Travelling arrangements for wonder kid Rahim Banda to attend the 2012 Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) in Nigeria has led to a clash between organizers of the award and the boy’s father, Ahmed Banda, the celebrated music cum movie producer, popularly known as Bandex.
Rahim, a Ghanaian child actor with exceptional talent and skill, was nominated for the category of Best Child Actor at the 2012 AMAA that came off in Lagos yesterday and on the eve of his departure, it became evident that the organizers had purchased one plane ticket for the 11-year-old boy to travel alone to Nigeria.
His father, Bandex, insisted it was improper for an 11-year-old boy to travel alone from Ghana to Nigeria simply because he had been nominated for an award and this generated a heated misunderstanding that nearly led to name-calling between Bandex and the AMAA organizers.
Judith Oluwale, AMAA representative in Ghana, accused Bandex of causing financial loss to the organization. She further alleged that Bandex had threatened to take the issue to the media just to tarnish the reputation of AMAA, an allegation Bandex has categorically denied.
As at the time of filing this report, it was a few hours to the awards ceremony and both Rahim Banda and Bandex were still in Accra.
Speaking on Peace FM’s Entertainment Review programme, Judith Olawale literally fumbled in an attempt to give an explanation as to why they bought a single ticket for the 11-year-old boy to travel alone.
According to Judith, Rahim was nominated because of his role in the movie, ‘Behind The Mask’, produced by Bandex. She said the movie had two nominations but Bandex waited until the eleventh hour before telling AMAA organizers that his second nominee could not make it to the awards.
“Can you believe that we had Mr. Banda telling us late in the night that his second nominee was not going to make it as at the time we were giving him details for the ticket. The tickets are not refundable so if we have been communicating with you and you are now telling us at a time we are to fly the following day that one of your nominees cannot make it to the event, first of all you are causing financial loss to AMAA. You should have told us then we could have bought that ticket for the person accompanying him, which is you. Secondly, I was not aware, I did not hear that you (Bandex) said you wanted to go with him (Rahim) else I would have sorted it out,” Judith attempted to explain.
When asked if the organizers were aware the nominee was just 11 years old and could not have travelled alone, she responded, “Exactly. But if I had been prompted. I am not blaming anybody. I am not blaming him. But all I needed was to have been prompted in the beginning so that I can sort it out. In fact, I am aware that he is a minor but it escaped me. We are all in this business of putting stuff together and anything can happen that you would actually forget that this is what it is.”
Bandex, on his part, was quick to fire a response to the lame explanations from AMAA.
“I wonder why Judith is not telling Ghanaians the truth because when he had that ZAAFA awards nominations, she called me and said my son had been nominated at ZAAFA and I checked it on the net so I drew their attention that the boy cannot travel alone because he is a minor and they accepted it.
“So how many times do I have to keep reminding them that the boy is a minor? That is number one. And number two, her sister was the one that I personally talked to always because I remember Judith was not okay, if I say ‘okay’ I mean, she is pregnant so it is the sister who mostly communicated with me. I remember I asked the sister how many tickets they were giving us but she said the confirmation was not yet in so she could not tell how many tickets they were going to give us and I said alright.
“Then I had a text message that we were flying tomorrow. It came in yesterday (Friday) that we were flying tomorrow (Saturday). But late in the night, she called and she said there was another nominee who was not travelling so I should go to the airport and change that person’s name into mine so I said how come?
“I don’t see it as part of my job. If two people have been nominated in my movie and the other one was not going, the organisers are asking me to go to the airport and change the person’s name on the plane ticket into my name. This thing is never done anywhere and even if a change of name has to come in, it should be done by the organizers and not me the father of a nominee. You don’t tell me to go to the airport early morning around 5 o’clock to do that change of name before I can travel with my son.”
He added, “For the past three days, I have been communicating with them and asking the same questions on the time we would be leaving and how many tickets would be available for us. But they kept saying they did not actually know the time because the list was not in yet. So when I informed the guy three days ago that this was what was happening, he said he had so many things doing and cannot reschedule it. That was three days ago so let Judith ask her sister Kharima. Let her not say I informed them yesterday. It was three days ago…I kept asking you and you said the list was not in yet and that was when the other nominee said he would not go and I informed you so why are you now telling me that I have caused financial loss and blah blah blah. No no no no. If the tickets were ready and I said change it, that is when you can say that. But I had asked you and you kept saying you do not know…Even if they had told me, maybe I could have bought my own ticket and gone with my son…How can I let the boy to fly to Nigeria alone? Come on men, I can’t do that. Not even to let him go to Circle alone.”
Rahim was in 2011 nominated for the ‘Best Actor In Lead Role’ at the Ghana Movie Awards. He has starred in movies like ‘The Beast,’ ‘Millions’ and ‘Masters of the Game’
Halifax Ansah-Addo is a journalist living and working in Ghana. He trained as a Political Reporter but currently is Editor-In-Charge of News-One, the showbiz and social news insert of DAILY GUIDE.
Since January 2008,Halifax Ansah-Addo has worked for Western Group owners of Daily Guide.
He attended the African University College of Communications in Accra and an alumnus of the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ), Berlin, Germany.
He was awarded the 2015 Best Entertainment Journalist/Writer at the GN Bank Awards.
Halifax blogs on politics, human rights, showbiz and social issues, He loves his Fiancee, Akosua.