The wake of the Covid19 pandemic brought with it highs and lows and in the midst of all this the Nigerian Skit Industry blossomed with many creative minds coming up with creative content in skits that have now caught the attention and admiration of many; despite the impact it has come to have on society the industry has not been given the needed support as the new face of entertainment in Nigeria. In this interview with CECILIA OGEZI Managing Director of the Bridge Concept, Hon Bimbo Daramola speaks on his company’s efforts and the brand premiering Nigeria Skits Industry Awards(NSIA).
The Summit: Brief background on the concept behind Nigeria Skits Industry Awards
Hon Daramola: The Nigeria Skits Industry Awards is a project being pushed forward by the Bridge Concept a communication outfit and it’s in recognition of undeniable efforts of young Nigerians people, their passion, creativity and determination. Young people who have changed the entertainment landscape through creative audio-visual presentations which has further consolidated our place in the world of arts in Africa.
We see that gradually this people have crept into our national conciousness, particularly the entertainment sector and seemingly today they have redefined it, nobody can negotiate that they have done that rising from boot straps and shoe strings without any support or help from anybody and today they have stamped their presence on the Nigerian entertainment sector.
When you recognize something you have indirectly invested renewed conciousness into that thing to make it deliver more, this is to effectively give the needful support so that they don’t fall off; it is our collective efforts that will make this industry thrive and produce youths who are actively engaged and so there is no room to use them for act of violence in the society.
The Summit: How would you describe the impact of these skits to society.
Hon Daramola: I would say it’s enormous. It must be emphasised that alot of backend efforts go into these productions with heavy message delivered using witty vehicle. Producing revigorating skit presentation relevant to our daily lives that can not be ignored.
Through this industry thousands of jobs have been created, livelihood secured, many inspiring talents discovered and through that the young artists have found their way through life.
Take for instance Debo Adedayo popular know by his stage name Mr Macaroni who portrays character of a philandering elderly man in his skits at the end of each episode you see a moral lesson condemning the act of philandering, little Emmanuella comedy skits has also shown that age is not a barrier to success.
The Summit: Talking about passion, how does it inspire your work for the youths?
Hon Daramola: Nigeria is a nation where people hardly believe a group of people doing some level of positive work should be commended for not until the initiative for awards in various sectors like the Nigerian Media awards, Nigerian Music Awards were birthed public recognition and acknowledgement was lacking.
There is an award in Nollywood which this is in no way to mimick it, in the music industry there is an award there. In 1989 when I left the University Shina Peter’s was charging 200,000 per show and then Tony Okoroji and a few others of Ideas Communication came together and started the first Nigerian Music Award, Shina Peters Ijo Shina won 3 awards in one night the next Saturday after the event Shina started charging 1 million per show today how many of these young ones have actually been given the credit for talent for creativity, passion and talent.
There are many highly placed persons that derive joy and relax with skits from Mr Macaroni Skits, Shaggy and Sirbalo among others.
So what is the nexus around this story an extremely successful guy deriving joy from skits. If it doesn’t have impact why is he watching it? This has also transformed the fortune of many of these artists which is a positive side to it.
I started to think what if we reposition this and redirect minds to be more confident in their skills, talent and creativity. If we don’t do that institutionally most likely we we lose them with time.
The Summit: Would you address them as influencers in this industry?
Hon Daramola: This is precisely one of the reasons for the recognition, they are first of all skit artists before they can be influencers and they must be recognized for what they are without holding back anything.
Surviving in this country is tough some of these guys started with just phones with determination, talent, creativity and passion to succeed inspite of all.
Nollywood was at this level before institutional support and today the Nigerian government now realises there is a creative sector economy then voted some resources to that, but guess what ? They can not access it because they are not recognised under this body.
The Summit: What is your main drive for this project?
Hon Daramola: At this time am working for a lasting legacy which brought about this project we are working on. I have worked in parliament between 2011 – 2015 and 2015-2019 as chief of staff to the speaker. Am very passionate about matters concerning the youth
Most of our programmes are youth centred which is one of the reasons we have one of our projects Naija Green Card- a platform that shields young people from the economic hardship we see today. It was launched by Honourable Dogara Speaker of the House of Representatives at the time.
Tambuwal put 32 000 kids on it what it simply does is where I have to pay 30,000 for a service a kid who does not earn any money should not pay as much, so we went ahead of those kids to secure partners merchants producing clothes, hair products and many more who will will give between 5-50 percent discount to them just because they belong in the most vulnerable demography.
That way we make them turn away from crime and face their studies, don’t forget these kids are the ones their parents are losing jobs and keeping jobs with pay cut and all of those things.
We have also done the Joint Admission Matriculation Board(JAMB) cut way back in 2002, we published 21 year fully endorsed JAMB Q&A to help students who kept failing JAMB.
We did a well profound revision of 21 past questions and answers to reduce mass failure in JAMB.
We brought in lecturers to help have a well revised standard and between then and now we have had a humongous success as people started scoring better grades in JAMB.
In Ekiti where am from if you ask of me today what they will easily tell you is the father of children, it’s not pretentious. It comes naturally. I have always hope my generation can change certain things in the society that is why most of the things we did then was with that energy.
The Summit: Having started this what is your sustainable plan?
Hon Daramola: The annual recognition is to further create a more structured industry and with that open more opportunities for young people to discover and develop their talents and take benefits due to them and the industry.
This will open doors for more support and discovery from individuals, corporate bodies and government. This will increase the value in the creativity driven industry as obtained in the entertainment industry worldwide.
It will also bring about external awareness from outside Nigeria and institute an Industry Support Endorsement Scheme(ISES) from financial to technical.
The Summit: What is the criteria for choosing nominees?
Hon Daramola: This is not closed yet, we do not have a number of persons because the recognition awards will be determined by Nigerians themselves who will vote via SMS for the various arts along the nine major categories of content, consistency, costuming, characterisation, contextual relevance, delivery and rendition, social ill, correct production, funniest skit, best skit production in different categories.