Nollywood has been in a state of understandable inertia since the news came out of the blues that Ibinabo Fiberesima lost her case at the Appeal Court in Lagos and was sent straight to Prison on Friday the 11th of March 2016.
A lot of people thought that the case was done with long ago and we were surprised that it had cropped up again with the implications of a five year jail term for Ibinabo.
And the reactions thus far have not been in anyway hostile to the Court’s judgement. Not at all. The industry is enlightened enough to bow to the ruling of the law and respect it as it behoves on everyone. The collective shock expressed is because Ibinabo is a beautiful soul. She’s one of us. And one for all and all for one.
With opinions divided in the public sphere over the judgement, it has been saddening to read uninformed comments by lots of people about the case and some vitriol on the person of Ibinabo by many who don’t even know her. Of course, everyone would have an opinion and that cannot be taken from anyone. But such terms which ring of untruths that ‘she was drunk that night and coming from a night club’ or ‘she killed someone’ are absolutely untrue. It’s quite sad that we have no investigative journalists anymore or that truth these days battle with coloured lies and no one does anything about it.
In the past few days, Nollywood and Entertainment chat groups on whatsapp ( and there are many but credible ones I belong to) have been brainstorming on what next to do in this case. The law is the law and of course it is a possibility that Ibinabo would be behind bars for some time while everyone make efforts to take the next legal options to help her. But the entertainment industry has never been this united in showing sympathy and solidarity for one of us.unprecedented. And so with chat groups proferring ideas on what to do next ( with high profile celebrity visits already carried out to Kirikiri to reassure Ibinabo by over fifty celebrities on Sunday the 13th of March) someone sent a munched shot of the instagram page of the daughter of the late Doctor Giwa who was reacting to Ibinabo’s son’s public plea for prayers for his mother. The munched shot showed that the daughter was understandably bitter and pained by her father’s death but to many who read it in the chat group, it betrayed a lack of the real facts and had a one – sided narrative which accused Ibinabo of ‘being drunk from a night club outing’ and ‘running away from the scene of the accident’ after it happened. I also read the open letter of the sister of late Doctor who understandably gave an emotionally – charged one-sided narrative of what she believes happened and ended her letter by applauding the Justice system for vindicating her understandable anger towards Ibinabo for the past eleven years.
There’s a saying in Pidgin English which says ‘na talk dey bring talk’ and what happened thereafter this week is the stuff movies are made of. No pun intended. It was totally unexpected.
One of the most important personalities in Nollywood in the chat group, obviously distressed at the wrong notion about Ibinabo by the deceased daughter blurted out that ‘you know, Guys? There are facts of the case which I know and which haven’t come to light all these years. My brother was an eye witness and saw all what happened that night’
The reaction was one of stunned questions. And immediately, I made the decision to interview the eye witness to find out what he really saw and what it was that happened which the public may not have heard these years. I decided to do this as a public service responsibility first and also to put whatever the new facts are in the public domain for posterity to prove or dispel. And if these new revelations would help heal wounds and bring about a new dawn of forgiveness and understanding, then so be it.
I got the number of the eye witness from his sister in the chat room and called him. Now, let me state here that this is no fiction. This fellow is real and is willing to expose himself to the public anytime to state what he saw. I have decided not to put his surname out ( even though he says he doesn’t mind) at this point in time but that doesn’t detract from the real facts of this story.
‘Good afternoon, Mr De Gaulle. Your sister gave me your number to call you to find out what happened that night. My name is Charles Novia’ I said, when he answered, my pen and recorder ready.
‘Oh ok. Yes, she told me you would call. My name is De Gaulle ( surname protected by me) You see, I’m ready to come out to testify or say whatever happened that night of the accident because it happened in my presence. I witnessed it and saw everything. We were many who saw what happened that evening and I assumed that others might have told the world what really went down but I’m surprised to read so many untrue things about what happened at the scene of the accident that evening’ He said.
‘Please go ahead, Sir. I’m taking notes and recording’ I said