ColumnsDon OkoloFilmLifestyleNigeriaAsaba: Rolls Like A Coyote: Barks Like A Hound Dog

I came here June the third, toting a baggage filled with movie paraphernalia and a stream-rolling set of props, believing that these gadgets were not available in Nigeria, and couldn’t be available in a distant city four hundred miles removed from Lagos. Prop guns, stilettos and swords were carefully packaged. I was ready, I thought. Blood phials I bought from a store on Highway 99 in Richmond and a couple of make-up boxes were in the cache. Yeah, you are right; I was locked and loaded, and Hollywood was coming with me. Boy, was I wrong!?!

I arrived Lagos, farting the guacamole and refried beans I ate at Gringos on my way to catch the KLM Flight out of Houston. When I got to the steaming city north of the Naija River, day was still young, and the clamor of noise, the incessant growling from bargain hunters, and those specialized, banshee-like howling filled the air. I stopped to listen, and heard acrimony here, and at the other end of the undulating lowlands, the cadence of other natural beats. That’s how one knows that they have arrived at anywhere Nigeria; when you can hardly decipher the brewing of bitterness and the cacophony of joy, all in that rare gumbo-like stirrings.

The City of Asaba has it all: Funk, Blues, and Rock &Roll.

What got to me was the city’s laid-back stance even as her innards were on fire and grumbling. She never wavered. She sits calmly, chewing her roasted corn and softened pear, watching perambulators, Okada bikers in the hundreds of thousands, Keke mini buses in the millions, all moving in an enviable symmetry of motion. Add music to the chaos and rumble and you will see the city transform from a battleground of exploding munitions, to one of absolute Idyllic maestro of orderliness. The traversing, the mishmash put together is poetry. I am not lying, fellows. I am not trying to prop up a dying enclave because my people own it. Nah! This city, with her unusual brand of ugliness, has that visible patina of incredible beauty in her structures, in her blend of culturally nuanced social beat-downs. It is that strange, extraordinary co-existence that adds luster and a vignette of unmistakable, tasty mouthfuls with every bite. NO OTHER CITY IN THE WORLD ROLLS THIS WAY. PERIOD! Remove the politics, and you will have a people of extemporaneous social niceties that includes fine food, and yesooo, imported Remy Martins at high-end  Galleries like Shoprite…a conglomerate of modern-day gadgets and goodies as one would find in any city in the world.

It doesn’t end there, people. It sure as freaking hell, doesn’t.

I unpacked my bags, and then realized that the movie business here has grown from a banal, street-side, guys, and gals meet-ups, to a franchise of absolute magnificence. You don’t believe me? Bring your production here and see for yourself. They have it here; the tools, the locations of houses, offices, and other bastions and edifices they have built to support filmmakers and filmmaking. I was in awe. These locations are for rent to make things easier for filmmakers.

Kudos to my Producer, Chika Elizzy Mbah, for putting it all together and making this shoot a flawless one. Thanks to Moses, the continuity guy…he did more than the title he wore on the set. Moses was the Script Supervisor, too, and in some instances took roles in some of the shorts. Thanks to a slew of actors (male/female): Valentina (The poster girl, also), Gloria, Nelly, Dorex…not durex, Resh, Beauty, Didi, Emma George, my incredible editor, Emma Kas, Sandra, Charles Okafor, Bryan, Sugar Boy, Linda Ojimba (Wardrobe babe) Priscilla, Falonzy, Salome, Oge, Hekka, Bobby T,  Don Obieze, and Cece. The caterer was exceedingly great. Ifenyinwa Fabian is her name. Esse, the Top10tv App designer is the man to go to. THANKS YA’LL. I will be coming back next summer for monsters like: THEY NEVER REALLY LEFT AND FIFTY EPISODES OF OGSex.

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