No amount of blackmail can pull Kannywood down – Nura

Alhaji Nura Hussein, who was born in 1978 in Yakasai quarters, Kano Municipal Area, attended both primary and secondary schools in the state and later proceeded to Aminu Kano College of Islamic and Legal Studies but left before he completed his course. Today, Nura who is popularly referred to as Yasayyadi is a successful Kannywood actor and producer, married with seven children. In this interview with ALIYU ASKIRA in Kano, he discusses his contributions to the Hausa film industry’s growth, his take on the recently cancelled proposed film village, as well as how Kannywood has come to stay.

As somebody that has vast knowledge in Qur’an, in fact some people call you Imam but why did you join Hausa Film Industry which Ullamas have described as Bidi’ah?
I have no regret joining kannywood. I am not only an actor I am also a producer, apart from several films I featured in I also produced many films like Lokaci, Farin Wata, Indaranka and Fati’yarAdamawa. Let me tell you that in every profession there are bad eggs and decent people, in Kannywood we have those who are here to make money by all means and they can do anything to achieve that, there are also those who are purely here on business and they are successful by all standard. Today it is too late for our enemies to pull us down because Kannywood has become an institution, there is no house hold or family that today doesn’t listen to our music or watch our films, and in our films you will never see us hugging or kissing. While in Nollywood, Gollywood, Hollywood and other major film production outfits one can notice the immoral activities that they do.
We are the most disciplined film industry in the world but because we are now making money, riding big cars, marrying beautiful wives and living comfortably, people are now saying Hausa film is Haram, this is far from the truth. People want to associate with us they invite us for ceremonies; they listen to our music and use it during weddings and political rallies. If what we are doing is Haram those patronizing us are also sinners.

What is your view on the controversial film village project which has now been reportedly shifted from Kano to Lagos?
It is very sad. The project was to be built in Kano because Kano is the Home of Kannywood, Kano has powerful Hisbah board, it has several international Markets, therefore Kano is the right place to locate film village. We are aware of those who worked hard to kill the project, unfortunately the used our respected Ullamas to create the impression that if the project takes off will create all sort of bad social vices in Kano state, like lesbianism, homosexual activities, drugs consumptions and what have you. But actually the intention of federal government was to develop our film market by establishing the village which will have, police post, international studios, cinema houses, access roads, swimming pool, theatre studios that will be manned by professor and expert people will be coming from all over the world to shoot films here and expose our rich culture to the world, and government will earn billions in revenue.
Honourable Abdulmumini Jibril Kofa, who worked hard for the project to be sited in Kano was misunderstood by our people and some Abuja politicians to kill the project, may Allah bless him for his effort and may he win on the ongoing fight between him and some corrupt officials of the house of the representatives.

What are some of the things Kannywood members are doing to in the area of polishing the image of the industry to the admiration of the society?
I want to say that if you have been watching my films they are all about societal problems and on the need for people to take life easy as preached by the Holy Prophet of Allah. Apart from that I have Islamiyya School called ‘Al-Ansar’ in Yakasai quarters; some of us including women members of Kannywood have built mosques in our communities. Recently, Rahama Sadau donated several bags of Rice and clothes including money to people in IDP camps in Abuja and Kaduna.
There is one particular female Kannywood member that is always going to hospitals in Kano to pay hospital bills for the less privileged but people are not talking about this all they know is to call us all sort of names to pull us down yet some of them go after our beautiful female members. We know them but we prefer not to expose them. However, our industry is growing by the day. More than five million people are today earning their living from our activities. Our main problems are piracy but I am happy that the Federal Government is taking steps to address that.

In 2015 your members campaigned vigorously for President Buhari.  Do you think he would get your votes again 2019?
When he won in 2015 we visited him in Daura and he told us that his government would fight piracy, unemployment, corruption and insecurity. President Buhari is doing an excellent job, we will campaign for him in 2019, the man gave us film village, those who don’t mean well for Kano state and the entire North killed the project. It has now been relocated to Lagos state, former Governor Ibrahim Shekarau promised to build film village in Kano, no Ulama challenged him by then. Kwankwaso built film academy no body complained about it.
Now they are complaining about film village because some politicians are using them, in 2019 by the grace of God we are going to give President Buhari our votes 100% and in Kano we are going to give Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje our votes 100%. The present hardship people are facing is global, oil is no longer selling, Buhari inherited an economy that already collapsed, so far his government has defeated Boko Haram, and we now have peace. What is left is to pray hard for him to overcome other challenges especially those coming from the Niger Delta and corrupt people who are resisting change. The future of this country is bright, lets us support Buhari so that Nigeria will regain its lost glory.

Tell us about one of the greatest setbacks the industry had ever faced?
One of the setbacks the industry faced was when the former governor Ibrahim Shekarau through one Abubakar Rabo the then Director General of Kano Films and Censorship Board nearly killed Hausa film industry in the North. They sent some of our members to jail, some left Kano because of the Hiyana saga and some of us are yet to return to the profession, Nura has actually returned but I am now into other business designing and selling clothes to my customers all over the country. I am also into politics, Shekarau nearly killed the industry but now we are back richer and stronger.

What about setbacks you have ever faced, do you have any?
In 2003, after some respected Nigerians convinced President Buhari to join politics and contest for the presidency under the then defunct ANPP, as someone believed in General Buhari’s integrity and principle decided to contest for councillorship position in Yakasai, my ward where I defeated 11 other contestants to pick the ticket but because of the controversial Maryam Hiyana sex scandal which hit Kannywood then, people petitioned the national electoral commission to disqualify me on the ground that I did not come from a decent profession. When I stepped down, my party lost in the election.

Where do you see the industry in the near future?
Governor Ganduje has even built a film market for us and other outlets in all the 44 local governments in Kano state through the effort of Ismail Na Abba Afakallah, who also bought machines that enter remote areas to promote and monitor our activities, we are grateful to him. Governor Ganduje and President Buhari, We also inaugurated Kano chapter of Hausa Editors Guild under the leadership of Alhassan Kwalli, as such very soon people will see changes in our activities.

What is your view on the political rift between Senator Kwankwaso and Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje
Well as far as I am concerned, there is no rift between these two illustrious sons of Kano state. When Kwankwaso was the state’s governor he governed Kano the way he wanted it and governor Ganduje was then his deputy and accepted Kwankwaso as our leader in Kano state. All of us were loyal and contributed our quota for him to succeed, today Ganduje is the governor of Kano state and APC leader senator Kwankwaso is expected to accept the new arrangement. We cannot have two governors or leaders at the same time. Ganduje is our leader I belong to his group and because of the excellent work he is doing in Kano we will support him in 2019 to complete his second term in office.