As mandated by the constitution of its review every five years, the chairman, Actors Guild of Nigeria Constitution Review Committee, Dr. Kenneth Okonkwo has submitted the draft constitution to the president of the guild, Mr. Ejezie Emeka Rollas and other officers.
The handover held in Lagos on Sunday, September 8 in the presence of members of the Board of Trustee (BoT), other members of the constitutional review committee, some members of the executives and the media witnessed the handover ceremony amidst excitement.
In his speech Okonkwo who thanked Rollas for the opportunity to serve the guild also praised his team for their selfless sacrifice in ensuring the completion of this task.
He said: “Ladies and gentlemen, we all know that Laws are the foundations of great institutions. As a result, the administration of President Emeka Rollas worked assiduously to secure the review of the constitution of the Guild, by this committee, to give legal backbone and empowerment to AGN organs and institutions of governance. Actors Guild of Nigeria has come of age and requires the foundation of good laws to sustain the skyscraper of entertainment which Nollywood has become worldwide. We are today the second most powerful movie making nation on earth and this requires a solid foundation of good laws to sustain this great global achievement within a short period of existence of Nollywood.
We must admit that when Nollywood started, with the production of that great movie, ‘Living In Bondage,’ produced by Mr. Kenneth Nnebue and acted by Mr. Kenneth Okonkwo, sometimes in 1992, there were no laws, rules, structures, organs or institutions to model the growth of the emerging movie industry on solid ground. Every practitioner made his own rules with the resultant effect that indiscipline confusion and unprofessionalism reigned supreme in the industry. It was in this kind of atmosphere that Actors Guild of Nigeria was born to coordinate and protect the interests of actors in Nigeria.
“As a new association that grew out of necessity and emergency, it was not surprising that the initial legal framework and constitution of AGN did not build enough bulwark to protect and shield the Guild from the natural challenges of the growth of a new born. It was not long before the consequences of this weak foundation began to manifest on the Association. The AGN was soon plunged into intractable crises from the top echelon of the Guild that lasted for years and nearly led to the demise of the association.
The elders and lovers of the arts intervened and mediated in the crises and eventually the mantle of leadership fell on this astute gentleman, President Emeka Rollas, who immediately realized the importance of good laws as the foundation of great institutions and consequently established this committee
Our job in this committee is therefore clearly spelt out, which is to give birth to a new AGN, through the instrumentality of a new constitution. We immediately swung into action by gathering together to carry out this onerous task. This is the second time we are meeting for the purpose of drafting this constitution.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you good news. This new constitution has laid a solid foundation for the uninterrupted growth of AGN and Nollywood to any height without the irritations which often lead to crises. We have established enough checks and balances that will prevent the emergence of a dictator who can manipulate the constitution and precipitate crises to keep himself/herself in power in perpetuity. We have created the National Executive Committee to function more as the Legislature, the National Working Committee to function more as the Executive and the Disciplinary Committee to function more as the Judiciary with enough checks and balance.
“We have introduced the Annual General Conference and Annual General Meeting for AGN to provide an avenue for the whole members of AGN to come together to air their views on the matters that affect the guild and to familiarise and promote good relationship among themselves. Moreover, it will afford the members the privilege of showcasing AGN and the entertainment potentials of the country to the world. It will also be a forum for the training and education of the members on current acting skills, production skills and business opportunities available to members in the entertainment world through symposia, lectures, seminars during the Annual General Conference. It will provide avenues for members to network with other producers, actors and actresses around the world who will be invited from time to time to the conference.
With the strengthening of the Disciplinary committee, no officer or member of the Guild will be sanctioned without being given a fair hearing. Every infraction of the law and breaching of the constitution of the Guild or misconduct must be referred to the disciplinary committee which will give the member or officer a fair trial before recommending appropriate sanctions to be taken against the officer or member to the appropriate organ of AGN which will then take the appropriate action against the officer or member. The process of appointing the members of the Disciplinary Committee and the Electoral Committee was built in such a manner to guarantee their independence and impartiality.”
Rollas on his part expressed satisfaction and his appreciation for the efforts of the committee and promised that due process would be followed in implementing the newly amended constitution.
Others at the event included Pronce Ifeanyi Dike, Emmanuel Oguguah, Sunny MacDon, Ronnie Dikko, Bob Manuel Udokwu, Hon Desmond Elliott, Haj Salma Ibrahim, Ikechukwu Ezenagu Esq., Edith Irabor, Ayokunle Ajisafe, Keppy Bassey Ekpeyong, Onwurah Agility, Frank Dallas, Saint Maradona, Frank Eboh among others.