Based on Nigeria’s Niger-Delta town Oloibiri which is credited as the country’s first point of crude-oil discovery in January 1956, the movie, “Oloibiri” speaks the central theme: Governmental Pacification of a Long-abused People. It addresses this theme through three subject-matters: the tragic journey of Oloibiri into developmental retrogression, the socio-cultural under-runs which birth militancy, and the government intervention to compensate a land which arguably, has been raped of its resources.
Two decades plus after the last drops of commercial-quantity crude oil was drilled from Oloibiri, the town has two of its sons, TIMIPRE and GUNPOWDER; each one disenchanted with the exploitation of their resources by the oil companies. But while Timipre, an older-generation indigene expresses his through lamentations and regrets of what could have been, Gunpowder is an angry youth whose obsession for a restitution-pacified Oloibiri Town is driven to dangerously violent extremes with a mind-set bent on symbolically cleansing Oloibiri land with the blood of those he categorises its offenders. His rationale: bringing justice to Oloibiri. He has let out the blood of several so far, thus earning him a Mr. Death persona in his kinsmen’s eyes. For this crop of militant, it is not about money-making through selfish-interest-based kidnappings, it is about the symbolic blood-shedding of any he considers as culpable in the sorry state Oloibiri has become: shanty, development-stunted and farming-destroyed.
A severely twisted mind, the genuine manifestations of the Niger-Delta Amnesty initiatives as well as development-promises of the Federal Government do not appease Gunpowder’s rage. When he learns that Oloibiri has once again been identified with crude oil of commercial quantity – and has attracted international investors, Gunpowder’s rage intensifies. And when he abducts POWELL, a CNN-celebrated, American multinational CEO who has a vested interest in the new Oloibiri oil, Nigeria knows it is not the usual kidnap-for-ransom business; the global media fans the crises to its peak.
When Powell would escape his captors to the home of Timipre, he is oblivious that he has just suddenly transferred the perilous burden of his safety to the ageing man. For Timipre, in this breath-stopping while, he sees all his family coming face to face with imminent destruction in the hands of a very mentally ill fellow kinsman, Gunpowder.
“Oloibiri” is an action thriller mirroring fear and dread and international exploitation and governmental responsibility and the unseen benefits of desperate hope.