Though the Court has lifted the injunction on 'Okafor's Law,' the case is still in court and hearing of the substantive matter kicks off April 3, 2017.
Though the Court has lifted the injunction, the case is still in court, and hearing of the substantive matter has been set for Monday, April 3, 2017.
The ruling by Justice N. Buba was for an interlocutory injunction which was served to Omoni Oboli, Filmone and Dioni Visions to halt the release of the movie in Nigeria.
The injunction was served on Friday, March 24, 2017, an hour to an already scheduled premiere of the movie at IMAX Cinemas, Lekki.
It all started online in September 2016, when a Canada based writer, Jude Idada, accused Omoni Oboli of stealing his idea for her movie, "Okafor's Law."
While Idada claims that everything but the title of the film belongs to him, Oboli claims that the story and everything about the film belongs to her.
Idada was hesitant to write the script because he once had a bad experience with the Obolis in the past.
In 2013, Jude Idada claimed to have written a treatment for the movie "Being Mrs Elliott," which he forwarded to the actress. However, Oboli produced the movie off the treatment without contacting or paying Idada for his work.
According to our source, the actress defended her act, claiming to have forgotten that a treatment was sent to her by Idada.
Jude Idada, who had no idea that a movie was made off his treatment, got to find out at the 2014 Nollywood Film Festival in Paris, when the movie was screened to the audience.
On March 30, 2017, Pulse spoke with an undisclosed source who said that Oboli had contacted Jude Idada to write the script and that they had shared ideas during their several meetings.
According to her, Oboli decided to write her own script after several attempts to reach Jude was unsuccessful.
However, another inside contradicted the above source, stating that after Oboli had contacted Jude Idada in late 2014 to write her script, the latter tried severally to reach her, but wasn't successful.
According to our sources, when they contacted him in 2014, asking that he writes the script for their new movie, he was cautious. During a visit to Omoni Oboli's house in 2014, Jude walked into a conversation about the theory of "Okafor's Law."
When asked what he thought about making the theory into a movie, he shared his idea, and after listening to him, the couple insisted that they wanted him to pen the screenplay.
They agreed on five thousand dollars, which was 750, 000 naira as at that time. Afterwards, he had a conversation with Chioma Onyewe, the director of Ranconteur Production and plaintiff in the ongoing copyright Infringement case, who advised him to draw up a contract before working with the Obolis to avoid a repeat of the "Being Mrs Elliott" events.
Sources say that after Jude had agreed to write the movie, he sent out a treatment to Oboli, and then requested for an agreement.
While he waited for an agreement, Idada lost his laptop and files during a trip to Cameroon. He informed the Obolis about the development, but, he promised to rewrite the script.
On January 11, 2015, Idada sent a mail to Nnamdi Oboli, informing him that he was done rewriting the lost script. He also attached an agreement for the Obolis to sign.
There was no response from Nnamdi Oboli until March 4, 2015, and then March 9, 2017.
According to an undisclosed source, Idada had taken the 53-day silence to mean that the Obolis were no longer interested, and on January 20, 2017, he registered the script with the Writers Guild of Canada.
However, in a counter-affidavit submitted by Augustine Alegeh (SAN) for the first and second defendants in the copyright case, the Obolis claim that they were not aware that Idada had written a script as at the time they produced the movie.
Idada then reached out to Chioma Onyenwe, who was interested in the script, and assigned his rights to the script to her, in exchange for equity.
Afterwards, Chioma filed for a film trademark for "Okafor's Law."
Chioma contacted Filmone to co-produce the film. The distribution company accepted and also sent a letter of intent to Rancouteour Productions.
Also, our sources claim that Idada had changed the film title to "The Bet," but after Filmone didn't approve of the change, they changed it back to "Okafor's Law."
However, Filmone claimed not be happy with the pace of production, and in May 2015, they withdrew their intention to co-produce.
In 2015, Idada found out that Oboli was producing a movie titled "Okafor's Law," and according to sources, he found it more shocking that Filmone accepted to distribute the movie, despite seeing a copy of Jude's script and the similarities.
Jude Idada publicly accused Omoni Oboli of stealing his idea on September 7, 2017, few days to the world premiere of "Okafor's Law," which took place on Monday, September 12, 2016, at The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).
Many insisted and still insist that Idada should have gone public before the world premiere of the movie. However, sources say the writer had his reasons for not halting the premiere of "Okafor's Law" in Toronto.
"Jude is passionate about art and was trying not to smear Nollywood," said an insider to Pulse."There was also lack of funds to purse a copyright infringement case," another added.
A letter of demand
A letter of demand was sent to Filmone and Omoni Oboli by the now plaintiff, Rancouteour Productions, proposing that they settle the matter by paying for damage and restitution.
"Credit is everything in Nollywood and that was what Jude wanted. He wanted Oboli to give him his due credit and also publicly accept that she didn't write the script," a source said.
However, none of them responded to the letter of demand.
A lawsuit was filed on March 15, 2017, and the actress was served the injunction that prevented the premiere of her movie on March 24, 2017. She was also served a court order on the same day.
Cancelled Premiere of "Okafor's Law"
Following the injunction, the previously scheduled premiere of "Okafor's Law" didn't hold.
Addressing the invited guests at the IMAX Cinema, Oboli broke down in tears as she stated that the script and movie were created '100 percent' by her.
She went further to describe the injunction as an abuse of power. Also at the 'premiere,' Filmone publicly stated their support for Oboli and "Okafor's Law."
Lifting the injunction
On Wednesday, March 29, 2017, a Federal High Court in Ikoyi rescheduled the hearing of the case between Raconteur Productions and Oboli, Dioni Visions and Filmone Distribution.
The hearing was rescheduled to Thursday, March 30, 2017, after Otudor of Punuka Attorneys & Solicitors, the lawyer representing the plaintiff, requested for more time (48 hours) to respond to a new motion filed by the defendant, Augustine Alegeh (SAN).
On Thursday, March 30, 2017, Justice N. Buba of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, lifted the injunction that was meant to prevent "Okafor's Law" from screening in cinemas.
According to the judge, there isn't enough evidence to sustain the previously acquired injunction by Raconteur Productions.
The court lifted the injunction stating that the copyright claim suit is yet to be determined by a competent court of law.
Omoni Oboli's silence
Jude Idada publicly accused Oboli in September 2016. However, the actress never addressed the allegations until March 25, 2017, when she addressed her guests at what was supposed to be the premiere of the movie.
On March 30, 2017, Oluwatomi Adeoye, the production Manager of Dioni Visions who represented Dioni Visions and Oboli at the court ruling, said the actress remained silent because she didn't want to 'cause bias.'
"We are being very careful to not release a statement that may cause bias, even though the other party has released their own statement to the media," she said.
"But, from the side that we are coming from as Omoni Oboli being a celebrity - when celebrities talk, they tend to get the public on their side.
"We don't want to make it look like we are swaying the public, so, that's why Omoni has been quiet about this matter.
About "Okafor's Law"
The movie follows Chuks (aka Terminator), an ardent player with the ladies. He believes in "Okafor's Law" - the law that once a man has had a woman, he forever has access to her.
When challenged by his friends to see if he can prove the universality of that theory with three ex-girlfriends from his school days within 21 days, he accepts it.
Turning on his best charm he sets off to try and prove himself, but his quest brings him to three women, Ifeoma (Fifi), Kemi and Ejiro, whose situations in life have changed drastically since school days.
This challenge of their various new statuses makes his quest to win the bet more and more insurmountable as he tries to prove the immutability of the age-old law, Okafor's Law.
Similarities between Oboli's "Okafor's Law" and Jude's Okafor's Law"
There are subtle similarities and differences between both scripts which you can read below.
1. In Omoni Oboli's movie, there are three friends; Terminator, Fox and Baptist. These three friends are popularly called The 3 Chuks.
In Jude Idada's movie, there are four friends; Akin, Farouk, Ikenna and Soji.
2. There's a bet in both scripts. While Terminator having sex with Toyin kicks off the bet in Oboli's script, a sex scene between Soji and Adaora kicks it off in Idada's.
3. The price for the bet is the Farm in Omoni Oboli's movie, while the price in Idada's is the highlife collection.
4. In Oboli's script, the three ladies are Ejiro - Banker and church girl, Ify - a married woman with a wealthy husband, and Tomi - an Advertising guru.
In Idada's script, the three ladies are Tinu - a doctor and church girl, Esohe - a married banker with a wealthy husband, and Tonye - a photographer.
"Okafor's Law" is currently in the cinema. However, the hearing of the substantive matter kicks off today, Monday, April 3, 2017.