Tuesday, March 21, 2023



A place for Peace among the Stars

A place for Peace among the Stars
January 18
05:33 2023

Our dear friend, Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, went on a long journey last week and she is not likely to be back soon. No, not ever. She has gone the way of all mortals, living behind a gamut of works packed into her short lifespan to speak for her in a most voluble way.

Hers is a life which nobody forgets; her journey lingers in memory, sweetly, like the aftertaste of black soup washed down with generous cold water after a sumptuous evening meal. That residual sweetness resonates a good life and sweetness which a chance encounter with Peace could ignite and remain ever aglow.

With Peace, life sparks light and rippling ideas, like a particular night in Finland when the Sun does not go down at all. Do you prefer to call it Nightless Night or the Midnight Sun or even Polar Day? It is one day nature shows another face to keep humans delirious for all of twenty four hours. In bright Sunshine, like Peace and her pot of ideas.

Circumlocution can be a way of burying pain my dear, just looking for fitting words to mask a void. Peace’s departure suddenly magnified a void which venerated movie maker, Amaka Igwe, had left years ago, since April 2014.


They were two amazons who bonded to promote a nascent industry from different ends and they made strong impressions and left indelible imprints all over for the discerning minds to behold as clear paths into the future.

Peace had boldness mixed with smartness and was formidably built to fly the industry flag beyond the confines  of our nation.

I didn’t always know Peace. But one night in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, I can’t remember whether it was at AFRICAST, the flagship event by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) which used to gather broadcasters from Africa and beyond in Abuja every two years, until the coming of this administration, she premiered a documentary on Bayelsa State, the home of Oloibiri – the first location crude oil was discovered in Nigeria in 1956.


I remember that night very well. There was outrage. Hardly anybody in the audience agreed with her interpretation of the state in that documentary. Harsh words came in torrents for Peace but her peace was hardly impaired. She had a smile for every criticism, she had a thick skin to deflect very hurting adjectives.

“We can always do another cut and voice it all over again,” she said with a stubborn smile. It was the beginning of her climb, a paradigm of one who would stoop to conquer. It was her beginning to reach the world, and she got there in no time.

Earlier on we were on a couple of trips to South Africa, at Sithengi in Cape Town, which was one of the pioneer spots where she began marketing her ideas internationally. She was an industry ambassador extraordinaire and had no apologies for her bullish belief in an industry that was to take the world totally unaware. Nobody can diminish her contributions in this respect.

Only a few people will have the idea of what it takes to start and fund a film industry academy awards and find a place for it in the global calendar of entertainment events. Before starting the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), Peace traversed the world film festivals, especially the Cannes Film Festival, where she would secure a night to host a party and draw global attention to her creative octopus that was springing out of a beautiful embryo.


It was therefore very elevating when a friend conversant with the global film circuit asked about Peace in a far away land. Who is that Peace from Nigeria? She must be very powerful to attract some big star personalities to her party in Cannes.

I had a suppressed laugh. What Peace wants Peace gets because she is so focussed and very determined to achieve her goals.

She put together a jury comprising a constellation of movie personalities, which include: Keith Shiri, Steve Ayorinde (Chair of the Jury who, in those days, was arguably the most prominent Nigerian journalist at the Cannes Film Festival), Shuabu Hussein, Bernie Goldblat, Asantewa Olatunji, June Givianni, Dorothee Wenner, Ayoku Babu, Ambassador Savadego Phillip, John Akomfrah, Charles Burnett and Prof Hyginus Ekwuazi. The thirteenth member, Amaka Igwe, took an early exit for a protracted but deserved rest. It was a good cast by all standards and they did their job with relish.

AMAA was a major hit ab initio. Luckily she found the ears of the authorities in Bayelsa State who gave impetus to her ideas. It was always a carnival as the entertainment world with all its stars visited Bayelsa once a year. In one of those awards, Cuba Gooding Jr  of Boyz n the Hood fame and Oscar winner with Jerry McGuire was in attendance. There was hardly a better opportunity to market a very small state which would one day produce a President for Nigeria in the person of Dr Goodluck Jonathan.


Lagos State trailed Bayelsa in domesticating AMAA, and the environment has not just been appropriate but lavish and stupendously inviting, with the right hotel picks and locations to boost the ego of movie super stars, a percentage of whom love to walk with their heads in the wind.

From the federal government to her home state, Imo, other state governments, professional colleagues and other professions, tributes are pouring for Peace. She deserves them all without demanding them. She earned all the plaudits and should be proud to wear a garland on her way home.


The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed described Peace as “a legend, strong and positive force in the nation’s creative Industry’’. He appealed passionately that her AMAA dream should not be allowed to die.

But I particularly love the submissions of Rita Dominic and Ramsey Nouah. For Rita,


“We have lost an enigma, an icon, a trailblazer. We have lost a sister. We have lost the founder and director of the Africa Movie Academy Award  – it is so difficult to say goodbye.”

A pained Ramsey said: “I wish that maybe it’s all a nightmare I will wake up from. You had plans. There were so many heights to reach, so many grounds to break and so many destinies waiting to take flight on the wings of your platform. Life really is fleeting.”


The truth is that so many destinies have already been made from the AMAA platform. Peace was a star maker of sorts. Sometimes, it is not always about the movie but about the right platform for the movie to gain traction and explode. She provided a platform for industry players to shine, from the super star to the little supernumerary who is looking for a place under the sun. Peace put sheen on them and gave them a voice.

I am happy to read that the family has promised to sustain her legacy. That is great news to hear as her memory deserves every encouragement. Peace was more than an industry awards organiser. The industry needed her intellect, boldness and determination to put a leg through the door in the pursuit of a broad vision, and she was not selfish in offering all.

She was more than an industry impresario; she was also its ambassador. Thankfully, Peace has left us with enough work to last us more than a lifetime. She merits her place among the Stars and may her memory remain a blessing.

Views expressed by contributors are strictly personal and not of TheCable.


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