By Tony ESIN – –
Until his recent appointment as Special Assistant on Project Monitoring (Agriculture) to Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Moses Armstrong was a key player in the Nigerian movie industry where he was an actor and producer for years.
The ace actor turned politician in a recent exclusive interview with propellerng.com revealed his nasty experience before he came to limelight in movie acting which he attributed to the clannishness and bias that played out in the industry. According to him he and many other actors from the state suffered various forms of discrimination and outright ill-treatment that nearly got him discouraged as a result of it that Akwa Ibom indigenes were not prominent in the sector.
He told propellerng.com reporter: “When I mean I suffered in the movie industry, I mean ‘suffer.’ I had four long suffering years before I became a star. That was at the backdrop of the fact that the movie industry was being controlled by the Igbos and the Igbos were the producers, they were the director, they were the marketer and even the actors. But if you asked me, I wouldn’t blame them because if I am in a position and I have to help people, I will look at my people first.
“So before those people will look at their brothers before they come to you, it becomes almost impossible. But then our creative ingenuity always gave us a chance to showcase once or twice in some very good roles.
“The facts is that before they will pick you up and push you to that level where you can stand out, it takes time because of where you come from. A lot of people used to get angry saying the Igbos are doing this and that but for me I don’t blame them. Where are our own people? We can as well become marketers. We can as well become producers, directors.”
Asked whether the situation has improved in recent time, Mr Armstrong said there has been remarkable improvement as many indigenes of the state such as Emem Isong have assumed prominent roles in the Nigerian movie industry while maintaining that there is still need to up the ante.
“As we speak we have a lot of movie stars from this town now. We have had a lot of producers and all that. We are still in the learning process anyway. For the fact that the industry is down right now does not mean that we are out. We are still in the building process. And because we have gotten to this level and we don’t want to remain in this level, we are now shaking the basket to separate the chaff from the seeds.
“That is why I really commend the person of Emem Isong for a job well done in the movie industry in trying to promote our people, in trying to promote our culture to the extent that she sometimes risking her capital into our indigenous movie to make sure that we also propagate our culture and make our people also get to stardom in the Nollyhood industry,” Mr Armstrong said.
On his current position he noted that he did not dabble into politics, but sees his appointment as aide to the governor as an opportunity to serve humanity including helping to develop the movie industry in the state.
He explained: “I did not venture into politics. I have always wanted to serve my people even when I was in the movie industry. When God helped me and I hit stardom, I was enrolled into the circle of top celebrities in Nigeria. I told myself that I would not allow my people suffer what I suffered as an up comer. As an upcoming actor I know what I suffered.
“What I could not understand and learn in four years, I decide to come down here to train my people in three years for them to understand the rudiments of movie acting and movie production. That was why I came down to Akwa Ibom State. I went round the local government areas to train the youths free of charge. Therefore, seeing myself right now in the circle of government I see it as a clarion call to serve my people. I see it as something more than an appointment. It is a divine call from God to serve my people. On that note I want to thank His Excellency Deacon Udom Emmanuel for giving me the chance, the platform and allowing me harnesses my inert qualities in serving the people.”