPECT – BY JEREMIAH ONOGE (NATIONAL P.R.O.)
It was an amazing time in the Ancient City of Benin as Edo State plays host to members of the Apex Guild of Nollywood, the Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN). Directors from various states in the country emerged in Benin City for the just concluded DGN NATIONAL CONVENTION, with the theme: CHARTING NEW AFRICAN NARRATIVE, which began on Wednesday 13th to Saturday 15th July, 2023 at the Victor Uwaifor Creative Hub, Airport Road, Benin City.
The opening ceremony had in attendance members of the DGN and other dignitaries from various parts of the country, including Enugu, Delta, Lagos, Abuja, Cross Rivers, Port Harcourt, Anambra, and Edo State. Programmes planned for the convention include DGN academic conference, induction of new members, medical check-up, interactive sessions, DGN elections, Annual General Meeting (AGM), and Gala/Award Night.
There was a release of the first volume of History of Nollywood academic journal that documents the history of one of the world’s fastest-growing movie industries with an annual output of nearly 2,500 films. The journal, produced in partnership with Igbinedion University Okada, was presented to members of DGN at the guild’s annual national convention held at the Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub in Benin City, Edo State. Speaking on Thursday at the opening ceremony of the convention themed “Charting New African Narratives”, President of DGN, Dr. Victor Okhai, stressed the importance of documenting the history of the film industry in Nigeria and ensuring that “we tell our story”, saying the journal was a means to achieve that pertinent goal.
Okhai said the journal has 20 well-researched articles by academics from 15 universities across Nigeria and was published by the University of Port Harcourt. He described the journal as a record-setter, stating that DGN has come to write and establish the history of Nollywood. “It will help our academics to do research, so when we tell our story, it will be us that people in the West will quote and not Mungo Park that they will quote,” he added.
An evening reception with His Excellency, Chief Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion, Esama of Benin Kingdom, saw a breathtaking feasting and carnival-like gathering with all the trappings of a cultural festival, from drum ensembles to cultural dance performances, and various gifts were given to members at the event. The Esama was named patron of the guild and thanked them for the honour, stating that it is a source of encouragement for him to make arts and culture an intrinsic component of all activities in his domain.
Day two of the event was an interactive panel session with some key Nollywood players, in the likes of, with Chief Andy Boyo, Mr. Paul Obazele, Prof. Sunday Ogunbiyi, and Mazi Ugezu J. Ugezu and the panel was hosted by Dr. Ovunda Ihunwo. This session was a Nollywood related question and answer session that had so much impact on the delegates.
There was also free medical check up for members of the guilds, which included: blood pressure, sugar level, consultation and lots more.
An excursion was also taken to Osaretin Festus Isibor’s Deep End Villa and Event Centre at Obagie Rd., off Benin Sapele Road, Benin City, and Deepend Hotels and Suites, opposite NTA, one of the leading hotels in Edo State situated in the heart of Benin City, as well as a tour of his multi-billion naira state-of-the-art 20th-century film studio and the horror hunted house
Day three of the event was the ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING of the Guild and the adoption of the amended constitution of the Guild. Thereafter the induction of new members of the Guild took place with a large number of new members.
The election of new executives also took place and Mr. Victor Okhai was returned as the National President of the Guild along side with other executives, which include: Mr. Uchenna Agbo as National Vice President; Mr. Perekeme Odon as National Secretary; Mazi Okoli as Treasurer; Jeremiah Onoge as National Public Relations Officer; Mr. Daniel Chukwueze as National Provost; Mr. John Paul Nwanganga as National Director of Social/Welfare; Mrs. Gold Dappa as National Financial Secretary and Comrade Ofia Mbaka as Assistant National Secretary.
The climax of this event was a gala night that gave members opportunity to unwind and have lots of fun with one another. This brought about a pleasurable atmosphere with cultural thrills from the Ineh Cultural Troupes.
Speaking at the gala night of the convention, the DGN President, Dr. Victor Okhai, showed great appreciation to the Governor, Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki, for his immense contributions to the creative industry and talent development, the Edo State Government through Edo Jobs, and the Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub for hosting the august event. He also commended the Vice Chancellor and staff of Gabriel Igbinedion University, Okada, for the partnership.
This convention was organized in collaboration with Edo Jobs and the Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub.