Mohammed Salisu Officer is the newly elected Secretary General of the Motions Pictures Association of Nigeria (MOPPAN). He is also the CEO of S&A Consultancy, a multi-media company that is into films production he set up after retiring from the CBN. In this interview with ALIYU ASKIRA in Kano, Officer speaks against speculations making the rounds that MOPPAN is under any pressure from higher quarters to lift the ban imposed recently on the controversial actress, Rahama Sadau.
Recently, MOPPAN had its elections in Kano and you emerged as the National Secretary. What changes do you intend to bring into the association?
Discipline! We want to change the face of Kannywood. For a very long time I have been a stakeholder in Kannywood and am always active in issues relating to the industry, especially those to do with discipline and the general behavior of members. Most of Kannywood artists are either my friends or look up to some of us to guide and help them. Our job here or what we want is to see that we go by the ethics of our profession considering the fact that religion is very sensitive in the north.
Immediately your Exco came into office the first decision you took was the controversial expulsion of the fast-rising female star in Kannywood and Nollywood, Rahama Sadau. People view your decision as harsh, give us the background?
Rahama has been in one crises or the other since she joined kannywood, maybe because she did not suffer before she became a star, I don’t know. Remember she appeared thrice before our disciplinary committee, at a point she was suspended for six month and before we re-admitted her she wrote an undertaking that if she misbehave again we should give her any punishment available, again she wrote a letter to Kano films and Censorship board to intervene on her behalf. They wrote us and said our suspension of Rahama Sadau was in order but that we should take her back and give her last chance which we did, only for her to go and feature in a musical video in Lagos and she was seen with a hip-hop star hugging and cuddling. That did not only embarrass kannywood but the entire Muslim community in the north. After due considerations, we decided to expel her forever.
We learnt that MOPPAN is under pressure to forgive her because she has lot of fans in the North. Some people are also saying Ali Nuhu, Sani Danja and Adam Zango committed worst offence in the past and they were not punished. Why only Rahama? Is there something you are not telling us?
Whatever offence Ali Nuhu, Sani Danja and Adam Zango might have committed in the past, it happened when we were not in office. But after our election we decided to draw a line and forgive all those that misbehaved in the past. Rahama was there when we met for more than 3 hours and everybody asked what we decided and how we intend to cleanse the industry of bad eggs but only for Rahama Sadau to appear in the video that embarrass us and even her fans. Mind you, we have nothing personal against her. However, there is no plan to lift her ban.
Tell us frankly whether it is true the allegation which refuse to die down about you producers and directors sleeping with female artists before you give them roles in your films.
Your question may be partially correct. However, Kannywood industry is a big one. It is not easy to monitor everybody, but I can assure you that the people you meet here (actors, actresses and artists) are here earn a decent living. If we catch any producer doing what you have just said, honestly he will be dealt with severely. We punished some of them in the past, and our new code of conduct is very strict. Very soon you will notice change in the way Kannywood operate because we have to change now or never.
What is the latest development about the controversial Kano film village project?
As we speak, we never receive any letter addressing us that the project has been cancelled. That is why we asked our members to stop commenting on the project until we receive a formal communication to that effect. All you hear now is speculation. Kannywood is a big industry people like us use our connection to ensure that our members benefit from the over three billion naira set aside for films industry by the Jonathan Administration. And some of us benefitted through training abroad while others got financial assistance. Let me use this medium to tell investors that there is a lot of money to be made in Kannywood. If you have good costume, modern camera equipments, professional tailors, you can bring it here for our members to hire them, shoot their films and make millions.
Finally, why did you leave your job in the CBN to become a film producer and project consultant?
When you take a look at the business environment now and compare it with when I was in the CBN you will notice that there is drastic change in the way businesses are being run. And being on my own gives me joy than serving in a system that doesn’t give you such breathing space. I now have enough time for my family and am now more relaxed and happier than when I was in the CBN, at times I used to close from work by 2 am.