It was endless praise to God Almighty and to the founder and African President of Passion Against Rape and Abuse in Africa, PARA Africa Foundation, Foluke Daramola-Salako on Friday, November 29, 2019, as unsung heroes of the theatre praction and Nigerian film industry, popularly known as Nollywood, were remembered for their past and age long labours in the evolution growth and survival of the industry, and rewarded through the visibly most passionate NGO of the year, PARA Africa Foundation, under the auspices of PARA Africa Nolly Veteran Humanitarian Support Initiative.
Speaking to newsmen, the veteran actress and founder of the NGO, said she drew inspiration to celebrate the founding and generational members of Nollywood, who appear to have been forgotten or abandoned by the industry and government.
According to her, they see the industry as unpensionable, as most of them wallow in abject poverty, dejection and unpleasant health conditions, when some would seek alms either to feed or for medical attention in most cases. Foluke said since she could do little or nothing as an individual to assuage their plights, she decided to use her towering influence to come up with an initiative to be run by her foundation, through which well-meaning citizens can support her in bringing succor to these vulnerable and dying talents.
“It is out of this passion and concern that has led my thoughts towards doing something necessary around this time to intervene in the harsh economic situations, I daily see what some of the revered generational veteran actors go through in the industry, where I have spent the whole of my economic survival life.
“The PARA Africa Nolly Veteran Humanitarian Support Initiative will not only continue to do all it could to contribute in the care of these old order veteran actors in the Nollywood industry in Nigeria, but will also hold an annual event of this kind to keep recognizing and celebrating their various contributions to the evolution, growth, development and progressive survival of the film industry in Nigeria over the many years” she said.
“No event that I know since I have been working in our industry has yet remembered to gather generational veteran actors as we have done today in the this large number to put them in the place of honour and celebration that they deserve in the history of the entertainment industry in Nigeria” she further said.
However, Mr. Olukayode Ezekiel Salako, the notable social commentator and academia husband of Foluke Daramola Salako, while welcoming guests said the initiative has come to stay and will be a referral point, when it comes to true reward for excellent contributions towards Nollywood industry and nation-building in Nigeria as a health insurance scheme is in the offing to be initiated in the first quarter of 2020 for some of the intrested aged veterans in the industry.
This pension and reinvestment scheme, tagged “HC.SWIPS will be run in partnership with IBTC Pension Managers and co.
Some of the beneficiaries of the initiative, who were celebrated and honoured with cash incentives are Charles Olumo, Lere Paimo, Sodiq Daba, Obiaghelli, Molube, Jimoh Aliu, Samanja Mazan Fama and Kayode Odumosu (Pa Kasunmu)
Others are Chika Okpala, Larry Williams, Kudirat Eluyemi Odukanmi (Iyabo Oko); Bashiru Ishola, Moses Egunleti, Ken Odurukwe and Ojo Arowosafe.
However, for their age long contributions and support towards the growth of the Nollywood industry, an industry that has been adjudged the highest employer of labour in the sub-Saharan Africa region, these set of multi-talented actors were handed industry contributions and Lifetime Achievements Awards.
On the list of those awards are Adebayo Salami, Olu Jacobs, Zark Orji, Jide Kosoko, Peter Fatomilola, Kareem Adepoju, Idowu Philips, Adedeji Aderemi and Paul Obazele.
Others are Ade Ajiboye, Akin Lewis, Joke Silva, Samson Eluwole, Hassan Olanrewaju, Morenike Alausa, Antar Laniyan, Binta Ayo Mogaji, Dele Odule, Funmilayo Omikunle and Ebun Oloyede.
Toyin Afolayan, Yemi Solade, Fausat Balogun, Jumoke George, Yetunde Osunsola, Sir Chris Akwarandu, Tunji Bamishingbin and emotion-ladden Yinka Quadri who complete the list.
Speaking at the event, the spokesman of TAMPAN, Yemi Fash-Lanso encouraged the government and other members of the society to emulate the good virtues of Foluke Daramola-Salako in celebrating and appreciating the contributions of actors, who daily bring joy, social education and endless entertainment to our screens.
He also encourages wealthy citizens to adopt these aged entertainers and take care of their needs in their little ways.
The well attended 2019 Nolly Veterans Gala Celebrations and Industry Contribution Award was hosted by Gbenga Adeyinka, The First (GCFR) and Omotunde Adebowale-David, a.k.a Lady Lolo of Wazobia FM fame, who were the MCs of the iconic occasion.