After three years of painstaking work on ‘Badamasi: Portrait of a General’, an authorized biopic on former military President of Nigeria, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (rtd.), the producer of the film, Nollywood star Obi Emelonye, has been warned against releasing it.
During an interview, ahead of Nigeria’s 59th Independence anniversary, the filmmaker disclosed that he has been getting threats from some dissenting voices who feel the story may not be favorable to their businesses and political interests, owing to some pertinent and controversial historical issues therein.
He said: “I sat down for several interview sessions with the former military President, Ibrahim Babangida. It was like a series of night vigils. They were no-holds-barred sessions in terms of areas we could talk about. I asked him questions across the board and he was very forthcoming.
“I think there comes a time in a man’s life when he looks back and his humanity stares at him in the face, and he has to come to terms with who he is and his place in history.
“When the news about making this film broke, there were lots of people that were not very happy about it, but I took it as part of the Babangida legacy. There were dissenting voices coming from social media and I took it as one of those things because you cannot please everybody.
“However, as soon as the date of the release, November 29, got announced on the social media, the ante has been raised a little bit. Those dissenting voices have become outright threats. I get emails talking about beheading. Some say the film will reflect back on their bosses. They say if I dare release the film, they know my address in the UK and all that, but I hold my hands up and say I am on the side of truth and objectivity.”
Announcing the development on his Instagram page, Enyinna Nwigwe who played Ibrahim Babangida in the film, posted: “So apparently @obiemelonye is being threatened over his work, ‘BADAMASI: Portrait of a General.’ Are we still at this point as a people? A film director can’t tell a story about our history anymore? Wow! I can only hope this is just a bunch of mischief-makers, makes no sense in today’s world of story-telling. Rightly quoted, ‘They can only win the battle but not the war.’ Realms will always quake before greatness births…A generation which ignores history has no past and no future.” #RobertHeinlein.
The death threats are being investigated by the Nigeria Police Force.