Below is the speech presented by Rita Dominic at the presidential lunch on May 22, 2011 at the Eko Hotel and Suites
I feel privileged to be living in a time where I can proudly say that young Nigerians are seriously advocating for a better Nigeria. Some people may disagree with me but I believe we may now have a President willing to listen to us and identify with our hopes and aspirations.
If you don’t agree, then you have to show me a past president of Nigeria who has actively pursued the youth vote? Show me a past Nigerian president who has used social networks utilized by our young people to reach out them? Show me a past president who has set aside a 200 million dollar intervention fund dedicated to an industry that is one of the largest employers of young people in Nigeria…. I rest my case.
My name is Rita Dominic, I represent NOLLYWOOD!
I would like to thank Mr. President, for providing this low interest loan to galvanize our industry. Many young people who own production companies are depending on this loan to turn us from employees to employers, from unemployed to employed.
However, it is imperative that the people who will administer this fund understand the spirit behind your creating it in the first place. Some of us have applied for the loan but the requirement of collateral in the traditional sense is about to dash that dream. Sir, if the youth had enough collateral, we would not have needed the intervention in the first place. I respectfully request that you look into the litany of requirements that is making the loan inaccessible to the people it was created for.
One properly produced Nigerian film can involve hundreds of young people from various works of life. Apart from the actors and actresses, when making a quality film, we directly or indirectly hire production managers, accountants for budgeting and record keeping, electricians (Lighting specialists), costume designers (tailors), catering people (cooks), set and production designers, camera operators, publicity people, graphic artists, still photographers, make up people, hair stylists, production assistants who help on set but don’t forget each actor/actress will hire own PAs, film editors, boom persons and marketing companies. The list goes on and on.
Imagine that we have scores of productions going on in various parts of the country. The impact is simply amazing.
Mr. President, I am a witness to what an infusion of funds can do to elevate and empower the lives of young people. Traders in Onitsha and Aba started it 20 years ago and Nollywood became a reality, Globacom did it for 13 young people 2 years ago and it instantly increased the number of actors and actresses producing their own films. If managed properly, imagine what the 200 million dollar fund can do hundreds of young producers, what it can do for thousands of unemployed youth out there.
Let us make it happen. Continue to support youth programs. Giving such support means that you believe in the future of Nigeria. If you do, the youth will not forget for generations to come.