Why we are transforming Oguta Lake to a movie village – Mama G [Patience Ozokwo]

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The Imo State government under the administration of Governor Rochas Anayo Okorocha has engaged the services of Patience Ozokwo, spherically known as Mama G with few other top Nollywood stars as experts to convert the defunct Oguta Lake in Imo State into a movie village. Speaking on the latest development that came in sequel to her vast experience and outstanding record as one of the most successful Nollywood actresses, Mama G discloses in this interview with UGOCHUKWU FAVOUR-MAYOR that as been reported earlier on her visit to Owerri, that it was for the purpose of repositioning the fallowed Oguta Lake, stressing that the governor decried of Nigeria’s over-reliance on oil which he agreed that Imo State has the potential to realize millions of dollars from tourism as inherent in the lake.

 



Why are you in Imo?

Actually, I am invited by the Imo State governor. He invited me and asked me to come with some of my colleagues, and we found out that the discussion was based on the movie village which he said he needed an opportunity where the State could yield money apart from the oil we all know. He called us the entertainers because he discovered that we are experienced, talented, and that we have the power of pulling people. And he was convinced that the only people that could handle such job are we the artistes.


What was the meeting all about?

He wants to transform the defunct Oguta Lake into something that could yield money for the state. That place have been lying fallow for a very long time, and nobody have realized what that place could be used for except now. As I’m talking to you, work has already started there. He is building a very wonderful five star hotel. He wants to attract tourism that could attract investors to the state, and that is why he is doing all these. For example, if you go to Israel, they will tell you this is where Jesus stepped and that place they will immortalize it in such a way that people will pay to touch it. In the world today, there are places where people can visit for relaxation. Like when I visited Kenya, their wild place I saw how people were paying to see animals. These are ideas that could generate funds for the state aside from agriculture, oil and other sectors which we’ve never got to know.

And now that he has realized it, he wants to partner with us because you can’t do anything entertainment without calling people who are into it. Right now, we are going to develop Oguta with our ideas; we are going to organize shows and also start with some other things that will keep the place busy. Not only that, we want people to also share the idea of visiting the place on regular basis. Soon or within six months, Oguta will be a booming place so that Owerri will not be congested again. If people could come down to Oguta for relaxation it means that Owerri is no more going to be hot, noisy and busy as it use to be. And one thing again, you know the governor is liberal, he does not want to know if you are from Hausa or Yoruba, but if he sees you have the potentials to turn around the State he will accommodate you. Now that we have visited the place with him, we will contribute our best to support him.


What could be the motivation?

I wouldn’t see it as motivation but vision, because before he called us he knew that since we are into showbiz that we can handle it. The vision is that he knows there are a lot of talents in the state that needs to be harnessed. If I must tell you, our coming back to the state will be great, because we will stage shows every month for those that can sing or can do any stage performances; it will give them an opportunity to excel. And again, the more you keep performing people will be seeing you and from there you will grow. One thing about entertainment is that it is unquantifiable; like in Nollywood where we are graded, we have the A class, B class, C class and the extras. Even if you don’t fall in any of the classes you can be among the extras. And you know some of them in Imo Sate are not opportune to see those who are bigger than them in the industry, but right now they will be opportune to perform while those people will assess what they could offer.


We hope it won’t be a verbal one, or a project on the pages of newspaper?

You know the problem with government is that they will come and tell you they will do this and they will do that, and at the end of the day everything will end verbally without them fulfilling it. But for this man, he said he wants everything to be put in place before six months; and I am assuring you, that place will be a new city. This is not something one could just say and go, we have started work already, and when production starts the villagers living there will start to feel our impact, their businesses will step to the next level. Now, I don’t know if you understand this man’s vision?


Building a movie village takes a lot, how assured are you that the government would fund this project?

If I must tell you, nobody has challenged me this much; he gave us his word that we should start something he will back us up. The finance that goes with entertainment is much, only to build a theater house or even a film village alone is expensive, but for him he told us he is going to do it. No matter he told us the fund won’t come out ones, but only at a stage by stage process that we will all achieve it.


Much idea is needed, how else do you intend to get it?

To expand our ideas, he has promised to take us to India so we can see what they have there. Not only India, so many places where we can pick ideas and add to what we have. And when this happen, we will come home and develop them into a unique film village.


How could this project harness talents?

Like I said earlier, while we stage shows for talented people to perform, we could put talents together, because they will be opportune to see from people who are better than them and they could learn by doing something more that they have offered. There are other things we will introduce, like talent hunt and so many others. The point is that in the entertainment world everybody is needed, if you are not successful in front of camera, you can be successful behind it. Even a person who cannot sing can also beat drums, because the best place to pick an artisan is on the job.


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