Nigeria's film industry reflects the messy process of nation building

Armstrong Williams | 3/21/2013, 12:08 p.m.
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Some point to the fact that the content and quality of today's Nigerian films leave much to be desired-so what? The early days of American cinema featured less advanced technology than currently employed in the lowest budget Nigerian film. They were often grainy, choppy and lacking in sound. But they succeeded in gaining an audience and, more importantly, setting the ground for the cultural aesthetic the world currently knows as Hollywood.

Just as a man cannot become an adult before he is a child, so the Nigerian cinema arts industry must be allowed its period of infancy on its way to a more mature reflection of the lives, stories and values of the Nigerian people.

The youth of Nigeria are its most important resource. Developing their character and talents is more important and vastly more valuable than all of the oil wealth in the world. As the largest employer of Nigeria's youth, the film industry is helping give them a purpose that is largely lacking in other sectors of the society.

Of course, many of today's films express the exuberance and immaturity that come with being young. But they also contain the energy, passion and brilliance that our youth are yearning to reveal to themselves, the country and the world as a whole.

As the American oil industry grew, its supporting infrastructure began to form the backbone of the nation-whether in terms of railroads, telegraphs, industrial equipment or oil pipeline. In fact, today's largest telecommunications companies such as Quest Communications use rights-of-way that were originally owned by the small wildcat drillers.

Similarly, as Nigerian cinema continues to grow, both as an art form and an industry, related infrastructure will naturally evolve as a result. Whether it takes the shape of a village cinema, production studio or distribution shop, ultimately the means of distribution will form the basis for a more robust Nigerian infrastructure. And infrastructure, as we all know, is the backbone of any nation.

Armstrong Williams content can be found on He is also the author of the new book "Reawakening Virtues." Listen to him daily on Sirius Power 128, 7-8 p.m. and 4-5 a.m., Monday through Friday. Become a fan on Facebook at and follow him on Twitter at