Jola Naibi

Writer and amateur photog. I seek to inspire and inform with the words I write and share and the photos I take. I have written a book of short stories: Terra Cotta Beauty, and I am working on a lot more. Reading and writing fuel my energy. In reading, I explore this vast and diverse world, in writing, I employ my over-active imagination and address the 'what-if' questions that life often throws at us.


And then there was Nollywood.

By on February 1, 2007
Time was when Iweka Road was just another street in Onitsha as was Ebinpejo Lane in Idumota, Lagos…most of the home-made Nigerian entertainment that I knew of came from the good ole NTA. But today, at least for those of us like me who live outside of the country, most of the Naija entertainment that we get is from movies made in Nollywood. While we are on the subject, I have asked around and no one can tell me where Nollywood is, it seems it is more like an idea than an actual location.

Back in those days, there were fewer movies coming out of Nigeria, home videos were at most a pipe-dream. Our TV screens – black and white or colored – was our Nollywood and the likes of Peter Igho were the top-notch producers. The city of Jos which is home to the Nigerian TV College was the source of a variety of TV series and made-for-TV movies.

I decided to take a walk down TV Memory Lane and tried to remember a few of the TV shows, series, soap operas and such like that were the source of entertainment and information back then and came up with this list below…it is in no particular chronology. I know that perhaps there have been others that have come and gone since these aired but I have not had the privilege of watching TV in Nigeria for several years…so this is the best I could come up with.

Cock Crow at Dawn – The series which explored the life of a family uprooted from the city to the village and the trials and tribulations that they went through. A case of modern life meets rural life. It was one of the first that I remember from the Jos crew and had a cast which included- Sadiq Daba, Ene Oloja, George Menta, Tola Awojobi . Bongos Ikwe provided a wonderful soundtrack including the theme song and other unforgettable songs – I have been searching for, Only last night I had a dream…something good is gonna happen to me

The New Masquerade– one of the funniest combination of characters that I have come across on TV – Zebrudaya alias 4.30, Ovularia, Jegede Sokoya (I could not believe it when someone told me that the actor who played him was not Yoruba at all), Apena (played for many years by the singer Christy Essien Igbokwe), Clarus and Giringori (someone told me that it is actually meant to be Gregory grossly mispronounced) and the always hungry Nati (you get to see the actor who played him in some of these home videos for example Osuofia in London)

The New Village Headmaster – set in rural Western Nigeria and revolving around the life of – like the title says – the Village Headmaster. The names of some of the characters made their way into mainstream Nigerian lexicon (or was it the other way around?) – Gorimapa – the bald-headed King’s attendant is also the name given to someone with no hair on their head and Amebo – the character who never minded her business -played by the legendary Ibidun Allison- is the name given to someone who pokes their nose everywhere it should not be. Other characters include the Oloja of Oja (the king of the town) played by Dejumo Lewis, Counselor Balogun (Wole Amele), teacher Garuba -Garus Garus (played by the late Joe Layode), Sisi Clara (the local sewing mistress who dealt with her apprentices with an iron hand) played by the amazing Elsie Olusola (of blessed memory), Okoro -the store keeper played by Jimmy Johnson, Boniface, Eleyinmi (played by Funso Adeolu), and the new headmaster played Justus Esiri (although someone else played the old one). In a case of real life imitates art , Funso Adeolu, who played Eleyinmi one of the king’s right hand men (otunba) was actually made a king himself

Moment of Truth – a feature-length movie from the Jos crew, I think it also won an award of some sort…I remember this so well because it had such a great lifespan in Nigerian TV rerun land. The story was of a couple who had tried for years to have a child and were more or less settled to the fact that they could not have any kids. They spent a great deal of time with the family of their doctor who had a daughter that the wife was quite fond of. Finally, the wife gets pregnant and has a little boy…during a party to celebrate the highly-anticipated birth, the little boy develops some ailment and in the wife’s opinion is mis-diagnosed by their doctor friend. He had been drinking when he made the diagnosis and the little boy dies. In a sharp turn of events, the grieving mother plots to also kill their daughter using sinister means (okay, juju)…and just when the daughter is about to drink the concotion prepared for her…she screams no…don’t drink it…the moment of truth. The cast of Cock Crow at Dawn was quite prominent in several of the roles… I remember Bitrus (Sadiq Daba) played the doctor

Baba Sala – 30 minutes of side-splitting comedy in Yoruba featuring Baba Sala with his trademark gigantic bowtie

Aluwe – the title character was played by the versatile and comedic Sunday Omobolanle and thus he would be known in other feature films and TV series. Aluwe was more than a show… the name Aluwe or PapiLuwe became a registered trademark character which could only be played by him as was the case of the other characters in the TV series – Oga Bello (Adebayo Salami), Awero (Lanre Hassan), Yinka Quadri, Alabi Yellow – the tongue-twisting albino, Pa Ojoge and I think Jide Kosoko made his TV debut on Aluwe…but whatever the case it was 30 minutes of hilarious drama in the Yoruba language. The acting ensemble was originally brought together by Duro Ladipo before his demise.

Second Chance– an adaptation of the British comedy – Mind your Language. A colorful mix of characters attending adult evening classes as a second chance at getting an education – hence the title. I remember them vaguely…Abiola Atanda as Madam Kofo stands out because of her head ties. Tony St Iyke played the stuttering Igbo gentleman. I think (but I could be wrong) that Joke Silva also acted in this but I can’t remember her character’s name. The late Funso Alabi and the legendary Lai Ashadele also played the role of the teacher/instructor at various time during the life of the series

Samanja – The adventures of a soldier in the Nigerian army and what he got up to with his unit in the Northern part of Nigeria

IcheOku – In this drama series, set in the colonial times in Eastern Nigerian, the local people would bring their grievances to the colonial court – there was the court baillif who also doubled as the translator and in many cases did not do a very good job at translating! And then the judge who was supposed to be a British man but maybe at one time it may have been, but the times I remember trying to watch it – it was sometimes an albino or a powdered-up fair-skinned actor and it would freak me out to the point that I would change the channel, much to the annoyance of the other people in the room!

For Better or For Worse– a different story about marital bliss or conflict every week with different casts of characters played by different actors and actresses including (I think) the excellent Taiwo Ajai-Lycett- I remember one of the highlights of my childhood was meeting her in person and she was delightful

Sura the Tailor– I can’t remember much except the title character was played by Tunji Oyelana and the theme song was very infectious. Oh, now I have it in my head…Sura, Sura, Sura the tailor is your man! Ironically, once upon a time (after the series was off the air)…we actually had a tailor called Suraju. Of course we could not resist calling him Sura the Tailor!

The Adio Family – One word would remind anyone of this Alagbin. And that’s all I remember, sadly. I know that the plot centered around a family- father, mother and two children – a boy and a girl. And the househelp who I think was also the father’s brother and he was called Alagbin and he always used to sing while he worked – No condition is permanent in this world. The mother never got along with the househelp and the father was played by Jab Adu.

Basi & Company – A rich ensemble of characters created by the late Ken Saro-Wiwa – Mr B is a millionaire and so is Dandy. The role of Mr B -the title character – was played first by Albert Egbe and later by Zulu Adigwe (then more famous for his stage roles) there was the elegant Segi (a role played by Mildred Iweka (Okopi) and later by another lady), Dandy, Madam the madam (It’s a matter of cash, Come in if you are handsome and rich). It explored a number of get-rich schemes which struggling Nigerians delve into -without success.

Behind the Clouds– From the Jos crew, Ene Oloja (also in Cock Crow at Dawn) I remember was in this and it was set in Jos. Macarthur Fom who played Nosa one of the notable characters passed away due to complications from cerebral meningitis. His death threw most of the viewers in mourning and although it was written into the script, the show was never the same after that and was pulled off the air shortly after

House Number 13 – I don’t remember a lot about this one…I do know it centered around a superstitious landlord who made several unsucessful attempts to change the number of his house from 13 …much to the annoyance of several of his tenants

Koko Close – all I remember about this is Oluwalambe Lodge

Owuro Lojo – a mini-series based on a story written by Bunmi Oyinsan. This featured Joke Silva and Peju Ogunmola (a.k.a Mrs Aluwe). It centered around a young girl (Joke Silva) who has an improper relationship with her older cousin (Peju O)’s boyfriend and gets pregnant. He denies the paternity and fastforward to years later, she is an accomplished artist with her son and (the boyfriend) has three or four daughters and no son. I never got to watch this till the end…because at the time it was showing…NEPA was dilly-dallying with us in our neighborhood so it was –no light=no TV. One thing I remember about Owuro Lojo was the props and the costumes it was set both in the 70s and the 80s/90s and the costumes were spot on…when I started watching it, it took me a while to realize it was actually filmed in more recent times (circa late 80s or 90s) I know that it seems like I am raving over something very simple but this is often rare in many Naija movies when you will see a scene supposed to be set in the 1970s and the actress fingernails are perfectly manicured à la 2000s

Ripples – Talab Abbas played by Alex Usifo Umiagbo was one of the characters who stood out…but I can’t remember much about the plot line. I do remember that it was directed by Zeb Ejiro just before the video movie industry took off and it was one of those series that disappeared from our screens without much explanation and I think Liz Benson was also in this

JaguarMai bele o…mai head o. The adventures (or should I say misadventures) of Jaguar and his side-kick Oseni dodging Jaguar’s wife – Grace.

Gboro mi roThe People’s Court – Naija style or should I say Yoruba-style. Instead of one judge, you would have a panel of judges (experts) who passed judgement as people (families and friends) brought in their many grievances ranging from the petty (ejo wewe) to the gravely serious. It was not altogether formal and I don’t know if it actually had any legality, what I do know was it was real and it was interesting to see what people go through in their lives

Nkan beStrange but true…some of the spookiest stories that I have ever come across were in this reality series which explored strange but true events. I remember that it was also on the radio at some point. Also in Yoruba

Lagbo Video – This was fun to watch…it was a round-up of latest videos released in Yoruba and often you will get some of the actors and actresses come in to promote their work. It was presented by a gentleman called Mustapha I think… think Regis and Kelly minus one but with the usual parade of stars

Tan Mo o…ko wa so o. A Yoruba question and answer game show where there were tons of ‘dazzling prizes’ to be won…boxes of Okin biscuit, Super Blue Omo, etc

Things Fall Apart – an adaptation of Chinua Achebe’s highly acclaimed novel. In a case of Before they were famous…Pete Edochie who is quite visible in several Nollywood movies played the primary character – Okonkwo. I remember it also had an operattic soundtrack

Mirror in the Sun – directed by Lola Fani-Kayode. Nigerians were introduced to Sola Fosudo, Babara Soky and Clarion Chukwurah in this soap opera. Again, I don’t remember the plot line

Mind Bending – a series of short films also directed by Lola Fani-Kayode. It explored the impact of drug use on the life of Nigerian

Fortunes – featuring another example of Before they were Famous Nollywood star- Ramsey Noah was introduced to the Nigerian audience as one of the sons of a rich patriach played by Lai Ashadele. Pat Attah, who I also see these days in some Nollywood videos, played the other son.Former-beauty queen Regina Askia was also in this series but I can’t for the life of me remember much about the plot line either.

CheckMate– This was one that I actually followed from start to finish and I remember quite vividly – The story centered around the Haatropes, their family business and their friends. Ego Nnamani Boyo was Anne Haatrop and Bob Manuel Udokwu played her younger brother Richard Haatrope, there was another brother called Benibo and his uppity wife -I can’t remember their real names. There was Bimbo Manuel who played Nduka and Mildred Iweka (now -Okopi ) who acted the part of his wife Ada. Norbert Young was the randy professor and his son was Akpan (played by the very talented Tunde Euba), Richard Mofe-Damijo (Segun Kadiri, Anne’s nemesis and love interest), Nkemji (played by another famous actress, I tried but could not remember her name but this was her Before they were famous role), Kunle Bamtefa (Chief Fuji- ma beji fun e) and his household – the Fuji House of Commotion. I mean Commotion is what you would expect in a polygamous family featuring three wives living under the same roof starting with the junior wife -Ireti (also known as Catering Practical for the odd dishes which she prepared for her husband..based on the practicals that she conducted in the catering school she attended) , the middle wife – Peaceful Peace (the complete opposite of the name she bore and the most cantakerous member of the household…I remember one episode she served her husband cockroaches for a meal because he did not leave money to make soup) and Toun Oni as the iyale (Just as an aside, I was reminded of the the Fuji house of commotion last year when I watched a drama series airing on HBO which was exploring polygamy in America it was called Big Love – same theme Three Wives – One Husband – same disastrous and hilarious outcomes). Amaka Igwe directed this soap opera the characters are linked one way or the other. Ada and Ann are old school friends, Chief is an old friend and business associate of the late Haatrope patriach, Akpan and Ricky are also school friends. After fighting each other for episodes on end…Segun K and Anne H finally get married in the final episode only for us to find out, that she married him because she is expecting his child and knows that he had tried to doublecross her in a business deal even while he was professing his love to her. Smashing Nigerian Soap Opera

Palace – Coming from the era of private TV station ownership in Nigeria. AIT produced this soap opera, in which Funlola Aofiyebi is introduced to the Nigerian audience as Kofoworola Baker. A captivating drama series, which was still running when I left the country and featured a cast of characters who would become players in Nollywood including Jide Kosoko and Foluke Daramola (as father and daughter), Antar Laniyan as Banky and a young actress whose name escapes me but who bore such a striking resemblance to Mr Laniyan it was hard to believe that they were not related

In addition, to keeping us entertained, several of these programs also touched on social and cultural issues which were having a significant impact in Nigeria at the time. Cock Crow at Dawn explored the rural -urban migration and the differences between folks in the village and folks in the city. In several episodes of CheckMate, the issue of secret cults in Nigerian universities is visited and we take an indepth (fictional but possibly real) walk with Akpan has he confronts his inner self while coming to terms with the fact that his father is a casanova and he has less confidence in himself. In one episode I remember, when his mother – who is fed up with her husband’s infidelity has walked out on the family and his father’s girlfriend who also happens to be the wife of his father’s colleague, is left to run the household, she confronts Akpan with weapons (knives, machetes, etc,) she has found under his bed. What are you doing with all these…are you a soldier? The writers of CheckMate also brought the issues of the Osu Caste System in Nigeria (which I had heard about but knew little of) to the forefront as Nduka and Ada confront this head-on – Ada is Osu much to the annoyance of Nduka’s family who cannot stand the idea of their son being married to an Osu and it does not help matters when they don’t have kids and of course Nkemji is introduced into their marriage.

And since we are still on TV Memory Lane, I thought I’d throw in a few other non-soapy/serialy programs which kept us entertained back in the day. There were the kiddie programs like Animal [Show/Game] – I think it was a variety program featuring kids and animals and had Uncle Wole. It always had kids from different schools in Lagos and the theme song went something like – It’s Time to Say Hello and of course there was Tales by Moonlight – the tortoise featured frequently in the stories told by moonlight often under a tree by an aunty with children seated at her feet and there was usually a moral to each story. I’m not ashamed to admit that although I was well past the age for this when it was airing, I still tuned in just for the fun of it and I was entertained. There was Jimi Solanke’s musical program which I am trying to remember the name of but keep drawing a blank.

Two variety shows also stood out for me back then – the Bala Miller show – presented by the late Bala Miller and the Sunny Side of Life which was presented by Patrick Itoyan(sp?) who (I think) would later become Director of Programs at the NTA . [Special thanks to OutreachT who sent me the correct spelling Patrick Ityohegh’s name]

Also Sunday nights were not complete without Newsline with Frank Olize – featuring some of the best pieces of investigative journalism in the country – I mean who could ever forget the Kikelomo baby story and of course we should not miss out on the newscasters and TV presenters way back then – Siene Allwell-Brown (later Razak-Lawal), Ruth Benemasia-Opia, Tokunbo Ajai (of blessed memory), Augusta Maduegbuna, John Momoh, Funmi Odubekun, Lola Alakija, Cyril Stober, Efunseke Meriman-Johnson (Stober), I can’t seem to remember many of the guy presenters and newscasters.

Writing this reminds me of how far Nigerian TV and movie industry has come and what a rich and colorful history it has…if only we could be more organized…for starters let’s give Nollywood a location and not just a name!

If reading this has given you any serious pangs of nostalgia…I have a scoop for those who don’t already know – INollywood has some of these oldies but goodies available for purchase or streaming at an affordable price. Check it out, you just might find yourself at your computer screen but back to Nigeria in the 70s or 80s

* Special thanks to the folks at INollywood for the photos of the title banners for the shows which appear on this blog

I would like to, if I may, dedicate this blog entry to the memory of those who were a part of Naija TV and movieland but are no longer with us.
You are gone but not forgotten
Your memories live on in your art
Rest in Perfect Peace
Elsie Olusola (Sisi Clara)
Joe Layode (Garus Garus)
Bala Miller
JT Tom West
Tokunbo Ajai
Yomi Ogunmola
Funso Alabi
MacArthur Fom (Nosa)
and anyone that I may have inadvertently missed out
  1. Reply


    February 2, 2007

    This is incredible, jola. I’d like to commend you on work well done.

    The original headmaster was Ted Mukoro (or was it the Ambassador Segun Olusola?) but for many years after, Femi Robinson played that part. His name as the Headmaster was “Ife Araba”.
    Layi Ashadele played “Lakunle Ojo” here, acting as the perfect foil to Joe Layode’s “Garuba”.
    Funsho Adeolu was not the only Cast member of V.H. made king, however. Wole Amele, who played the cunning “Councillor Balogun”, was also made King in real life.

    I’m not certain there ever was a comedy titled “Aluwe”, though. I think it was titled “Baba Mero” but Aluwe played a major role in the comedy. Like you wrote, Oga Bello and Co. rose through these ranks.

    “Samanja” was hilarious as was “IcheOku”.

    Sura the Tailor had Sumbo Marinho as “Major”, if my memory serves me.

    Uncle Wole of “Animal Game” was a staple for Nigerian homes- “It’s time to say hello; Mr Lion, Mr Tiger…”

    “Cockrow at Dawn” ranks till this day as part of the best TV I’ve ever seen, although I think the producers started to lose it when he finally made it back to the village and they began to belabour us with the conflict he had with “Uncle Gaga”.

    Well done, jola. Extraordinary research.

  2. Reply

    Jola Naibi

    February 5, 2007

    Hey laspapi…I had no idea that Wole Amele was made a king too…I remember seeing him in Ti Oluwa Ni Ile (which by the way is still ranking as the best Naija movie I have seen, but I’ll save that for another blog)…and he was brilliant as the head of committee that was investigating missing bodies for the hospital mortuary. There was another made for TV movie, that I saw him in years ago but I could not remember what it was called – I know that the plot centered around a boy and a girl who were ‘not suited for each other’ as the girl came from a priviledged background and the buy did not…Wole Amele played the girl’s father and he tried to keep them apart as often as he could. In one particular scene, he goes to have a chat with the boyfriend and then ends it by giving him a 50kobo note and tells him ‘Oya, take go and buy biscuit’ anytime I remember that till this day, I still find it funny…now that’s brilliant acting!!!

  3. Reply


    February 5, 2007

    Why? Why oh why do you have to do this to me? You took me back in time. I am so grateful!

    Thank you ever so much!

  4. Reply

    omohemi Benson

    February 5, 2007

    You did a great job assembling this list.
    It takes me back to memory lane.
    I can still hear the Koko close song in my head. “Koko koko close ayanya,koko koko close…..”

    I wonder what has happened to Nigeria televison,there are no such programmes any more except for Fuji House of commotion by Amaka Igwe,same producer of checkmate.
    Thanks for the list.

  5. Reply

    Jola Naibi

    February 5, 2007

    @desola…I know what you mean…it makes you wish you had one of those time traveling devices where you could go back in time…I’d gladly go if just to watch a few episodes of Adio Family or the final part of Owuro Lojo which I have never seen…another casualty of NEPA…I never got to see the end

    @omohemi (I love your name by the way)…you don’t want to know how many songs were playing in my head when I was writing this and are still playing in my head right now. Anytime I see a chessboard at a certain angle, the beginning of Checkmate comes to mind. That’s a shame that there are no good TV programs anymore…I know we have a great deal of potential and judging from some of the home movies a la Nollywood these days…I know that it can’t be too difficult to produce these TV shows..but then looking at the pros and cons…it is probably easier to shoot a movie these days and wrap it up than to keep up the pace of shooting a weekly comedy or drama series. Although, all things being equal, I would say that a TV series, that had a great following would probably be more profitable with the right backing of network TV and advertising…but I don’t know what other set of dynamics are involved…I guess we can only hope and pray

  6. Reply

    Bella Naija

    February 5, 2007

    This brought back so many memories!
    U really did a fantastic job with this post.

  7. Reply

    Jola Naibi

    February 6, 2007

    Thanks Bella!

  8. Reply


    February 6, 2007

    Echoing Bella Naija: FANTASTIC JOB!!!

    I just love it.

    I think most of the shows (if not all of them) in the past are much better than a majority of Nollywood movies.

    Thanx for this, Thanx for taking us down memory lane 🙂

  9. Reply


    February 7, 2007

    House No 13 is the same as Koko Close. Good job Jola, thanks for jogging our memories

  10. Reply


    February 7, 2007

    Girl, you did an excellent job… this is fantastic – brings back memories. Do you know if we can get any of these shows on DVD or something? Would really love to have these to show my children. Thanks to laspapi for linking this on his blog

  11. Reply

    Jola Naibi

    February 7, 2007

    @Nilla – I think I somewhat agree with you – these oldies are better than what comes out of ‘Nollywood’ these days

    @anon- thanks for the clarification…for some reason in my mind there I hear two different theme songs for Koko Close and House # 13 which made me think that they were both different…but then again, maybe it’s that it has just been too long

    @damsel – thanks for stopping by courtesy of laspapi…apart from the INollywood site mentioned, I can’t think of anywhere else but maybe the folks at INollywood might be able to help with that…you can contact them via their website

  12. Reply

    Naija Vixen

    February 7, 2007

    You tried ABEG!!!you had mw humming the new masquerade theme tune

  13. Reply


    February 7, 2007

    Nice walk down memory lane from the perspective of someone who grew up in South Western Nigeria, LAGOS to be specific.

    This view is far from holistic. As someone who grew up in the East and was fortunate to travel to Lagos on a regular basis, the programs were quite different. To present this as the state of Nigerian TV is quite ridiculous and fails to take into account the FACT that different areas had different TV programs and shows. I’ll even argue that the programs we watched in Eastern Nigeria have influence “Nollywood” more than Jaguar and co. Of course you had shows like Jaguar, The New Masquerade that everyone saw all over the country but more than 50% of those shows, I haven’t heard of talk less of watching.

    Do us all a favour and say you’re presenting from a Lagosian’s perspective then this pill will be easier to swallow. Some of my favourite shows growing up in Eastern Nigeria are conspicuously missing and I can’t help but feel cheated.

    Finally, Iweka Rd. was never another street in Onitsha transformed by Nollywood. Iweka has always been an electronics depot much like Alaba in Lagos and was only. The high trading in electronic goods made it a natural location for home video producers and distributors who had the necessary expertise.

    It’s not necessary your fault but you still need to understand that wherever you grew up isn’t Nigeria and then desist from commenting on issues you don’t know much about.

    Sorry for picking on your otherwise nice post, good luck!

  14. Reply

    Jola Naibi

    February 8, 2007

    @damsel – thanks for stopping by now…I’m humming the NM tune

    @donz- you make such a strong point…I never spent time in the East so I have no idea what would have been showing on TV back then. The Nigeria I remember is the one that I saw when I was growing up in Lagos…I can’t apologize for it not being nationally representative but it is still from my perspective what I remember of Nigeria even if it is according to you a Lagosian’s perspective. I’d be glad to read about TV shows that were airing in the East or North for that matter…and even if I was not familiar with any of them…it would still be a nice walk down memory lane.

    I’d never heard of Iweka Road before the Nollywood movies came on the scene…but it’s nice to learn that it is similar to Alaba Market

    Finally…I honestly don’t think you picked on my post…(I have not taken anything you wrote personally believe me) if anything you were able to shed some light on like you said…the fact that different parts of Nigeria have different TV shows…if you read other articles on my blog…you will notice that I have made no secret of the fact that my perspective of Nigeria comes from growing up in Lagos and this includes the TV shows!

  15. Reply


    February 8, 2007

    @ Donz,

    I remember more than half of those TV shows (some vaguely though), and I didn’t grow up in Lagos. I watched them in the southern part of Nigeria.

    And remember she said “I know that perhaps there have been others that have come and gone since these aired but I have not had the privilege of watching TV in Nigeria for several years…so this is the best I could come up with.”

  16. Reply


    February 8, 2007

    @Jola Naibi

    Thanks for not taking it personal, I just felt cheated some of my fave. shows weren’t listed so I figured you grew up in Lagos and that was the reason why.

    They showed alot of those shows in the East. New Masquerade, Bassey and Company, Jaguar, Checkmate, Cock crow at dawn. Some others I haven’t heard of.

    It was a nice post though, I just felt I was a little too harsh. Glad you didn’t freak, ENJOY!


    You probably had NTA Calabar or something. At Onitsha, we had to watch NTA Enugu which was never clear. So we had to watch ABS and later Minaj.

  17. Reply


    February 8, 2007

    Strong words from donz, but I noticed he didn’t mention even one programme from “the east”.
    This isn’t an east coast vs west coast battle.
    Jola did great work here and a number of the programmes were aired everywhere NTA stations existed- The Village Headmaster, Cock crow at Dawn, The New Masquerade etc

    Programmes like IcheOku even with its Eastern leanings still gave me immense pleasure.
    Let’s not taint this with allegations of bias.

    Jola- were you trying to recall the movie, “Hostages”? I don’t know if it had Wole Amele in it though?

  18. Reply

    Jola Naibi

    February 8, 2007

    @donz- I would love to read about some of your ‘fave shows’ that aired on NTA Enugu back in the day whenever you have a moment even if I am not familiar with them…I am sure I would be able to relate to some of the plots and underlying themes

    @laspapi – no it wasn’t Tade Ogidan’s Hostages that I was trying to remember…it was one of those made for TV movies that you just happen to stumble on when you are channel hopping…I saw it once or twice and the only person that I remember from it was Wole Amele since he was then popular from the Village Headmaster.

  19. Reply


    February 8, 2007

    @ Donzman

    I didn’t have/watch NTA Calabar (I’m not from Calabar….{I think that’s why you’re saying that}).

    I watched NTA Portharcourt {not that I’m from Portharcourt either…lol).

  20. Reply


    February 19, 2007

    Nice work Jola Naibi!!
    I wonder how long it took you to write this post. I will definitely be printing this out for future reference.

    I was wondering if in your post you are implying that Nollywood is as a direct result of the Television industry.
    Although the Television industry has influenced the Movie industry, I think it erroneous to trace the history of Nollywood by using television. If we are going to trace the history of Nollywood we would have to look at filmmakers like Ola Balogun, Hubert Ogunde, Amaka Igwe, Tade Ogidan, Tunde Kelani and the guys that made Living in Bondage. Living in Bondage is the movie many people say triggered the explosion in Nigerian Home video.

    So my point is that Nigerian Television History is very different from the Nigerian Movie history even though they have both influenced each other.

    Furthermore, you sort of imply that Nollywood needs a location. But really the people making movies in Nigeria know exactly where to go to get a distributor, producer, director e.t.c. So I don’t think a geographical location for Nollywood is really that big of a deal. Lots of countries do not have geographical locations for their movie industries. In fact studios are usually scattered here and there in other countries. The only reason why movie making is concentrated in Hollywood, L.A. has to do with certain hisorical factors like taxes and weather conditions. Also where do you want Nollywood to be located. In Nigeria every major ethnic group is making movies. The Yorubas, Hausas, Benins and Igbos are making their own movies in there own cities in addition to the English Language movies. So where exactly would the location of Nollywood be? In the east, south or north? I think that because the name Nollywood has been given to Nigeria and because it is an amalgamation of the words Hollywood and Nigeria we sort of think that we MUST follow exactly what Hollywood is doing which includes having a geographical location, forgetting that Hollywood is only one type of movie industry.

  21. Reply

    Jola Naibi

    February 20, 2007

    Hey…thanks for stopping by…I think the title of the post may be a bit misleading and if you read the first line…I say that because I have not been in Nigeria in such a long time the primary source of Naija entertainment for me is Nollywood movies – I used to call them Naija home movies but more recently I hear them called Nollywood movies so I just jumped on the bandwagon…all to say that I am not linking historically or otherwise the birth of Nollywood movies to the Nigerian TV industry of now or yesteryear.

    I don’t know much about the dynamics of the movie industry in Naija or elsewhere…all I know is I hear a lot about Nollywood and like I said ‘nobody seems to be able to tell me where it is’ but you have kindly pointed out that the people who need to find what they need will…I have not compared Nollywood to Hollywood anywhere in the article…just asked where Nollywood is.

    Your first question I saved for last, because it is most difficult to answer…I can’t say how long it took me…I had been carrying the names of some of the old TV shows around in my head for a while and then one day, I started jotting them down on a notepad and more shows came tumbling out and then when I started to type it in the blog…I was able to flesh it out as I went along.

  22. Reply


    April 3, 2007

    Oh my Gosh!!!
    those were the good old days I am 28years old no and I remember all of these shows! I wish we could have like old tapes and watch them again….they were clean and fun. Those were the real “Nigerian” actors…not afraid of their accents or lifestyle…these new ones are so i don’t know. Please can anyone tell me where i can get these shows oh my goodness…Alagbin..”No condition is permanent in this world’!

  23. Reply

    Ayo Aladejebi

    September 10, 2007

    Jola. I cannot imagine what possessed you (or should it be inspired you to go back down the memory lane). This is fantastic and as I read through the list, it actually felt like I was living it. As for the Aluwe entry, it was actually called Ojo Ladipo Theatre (Ojo Ladipo created the group, not Duro Ladipo, though they are both of blessed memory).

    By the way, I was wondering if you remember some of the made for TV movies that were produced by Jimi Odumosu (from Lagos Television) – Evil Encounter – I cannot remember the plot but it was one of the scariest movies I’ve watched on TV. I also remember The Fiery Force which starred the Late Funsho Alabi.
    There were also a few other ones produced by LTV crew – The Heretic is another one that came to mind.
    I also remember one that had a plane scene in it, it was titled – To save a Fallen Angel.

    My my, you’ve indeed unmasked the masqurade and I can just vivdly see myself doing the Dr. WHO time travelling thing.


  24. Reply


    October 12, 2007

    consumate write up on the metamorphosis of the nigerian tv/movie industry.i stumbled upon your blog whilst sarching for some industry info on did take me down memory lane.a job well done.

  25. Reply


    December 11, 2007

    This is so cool. Those were the days! Oluwalambe Lodge’s Landlord was played by Olumide Bakare.

    Thank you for this jolly ride down memory lane.

    —A blogger who has no idea what the password to said blog account is.

  26. Reply


    October 27, 2008

    thank you for reminding us of the oldies. i was so happy reading through but sad that we dont have quality programmes on tele anymore. cable has taken over. for your info, chief eleyinmi died this year, counselor balogun also died earlier on. so so sad.
    if only they could transfer these great sitcoms or programmes on dvds for sale. but rumour has it that NTA recorded other programmes on the old tapes so we are just left with memories in our brains. it so so sad.

  27. Reply

    Ajakaiye B.

    June 22, 2011

    All i can say is "Thank U for taking me down the memory lane" I watched all these program but was too young to understand the English back then, especially, Mirror in the Sun, Cock Crow at dawn & second chance. But as at the time Behind the cloud was aired in 1988, i had grown (pry 5). i was born in the late 70s and still love these Classics.

  28. Reply

    Gerwine Bayo-Martins

    July 27, 2011

    This is so wonderful, it brought me to tears. I lived in Nigeria in the seventies and early eighties, I rememer all so well, I thank you so much for this, it is GREAT.

  29. Reply


    June 22, 2012

    WOW! I must say you have an extra-ordinary memory. Quite nostalgic. I remember every piece. Especially Adio family. Pls make something of this. OK!

  30. Reply


    December 5, 2013

    Thank you very much for this. Indeed, recalls memories of climes, times and people that are unforgettable. Sublime piece. Thanks for sharing.