The news of the death of film producer, entertainment icon and founder of Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), Ms. Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, has thrown the Nigerian movie industry as well as some members of the political class into a mournful mood.
Ms Anyiam-Osigwe, president of the Association of Movie Producers (AMP) since 2020 and Chief Executive Officer of the African Film, died on Tuesday in Lagos, according to a statement from her family, the Emmanuel Onyechere Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe family of Nkwerre, Imo State.
Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma described the deceased as God’s gift to humanity in general and the creative industry in particular.
The governor said while she was alive, Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, popularly known as “Queen of Nollywood films”, acquitted herself creditably, giving proper account of her creative ingenuity.
Uzodimma, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser, Oguwike Nwachuku, said the late thespian was a great philanthropist who was passionate about giving back to the society and worked hard to serve God through humanity.
The governor said through the Africa Movie Academy Awards, the Africa Film Academy, among other bodies she founded, Ms Osigwe-Anyiam impacted lives in Imo State, Nigeria, Africa, and even took the international community by storm with the harvest of talents from the black race at her disposal who competed favourably with their counterparts in Europe and America.
He said the filmmaker would be sorely missed by the Nigerian film and entertainment industries, urging her family, friends, well-wishers, as well as the film and entertainment industries to take solace in the numerous positive variables she was associated with that will outlive her.
Also reacting to the death of the filmmaker, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu described the late Ms Anyiam-Osigwe as an Amazon of the creative sector, a trailblazer and visionary leader, who contributed immensely to the growth and development of the creative industry in Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole during her lifetime.
He said the entertainment icon’s death was a great loss to Lagos State, considering the unique role the deceased was playing in the actualisation of the various commitments and programmes of the Sanwo-Olu administration to the entertainment industry through the Africa Film Academy and Lagos Committee on Film Production Empowerment, of which she was a member.
“On behalf of my family, the Government and good people of Lagos State, I sympathise with the Association of Movie Producers and the entire Nollywood industry on the demise of the renowned filmmaker and founder of the African Movie Academy Awards, Peace Anyiam-Osigwe,” Sanwo-Olu said in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile, on Tuesday.
“The late Peace Anyiam-Osigwe was one of the pillars of Nollywood in Nigeria. She was a bundle of talent and one of the best filmmakers not only in Nigeria but also on the African continent. She used her God-given talent to advance the course of mankind and contributed immensely to the creative sector through African Movie Academy Awards and African Film Academy,” the governor said.
He said Peace Anyiam-Osigwe was a reliable partner in the Entertainment and Tourism pillar of the Greater Lagos agenda.
“She partnered with the Lagos State Government to train hundreds of young people in Acting, Art Directing, Light and Lighting, Editing, Sound Production, and Post Production, among others, through the African Film Academy. She was also a member of the Lagos State Committee on Film Production Empowerment,” he said.
Dr. Shaibu Hussein, a film critic and member of the AMAA jury, said the death of Ms Osigwe-Anyiam was “a personal loss and utterly devastating” to him.
“I am glad we had that goodbye…. But, as believers, we give God the glory and thank Him for allowing our paths to cross. I won’t tear! I will celebrate you,” he said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
Earlier, in a statement on Tuesday confirming her death, the Emmanuel Onyechere Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe family described their deceased daughter as an epitome of creative transcendence, an outstanding personality, trailblazer, titan, pathfinder, go-getter, humanitarian, one-of-a-kind creative, and visionary leader in the film and television industry who “left indelible imprints on the sands of time”.
“We, as a family and clan, will continue to do all that is necessary to ensure that her legacy lives on – the Africa Movie Academy Awards, AAMA, and the Africa Film Academy, AFA, along with their training programmes across Nigeria and the African continent will be carried on, seamlessly, by institutions she set up, with the full support of the Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe Foundation and other institutions and government agencies with whom she had worked over the years,” the family said in the statement titled ‘Peace Maria Ogechi Anyiam-Osigwe: An Epitome of Creative Transcendence’.
The family said her numerous charities across different religious denominations and other communities would also continue.
The family prayed God to grant her eternal rest in his heavenly kingdom, adding that the details of her funeral rites would be made public in due course.
Peace Anyiam-Osigwe was born into the Emmanuel Onyechere Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe family of Nkwerre, Imo State. She attended Oxford Brookes University, England, where she obtained a degree in Law and Political Science.
In 2005, she founded the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), which is presented annually to recognize excellence among professionals working in, or non-African professionals who have contributed to, the African film industry.
Run through the Africa Film Academy, the AMAA honours and promotes excellence in the African movie industry as well as unites the African continent through arts and culture.
She also started the AfricaOne initiative in 2015 to commemorate Africans in the entertainment industry.
In 2012, Ms Anyiam-Osigwe was honoured by the Nigerian government as a Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) for her contribution to the entertainment industry.
In 2019, she was honoured with African Film Pioneer Award at the African Film Festival (TAFF).