hmed Muhammed Sarari is the former National President of Motion Pictures Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MOPPAN), the apex filmmaking association, especially in the North. He announced his resignation on January 30, 2024. In this interview with Daily Trust Saturday’s Weekend Trust, Sarari talks about his travails, successes and reasons behind his resignation.
Can you tell us what really prompted your resignation as MOPPAN President?
I have been an active member of the association for over two decades and I believe that I extended a reasonable amount of contribution towards the development of the filmmaking industry during these years. Moreover, time will surely attest to the level of development we have so far brought to the system during our stewardship in MOPPAN.
I was elected to serve for a 2-year term which I did, and I had made it clear to the public that I have no intention of running for a second term. But ironically, after a successful completion of the first term, I was compelled to contest unopposed. Various measures were adopted to persuade me, important dignitaries, government officials and other relevant authorities were asked to lobby me. I had no option but to succumb and contest unopposed. That was how I came as president for the second term.
However, during the association’s congress held in June 2023, the association’s constitution was amended and in that amendment, leadership tenure was extended to 3 years and the amendment will be effective with the current leadership of the association. This means, as leaders of the association, our tenure is being extended by a year.
Similarly, my resignation is a personal wish based on my self-set principles, and it didn’t contradict the provision of the amended constitution of the association. Other elected officers will continued with their jobs under the new leadership of one of my deputies in charge of the North central, Malam Habibu Muhammad Barde, till January 31, 2025 when our extended tenure will expire.
How would you say you met MOPPAN?
I met MOPPAN in a state of limbo, with only N29, 000 in its account. The association’s registration at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) was faulty and even the organizational structure was erratic. I took it upon myself to rectify the gaps and repositioned it to its deserved position.
How would you say you have left the association?
I left the association as a fully registered autonomous entity with good marketing strategies as well as sources of earning income. I left the association with a sound account far better than I met it.
How much did you leave in the association’s account?
This is something I can’t publicly say, but the up-to-date audited account of the association is part of the document I have handed over. You may wish to check with the leadership, but I can’t say the exact amount. However, I am certain I left a reasonable amount of money in the association’s account.
What would you say were your successes during your tenure?
Before the MOPPAN election of 2019, we had set about seven campaign manifestoes for ourselves and to the glory of God, we delivered most of our campaign promises.
We have succeeded in returning the association’s integrity in the eyes of the public, especially the government and other national and state’s agencies. We have also succeeded in regularizing the association’s registration with CAC, as well as the amendment of the association’s constitution.
During our time, we also incorporated eligible members into professional guilds and associations to play roles in the association’s electioneering processes.
What were your memorable moments as president of MOPPAN?
My memorable moment as president was when everyone in the sector rallied behind me to pass a vote of confidence in my leadership and also solicited for my consent to go for a second term despite my declaration that I wouldn’t contest for a second tenure. The level of confidence vested in my leadership was so overwhelming that no one deemed it a feat to contest; I was made to contest unopposed.
Another is our revival of the filmmaking business through the adoption of modern methodologies and other innovations adopted. During our time, we managed to steer a smooth transition from what we were used to, to what we have today. I am proud to announce that today, we have a Hausa movie on Netflix and also there are over 500 YouTube channels for Hausa films alone and still counting. By this, it means we have facilitated the engagement of more youths in being productive and not redundant as their source of living is being expanded as the industry expands.
These are some of the most memorable moments that I would always cherish and treasure.
What were your trying moments as MOPPAN president?
In every responsibility assigned to an individual, there are indeed several issues in the form of challenges that one has to manage and control. No doubt, there are challenges and my trying moments were when we wanted to get the association back on its feet with little or no source of income.
What are your parting words?
I am human and I may knowingly or unknowingly have offended or done something wrong to some people. Therefore, I want these people to find it in their heart to forgive me as I have forgiven anyone who had knowingly or unknowingly offended me.
I want to also state here that by resigning, it doesn’t mean that I would not be part of the industry any longer. No, I have made it clear that I am always ready to render any form of assistance needed in ensuring that the industry moves forward and I will always be a part and parcel of the industry. It has been my constituency and will always be my constituency.