This article was written by former rapper and author Odega Shawa. Read below..
At the beginning of the year I begged Nigerian artistes to do something for the masses suffering and dying under the weight of stupid government policies. I begged them to forget that some of them collected money from politicians to dance and prance on political campaign stages, like clowns. I asked them to remember their conscience and do something, that the masses cannot do it all by themselves.
I even told them what to do: give us some hot headed reality songs and videos, and deny us ? for a short period, a very short pause in their shining careers ? the usually consistent serving of half-naked women, expensive looking cars and houses. I implied that if they do not, very soon it will be their turn. See the article here
I wrote this in that article: ?There is a reason I believe that something will change if Nigerian musicians do this this year. Politicians fear the masses. They only love us in our deaf and dumb form, in our zombie phase. A lot. The idea that the masses are uniting with the most powerful voices in the struggle would get them on their feet. How else do we tell this government clearly that we cannot afford the burden of their CHANGE if we cannot get our own musicians to lend their voices to our cry??
Seun Kuti, split image of his fearless father, is at the forefront of government resistance. Charlie Boy and Daniel Wilson did something, I believe. But they are so old school, according to a recent facebook music enthusiast I argued with, that their efforts did not really resonate with the millennials, the core group that matters most in our socio-cultural consciousness at the moment. One or two others did something as well if I remember correctly.
But the cr�me de la cr�me of the industry could not be bothered. Usually, on social media, that is where they remind you they are richer than you are, you are nobody so you can go shove your opinion up your you-know-what hole. You should be ashamed of yourself, in other words, for having an opinion about what a multi-millionaire musician is doing with his/her platform.
Everything was going good for the musicians and their happy entourage, the poor masses could go you-know-what themselves.
I knew then that whatever goes round comes around, at least in a government led by intellectual giants like Lai Mohammed. And now he has dropped it on the musicians, right at the living spot where they make their money!
No more foreign video shoots for music videos to be broadcast in Nigeria.
As something that is expected to actually work in a real life economy the ban is so stupid, or so stupidly worded as it is, that I am not going to waste my time on it as Reno Omokri and co had so predictably done.
What I want to do here is laugh out loud at the musicians now shrilly screeching against Lai Mohamed?s latest contribution to our national economic development. All of a sudden the hash tag #MinisterFaceYourWork became a thing on social media.
So this people can speak out against bad government policy like this?
I will try and quote them, in their own words, the few of them that have responded to the ban:
THE P SQUARE CLAN:
Jude ?Engees? Okoye: ?An industry they NEVER encouraged, supported or empowered is what they now want to control. Let all of you stop running to abroad when you are sick. You people (Lai Mohamed and the federal government gang) are the ones refusing to fix our health facilities so u travel out when mosquito bite una. So why tell us where to record when u can?t provide uninterrupted power here in Nigeria.?
Sometimes am ashamed to be called a Nigerian because this people Tufia kwa Another Nationality Loading?? #shame
? Peter Okoye MrP (@PeterPsquare) July 16, 2017
?So all the money artists have spent shooting videos that are yet to be released will be refunded abi??
?An economy/industry that has gotten thus far without your one dime or assistance is what you want to nip so insensitively.?
?So will you sponsor the unavoidable travel expenses 2Naij of the international acts we have featured on our songs?
?You might think that a musical video is just ?a thing? we do!!. It?s a business! you don?t understand!!?
At least a little bit of research would help?
?Have you sponsored a music video or even been at a video location. You see an industry moving forward , your contribution shouldn?t be to pull it back!!
?Sad, sad, sad..?The video directors we use round the world are also Nigerians. I guess you don?t know that!?
?We watch you use the country any how you like because unfortunately, you are the ones at the helm of affairs. We all see how that has been going since 1960. You are not providing jobs for the masses. Education is poor, our Nigerian certificates are more useless than tissue paper outside Nigeria. *Meanwhile the budget to run the Nigerian Senate this 2017 is N215billion. There?s no stable electricity. Security is not stable. Our hospitals are not equipped, to the extent our president is receiving treatment in a London hospital. *Meanwhile the budget to run the Nigerian Senate this 2017 is N215billion.
Stop sending your kids to schools abroad. It?s Nigeria?s money you are spending abroad.?
?Dear lai mohamed please address us and let the world know where your family members are currently studying now. Justify your wicked acts.
Politicians should be stoned when making such a speech??
Bla bla bla.
It had to take the genius of Lai Mohamed?s intellectual goody bag to drag our musicians out of the glow of their self-centred bubbles. They are now suddenly reminded that they live with the poor and the miserable under stupid policies in this society ran by a clown troupe of a government.
Thank you, Lai Mohamed.
Thank you, COSON.
God bless our Federal Republic of Clowns and the combined brain power of our leaders.
By the way I have heard none of the suddenly unhappy musicians say anything about COSON. Yet this dubious proposal to stop them from shooting their musical videos abroad must have had some significant COSON collaboration. It was announced after Lai Mohamed?s visit to COSON offices.
Thank you too, Tony Okoroji. Now you have given the real musicians something to really hate. Not any of all that: ?when was the last time he waxed a record?? bullshit. The other day I heard someone say the last time anybody in COSON leadership did a song starboy Wizkid wasn?t even born. But let me not digress.
Now we all wait for these elite musicians to turn their outrage on the latest government goof to musical expression, I hope.
Such big hope.
Like waiting for roses to grow on concrete.
Get in the studio, you rich nitwits, and sing reality songs about this charade we are witnessing as government! Title it Minister Face Your Work, or whatever.
Again, as I wrote in my January article: ?We do not have the voice that you people have. You are celebrities, super stars, artistes. Speak for us, we beg you once again, before we die in our misery and hopelessness, before we quench, as Fela put it. You have the voice. You have the platform. You have the power. Speak for us this year, like Fela did. We will make you a legend in return. Imagine that.?
I sit here and imagine P Square going in at Lai Mohamed and APC now on a new ?hit? single. Shoot the video with Aso Rock in the background. Or create a cartoon canvass classic like Jay Z?s The Story Of O.J. Give some of that South Africa flight money to MCKtoons in Lagos. That?s a powerfully talented young man that can do with the exposure and tell our compelling sad story if PSquare can just ask him.
I wait for the reality to sink in that we are all in this shit together.
Your shrill screeching is correct by the way, the ban makes no sense. But we are not interested. Not that much.
We are not the ones flying to South Africa, Dubai and Europe to shoot musical videos. We are just waiting for the price of tomato and beans to come down at the local market in Mushin. Why should we care if you don?t care about singing and discussing what is happening to us at Mile 12 market?
Now all of a sudden musicians are remembering that government officials send their children abroad to school while the education system festers and deteriorates at home. All of a sudden our musicians are talking about elected government officials trouping abroad to cure their headaches when the entire national health sector is in shambles.
These musicians should be ashamed of themselves for their sophisticated silence all along, while the masses suffered and died; while teenage girls carry pregnancies for nine months only to sell their babies for cash to feed and survive.
Get up off your rich asses and wake your dead social consciousness.
Let the spirit of Fela Anikulapo Kuti?s African Exceptionalism run through your creative veins, for once and for your people!
Do this one thing for us all this year ? or get away with your shrill screeching about how the government is planning to cut your career throats with the video shoot ban. Go and die, lol.