APC Tramples On Entertainment •To Stop Overseas Music, Film Production •Artistes Decry Plan

By cattnews on July 19, 2017

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Mohammed
Mohammed

 

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) seems to be ticking, and as expected in the wrong direction. 

Last Saturday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, paid a visit to the headquarters of the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), where he dropped a bombshell; the Federal Government, he said, has taken steps to amend the Nigeria Broadcasting Code to discourage the production of Nigerian movies and music outside the shore of the country.

Ignorantly, the Minister decried the situation whereby films, reality TV shows and music, were made outside Nigeria, for consumption by Nigerians.
He said the situation had hampered empowerment of practitioners in the industry, the development of the sector and the nation’s economy in general.
“This government has agreed that henceforth, whatever we consume in Nigeria in terms of music and films, must be made in Nigeria.
“We cannot continue to go to South Africa or any other country to produce our films and then send them back to be consumed in Nigeria.
“The Broadcasting Code and the Advertising Code are very clear on this.
“For you to classify a product as a Nigerian product, it must have a certain percentage of Nigerian content.”
The Minister noted that what was happening today was that Nigerian artistes were often flown out of this country to go and make their recordings.
“When they get there, they will patronise the economy of that country and then bring the products back to Nigeria for us to consume.
“It is like somebody going to China or Japan to make a product that looks like palm wine and bring it back home to label it Nigerian palm wine.”
He stressed that “as long as we are not able to implement our own code to ensure local production of Nigerian music and movies, our young talents will not get jobs.
“It is Nigerians that pay for the consumption of these products and therefore they must be allowed and encouraged to participate in their production.
“I am going to meet with the relevant stakeholders over this, to see that whatever amendment that is needed to be made to our Broadcasting Code in this regard, is done urgently.”

All these point to only one fact, the Federal Government as represented by the minister knows little if nothing about the entertainment industry.

Presently, the country’s entertainment industry is not Organised Private Sector (OPS) driven, what obtains is that the sector is largely handled by an amalgam of Informal Private Interests and Quasi-formal Private Interests.

That was not what obtains pre-Independence and immediately after it. At that time, the Music industry was the most organized while the film was trailing it.

The Music industry was like any other industry in the country where the sector was strictly dominated by the OPS. Back then, Nigeria had familiar names such like DECCA, EMI and a host of others, all ran by foreigners who owns these record labels.
The film industry was largely Informal Private Interests and Quasi-formal Private Interests, with intermittent foreign interventions, a film ‘Mr Johnson’ starred some British actors as well as Nigerian actors.

Then comes the big blow, the ‘Nigerian Enterprises Promotion Decrees (NEPD) of 1972 and 1977’, also known as the ‘Nigeria indigenization decrees’ enacted by the military regime of General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), 1966 to 1975 and perfected by the military regime of General Olusegun Obasanjo (rtd), 1976 to 1979.
These sent the foreigners packing, dumping the business on the lap of Nigerians who lack the capacity to handle the business. That was the end of the involvement of the OPS in the country’s entertainment industry.

The industry was left in the hands of Nigerians such as Ogo-Oluwakitan Records, Abioro Organisation and the rest.
Much later, some companies like Sony Music, Ivory Music and Premier Music tried but soon left the scene, the last of any proper record label was probably, Tanbasi.

The two sectors entered a sort of parlous phase till the early 90s when the Home Video Culture sets in. This culture stimulated the two sectors and it came alive, and this has lasted till date.

APC should understand that the concern here is ‘creative arts’ and it has no boundary, exchange of ideas across countries often serve as the bedrock of these industries.

They have survived till today without government’s intervention, the only area in which past governments assisted the two industries was during awards.

Tony Okoroji can attest to this, he sold the Nigerian Music Awards (NMA) repeatedly to military heads of state, the regime of military president Ibrahim Babangida sponsored, at least, one of the events which had the late Gen. Sani Abacha, who was then the minister of defence in attendance.
Then, the president Goodluck Jonathan administration assisted the film industry often referred to as ‘Nollywood’ with some grant.

Probably, the APC government does not know that aside, the United States, Britain and France, two countries that has helped the music and film sectors the most are Ghana and South Africa.
With Ghana, it has always been the exchange of creativity since the days of the ‘Highlife Music’, and the collaboration in the area of film production has been exceedingly excellent akin to what obtains among the United States, Britain, Canada and Australia.

One can argue that Ghana is within ECOWAS, but it was South Africa that helped standardize the quality of Nigerian music artistes’ videos through its ‘Channel O’ music video platform, this was before the advent of MTV Base which is equally doing a fantastic job.
South Africa through its KORA Awards also helped to push Nigerian artistes onto the world stage in this contemporary era.

The DSTV/MNET Movie Magic also presented a veritable platform for Nigerians to not only showcase their works but to also improve on their quality.

If APC doesn’t know, most of the highly talented music video directors learnt their trade in South Africa and in the film industry, those with the most excellent works trained if not in South Africa, in the United States and Britain. Reason: Nigerian Universities and Polytechnics are both understaffed, underfunded and ill-equipped.

There is nothing wrong with the production of music and films overseas, creativity is an art that can take any bent, should the producers prefer abroad let it be, and should it be in the country let it be, what should  be the focus is how well a music video or film is done.
There are even Nigerians residing in these countries who work from there collaborating with artistes at home, there is Godfather in South Africa and others in Britain and the United States whose names are not available.

Flavour (Chinedu Okoli), one of the trending artistes, secured his record deal with 'Soul Candi Records' in South Africa!

Thankfully, the artistes themselves have been reacting. In a report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), veteran rapper Ruggedman argued that many artistes take their productions abroad because of the sophistication of the technologies required for such productions, which might not be available locally.
He said that the trend was not peculiar to Nigerian artistes as artistes from more developed climes do embark on international productions.
“Amenities we lack are a few of the reasons some entertainers go outside the country to shoot music videos and movies.
“Even America where their governments give their citizens amenities they deserve, still shoot movies in other countries.”
Yemi Alade, aka ‘Mama Africa’, expressed worries through her Instagram that the policy would hinder the growing collaboration between Nigerian singers, their international counterparts, and the global competitiveness of the Nigerian music.
“So will all the money artists have spent shooting videos that are yet to be released be refunded?
“You might think that a musical video is just a thing we do!!, It’s a business! You don’t understand!!”
“The video directors we use round the world are also Nigerians.”
P-Square, the musical superstar twins, also frowned at the proposed policy, stressing that it would not serve the best interest of the music industry.

The advice is that the APC government should stay clear of these sectors if it doesn’t have any meaningful assistance to render, and not kill it the way Gowon/Obasanjo killed the initial industries.

Source cattnews

Posted 19/07/2017 10:48:16 AM

 

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