Popular Nollywood producer, Lawrence Onuzulike has itemized plans to to turn Awka in Anambra State number entertainment and tourist center in the country. He had a chat with Omonaijablog on all the activities of IGN his brain child. See the chat...
People have been talking about IGN, what exactly are you into?
IGN with full name Icons Group Nigeria is an entertainment company based in Nigeria. We’re a film production company and music label, we’re also into artist management, media publicity and publishing.
Even though we operate mostly in Lagos, in 2017 we took up a challenge to find and develop talents in the South Eastern part of the country and at the same time bring entertainment and tourism to Anambra State.
Are you saying this is your own way of developing entertainment in South East?
Yes it is. There’s been many people doing all they can to put the southeast in the entertainment map of Nigeria. These people have done great things. IGN is merely adding to what they have achieved so far. We’re here to support them and contribute our little token using our vast experience and connections in the Nigerian entertainment industry.
What are the things you have done since you too up this initiative?
Wow where do I start? We’ve done quite a lot in the short period we’ve operated in the southeast with Awka as our base. To mention a few, we organized the Beautiful Gate Independence Fiesta. It was a three-day event and people from all over Nigeria attended. We did a Valentine’s day challenge where the winner won free stay at the popular new World Hotel. It was filmed as a TV show. We’ve shot many movies and as I’m talking to you now we’re on set shooting a new one. We’ve organised more than 30 shows and concerts to give up-and-coming musicians the platform to showcase their talents. We’ve organized Comedy talent hunts and shot plenty documentaries. We’re happy that so far we have discovered great talents and will soon be showcasing them to Nigeria.
You are also a movie producer, how have you been coping?
It’s funny how many people have forgotten that I started up as an actor. Most people know me today only as a producer. The truth is that it was my late father who made me to soft pedal in my acting career and put more effort in the production aspect. He was very much against acting and my being in entertainment in general. He was from the old school and saw entertainers as people that are not serious. Anytime there’s negative news about me in the papers he calls my number a million times. To respect him I decided to step back from acting even though I’ve appeared in many films and TV series but now, I’m back fully.
And as for how I cope with my projects down here, it hasn’t been easy but what keeps me going was the fact that I’m doing what I love doing most and also when I see the happiness my projects bring to the lives of people who thought their dreams of acting, singing, modeling, doing comedy, etc., may never come true. It has been fulfilling. These two things alone are enough to keep me going.
Finance has been the major challenge of entertainment industry in Nigeria how have you been coping with all these projects?
Some years back when I newly returned to Nigeria, I didn’t know how the system works. So I accepted to collaborate in some projects and I quickly discovered that in this country people hardly honor contracts or agreements even when signed. So I had a lot of issues at that period until I learnt my lessons. Even the people that breached the agreements will be the people rushing out to talk nonsense.
Being newly back in Nigeria then it was a very shocking experience. People listen to those who shout the most, those who lie the most, nobody cares to ask about what the contracts say. It was a crazy period in my life. The funniest thing is that after they’ve rushed out to talk nonsense, they’ll now come privately to beg and apologize. Anyways, since then I decided to be doing my projects by myself.
And even when someone wants to partner or support I’m very careful about who I allow that close. With that said I must thank people like Laureen Ofuafo who has been supportive of my works. I’ll also like to thank the many Nigerians, home and abroad, who have been offering moral support. I also appreciate my team for giving their best day in day out.
How would you say you have impacted Awka your home base?
I didn’t know how much my work here is being appreciated until on my birthday on December 28th last year. The outpouring of love and wishes were immense. I’ve never witnessed anything like that in my entire life. I don’t want to mention some other big things on the way due to my being in Awka, but Nigerians will soon hear more.
It was in the news not long ago that you lost your father. How would you describe him?
Irreparable loss. He was someone you wished could be immortal. It was the hardest thing that have ever happened to me. Anyone close to me knew how close I was with my late dad. It took me and all my siblings by surprise. Anyways we’re making preparations for his burial.