By Mateen Badru
Victor Okhai has emerged the new President of the Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN).
Okhai, a producer, script writer and cinematographer, emerged winner after gaining 110 of the 159 votes from members of the guild across the country and in diaspora.
Okhai, while addressing members of the guild after being declared winner on Sunday night at the DGN Secretariat, Surulere, promised to restructure the movie industry and also restore the dignity of the guild.
“Today is a historic day. I believe it’s the dawn of a new era. About 23 years ago, along with five others, I was a co-founder of this guild.
“We started out with a vision for the kind of industry and guild we had in mind. So much has happened over the years, we have had some great leaders and they have done their best.
“The truth is the director, who is in the hierarchy of the production chain, is first among equals. The state of the director in Nigeria today needs so much to be desired.
“We are not only going to bring back and refocus the vision that we had initially, but we will restore the dignity of the director not just in Nigeria but in the continent,” he said.
Okhai said that the new executive was a great team and would together succeed in steering the DGN right.
According to him, the challenge ahead is great, the expectation is high.
“Unless we hit the ground running, the euphoria or the honeymoon will be over even before it starts.
“I want to assure not only the directors, but also colleagues in the film industry that it is a new dawn. Together, we are going to take the industry to a new level.
“There are no two standards, the honeymoon is over for Nollywood, the days when people came from abroad to look at us like monkeys in the zoo is all over.
“Right now, nobody will take your film unless you can meet international standard. No one will lower these standards.
“We are going to make sure that the art and craft of film making in Nigeria is elevated and taking to its rightful place.
“We recognise that for you to compete globally, we must be of the best practices and that’s what we intend to do,” he said.
Okhai commended Fred Amata, the outgoing President, for making way for a peaceful election and keeping the guild together all the while.
“I am not unaware of the challenges he went through. In spite of all, he has been able to pull through and bring us here today.” he said.
Okhai also commended his fellow contestants and the electoral committee for conducting a free and fair election.
In his remarks, the outgoing President of the DGN, Fred Amata, said that the DGN election was a peaceful transition which exhibited the professionalism of the guild.
He urged members of the guild and stakeholders in the entertainment industry to support the new president in taking the industry to a new level.
“It is a great time to say to the world that no matter how deeply tested, DGN transition will always be peaceful.
“In the past four years, it has been a turbulence reign, trying to steer the ship of this most prestigious guild with members of intellectual standards.
“Every director is a captain of his ship, therefore, it becomes more complicated to be a captain of captains.
“Today we have come to a resounding conclusion from six zones spread all over the country including members in diaspora.
“We have been able to elect a new president for the DGN, Mr Victor Okhai, and all he needs now is our support. He is a man capable of steering this DGN ship of restless, creatives and insurmountable professionals,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the DGN election took place in six zones including Lagos, Abuja, Enugu, Asaba, Benin and Port Harcourt.
Members of the guild who contested for the post of DGN president were Kehinde Soaga, MacCollins Chidebe and Yinka Akanbi.
Contestants for other executive posts of the guild were, however, elected unopposed after gaining more than two third of the overall votes.
Tony Akposheri was elected the Vice President, Uchenna Agbo is the National Secretary, Osita Okoli as Director of Finance and Perekeme Odon as the Public Relations Officer.
Others include Prince Isaac Kolawole as the Welfare/Social Officer and Dan Chukwueze as the Provost.
DGN has so far enthroned six presidents namely Matthias Obahiagbon, Fidelis Duker, Bond Emeruwa, Andy Amenechi and the outgoing Fred Amata. (NAN)