Culture and Lifestyle

Omo Ghetto: Sparks in Character Formation

Premiered in Nigerian cinemas on Christmas Day, December 25th, Omo Ghetto (the Saga), is a blockbuster that moved swiftly to top all major charts in less than a week of its release. The movie is a follow-up on Omo Ghetto released in 2010.

Set in fictional Lagos, the movie tells the story of Lefty who grew up in the suburb (tagged ghetto) together with her gang -Nikky, Chummy Choko and Busty. One area of speciality of the gang was getting into trouble. Lefty was later adopted to live alongside her twin sister, Ayomide, by the lovely Mrs Benson, in an upper-class neighborhood.

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Irrespective of the affluence and the new luxurious change in environment, Lefty still finds herself going back to the ghetto and fermenting more trouble. She falls in love with Stone, leader of Yahoo Gang in Askamaya ghetto. He betrays her, a reality she struggles to grapple with, but manages to overcome.

Her ghetto accomplices however kidnapped the “oyinbo woman” whom Stone was going out with to signal their grievance. Stone, in retaliation, abducts Lefty’s twin sister, an incident that fuelled a large scale war between Lefty’s gang and the Yahoo gang.

“Omo Ghetto”, an action packed comedy is particularly remarkable for exploring the life and character of two twin sisters in showing how two people, informed by the same genetic composition can be so alike and yet so different. Most certainly, you can take Lefty out of the ghetto but can you take the ghetto out of her? This is the question the movie attempts to answer as it throws light into a discourse that engages warring polemics regarding character formation.

Two schools of thought seem to have emerged on the subject. The debate is, between environment and genetics, which has the larger influence on character build up? That is, which of the two has the stronger capacity to inform and shape a personality into what a person eventually becomes.

There is the group that insists that character formation is largely hereditary or a matter of genetics or nature. This school of thought insists that people’s character are innate or inborn and not a result of influences from the environment or determined by a person’s surroundings or where they were brought up.

Another school of thought insists that environment has the greater influence on character formation. In other words, the attitude, mentality, and sensibilities that inform how one behaves are majorly a product of influences in the environment. Even within this school of thought, there are some who believe that a change of environment will automatically mean or inspire a change of character, and others who argue otherwise.

Omo Ghetto however indicates that environment has the domineering power on character formation far more than genetics as it reflect the different lives of two people who are supposed to be alike as a result of their biological composition. But the movie reveals that while environment has the ability to influence character, it also doesn’t necessarily determine a change of character.

One would have expected the protagonist to adjust to her new life of opulence and poise of the upper class like her twin sister, but we see how much of Lefty’s life in the ghetto has affected her and the paradigm with which she sees the world.

Even after a huge elevation in social class, Lefty remained the leader of the notorious female gang in the Askamaya Ghetto. She keeps going back to the ghetto where her friends were, to mingle with those who were the emotional representations of memories and experiences that have gone on to form the core of her person and personality. This seems to reinforce the fact that environment has a far more reaching influence on character composition when it begins from the formative years of one’s life.

The same influence of environment on character formation is what we encounter with Ayomide, the twin sister of Lefty who was raised in affluence within an estate. We see how different Ayomide is from Lefty in terms of disposition, behavioral patterns, and attitudinal tendencies, owing to the fact that she was raised in a completely different environment. Unlike her twin, Lefty’s daring and ridiculously brash manners put her out of place in her surrogate mother’s high-class circles.

Against this backdrop, critics and enthusiasts alike have praised Funke Akindele for interpreting her dual role and playing it so outstandingly well. The swift move from ghetto to elevated lifestyles and her switch of accents, personality, and body language were remarkably exceptional.

For the metaphor in the names, a particular scenario stands out as Ayomide tries to talk her twin sister out of being noisy and brash. In Ayomide’s words: “You know what you are doing is not right.” Lefty responded thus: “yes I know what I am doing is not right. I am Lefty. So what I am doing is left.”

The movie further scores some highpoints by moving characters portrayed to be motivated by violence beyond stereotypes. Projecting them from being stonehearted, to humans capable of falling in love. This explains the metaphor in the name, Stone, the character whom Lefty falls in love with. Despite all his wrongdoings, she still gives him the benefit of doubt until his nature of a betrayer becomes very obvious.

However, when Stone abducts her twin sister, she and her gang go all out against the Yahoo gang. The ultimate scene sees Lefty getting shot at point-blank range.

The comedy film was co-directed by the ‘Jenifa’s Diary’ star and JJC, Skillz. It stars Funke Akindele-Bello (as Lefty), Chioma Akpotha (as Chummy Choko), Eniola Badmus (as Busty), Bimbo Thomas (as Nikky), Akah Nnani (as Mario), Alex Ekubo (Obi Wire), Zubby Michael (as Aza Man), Deyemi Okanlawon (as Stone), Timini Egbuson, Nancy Isime, Paschaline Alex, Mercy Aigbe, and many others. As a star studded movie, it proved beyond doubt that it was worth the time of all the celebrities involved.

Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria reported that the movie raked in over N189 million in the opening week making it the first Nollyhood film to achieve the milestone.

In a statement released by CEAN, the 2020 comedy film has so far grossed N468,036,300 after holding the number one spot for its third week in a row.

Omo Ghetto has officially broken a four-year record beating Kemi Adetiba’s 2016 Comedy movie “The Wedding Party 2”.

The movie had been Nollywood Highest Grossing Movie with N453,000,000, in the third place in ‘The Wedding Party 2 with N433,197,377,” the statement said.

NAN also reported that the latest feat is probably the most shocking news as it comes amidst a pandemic that affected the movie industry for months.

Nelson Okoh

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