Veteran actor, Chief Chika Okpala, popularly known as Zebrudaya, says lack of sponsorship have hindered production of most television series in the country.

Okpala said this during an interview in Lagos on Thursday with the News Agency of Nigeria.

Okpala is popularly known as Chief Zebrudaya Okoroigwe Nwogbo alias 4:30, an appellation he got from his role as Chief Zebrudaya in a TV comedy series, Masquerade and the New Masquerade (1983-1993).

He alleged that old popularly soap series such as Masquerade, Cockcrow at Dawn, The Village headmaster and others were left to dwindle because sponsors withdrew.

He said: “The dwindling economy is the major problem of production in the country and lack of sponsorship has contributed to the dearth of programmes on television stations in the country.

“Foreign soaps like Mexican soaps, Telemundo, the Z-world and the rest of them have flooded our TV screens now and ours are suffering.

“Those popular programmes – the Masquerade, Cockcrow at Dawn, The Village headmaster and others were left to sleep away.”

The veteran actor expressed optimism that if those programmes were still being aired, actors, actresses, producers, directors and the rest of the Nollywood would be employed and people would be entertained also.

Okpala said: “The private sector complained about the economy and without the economy being vibrant you cannot push the programmes forward.

“People cannot do productions without it yielding something substantial to take care of their families.

“If you engage an artiste and he performs for free today, tomorrow he may not because he has to pay his bills.

“He has to pay his rent and take care of other things.”

Okpala said the Masquerade was the medium that actors used in propagating government issues and policies.

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