Nigeria: Filmmaker Tells Babangida's Story in Biopic Film 'Badamosi - Portrait of a General'

18 October 2019

The story of former Nigerian military Head of State, Ibrahim Babangida popularly known as IBB, has been documented in a new biopic, 'Badamosi: Portrait of a General'.

The film, written and directed by acclaimed filmmaker, Obi Emelonye, explores Babangida's story from childhood up to his run as the Head of State, also touching several key history points in Nigeria's history.

Babangida was Head of State from August 27, 1985, to August 26, 1993. He previously served as the Chief of Army Staff from January 1984 to August 1985.

He is regarded as a key player in most of the military coups in Nigeria (July 1966, February 1976, December 1983, August 1985) and notably moved the seat of power from Lagos to Abuja in 1991.

In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday, the filmmaker explained the inspiration behind the film and its importance in modern-day Nigeria.

Emelonye said: "I decided to use the IBB story to explore our history and our political consciousness.

"In a film, what creates drama is conflict. If you are such an easy-going, quiet person, nobody would want to make a film about you, which explains the hundreds of films made about Hitler.

"It tells you that the more complex a character, the better their stories will be for film.

"So we started looking for stories of Nigerian leaders that can be used to explore our history. The story of Babangida stood out," he said.

Emelonye also said that it was important to get Babangida's authorisation and perspective while making the film to increase its authenticity.

He said: "I wanted to make it authorised. I wanted his participation because that is what will make it more interesting.

"This is because most stories are already in the public domain and there will be no point to make a film about it.

"The only thing missing is his personal perspective, which we don't have. For me, his participation was the determining and distinguishing factor," he added.

On the portrayal of Babangida in the film, Emelonye noted that in history, perspectives differ hence the need to document from Babangida's perspective.

He said: "Whatever came out as a persona of Babangida was a function of the information from news outlets.

"What I did with this film was to dig deeper into the psyche of the man himself, to find his perspective to the things we already know in the public domain," Emelonye said.

NAN reports that the trailer of the film, starring Enyinna Nwigwe in the lead titular role, has been sparking several conversations on social media as the premiere draws close.

Some of the social media reactions to the trailer go thus: @Baudex said, "I hope they get the story right. Many of us still know how it all went and most of us who don't have our parents to tell us. Getting the story right will determine the extent the film will go. This is portraying IBB as a hero.

@Daisy said, "Finally we are telling our own stories and documenting our own history. @Stitchesandstones said, "This is welcome. If they remove history from the curriculum, art will help us remember.

@Olabanle said, "Nollywood is finally listening and I am excited. There are stories in Nigerian history that need screen time and I applaud Obi Emelonye.

NAN

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