You’ll really have to be deaf, blind or infirm in someplace if you say you haven’t heard or read about the Ese Oruru case. I mean, the one that polarised Nigerians like no case has in the last few years. Ese Oruru, the then 14-year-old girl from Bayelsa State, who was abducted early 2016 by Yunusa a.k.a. Yellow, a 25-year-old Hausa man, and freighted off to Kano where she was converted from Christianity to Islam and subsequently housed as a child bride by her abductor.
If you are like me, you might also have read and heard the different versions of the story, from every angle imaginable, “she was hypnotised”, “she was in love”, “she was abducted”, “she was poisoned”, “she was raped”, “she ran away from abusive parents”, “she …”
You may also have aired your own opinions or perhaps not.
Either way, this is one case that has pitted brother against brother; Christianity against Islam, the North against the South and showed how very much divided we still are as a nation.
No point adding ink to an over flogged issue that too much spittle and vituperations have gone into; what concerns me today is how we Nigerians can make the most of a bad situation and by that, I mean, what blockbuster movie can come off this debacle, especially as one thought that the story ended with the child being returned home to her parents.
This week, however, a new chapter opened in the case with the sentencing to prison of Yellow by a court in Bayelsa State for 26 long years.
Now, lest you think me bonkers, don’t be surprised if some beady-eyed Hollywood producer or Director is already gathering his cast to begin a shoot of Ese Oruru’s biopic.
Ok, ok, so maybe it won’t be a biopic on a huge scale but if you watch enough of these Hollywood films, you’ll realise that it doesn’t take a story the size of Ese’s to make a blockbuster movie. They are always looking to tell history in a hurry.
Wasn’t it our very own Chibok Girl’s story that Hollywood took and made mincemeat of in one episode of the TV series, State of Affairs with Alfre Woodard and Katherine Heigl. After watching it, a good number of us were yakking about “How they misrepresented the story”, “How come Ibo was being spoken instead of Hausa? Yakity, yakity yak!”
Who stopped our producers here from shooting the film and telling the story from our perspective? No one!
So, please, I’m calling on the likes of Kunle Afolayan, TChidi Chikere, Mildred Okwo and the slew of fine producers and directors that recently won awards at the recent AMVCA, come forth like Lazarus, come forth and breathe good life into Ese’s story because it is one hell of a story!
Nigerian journalists knocked themselves out: postulating, investigating, checking sources and rewriting the Ese story; the dailies and online media were replete with them all and since we have read as many as we could, it is now time for Nollywood to get its act together, literally and figuratively and create a movie that will blow our minds.
If we were in America, Ese and her parents would have been signing a book deal with some ghostwriter penciled down to pen it by now and you can be sure, she’ll make millions off the sale. So here’s a call to ghostwriters and able bodied writers from all the crannies of the Nigerian creative world, here’s a chance to write the story that changed the way we handle child rights in Nigeria.
It’s a big story, this Ese’s story for there are many facets to it, thanks to our journalists who have dug into the story from several angles; so where do you start the plot and the twists from? Child rights? Child marriage, Rape? Incidents of kidnapping and abduction now rampant in the country? Power of NGOs? (In)Competent Police system? Sharia Law superseding the Penal Code?
OK, I’ll leave that to the many brilliant scriptwriters we have all over the nation. Let’s focus on some of the main characters we expect to see in the movie.
Ese Oruru –Adesua Etomi
Yinusa aka Yellow- OC Ukeje
Rose Oruru – Rita Dominic
Oby Ezekewsili- Omotola
Peter Oruru- Segun Arinze
Solomon Arase-Norbert Young
Emir of Kano-Bimbo Manuel
Maimuna Yunusa- Tina Mba
Punch Journalist- Ramsey Nouah
Sharia Court Judge- Sadiq Daba
Let me allow you to fill in the gaps with the rest of the characters in the movie.
It’s time for Nollywood to arise and show itself the true number 3 film industry of the world. It’s time a Nigerian movie makes it to the Oscars for the best Foreign Film! With this one, the Oscars won’t be so white anymore, it would be draped in Nigerian colours.
The Ese Oruru story is the stuff of epic Hollywood block busters, thankfully, it got worldwide coverage too, so what are we all waiting for?
Dig in guys.
Lights, Camera, Ese!