Mo Abudu’s EbonyLife Media has penned 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!” part of the tweet read.
Netflix in a statement 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.
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.
“I grew to trust her very quickly, so when she told me about the possibility of working with Netflix, I was overjoyed,” she added. “Soon, people everywhere will have access to the story of Baba Segi. And that is more than I could have asked for as a writer.”
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.
I am excited about our slate of Netflix Original projects to be produced by EBONYLIFE STUDIOS. First on our list is ‘The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives’ based on the book by the super talented writer @LolaShoneyin. https://t.co/dipOUbEwf0
— Mo Abudu (@MoAbudu) June 12, 2020
In his reaction, Wole Soyinka said he is delighted to see the robust challenges offered by the female gender in a male-dominated creative industry.
“Mo Abudu’s incursion into this arena as film and television producer has been especially stimulating. It becomes part of one’s sense of achievement if one has contributed, however minutely, to the creation of an enabling environment,” he said.