1. Arrow of God, the film adaptation of the classic novel by the great Nigerian novelist, Chinua Achebe of blessed memory. Arrow of God is the second most highly acclaimed novel of Achebe and in fact I rate it higher than his debut novel Things Fall Apart that made him famous. He said he could not choose between Arrow of God and Things Fall Apart, because both novels were too precious to him.
The novel centers on Ezeulu, the chief priest of several Igbo villages in Colonial Nigeria, who confronts colonial powers and Christian missionaries in the 1920s.
The phrase "Arrow of God" is drawn from an Igbo proverb in which a person, or sometimes an event, is said to represent the will of God. Arrow of God won the first ever Jock Campbell/New Statesman Prize for African writing
Recommended Director: Newton Aduaka
2. Man of the People, the film adaptation of one of the first novels on modern politics in Nigeria by Chinua Achebe. Click here for more on the novel.
Recommended Director: Zik Zulu Okafor
3. Sunset in Biafra, the film adaptation of the war memoir on Biafra by Elechi Amadi. The book is full of interesting characters and melodramatic incidents during the Nigerian civil war written by a scholar and a Nigerian Army officer. Click here for more on the novel.
Recommended Director: Izu Ojukwu
4. The Concubine, film adaptation of Elechi Amadi’s about Ihuoma, a beautiful young widow, has the admiration of the entire community in which she lives, and especially of the hunter Ekwueme. But their passion is fated and jealousy, a love potion and the closeness of the spirit world are important factors. Click here for more on the novel.
Recommended Director: Teco Benson
5. Burning Grass, film adaptation of this adventure novel by the great Nigerian novelist Cyprian Ekwensi of blessed memory. Click here to read Burning Grass.
Recommended Director: Mahmood Ali-Balogun.
6. Kosoko , film adaptation of the war over the throne of Lagos by Oba Akitoye and Oba Kosoko who defeated Oba Akintoye in battle in 1845. But in exile, Oba Akintoye used the British Empire to dethrone Kosoko and reinstalled as Oba of Lagos in 1851. See details of the bloody battle on http://www.nigeriansinamerica.com/lagos-a-history-in-pictures-1861-to-1961/
Recommended Director: Tunde Kelani
7. Afonja, the film adaptation of the life of Afonja, the Aare Ona Kakanfo (Generalisimo) to Alaafin of old Oyo (Oyo Ile) who rebelled against the Oyo Empire, but was assassinated in 1824.
Yemi Amodu has made a film on Afonja, but there should be a better version of the epic with bigger budget.
Recommended Director: Kunle Afolayan
8. Queen Amina, film adaptation on the life of Amina (also Aminatu; d. 1610) was a Hausa Muslim Warrior Queen of Zazzau (now Zaria), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amina
I have seen both poorly produced documentaries and movies on Queen Amina. Anachronisms were common in these film productions due to poor research and lack of enough funds. So, the real film on Queen Amina is yet to be made.
Recommended Director: Kenneth Gyang.
9. Long Juju, on the mysterious Long Juju of Ibinu Ukpabi cult of slave traders in Arochukwu, Abia State .
The Long Juju existed from the 17th to 18th centuries until it was destroyed by British during the Anglo-Aro War took place from 1901-1902., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Aro_War.
This is an epic movie that can take Nigeria as far as the Academy Awards if well directed. I have provided enough information on the historical background with details of the battles and casualties.
To put a stop to slave dealing and the slave trade generally with a view to the Slave Dealing Proclamation No. 5 of 1901 being enforced throughout the entire territories as from first of January next; to abolish the Juju hierarchy of the Aro tribe, which by superstition and fraud causes much injustice among the coast tribes generally and is opposed to the establishment of Government. The power of the priesthood is also employed in obtaining natives for sale as slaves and it is essential to finally break it; to open up the country of the entire Aro to civilization; to induce the natives to engage in legitimate trade; to introduce a currency in lieu of slaves, brass rods, and other forms of native currency and to facilitate trade transactions; to eventually establish a labour market as a substitute to the present system of slavery~ Sir Ralph Moore, the British High Commissioner of the Nigerian Coast Protectorate.
Sir Ralph Moore and the Royal Niger Company had planned the attack on the Aros and the Ibini Ukpabi oracle since September 1899 but due to lack of necessary manpower, it was delayed until November 1901. On November 28, Lt. Col. A. F. Montanaro led 87 officers, 1,550 soldiers and 2,100 carriers in four axes of advance to Arochukwu from Oguta, Akwete, Unwuna and Itu on a counter-insurgency campaign. As expected, Aro forces resisted all axes strongly, although they lacked modern weapons. However, Arochukwu was captured on December 28 after four days of fierce battles in and around the city. As a result the Ibini Ukpabi shrine was allegedly blown up. Battles between British and Aro forces continued throughout the region until spring 1902 when Aro forces were defeated in the last major battle at Bende. The Aro Expedition ended three weeks later.Major battles
• Battles in the Oguta/Owerri area (November 1901)
• Battles of Esu Itu (December 1901)
• Battles of Arochukwu (December 1901)
• Battle of Edimma (January 1902)
• Battle of Ikotobo (January 1902)
• Battle of Ikorodaka (February 1902)
• Battle of Bende (March 1902)
Major John Henry MACKENZIE, V.C., D.C.M.. Killed in action 17th May 1915, aged 44.
Major Mackenzie was from the 1st battalion, but attached to the 2nd when he was killed and had served in the army as far back as the 19th century. Starting his career as a Private, he won both his Distinguished Conduct Medal and Victoria Cross as a Sergeant in the Seaforth Highlanders and served King and Country across three decades, on several continents and during many wars.
His DCM was won whilst serving in the Highlanders in the Niger Territories in the Autumn of 1899 and was recorded in the London Gazette 9th January 1900. Page 1 of the London Gazette 2nd January 1900 includes an element of the dispatch from Lt-Colonel James Willcocks which refers to Sergeant Mackenzie's distinguished service:Recommended Director: Christian Chika Onu, PhD.
"I have also to specially mention the good service rendered in September and October 1898, by Sergeant John MacKenzie, Seaforth Highlanders and West African Frontier Force."
Within a year whilst serving in Ashanti (Ghana) in June 1900, John Mackenzie had become a Colour Sergeant and won the coveted Victoria Cross. An extract taken from the London Gazette dated 15th January 1901 records the following:
"On the 6th June, 1900, at Dompoassi, in Ashanti, Sergeant Mackenzie, after working two Maxim guns under a hot fire, and being wounded while doing so, volunteered to clear the stockades of the enemy which he did in the most gallant manner, leading the charge himself and driving the enemy headlong into the bush."
On page 11 of the London Gazette 4th December 1900, the dispatches written by Colonel Sir James Willcocks, K.C.M.G., D S.O., Commanding Ashanti Field Force, to the Secretary of State for the Colonies shows Colour Sergeant Mackenzie's actions in some more detail:
"On 6th June Lieutenant-Colonel Carter and Major (local Lieutenant-Colonel) Wilkinson, Gold Coast Constabulary, with three hundred and eighty men, left Kwissa to join hands with Hall at Bekwai. I reached Prahsu on the 8th June, and the following day received a despatch from Lieutenant-Colonel Carter, stating that he had been opposed by the Adansis at Dompoassi, and had been obliged to return to Kwissa. The enemy had built five stockades about two hundred yards, long and nearly parallel to the road at a distance of only thirty yards from it; lying perfectly still behind the ordinary thick bush, which remained untouched between the stockade and the path, they waited until the advance guard was just opposite, and then opened a terrific fire which staggered our men they also fired from the surrounding trees. The guns and Maxims came into action at once, and a regular duel took place, our men falling fast; no one knew then, as we do now that the enemy were probably behind strong stockades, and there was no indication of it; the officers believed the enemy were firing from the thick bush, and thus swaying backwards and forwards the fight went on for two and a-half hours, by which time Lieutenant-Colonel Carter had received a severe wound, which incapacitated him from command. Lieutenant-Colonel Wilkinson then took command and was himself slightly wounded; Captain Roupell, 3rd West African Frontier Force, was dangerously wounded in several places; Lieutenant Edwards, R.A., West African Frontier Force, received two severe wounds, but continued to work the guns till the entire gun detachment were disabled. It was at this stage that it was found the enemy were posted behind breastworks, as the bush had become partially cut away by the fire. Lieutenant O'Malley, 2nd West African Frontier Force, was severely wounded while working the Maxim, nearly the whole detachment being disabled; Dr. Fletcher, Medical Officer, and Colour-Sergeant Mackenzie (Seaforth Highlanders), 1st West African Frontier Force, were also wounded, a total of seven Europeans hit out of eleven' present; three men were killed and eighty-nine wounded (some of whom have since died). Lieutenant-Colonel Wilkinson, seeing that the gun and Maxims were by this time out of-action, that his ammunition was running short, and the enemy's fire did not slacken, determined to retire, But Colour Sergeant Mackenzie came up to him and volunteered "to carry the stockade with, the bayonet" if his own company (Yoruba Company, 1st. West African Frontier Force) was placed at his disposal. Wilkinson at once ordered the Company, which was to the rear of the column, and on the arrival of the first two sections without hesitation, Mackenzie, charged at their head followed splendidly by his own men and all others in the vicinity, their officers of course leading them. The enemy did not wait the rush, but fled in confusion, and never rallied, and it is perhaps not too much to say a disaster to our arms was thus averted, for a retirement under the circumstances might have ended in a panic.
For this act of distinguished bravery I consider Colour-Sergeant Mackenzie is deserving of the highest reward a soldier can receive, and am making a recommendation accordingly. It was only last year that Colour-Sergeant Mackenzie earned the medal for distinguished service in the field on the Niger. The column then returned to Kwissa, being unable to advance owing to the numbers of wounded."
Colour Sergeant Mackenzie was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Black Watch the year he won his VC, presumably in recognition of his bravery and obvious leadership abilities. On the 29th November 1900 he was given the local rank of Lieutenant whilst serving in the West African Force and went on to become a Captain in the Royal Scots 22nd January 1904, later serving in the Northern Nigeria Regiment. He was mentioned in dispatches 12th September 1902 for his involvement during the Aro Expedition in the Anglo-Aro War of 1901 to 1902, his activities in the Kano-Sokoto Expedition of 1903 and again during 1906 when he was staff officer of the Munster Field Force. He also appears in the London Gazette under the following dates:
3rd May 1910 "Captain John Mackenzie, V.C., is seconded for service as an Adjutant of Indian Volunteers. Dated 8th April, 1910."
18th September 1908 "The Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment), Captain John Mackenzie, V.C., is placed on temporary half-pay on account of ill-health. Dated 18th September, 1908."
29th December 1908 "The Royal Scots ''(Lothian Regiment}, Supernumerary Captain John Mackenzie, V.C., to be Captain, vice G.W.G. Neill, deceased. Dated 16th December, 1908."
4th August 1911 "To be Brigade-Majors. Captain J. H. Mackenzie, 1st Battalion, The Royal Scots, vice Captain L. Hume-Spry, D.S.O., West Yorkshire Regiment. Dated 6th June, 1911."
On the outbreak of war, Major Mackenzie was mobilised once again and arrived on the Western Front 23rd November 1914, initially serving in the 1st Battalion. He moved to command the 2nd battalion on the 20th March 1915 as a replacement officer for the battalion's losses during the Battle of Neuve Chapelle and remained in charge until the 17th April. During the opening day of the Battle of Festubert (16th May 1915), he led D Company superbly throughout bitter fighting and until the battalion were relieved and given a few hours rest in support positions. The following evening saw the battalion launch an assault in the dark against well defended German lines. Major Mackenzie put himself at the front of his Company and led their charge but as soon as they appeared from their trenches, the entire line was met by a wall of bullets and artillery fire.
After an incredible career serving King and Country on many continents, Major John Mackenzie, V.C., D.C.M. was killed at the head of his men, where he had always been. Eight days later a party of three Bedfords returned to the area he fell and recovered his body under cover of night, so that he would receive a burial deserving of one who gave so much. At the time he was buried with his fallen comrades in front of the Old British Line, 250 yards east of Festubert East Keep and 200 yards west of Yellow Road which ran north from La Plantin. After the war, during the concentration of burial sites into the beautiful CWGC cemeteries we are so familiar with today, his remains were moved and he now lies in the Guards Cemetery, Windy Corner, Cuinchy, 7km east of Bethune.
His Victoria Cross can be seen in the Regimental Museum of Queens Own Highlanders at Fort George in Scotland and his pipe banner is on display at the Edinburgh Castle Museum in Scotland.
The Great Grandson of Major Mackenzie, Roland Gould, contacted me and added more details to his story which illustrate how cruel events can be and that even the winners of our country's most prestigious gallantry award are not guaranteed happy endings. John was a native of Contin, Ross-shire and by the time of his death his service to his country had spanned three decades. Upon his death, his wife not only had to contend with her grief but sadly she and her two daughters ended up in the Union Workhouse. The family was even further broken up by other events in the coming decades and although things have thankfully settled down now, it illustrates how unexpected events can take over the direction of our lives regardless of how tall a person stands during their own lifetime.
Igbo looks and costumes: http://ukpuru.blogspot.com.ng/2014/08/engaged-igbo-women.html
10. Togo Triangle, based on eye witness accounts of oil theft in the Niger Delta and the mafia controlled illegal oil export market in Togo. From Episode 578: How To Steal A Million Barrels Of Oil
October 29, 2014 7:43 PM ET. See details on http://www.nigeriansreport.com/2015/11/how-to-steal-million-barrels-of-oil.html
Recommended Director: Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen.
~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima, Publisher/Editor of NOLLYWOOD MIRROR® SERIES.
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