PERHAPS confirming the event as a tourism show, Bayelsa State governor, Mr. Seriake Dickson said his government is determined to position Bayelsa State as a key investment destination in Nigeria with emphasis on entertainment and tourism. The governor emphasized that his government will continue to support the annual event, which he said has encouraged the youths in different aspects of creative endeavours. He disclosed that the sum of N800million was spent to organise this year’s edition of AMAA, and announced an initial donation of N250million for the proposed Bayelsa Film Trust Fund.
President Goodluck Jonathan who was represented at the event by the Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mr. Edem Duke, pledged technical and financial support to the host state in the promotion of the tourism industry and establishment of an under-water Research and Imaging Centre in the state. He noted that the project would be executed in collaboration with the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), to create training opportunities for the people.
Duke used the opportunity of the event to reiterate government commitment to the development of the film sector. He noted that the N3 billion grant promise by Jonathan during a Presidential dinner a few months back was still valid. He disclosed that the framework for the fund will be out soon, and that the leaderships of the film industry will be appointed into a committee that will determine the modalities for disbursement. The Minister also announced a donation of N25 million in support of the proposed Yenagoa Film City.
President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, who was represented by his country’s high commissioner in Nigeria, Lulu Luis Mnguni said his country shares in the aspirations and struggles of Nigeria and the entire African continent to eradicate poverty and marginalization as well as create a better Africa and a more cohesive world.
For Chief Executive of AMAA, Ms Peace Anyiam Osigwe, it is incumbent on filmmakers to use the medium to change the mindset of Africa by Africa and for Africa. She noted that this was the essence of the Academy.
Osigwe had asked for a minute silence in memory of popular entertainment industry lawyer, who died penultimate Thursday. The AMAA CEO complained about the challenges of moving guests from within African countries to Nigeria for the event. She appealed to the authorities in African countries to break the barriers and foster unity among African nations.
Osigwe’s points were buttressed by Hollywood star, Mario Van Peebles who was visiting the country for the first time with his son. Mario expressed his desire for a united Africa, just like the United States of America.