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Sunday, April 14, 2024

‘Nigerians need to rouse themselves before it becomes too late’

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Canadian-Nigerian actor, screenwriter, film producer and director Pascal Atuma has urged Nigerians to actively engage in the political process, carefully scrutinising candidates vying for leadership positions in the future.

Mr Atuma, in a statement on Thursday, urged Nigerians to awaken before it’s too late.


Decrying the rampant corruption plaguing the country, the movie director emphasised that Nigeria cannot tolerate elected officials who inexplicably become billionaires overnight after taking office.

The socially conscious filmmaker further asserted that Nigerians are aware of those who exploited their elected positions for personal gain and those who failed to contribute meaningfully to the nation’s economic well-being.

“I hope this hardship will serve as a wake-up call to the process and the persons we select for political positions in Nigeria moving forward.


“We must know that no country ever prayed for prosperity without work and that we need industries rather than religious stadiums. Nigeria cannot continue like this: the earlier we worked together to save Nigeria, the better. The better for all of us.”

The Abia-born actor criticised political officeholders for resorting to broad daylight robbery “cash transfer” schemes targeted at Nigerians whose identities remain unverified.

Nothing worth celebrating in Nigeria

Mr Atuma, whose breakout directorial debut, ‘My American Nurse’, premiered at the 2006 Pan African Film Festival in the United States, raised concerns about the prevalence of kidnappings and the growing hunger crisis.


The movie director, who cancelled his birthday celebration due to economic hardship, insecurity, and other challenges plaguing Nigeria, stressed that nothing was worth celebrating.

He said: “Today is my birthday. But as much as I am very grateful to God for life. I still face the realities of today’s Nigeria. My family and friends want to celebrate with me, but I cannot justify the celebration.

“Are we celebrating naira exchanging at N1 800 to a dollar? Are we celebrating the masses gradually dying of hunger? Are we celebrating diesel at N1,500 per litre?

“Are we celebrating the kidnapping of innocent citizens? Are we celebrating government broad day robbery under the guise of “cash transfer’ to Nigerians whose identification we don’t know? Or are we celebrating one kilogram of chicken selling at N6,500?

“What could justify a celebration in Nigeria as we know it today? Should I be celebrating the reality of my village? Iberenta Ibere in Ikwuano LGA. Abia State will become wholly cut off come the next rainy season if nothing is done urgently to arrest the gully erosions?”

Mr Atuma believes that the only thing worth celebrating is the bravery of the Super Eagles at the recently concluded 2024 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Ivory Coast.

“Yes, that is positive. At least it reminded us of the strength in our diversity and what we can accomplish as a nation when we come together,” he said.

According to filmmaker Atuma, the Super Eagles’ silver medal win reminded Nigerians that Western religion and ethnic divisions were external tools used to weaken the nation, not elements of their true identity.

He further stated that the team’s accomplishment in the recent AFCON was the only positive development for Nigeria in recent times.

Mr Atuma, whose film ‘Clash’ topped Netflix charts in July 2021, made headlines in February 2022, urging Nigerians to look beyond religious and ethnic lines when voting in the 2023 general elections.

He stressed the importance of Nigerian youth participation in the elections, arguing that eradicating tribalism and uniting the nation is crucial for progress. He stressed the need to move beyond ethnic and sectional sentiments when choosing candidates for public office.

Mr Atuma believes that tribalism hinders sound judgment, leading to poor leaders and making it difficult for qualified individuals to contribute to nation-building.


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