About the issue of “film village” By Fatuhu Mustapha

Hausaland cannot be more Islamic than Saudi Arabia and Iran. Saudi is the birth place of Islam and prophet Muhammad. It is an Islamic country with 99% Muslim population,a sunni nation. Iran is an Islamic republic with 99% muslim population and adopts Quran as its constitution. It is a Shia nation. The two nations make up the largest and most popular sects in Islam. I am drawing this examples for people to learn.

The two countries have film industries. Saudi Arabia has 30 film companies and operate cinema houses. Keif al-Hal was a film released in 2006, which was billed as Saudi Arabia’s first film; however, it was shot in the United Arab Emirates and the lead female was played by a Jordanian. The 2012 film Wadjda had an all-Saudi cast and was the first feature film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia. The film Barakah Yoqabil Barakah was directed by Mahmoud Sabbagh and shot in Jeddah in 2015, it premiered in the 66th Berlin International Film Festival, making it the first feature film to participate in the festival.

The Iranian Film Industry or the Cinema of Iran produced a variety of commercial films annually. Iranian art films have garnered international fame and now enjoy a global following. Along with China, Iran has been lauded as one of the best exporters of cinema in the 1990s. Some critics now rank Iran as the world’s most important national cinema, artistically,. A range of international film festivals have honored Iranian cinema in the last twenty years. World-renowned Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke and German filmmaker Werner Herzog, along with many film critics from around the world, have praised Iranian cinema as one of the world’s most important artistic cinemas.

If Islam was against movie and film industry the two countries cited above would have oulawed cinema the way they outlawed alcohol and adultery. Nowhere in Islam forbids film. It is a vehicle for enlightenment and education. Hausaland cannot be more Islamic than Saudi or Iran. Those against film industry are doing it out narrow understanding of Islam based on extremist tendencies and ignorance. It is truly sad President Muhammadu Buhari listened to Kano clerics to cancel the Film Village in Kano. The N3bn complex has film academy, hotels, cinemas, housing complex ,shopping malls and other businesses that would have tripled income and employment in Kano. Kano State governor and Emir of Kano should follow up and ensure this decision is reversed. It is a symptom of barkwardness to resist modernity , change and progress. The President should have made wide consultations and get other views. Kano can produce films without hurting Islam or its traditions and culture. It can use it as tool to promote its religion, traditional institutions and material culture. The alternative is to have films produced outside Kano’s censorship in whatever manner and still be watched by Kano people via nilesal and DSTV. The state is the biggest loser in terms of revenue,businesses and jobs.

Bitter Truth

Hausaland has become backward simply because we allow culture, tradition and religion to hold us back. We lock up 60% of our population in the name of purdah and complain about southern males delivering our women of babies. Ask how many female gynaecologists Kano has and its ratio to the population of the state and you will weep for out attitude to girl-child education. Our wasping attitude towards western education is what led us to have the largest number of children outside the four walls of primary classrooms. Almajiri is a social disease and a disgrace to Kano people. We have the largest number of destitutes than any state in Nigeria. Spot an Igbo boy on any traffic light and you will see he is trying to sell something. Spot a Hausaboy he is begging for food or alms. Even the adults are not left behinds.We reject music but travel south to hire musicians to grace our weddings. Because of our rejection of modernity we are fast losing our music. The Dankwairos,Danmarayas,Haruna Ojis and Shatas had left without replacement. Today there is no musician worth his name from Kano except few praise singers. We reject movies but have satellite receivers to watch those films made outside our land and delivered to our bedrooms.Tell me one Cleric without a TV set in Kano. The state has dozens cinemas all showing movies made outside Hausaland which we pay to watch,while the government collects taxes. Hypocritical Kano with its jaundiced clerics is running in circle without progress. That was how they shot down polio immunization program and Kano continued to produce cripples and export them to south as beggars. Imagine a movie village complete with academy, hotels, cinemas and shopping malls gone in smoke because of our aversion to modernity and progress. We want to be like Arabs forgetting that Arabs have enough wealth to afford being lazy. Iran despite its oil wealth is an industrial and creative society,it produces planes and locomotives. Saudi Arabia is 100,000 times richer and more advanced than Hausaland sitting on one of the largest oil reserves in the world.

Hausas have nothing. We should either be creative or perish in poverty and disease.

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