Dear Funke Akindele ,

I’m Prince Ukuanovwe Godstime OJ, a leading Nigerian Indigenous language activist and a scribe of the UPU (Urhobo Progress Union).

I’m writing to you today with utmost respect and concern regarding the casting of a non-Urhobo actor for the role of Ejiro Jedidah, an Urhobo character, in your widely acclaimed movie, “A Tribe Called Judah.”

I previously mentioned this in a review I did about the movie, where I praised your artistry and creativity. However, the choice of Owuru Olumide for the role of Ejiro was not only an oversight but also undermines your overall efforts.

I’m writing this note for the sake of posterity and to address any future occurrences of a similar nature. Having Olumide Owuru play the character of Ejiro Judah not only disappoints the Urhobo people of the Niger Delta but also diminishes the linguistic and cultural essence of the character.

You may have noticed that while Shina, Pere, Adamu, and even Emeka were able to authentically portray the cultural and linguistic nuances of their respective ethnic nationalities, there was a significant disconnect with Ejiro Judah (Owuru Olumide), despite his professional acting skills.

Moreover, the attached picture in this post adds insult to injury, as it misrepresents the appearance of a supposed Ejiro from Abraka, Agbarho, Okere, or any other of the Urhobo kingdoms and communities in Delta State, Nigeria, who would traditionally wear an ewu (shirt) and an Ogbru (male wrapper of 6 yards) and a bowler cap.

He is supposed to be Ejiro Jedidah from Urhobo, but he is wearing an entirely different cultural attire of the Edo people. Meanwhile, the other cast members are dressed in accordance with the cultural attire of their characters.

While I understand that the picture is for promotional purposes, I would advise that this error be corrected in future representations.

It is also important to note that the word ‘Urhobo’ refers to both the Urhobo-speaking people of the Niger Delta and the Urhobo language itself. Urhobo is not an offshoot of any ethnic nationality in Nigeria. In fact, Urhobo remains the 5th largest ethnic nationality in Nigeria in terms of population and landscape. It’s crucial to avoid any misrepresentation of its identity

I hope you take this feedback into consideration for future projects, as it is crucial to accurately represent the cultural diversity of our nation.

Prince Ukuanovwe Godstime OJ (PUGO)
A linguist writes from Lagos Nigeria

By osibanews

Eliel Otote A is an Actor and Filmmaker, with a bias for journalism. He was a freelance feature writer with the Nigerian Observer in the 80's in Benin City, he also presented programmes on both radio and television. Eliel is the Editor and Publisher of OSIBAnews Network Magazine, of which this blog is an affiliate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *