With cash, crime and drama, Nigeria politics inspire movie makers

With its alliances and betrayals, crimes and cash, and even a dash of witchcraft, the theatrical twists of Nigeria’s politics are inspiring directors from the country’s Nollywood movie industry. The saga surrounding Nigeria’s recent election, delayed for a week just hours before voting started, has film-makers convinced they may have hit movie gold.

Nigerians watched as their election delivered all the ingredients of a thriller, including charges of vote card fiddling, armoured cars filled with cash delivered to politicians’ homes, and even arrests of opponents by the secret police — all in the space of one week.

“I can do 100 movies based on Nigerian politics,” said local director Ike Nnaebue. “There is too much drama going on (…) and I believe that, as story tellers, it’s our responsibility to start the conversation and begin to start changes.”

With 190 million people in Nigeria and a growing wider audience on the African continent and among Nigeria’s diaspora, Nollywood has become the world’s second-largest cinema business after India’s Bollywood in terms of the number of films the industry pumps out. And juicy local politics is increasingly a theme.

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