NOLLYWOOD producers plan to take the UK film industry by storm with the showing of a new movie about the life and assassination of former head of state General Murtala Mohammed who was gunned down in a bloody coup in 1976.
Regarded by many as the most dynamic Nigerian leader ever, General Mohammed was shot on his way to work in February 1976 in Lagos. To mark the occasion 40 years later, Nollywood intends to show a film titled, ’76 inspired by that dark episode in Nigeria’s history come October.
This will be the first Nigerian film to have its European premiere at the prestigious BFI London Film Festival in October. The film, a love story embedded in treason, intrigue, patriotism and faith is set in Ibadan, Oyo State, against the backdrop of transition and the struggle for political stability in 1976 and is inspired by real life events that led to the assassination of General Mohammed.
According to organisers,76 the multi-million dollar landmark Nigerian cinematic production, is already scheduled to make a global opening at the 41st Toronto International Film Festival later this month. This is the first Nollywood film to be chosen by both Toronto and London film festivals back-to-back and is a new milestone in African cinema.
Already, the film, cast and crew have received a major boost with a high profile endorsement from the head of state who succeeded the General Mohammed at the time, former president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Chief Obasanjo who later went on to become a two-term president, described ‘76 as the best view of one of the worst times in our nation’s history.
He added: “It is a must watch and an insight that was long overdue. Watching the attention to detail and hearing my own voice in February 1976, brought out both sweet and sour memories as Murtala Mohammed was not only my boss, he was my friend.
“I cannot attest to what went on in the homes as we were focused on the field. However, this film gives even I, an insight into that.”