Nigeria’s Mo Abudu’s EbonyLife Media has signed a contract with the streaming giant, Netflix, to make film adaptations of two Nigerian literary classics.
The two classics are Lola Shoneyin’s acclaimed novel The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives and Wole Soyinka’s Death And The King’s Horseman.
Netflix Naija made the announcement in a thread on Twitter, Friday.
“Netflix has partnered with acclaimed producer @MoAbudu to bring you two of Nigeria’s most beloved literary classics to screens around the world!” the company said in the tweet.
In a statement Netflix said that they “ . . . believe that more people deserve to see their lives reflected on screen and for that to happen, we need to make sure there’s a wide variety of content that caters to our members’ diverse tastes.”
Ebony Life Studios has produced box office hits like Fifty, Isoken, and Wedding Party.
The report by Channels Television said that Dorothy Ghettuba, Netflix lead for Original Series in Africa commended Abudu’s work saying, “Mo is at the forefront of creative storytelling in African television. Her passion for creating high-quality, riveting multi-genre films and TV shows that capture the imagination while showcasing the diversity and richness of Nigerian culture is evident in her impressive body of work.”
Reacting to the adaptation of her book, which the video streaming platform said will be first produced, Lola Shoneyin said, “I was thrilled when Mo contacted me about making a show out of my novel The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives. I’d turned down so many offers but this one felt right.”
Shoneyin said it is an opportunity to see her work in the hands of “a woman, who pursued excellence” in Africa in the same way she did.
Abudu tweeted that she was thrilled that five years after she requested and acquired the rights for Wole Soyinka’s play, she gets to produce it as a feature film.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian government has congratulated Mo Abudu over her partnership with leading global streaming service Netflix to create two original series as well as multiple Netflix-branded films.
Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed, said in a statement in Abuja that the partnership, for on-screen adaptation of Wole Soyinka’s ‘Death and The King’s Horseman’ and Lola Shoneyin’s ‘The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives’, adds another feather to Mo Abudu’s already well-adorned creative cap.
The minister described the deal as a big boost for the country’s Creative Industry at a time the industry is reeling from the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
”Coming after Netflix’s first Nigeria original film, Lionheart, this is a great recognition of the immense creative talents that abound in Nigeria and the provision of a global platform for Nigeria storytelling,” the minister said.
The minister expressed the hope that this partnership will signal the beginning of a bigger, mutually-beneficial working relationship between the streaming service and Nigeria’s Creatives.