Nollywood actress cum Filmmaker, Omoni Oboli was one of the speakers at the Nestoil Corporate Headquarters to mark the International Women’s Day (IWD) with the theme #BalanceforBetter.
In her speech, the mother of three reveals how her mother’s strength prepared her for life, her incessant fight to end child marriage, life as a filmmaker in a male dominated industry and lots more.
Excerpts from her speech reads: “I felt the snippet of my new movie will set the tone for my speech. We are talking about women, so we have to talk about girls because they grow up to be women. Every girl has the right to be educated. We can sit in our fancy home/offices and act oblivious to the knowledge of child marriage. Last year we went to Kano to shoot a documentary about Child brides.
We interviewed girls who had been married and divorced at the age of thirteen. It was so heartbreaking, the interviews we had with these child brides. We cannot run away from the fact that all over Africa that there are so many girls that get married off at a very young age who do not have an opportunity to get an education. Without exception, every single girl that we interviewed said I want to or I wanted to go to school.
Sometimes I shudder at the thought that if I was not given the opportunity at education I will not be where I am today. That brings me to the topic of strong women; may we know them, may we be them. My mother was a strong woman who had to take care of two young girls herself because she was divorced. She was just a school teacher with a minimal salary, who sacrificed a lot just to give us basic amenities. I took this experience I had growing up and became my own woman, who would sacrifice a fancy holiday for my children’s education and growth,” she said.
Continuing, Oboli recalled what inspired her decision to become a Filmmaker : “I am going to use my experience as a filmmaker in a male-dominated industry when someone says movie director, what comes to mind is a man. Earlier on I wrote movies and gave to other directors to help produce but they never seemed to capture my vision correctly. One day I decided that if I want my movies to portray my vision, I would have to make a move and become a director but it was a scary thought. I braced up and took a short course in digital film making at the New York Film Academy and thereafter I can direct my own movies. It took me four years after that to direct my own films, a long story, but it is a lot easier for men to get funding than women. Eventually, I got funding and directed my first movie, which was the first movie to get presidential screening. I am happy to say that women in the movie industry in Nigeria have stepped up and there are more female directors creating amazing work. In as much as I am a strong woman I still believe in chivalry from men, it does not stop me from being the best or make any less. I love being a woman, and in my next life. At the same time I want to be seen and heard not just to be a pretty face in the room, and when I am being heard I should be an impact. So I am going to use my strongest voice not just for entertainment but also to educate people and start a positive movement.”