Eddie Ugbomah - A Nigerian Pioneer Filmmaker Driven by Value

The Centenary Project

An Exhibit showing notable notable films produced by Eddie Ugbomah

Eddie Ugbomah
A brief background of Eddie's life and what motivated his passion for filmmaking

Chief Eddie Ugbomah born in July 1941 is regarded as one of Nigeria's pioneer filmmakers. He is credited to have produced and directed 13 celluloid films through his production company, Edifosa Film Enterprise.

Eddie's Motivation

Eddie’s dexterity in filmmaking was fanned by the statement made by late American actor, Charlton Heston during the premier of Ben-Hur, an American epic historical drama film at the Glover Memorial Hall, Lagos Nigeria.
According to Eddie, Charlton said it was a shame that Nigeria (in 1959) had no film industry. That challenged the 18-year old Eddie Ugbomah to pitch a career in filmmaking. The desire to pioneer a film industry that will tell the Nigerian story by a Nigerian to Nigerians led to the formation of Edifosa Film Enterprise, Eddie’s film production outfit.

Eddie makes film to correct, analyse and criticize the society while maintaining its entertainment function. His films touch on cultural, social, economic, political and historical subject within the Nigerian context.
Eddie Ugbomah's films are highly didactic, enlightening, thought provoking and most especially daring! Majority of his films were culled from real issues and events.
Eddie is one of the few Nigerian filmmakers who has remained relevant in the industry despite his age and time spent in the industry - 51 years and counting.

Culture and the Historical Subject

The Mask (1979), directed and produced by Eddie Ugbomah introduced a cultural and historical subject of national importance.

Eddie on the Mask

The film was one of Eddie's hit movies that attracted the attention of the Nigerian and British Government.

Eddie produced The Mask (1979) as a response to the Britains refusal to return the masks during FESTAC 1977 with reasons that the ivories were too delicate to be returned back to Nigeria.
Eddie used the film as an exposition to Nigerians by recalling the history behind the capture of the Benin Masks after the defeat of the Benin Kingdom by Britain in the late 1890s during the reign of Oba Ovaranwen.

Major Obi (played by Ugbomah himself), the hero of this film, embarks on a secret mission to London to organise a break in of the British museum to retrieve the mask and return it to Nigeria. He receives training in military tactics, and on reaching London (where most of the action is staged) he confronts series of obstructions and attacks. The protagonist eventually escapes and plans another attack from his hiding place.

The Mask is a true story that uses the fictional narrative structure.
It resulted in the British Government inviting the Nigerian Government to come and buy their captured artifacts. Dr. Ekpo Eyo was the chief negotiator.

Corruption and Exploitation

Ediie Ugbomah used the Rise and Fall of Dr Oyenusi to teach the lesson that crime does not pay. The 35mm, 16mm, 120 minutes feature film recounts the story of a well-known thief and gang boss who operated in Lagos in the early '70s.

Eddie used the film to depict the senseless violence of armed robberies and the atrocious manner by which lives of innocent Nigerians were snuffed out.

Eddie on the Rise & Fall of Dr Oyenusi

The film is an adaptation of a real event about a notorious Nigerian robber ‘Doctor’ Ishola Oyenusi who was executed on September 8, 1971.

Death of a Black President (1983) is one of Eddie Ugbomah's most daring films. It captures and recalls the situation around the assassination of Nigeria's former military head of state, Gen. Murtala Muhammed.

It is worthy of note to know that the film poster was the original photo of late Gen. Murtala's at the assassination scene. Eddie was the only filmmaker granted the rare privilege to capture the photograph.

The film relays the events behind coup that led to the killing of the 180- day old Nigerian head of state, Gen Murtala Muhammed who was assassination in Ikoyi/Obalende road in Lagos, Nigeria.

Death of a Black President, educates, enlightens and entertains its audience while maintaining the morals of the ills of corruption in the society.
The film that mirrors the corruption associated with the Nigerian military government in the '80s.

The Boy is good (1982) foreshadows the present Internet fee Fraud prevalent among young adults in today's society.

The film drew inspiration from the happening in Nigeria in the late '70s and '80s. It was a time prevalent with corruption and nepotism. Boy is Good was drawn from the real experience of one of Eddie Ugbomah's friend who returned to Nigeria with Masters and Doctorate degree but could not get a job as a result of tribalism. Out of frustration, this fellow took to advanced fee fraud and a lot other vices just to make ends meet.

Eddie Ugbomah used the film to corrects, analyse and criticize the issue of nepotism and tribalism prevalent in the Nigerian civil service and pointed out its relationship in leading frustrated educated youths into becoming nuisance in the society.

Oil Doom (1979) is a critically acclaimed and award winning film by Eddie Ugbomah. The film was a foreshadow of Nigeria's oil doom during the period of oil boom.

On Oil Doom

It looks at the subject of corruption in the society in relation to exploitation and dissatisfaction by the youths in oil producing areas of Nigeria .

The film relays the exploitation and corrupt practices that go on in the oil producing states of Nigeria and how the owners are killed and denied their birthright.

Eddie Ugbomah is a film maker driven by the desire to use film as a social communication tool to effect change by exposing the ills in the society, correcting these ills and educating the audience in the process.
Eddie’s films are essentially woven in the rich tapestry of Nigeria’s social-political and cultural context.

Centenary Project
Credits: Story

Curator- Rita Moemeke
Coordinator - Patrick Enaholo
Films - Eddie Ugbomah
Media - Edifosa Film Enterprise, Funnelme, Wikipedia, Reuters, Nigerianmonitor

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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