Mo Abudu, owner of EbonyLife TV recently signed a deal with Netflix to produce Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horsemen, Lola Shoneyin’s Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s wives along with two other originals.
Though there is yet no public mention of the figures involved, it could run into hundreds of millions of naira, based on Netflix’s acquisition of Nigerian movies in the past. This could have an impressive impact on Nigeria’s GDP as Nollywood is said to account for up to 5% of the country’s GDP.
The TV producer recently took to her Instagram handles to tell her 728k followers about how she secured the rights to the books.
Death and the King’s Horseman
About Soyinka’s play, the journey to secure rights to the book started in 2015 when Abudu approached Wole Soyinka to make an offer on the rights to produce the drama into a film series.
According to Abudu, this play was a first choice for her when she first decided to venture into production of produce IP related projects. It took 5 years of discussions and negotiations to finally seal the deal, which now involves global streaming platform – Netflix.
For Professor Wole Soyinka, he has no doubt that the product of this partnership will be of impressive global standards and quality.
“Mo Abudu’s incursion into this arena as film and television producer has been especially stimulating. It becomes part of one’s sense of achievement if one has contributed, however minutely, to the creation of an enabling environment,” he said.
Securing rights to Lola Shoneyin’s prose
Abudu revealed in her post that her desire to produce the book started from reading the book in 2017. She was immediately struck by the plot, she said, and she knew it would make a great film or TV series.
And so, for the last three years, it has been series of meetings and negotiations, eventually culminating in the Netflix deal.
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Good morning beautiful people. It's been such a glorious weekend ❤❤❤ Once again, thank you all so much for all your beautiful messages. I am so excited about our slate of projects with Netflix, and our first Netflix Original Series will be THE SECRET LIVES OF BABA SEGI'S WIVES. I had heard so much about the book and l only got round to reading the book in 2017. As soon as i finished reading it, I knew this had to become a film or TV series, my next assignment was tracking Lola Shoneyin down and convincing her to give me the rights to the book. 😂😂💃🏿💃🏿 Oh boy was I in for a ride or what 😂😂, my concerns ranged from would she trust me, would we get on, would we support each other as women and so much more was playing on my mind, but I kept an open mind and approached Lola with complete transparency and honesty about my intent and desire to acquire the rights to Baba Segi. One meeting led to another, this took a minute 😁😁, but I was patient, we have over the years become friends and eventually the deal was done 💃🏽💃🏽💃🏽. But I must add, that on meeting Lola we just connected, it was as if I had known her all my life. We have the most fascinating discussions and she cracks me up non stop 😂😂😂. Dear Lola, thank you so much for trusting me with this precious work. ❤❤ We are super excited about partnering with Netflix on bringing this story to millions of people around the world. Below is a quote from Lola, which forms part of the press statement issued on Friday : “I was thrilled when Mo contacted me about making a show out of my novel ,The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives. I’d turned down so many offers but this one felt right. It was an opportunity to see my work in the hands of a woman who pursued excellence in Africa in the same way that I did. I grew to trust her very quickly, so when she told me about the possibility of working with Netflix, I was overjoyed. Soon, people everywhere will have access to the story of Baba Segi. And that is more that I could have asked for as a writer.” #MoAbuduXLolaShoneyin #BabaSegiComingToNetflix #AfricaRiseAndShine #NigeriaToTheWorld #EbonyLifeChangingTheNarrative #netflixebonylifepartnership
About the deal, Lola Shoneyin said in her statement that she had turned down several other offers to make a show out of the prose, but Abudu struck her as the right person for the deal.
“It was an opportunity to see my work in the hands of a woman who pursued excellence in Africa in the same way that I did. I grew to trust her very quickly, so when she told me about the possibility of working with Netflix, I was overjoyed. Soon, people everywhere will have access to the story of Baba Segi. And that is more that I could have asked for as a writer,” Shoneyin said.
Casting begins for the Netflix original
Mo Abudu gave rundown of the plot of the book in a recent post, and asked for suggestions on characters for the book.
“I value your feedback and opinions. Who would you like to see play these roles from the most talented line-up of Nigerian actors you love and respect? Please do not forget, we need oscar winning performances o!!,” she wrote.
The role of Baba Segi got nominations like Jide Kosoko, Kunle Bamtefa, Akin Williams, while Rachel Oniga, Sola Sobowale, Eniola Badmus, Ngozi Nwosu were nominated into Iya Segi’s role.
Ireti Doyle, Bisola Aiyeola, Toyin Abraham was also nominated for the role of Iya Femi, the second wife.
Funlola Aofiyebi, Nse Ikpe Etim, Bimbo Akintola, Kate Henshaw were nominated to play the role of Iya Tope, while the role of quiet but sophisticated Bolanle got nominations like Omoni Oboli, Sharon Ooja, Kehinde Bankole, Kemi Lala Akindoju, and Adesua Etomi Wellington.
For Soyinka’s play, Abudu also summarized the plot and requested nominations from her followers.
Being a culturally intense plot with poetic lines, there is a need to use actors who understand the culture and can interpret it in the theatrics.
There were nominations like Femi Branch, Baba Wande and Richard Mofe Damijo as Elesin, Joke Silva and Iya Rainbow as Iyaloja, Hafiz Oyetoro, Seun Ajayi, Odunlade Adekola, Ronke Oshodi, Lateef Adedimeji Kehinde Bankole/ Bisola Aiyeola, Demola Adedoyin, Fausat Balogun among others.
Fans are sure looking forward to the screen productions, and there are hopes as well that the originals will not be star-studded but allow a few new actors in the industry.
NAICOM issues operational licences to 6 reinsurance companies and 1 reinsurer
Four new insurance firms and one reinsurance company have been issued operational licenses by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM).
The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has issued operational licences to six new insurance firms and one reinsurer.
This was disclosed by the NAICOM boss, Mr. Sunday Thomas, while handing over operational licenses to the five firms at the NAICOM Head Office in Abuja today.
The new firms are Heirs Insurance Limited (General); Stanbic IBTC Insurance Limited; Heirs Life Assurance Limited; Enterprise Life Assurance Company Nigeria Limited; and FBS Reinsurance Limited, Salam Takaful, and Cornerstone Insurance Co. Limited.
According to Mr. Thomas, “The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) received applications from the under listed companies for registration as Insurance and Reinsurance Companies to transact insurance and reinsurance business in Nigeria. In fulfilment of the statutory provisions of extant laws for the registration/licensing of insurance Companies, the general public is hereby informed that the Commission has commenced the process of registering the companies.”
What you should know
Heirs Insurance Limited (General) has Mr. Olaniyi Stephen Onifade as its Managing Director; Mr. Akinjide Orimolade, Stanbic IBTC Insurance Limited; Mr. Abah Okoriko, Heirs Life Assurance Limited; and Mrs. Fumilayo Abimbola Omo, Enterprise Life Assurance Company Nigeria Limited.
FBS Reinsurance Limited is to be led by the former Commissioner of Insurance, Fola Daniel, along with other seasoned professionals from the brokerage and underwriting units of the industry like Bala Zakariyau, the former Managing Director of Niger Insurance, Ahmed Olaniyi Salawu of the Standard Insurance Consultants, and Wole Oshin of the Custodian Investment Plc.
Nigeria edges closer to getting World Bank loan, in the final stages of talk
The Finance Minister has disclosed that Nigeria has fulfilled the conditions and is in the last stages of securing a World Bank loan.
Nigeria is set to achieve its plans of getting the $1.5 billion World Bank loan package as it is in the closing stages of the deal following its fulfilment of the conditions set by the international multilateral organization.
This disclosure was made by the Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, during an interview on Friday, November 27, 2020, with Bloomberg Television.
While pointing out that Nigeria’s senate approved the borrowing plan from the World Bank in June, Ahmed said the board of the multilateral institution will discuss the loan package at their next meeting.
What you should know
It can be recalled that the World Bank loan which had been sought by Nigeria in the wake of the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic, was being delayed by the Brettonwood institution due to concerns over reforms as it feels that Nigeria has not shown enough commitment towards achieving them.
Some of the reforms include the unification and flexibility of the exchange rate, removal of fuel subsidy, increase in electricity tariffs amongst others.
However, it seems that with the recent deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil industry with the attendant removal of fuel subsidy and increase in electricity tariff, some of those concerns of the World Bank are gradually being sorted out.
Ahmed also said that Nigeria is considering joining the G-20 debt-relief initiative and is talking to commercial lenders to secure their backing.
She said, “We will consider joining as long as it is safe for us to do so. Nigeria couldn’t participate initially because some of the conditions were unfavourable for existing loan commitments with bilateral lenders and other international borrowings.”
On the increased gap between the official rate and parallel market rate, the minister said the government is concerned about the widening gap in the naira’s exchange rate on the official and parallel markets.
She said, “We have been taking measures to close the gap. We hope to get to an even level very soon so the impact of the exchange rate will become moderated.”
Covid-19: Africa prepared for possible second wave – Africa CDC
Africa CDC has confirmed its preparedness for the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19 pandemic in Africa.
The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed its preparedness for the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19 pandemic in Africa, especially with the current upsurge of active cases.
This disclosure was made by the Director, Africa CDC, Dr. John Nkengasong, during the teleconference Weekly Press Briefing on #COVID-19 on November 26, 2020.
According to him, Africa CDC has started to distribute 2.7 million rapid antigen tests with the hope that by mid-2021, the health officials would have been able to vaccinate about 60% of the continent’s population with one of the several promising new vaccines — it all depends on the cooperation and support of the continent’s leaders.
What they are saying
According to Dr. Nkengasong: “To achieve 60% vaccination, we will need to mobilise up to about $10 to $12 billion, including the cost of buying the vaccines and the cost of delivering the vaccines. So, that is the 60% mark that we really want to achieve. And I just really want everyone on this platform and our partners to understand that as a continent, that is our aspiration and goal.”
As the end-of-year holidays are around the corner, Dr. Nkengasong advised: “Do not relent in wearing masks. One message that is emerging across the visits we are conducting across the continent is that people are not masking enough. And in some settings, absolutely it seems like they are not masking at all. And that is extremely dangerous.”
What you should know
- As of November 26, 2020, Africa had 2,106,931 confirmed caseloads, with a death toll of 50,628 and 1,781,744 persons recovered.
- The Southern African region is the worst hit both in terms of the number of confirmed positive cases and deaths.
- South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, and Ethiopia are the most affected countries in terms of number of positive cases.
- South Africa is presently the worst hit with active cases of 775,502.