By Ebenezer Ishola
Lagos State Government has expressed displeasure with the promoters of the “Gangs of Lagos” film/series over what it described as “cultural misrepresentation” as well as portraying the culture of the state in a derogatory manner.
In a reaction by the state government, the Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf said the Ministry, being the regulatory body and custodian of the culture of Lagos State, viewed the film/series as a mockery of the Heritage of Lagos.
Earlier, Prince Uthman Shodipe-Dosunmu, the Apesinọla Ẹyọ Ọba Alakẹtẹ Pupa Ọkalaba Ẹkun, a cultural group, had condemned the film, calling for an immediate withdrawal.
Shodipe-Dosunmu described the film as “ethnic profiling, sacrilegious and outrageous trash.”
Meanwhile, the commissioner expressed her disappointment with the promoters of the film, Jade Osiberu and Kemi Akindoju, for portraying the Eyo Masquerade as a gun-wielding villain while adorning the full traditional regalia.
Instructively, the Eyo Festival is rarely observed and only comes up as a traditional rite of passage for Obas, revered Chiefs and eminent Lagos Indigenes while the Eyo Madquerade is used as a symbol of honour for such personalities and remarkable historical events.
According to Akinbile-Yussuf, “We are of the opinion that the production of the film ‘The Gang of Lagos’ is very unprofessional and misleading while its content is derogatory of our culture, with the intention to desecrate the revered heritage of the people of Lagos.
“It is an unjust profiling of a people and culture as being barbaric and nefarious. It depicts a gang of murderers rampaging across the State”.
The state government maintained that “the Adamu Orisha, popularly known as the Eyo Festival, is rarely observed and only comes up as a traditional rite of passage for Obas, revered Chiefs and eminent Lagosians.”
Akinbile-Yussuf, stressed that “the Eyo Masquerade is equally used as a symbol of honour for remarkable historical events.
“It signifies a sweeping renewal, a purification ritual to usher in a new beginning, a beckoning of new light, acknowledging the blessings of the ancestors of Lagosians.”
Lagosians are not Gangsters – Says Eyo custodian, Shodipe-Dosunmu
In an earlier reaction via a statement, Shodipe-Dosunmu, described the film as reckless, disgusting distortion of the sacred illustration of Lagos culture.
According to him, “There is a film presently being promoted by one Jade Osiberu and another character called Kemi Akindoju. The so-called movie is an ugly, hate filled mockery of the Lagosian heritage.
“In their reckless, disgusting distortion of the sacred illustration of the Lagosian culture the film makers reduced the Eyo masquerade into a gun toting killing machine, clothing their misfit actors in the full regalia of the Eyo and with the Aga depicting some Conclaves.
“This is a total abomination. It is not only a distortion of our culture; it is a dark insidious profiling of our people as criminals and murderers rampaging across Lagos.
“The Adamu Orisha is a treasured cleansing ritual, a sacred rite performed on the passage of an Oba or for their coronation.
“It is also used to honor distinguished Lagosians as their final rite of transition.
“Since Ejilu and Malakin, the brothers of Olori Olugbani first initiated the Eyo rite in celebration of Oba Ado Keme, the Adamu Orisha has become a sacred ancestral heritage celebrated with awe and deserving adoration.
“It signifies a sweeping renewal, a purificational ritual to usher in a new beginning, a beckoning of new light, acknowledging the blessings of our ancestors.
“To use the sacred Adamu Orisha Masquerade as an object of terror and loose criminality is to savage and despoil the Lagosian tradition.
“It is vile, evil, perverse; an utterly sadistic mangling of who we are as peace loving, accommodating and enlightened people.
“We demand an immediate withdrawal of this sacrilegious and outrageous trash.
“We demand that the National Film and Video Censors Board and all appropriate authorities to ban this blatant mockery disguising as cinematography and impose the most punitive sanctions on the sponsors of this venomous ethnic profiling.
“We also appeal to the Lagos State Government, the Oba of Lagos Alayeluwa Oba Rilwan Akinolu, all the custodians of our tradition including the Alaworo of Adamu Orisha and Akinsiku Chief Ademola Dosunmu to rouse up in protective defense of our tradition against the ravages of these agents of condemnable pollution of all that we cherish in this sacred soil of Oba Ado Keme.
“Ethnic profiling is recognized as a crime against humanity by the International Court of Justice.
“This provision can also be invoked against these sacrilegious hate baiters.”