Step Up Nigeria just launched Emeka’s Money Animated Film on our YouTube Page Step Up TV. The film features Emeka, who works for the Governor of his State, Governor Teso Chinedu Olayinka. Emeka’s friends pay Emeka a visit at the governor’s office that changes the lives of many people in the state. To get the full story, please watch the full short film.
Ahead of the launch, Step Up Nigeria podcast host Feranmi Adeola interviewed the cast members of the film. Here’s the interview with Raymond Abia who played Emeka’s close friend, Femi in the film.
Feranmi: Hello, please introduce yourself.
Raymond: My name is Raymond Abia and I am a voice actor and project manager. I played the character of Femi in Emeka’s money.
Feranmi: Thank you Raymond. It’s good having you on our podcast today. Tell us a bit about yourself. Have you ever been in an animated film or any other film before this particular film?
Raymond: I have featured in Downtown Lagos produced by Basement animation, which has an episode that is about corruption and I have also starred in the pilot edition of the Adefellas’. I have also done voice acting for a number of commercials, such as the Nigerian stock exchange, Bill gates foundation, inverter companies, Philips, and back to school promos. Those are the ones I can remember at the top of my head.
Feranmi: It appears you have that golden voice, people are looking for.
Feranmi: What stood out to you first when you first got the script? And how do you feel about being part of this animated film since you have been part of other ones?
Rodney: I felt really excited to be part of the film because of its focus. These are issues that need to be addressed. Not a lot of attention is paid to this type of issue and when you look at the numbers in public corruption you know that corruption is a serious issue in Nigeria. In 2019 alone we paid about N675 billion Naira in bribes and when you look at the value of Nollywood as of 2016, it’s about N240 billion Naira. You find out that corruption is a more lucrative industry than Nollywood. It makes sense that we start addressing issues like this and start feeding people with the right type of information and hopefully when they get this information, they begin to know better, when they know better, they begin to act better. It was a good thing being part of something positive and adding value.
Feranmi: So Raymond, you played Emeka’s close friend Femi. I think every Nigerian politician has a Femi in their lives, I mean you are a politician, your job is to help friends and families right? So how did you get into character to play Femi and how has playing Femi affected you personally?
Raymond: I think corruption is an issue that everybody can relate to. What this film did was that it brought it closer to home to show that corruption is not as far away from us as we think. The film brought it closer to us and showed us the impact of corruption in our everyday lives. It also shows that corruption can be as little as doing your friend a favour that he doesn’t deserve or getting him a job he doesn’t deserve. I really felt the obligation of that role.I didn’t really have to do much thinking of getting into character because this is something I can relate with.
Speaking about the influence of the movie, while we were recording, I went to get my NIN number at their Alausa office in Lagos, and if you know Lagos and the hustle, you have to get there by 4am so that you can queue up and get a good number. When I got there at 4am, there were only 2 people on the queue, I asked what’s the next number, I was told I am number 35. I was shocked but I knew fully well that it was because the numbers in between will be sold to other people who will come later and you cannot argue or report to anybody. Now from 4am, you won’t enter the premises until 7am to write your name. I have gone there like 3 or 4 times to do this but on this particular day, I got in by 7am, I wrote down my name, and by 9am-11am, they called us inside. After writing down my name, I had to get to the office quickly to do something, before I got back, they had called my name so I couldn’t get my slot inside. I went to meet the official to tell him that I was absent when he called me and the official told me that there was no need to be hustling outside with small people, that I should just pay him a N5000 Naira bribe to gain access. Now, above his head, there was a large poster that said ‘NIN is free’ and this official tried to extort me right under the banner. I was considering paying then I thought to myself “I am recording a show on corruption, I cannot do this, I am not a preacher of corruption lol. At the end, we didn’t pay the N5,000 and we had to go back another day. That’s one way the film has influenced me.
Feranmi: What message do you have for anyone who watches this film?Raymond: Like I said earlier, it’s about getting good information, because when you know better, you act better. So come 29th of May, prepare to have your minds blown. Great quality work and first of its kind in Africa.
To listen to the full podcast, see below;