Thematic Analysis of ‘CITATION’- A Kunle Afolayan Film

Official Poster

    Hi guys, I’m glad to announce that the movie ‘Citation’ by Kunle Afolayan is to launch our Movie Hut this year.

   The movie started off with a certain Dr. Grillo trying to cut his way through a female student’s skirt by luring her in with grades. That didn’t go well for him as he lost his life and I’m like *Yh, that serves him right* but I wondered why Kunle decided to start the movie with that anecdote.

   I felt that he wanted to make it a salient warning against taking the law into your hands, regardless of whether or not you are in the right. Once you avoid the laid down justice system for such crimes, you are not seen as the victim any longer but as an equal offender. Secondly, I felt he did that to sharpen the loss Moremi would have to go through if she lost to Professor N’Dyare. We wouldn’t have known the downside of the whole thing if Kunle did not start off this way.

  I love the fact that he started the movie at the heart of the conflict, most people call this in media res. It’s by far one of the hardest techniques because you would have to make sure the audience don’t get too confused and at the same time make sure that they get to meet the characters one after the other. That’s a lotta brain work but as expected Kunle killed it and I must say that it’s really brilliant.


  Is it me or Gloria’s make-up made my stomach turn, she looked so white that it scared me? Then there was Professor Yahaya that looked so bad that a ghost would have looked better. As for the other characters, the makeup was manageable, don’t get me started with what they did on Monsieur Cardosa’s face, it was far worse than horrible. The cameras were top notch and they helped in showing the make-up artiste’s blatant mistakes, it was glaring for all to see.

   With that I’ll go on to the themes, I’ve talked about Kunle’s subtle warning against jungle justice and then there’s the main theme;

  • The Terribly High Rate of Sexual Harassment in Nigerian University Systems.

  This movie reminded me of the BBC documentary about sexual harassment of female students in selected universities in Africa, this happened last year and I can remember how my hostel was in a celebration mode all through.

  Girls were screaming with happiness in their voices when some of the lecturers that made their lives hell were caught red-handed on video. In fact, when you get to the university, the first set of red lights you get from your senior roommates are as follows;

  • No dey show your intelligence for class especially in front of any male lecturer, this means keeping all of your questions and contributions to yourself while in class.
  • Never ever go to a lecturer’s office alone; e get why! (now this one is the most important of all the rules)
  • Pray very hard that you never have result issues all through your stay in school. If this is the only prayer you have to pray in all of your years of study, pray it hard!!

 Sadly, our main character, Moremi broke all three of the rules, which isn’t her fault cause she was new to the whole system, a bloody ‘Johnny Just Come’  I wasn’t too surprised when our make-up brush head Professor, N’Dyare, interpreted her innocence as the psychopath that he is. This takes me to the second theme;

  • Effects of Poverty

Well, there’s this saying that Chinua Achebe left behind, ‘when suffering knocks at your door and you say there is no seat for him, he tells you not to worry because he has brought his own stool’ now y’all do me a favor and replace ‘suffering’ with ‘poverty’. Professor Lucien knew very well how powerful poverty was because he came from poverty himself, which he used to his advantage on Samba’s mother. He used it to zip her father’s lips shut but when it came to Moremi, he had to use a different technique, she was neither intellectually poor nor materially poor, so he had to use the ‘I can’t drive stick’ technique to cut through.

  What I am saying is that these psychopaths either use your grades to get you or they hide under the shade of ‘I’m trying to make you a better student’ while having malicious undertones beneath their poisonous kindness. This takes me to the next theme;

  • The glory and thorns behind BRAVERY

Well, what can I say? Moremi Oluwa was brave enough to stand up against a renowned lecturer like Professor Lucien N’Dyare. I must say that kind of bravery is the one with a tinge of anger, that kind that comes when you find out that your innocent intentions were used like some pun in a video game.

  There’s so much power behind bravery but let’s not forget that she had to step on the thorns, thorns like having her dissertation trashed by Professor Lucien. Moreso, she had to swallow all the lies that he told even with that much anger boiling in her chest.


  Afolayan did well to portray that you can be brave without having to use violence to enforce your rights. You can be brave while passing through due process, this gives you more power and strength against your oppressor.

    For the characters that I loved,  I’ll start with Mr. Kwesi, a role taken by Adjetey Anang, a Ghanaian actor that brought his A-game to the table. I like the way Afolayan made him a sharp contrast to Gloria. He stood by Moremi all through and even defied the ‘no talking to your witness’ rule to advise her and it was adorable. He’s thoughtful, caring, wise, and full of integrity. He has that harsh sarcastic humor, I saw this part of him when he said that Gloria would soon ask Professor Lucien to guess her ‘bra size ’*coughs*.


   Then Koyejo *me screaming like a hopeless romantic *


Koyejo’s role was played by Gabriel Afolayan, a talented Nigerian actor. I like that he had great punch lines, he flatters himself which is not surprising for Medical students *rolls eyes* but it was cute. He’s sincere and intentional about his love for Moremi, He’s sensitive and protective of Moremi too. He’s a hardworking chap too, imagine merging learning Kung Fu and opening corpses in a med lab, yeah that’s our Koyejo.

  My list would not be complete without Moremi played by Temi Otedola. I must say that Temi did well, considering that that was her first time acting. Moremi Oluwa is a very interesting character, she’s intelligent, I mean who gets to do her Masters Degree Program at age twenty? Well, she did her first degree abroad so it’s expected, because when ASUU strike decides to strike your age in this country *sniffs*.  This also applies to the way she got into Professor Lucien’s head with Monsieur Cardosa on her witness stand, a worthy stroke that broke the camel’s back.


  She is strong, when I mean strong, I mean the kind of strength that comes with a trillion gallon full of bravery. Imagine pulling out a ripped underwear in a senate hearing just to prove your innocence, that takes guts! She’s naïve, inexperienced and I don’t blame her but what I blame is her insensitivity.

   She was not sensitive enough to read the clear writing on the wall especially after the ‘my favorite color is red ‘ incident in Professor Lucien’s office. The fact that she even said that she may have ‘overreacted’ put me off completely, like how on earth did she have the mind to tag what happened as ‘overreacting’?

   Apart from that, I like the fact that she’s a dreamer, a problem solver full of brains, she’s contented with Koyejo even when Gloria put him in the class of ‘small boys.’ In all she is a worthy character.

  As expected, Kunle Afolayan brought his A-game to this project, I like that part where he made a brief appearance in the movie, it reminded me so much of Stan Lee of Marvel Studios. I’ll give CITATION 70% in all, it was a job well done for me. Find out more about the cast and crew of CITATION here. Before I draw the curtains, I don’t think I’ll figure out why the ‘don’t ask me questions, you know where to get the course material’ lecturer sounds overly familiar *coughs coughs*


   Kindly let me know what you learned after seeing CITATION in the comments section, kindly add the parts that you loved, we’ll come back again next week with another review of ‘LIVING IN BONDAGE’ by first time director, Ramsey Nouah.

Have a wonderful day ahead!

The Nostalgic Pen

2 thoughts on “Thematic Analysis of ‘CITATION’- A Kunle Afolayan Film”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *