It may not be business as usual, as organizers of the prestigious Africa Movie Academy Award, AMAA, have declared that henceforth, anyone wishing to attend their future events apart from the nominees should be prepared to foot his or her travelling expenses.
This new development was revealed last week by AMAA President, Peace Anyim-Osigwe during a post-awards meeting in Lagos, with some selected journalists.
While reacting to some of the issues that came up after the awards ceremony which held last month, in South Africa,Peace said, the decision became necessary on the ground that the attendees are taking the organizers for granted.
Sounding disappointed and pained in the face of the controversy that has continued to trail this year’s AMAA, Peace exonerated the Academy from the controversy, insisting that it has nothing to do with the organizers.
She narrated an incident that happened in South Africa, where the Nigerian guests organized an after-party in the hotel, without the consent of the management, thereby disturbing other guests who were lodging in the same hotel. A situation that forced the management of the hotel to call in the Police the following morning.
Explaining further, she said,” In the 11 years of AMAA, we have travelled across the world for different festivals and nomination parties with over 15,000 people.
Even this year, without sponsorship, we still carried everyone along. AMAA has been pampering celebrities that attend the award ceremony, and they are beginning to take us for granted. My disappointment is that any time it comes to AMAA, everybody tends to talk anything they like. But I have passed the stage of listening to those distractions. I know where we are going, and we have tried. We are not claiming to be perfect because we live in an imperfect society.”
Speaking further, Peace said, “About three years ago, we decided that we would stop paying visa fees for attendees. We wanted the attendees to pay for their visa fees while we bear the cost of transportion and accommodation. But when you have responsible adults tweeting that they were stranded in South Africa, I laugh!
As a matter of fact, organizers have resolved that from next year, non-nominees would be responsible for their travelling expenses. “This is because when you are trying to accommodate everybody, they will see it as a matter of right,” Peace maintained.
On why they moved this year’s AMAA to South Africa, Peace said the organization needed to loose itself from government agendas. She added that apart from the fact that AMAA has outgrown the infrastructure in Bayelsa State. South Africa, according to her, is sentimental to her late brother who wanted this year’s edition to be hosted in the rainbow country. “ The infrastructures in South Africa are easily and readily available. More so, the country offers you a conducive atmosphere to host a nice event,” AMAA bossed added.
“AMAA needs to loosen itself from the government agenda. We will always respect Bayelsa State and cooperate with it. But that the state will remain the home of AMAA forever is impossible. It cannot always be theirs because it does own the brand. If you are the host state and you don’t pay your due for years, then the other party has to move on.”
The AMA boss, however, denied online reports that some of the people who were in South Africa for the last edition of the awards, got stranded in that country.”
Nobody got stranded in the course of the journey. When you have adults writing on Facebook that they are stranded, I simply laugh. When they left Port Elizabeth, they had a layover. The fact is that there is no special privilege when you are waiting for a flight,” she said.
She disclosed that while the next edition of the awards will still hold in South Africa, on the 30th of April, 2016, three countries including Senegal, Morocco and Abu Dhabi are currently being considered to host the nomination party.