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Cultural Promotion and Image Portrayal in the Nigerian Movies

Cultural Promotion and Image Portrayal in the Nigerian Movies



Entertainment has been one of the vibrant outfits that sustain man and add to his longevity because it plays a very vital role on his psyche. It is generally accepted that the western nations are dominating the entertainment sector in the entire media practice today. Therefore, the need to project Nigeria in the entertainment sector gave rise to the Nigerian Home Movie Industry. The Nigerian Home Movie Industry is nationalistic, a movement that tries to challenge the influx and the influence of foreign culture through foreign movies on Nigerians. Through the movies Nigerians are educated on their indigenous culture as against the foreign culture represented and promoted globally. Several misconceptions about Nigerians are also corrected.

Though Nigerian culture is being promoted, there are still mounting challenges, as the image of Nigeria is being represented positively and at the same time negatively. The problem has to do with local hegemony in form of the money bags who determine what the thematic thrust of each movie made will be. Consequently these persons engage in making movies that are violent, full of crime, obscene behaviours, and movies that encourage behavioral decadence. At the climax of the control of these overlords, there came up what is called alternative hegemony, a struggle by some positive – minded Nigerians to counter the repeated show of crime with movies that are worthwhile and which promote morals.

The focus of this study is to project the hegemonic activities of the Home Movie practitioners in the business of film making. The study takes a closer look at the ways the image of Nigeria is represented and the impact of such representation on Nigerians and the general public, using four Nigerian movies, namely, “Dons in Abuja,” “Hot Girls,” “The Peace Maker” and “The Price”. “Dons in Abuja”, and “Hot Girls” stand for negative image portrayal while “The Peace Maker” and “The Price” stand for positive image portrayal. The objective of this study is to recommend ways of using the Nigerian Home movies as a tool for identity promotion and image laundering for Nigerians in the effort towards national development.

The study adopted various tools in the collection of data; library research on work previously done on areas related to the study. It used for its information materials both in audio – visual and live interviews. The study reveals that the motion picture is one of the fastest and one of the most viable ways of exporting culture for economic gains. It also observes that the Nigerian movies have not succeeded in promoting the culture and image of Nigeria as a result of local hegemony on the side of the practitioners.

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Most importantly, the study reveals that the movie practitioners are more concerned with enriching their pockets, relegating to the background the cultural implication of such representation. Therefore, it suggests that movie – making for image laundering should not be left in the hands of individual producers but should be sponsored and controlled by government and philanthropic Nigerians who have the development of the country in mind.

The study establishes that hegemony taken from a positive light can be adopted in making good image portrayal to be the dominant and controlling feature in every movie made in Nigeria as against the dominant and controlling negative image portrayal.

Cultural Promotion and Image Portrayal in the Nigerian Movies
Cultural Promotion and Image Portrayal in the Nigerian Movies

Cultural Promotion and Image Portrayal in the Nigerian Movies


                                                                TABLE OF CONTENT                                                       

Title Page            –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              i

Declaration         –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              ii

Certification       –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              iii

Dedication          –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              iv

Acknowledgement         –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              v

Abstract               –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              vii

Table of Content              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              x


CHAPTER ONE: GENERAL INTRODUCTION                                                            

Introduction       –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              1

Nigerian Home Movies: A Historical Overview    –              –              –              –              8

Statement of Research Problem               –              –              –              –              –              –              18

Objectives of the Study                –              –              –              –              –              –              –              19

Scope of the Study          –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              20

Justification of the Study              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              21

Research Methodology –              –              –              –              –              –              –              22

References         –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              24

CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW       –              –              –              –              26

References         –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              59

CHAPTER THREE: THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK     –              –              –              63

References         –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              68


References  –     –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              100

CHAPTER FIVE: CONCLUSION-    –              –              –              –              –              102

Summary and Findings  –              –              –              –              –              –              102

Suggestions and Recommendations        –              –              –              –              106

References         –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              116

Bibliography       –              –              –              –              –              –              –              –              118




The years of British colonial rule in Nigeria so much transformed her pre-colonial culture that, by the time Nigeria gained independence in 1960, a great deal of the British educational system, British moral values and the English Language had already become nationally accepted and entrenched in virtually every aspect of Nigeria’s national psyche. According to Mahdi Adamu in Clark, E and Jegede, D. (1992:24):

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By virtue of the colonial experience, English Language became our official language through which pre-primary, primary and post primary education are taught in this country. Official actions and utterances in this country have shown that to be formally literate, one needs to learn to read and write in English language.

In the field of political culture also, the similarities are clear and distinct. It was the British type of parliamentary democracy that Nigeria’s first democratic experience was fashioned after from 1960 – 1966 until 1979 when Nigeria embraced the American political system. In the absence of an accepted alternative which is truly Nigerian, Nigeria adopted the European system of governance. Even in commerce, the remarkable similarity is also evident. To further explain this, Mahdi Adamu (1992:26) asserts:

The Nigerian economy has been so intricately tied to the apron strings of one European capitalist economy, that we no longer have our own commercial system different from that of our mentors.

One thing is clear; the advent of colonial administration in Nigeria greatly and negatively affected the development of indigenous socio-cultural structures. This situation is responsible for the continuing dependency relationship between the colonized nations and European nations.


Cultural Promotion and Image Portrayal in the Nigerian Movies

The most obvious implication of this, according to Tylor’s study cited by Bashir in Nasidi and Bello (1991:20) is that some African, hence Nigerian cultures are overwhelmed by western cultures (knowledge, beliefs, arts, morals, laws, etc). Through the media, alien consumer patterns are being promoted among the people of Africa. Consumer societies have been created with lifestyles, values, tastes and inspirations based upon models and commodities of the western industrial countries.

The conviction is that the fate of a victim of this cultural imperialism will continue to be decided from outside and in this way its progress and growth will be retarded, as its production and consumption patterns will be fashioned out in accordance with the needs and values of an alien society. As a result of this, western nations have dominated the cultural and political lives of people in the Third World countries.

The argument above is supported by Bill Ashcroft et al. (2000:49) when they say that no society ever attained full freedom from the colonial system by the involuntary active disengagement of the colonial power until it was provoked by a considerable internal struggle for self-determination or, most usually, by extended and active violent opposition by the colonized.

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Today, we live in a global village dictated by high information technology subsumed in the wider concept and practice of globalization. Globalization does not mean the same thing for all. According to David Held et al. there exist three schools of thought who have different views about this phenomenon.  These are the hyperglobalizers, the transformationalists and the skeptics. For the hyperglobalizers, globalization defines a new epoch of human history characterized by the emergence of a single global market, resulting in the “denationalization” of economies and thus in the lack of meaning of the nation states.

An economic logic prevails in this view shared by neo-liberals “who welcome the triumph of individual autonomy and the market principle over state power” and by radicals or neo-Marxists for whom contemporary globalization represents the triumph of an oppressive global capitalism.


The transformationalists embrace it enthusiastically as a positive feature of a changing world in which access to technology, information, services and markets will be of benefit to local communities; where dominant forms of social organization will lead to universal prosperity, peace and freedom, and in which a perception of a global environment will lead to global ecological concern.

The skeptics argue that it is a form of domination by First World countries over under-developed economies in which individual distinctions of culture and society become erased by an increasingly homogeneous global culture and local economies are more firmly incorporated into a system of global capital. (Bill Ashcroft 2000:111).

Central to this work is the notion that globalization is perpetuating deeply rooted patterns of inequality and hierarchy in the world economy, thus creating the economic marginalization of many Third World countries. “It primarily served the interest of the world’s most powerful nation but theoretically, it is said to have the common good at heart and presented development as a set of technical measures outside the realm of political debate”. (Gilbert Rist 1997:78).

The position for or against globalization is taken according to various renditions and perceptions. This difference in understanding is propelled by the different levels of technological, economic and social development of the various peoples of the world. With the trend of events, the world, no doubt, has become a global village, a single entity, but is that all there should be? Are there some things to worry about in this whole issue of the global village? Assessing this global phenomenon, Yakubu Nasidi (1999:33) questions thus:

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