‘Green White Green,’ ’76,’ ‘October 1’: Check out our list of Naija movies to celebrate Independence Day


If you are nonchalant about today’s Independence Day, you are not alone. I tell myself every October 1st that I will read the President’s speech, and every time I fail to do so. What’s there to celebrate? Fifty-eight years of failed democratic leadership and partisan politics, and the inevitability of the current administration maintaining the highest political power via the 2019 elections.

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These are valid reasons to give up, to resign to the fate that Nigeria isn’t ready for change. Not anytime soon though. And if you still fervently believe in this country, I salute you. And maybe you might be inclined to check out the list of movies below, you know, in the spirit of Nigeria’s Independence from British rule. Long live Nigeria.

The Stubborn Grasshopper

This was the original Nollywood biopic, and the first indicator that creative industries had finally shaken of the restrictive power of former military dictatorships. And what better dictator that to train their lens on than the divisive late General Sani Abacha. Covering Abacha’s reign and his death and the agitations for a return to democracy, The Stubborn Grasshopper is an often overlooked yet important part of Nollywood cinema. And thankfully, it is all on Youtube now. So enjoy.


Izu Ojukwu’s period piece ’76 is uncomfortable in some ways, with its enthusiasm to portray the crudeness of a military regime that takes a toll on a married couple: Ramsey Noah’s Captain Joseph Dewa and his pregnant wife Suzie, played by Rita Dominic. Plotted around the 1976 unsuccessful military coup and assassination of General Murtala Mohammed, this 2016 movie has a sprinkle of brilliant performances, unwinding a history with elaborate atmosphere and brutal political honesty.

October 1

The plot in a nutshell: a serial killer is on the loose in colonial Nigeria, murdering young women and leaving a trail of bodies in forests, so much that it confounds the police. And their task, which is just their job description anyway, is to stop the killer before Nigeria gains Independence on October 1. Perhaps not the smartest whodunnit, Kunle Afolayan’s 2014 thriller stars Sadiq Daba as Inspector Waziri and nearly half of the movie takes place at night. How scary.

93 Days

What’s Independence Day without acknowledging those who were sacrificial, even if it cost them their lives? And one of few Nollywood films that embraces this nobleness is Steve Gukas’ 93 Days, a story about courageous healthcare workers who risked their lives and made sacrifices to save us all from the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in 2014. It is, also, a story about the sacrificial Dr. Stella Adadevoh, played by the brilliant Bimbo Akintola. Grab some tissues for this one.

Green White Green

It doesn’t get any Nigerian than Abba Makamaa’s Green White Green, heavy for its symbolism of national unity of the major ethnic groups. Its patently patriotic title aside, the movie is a coming-of-age story that follows three young artists who hang out and search for direction in their lives, all in the stagnant months leading up to the beginning of their university studies.

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