Following the biting economic hardship in Nigeria, many entertainers have decided to ply their trade outside the country before they go bankrupt, ANTHONY ADA ABRAHAM reports.
President Muhammadu Buhari recently appealed to all Nigerians to be part of his change campaign. He said the citizens must realize that the change they want to see begins with them, and that personal and social reforms are not a theoretic exercise.
For entertainers, gone are those days when they are begged to perform at shows and they reject due to numerous bookings. To them, they have summoned a new spirit of responsibility, the spirit of service, of patriotism and sacrifice yet they go to bed hungry.
The Change Begins With Me championed by the ministry of information and culture has seen various criticisms by Nigerians. Most people believe that if the presidency and the ministry of information and tourism are really serious about the change campaign they preach, they should first of all bring back the laudable scenes and level playing ground for entertainers, which was enjoyed before the present admiration took power.
Everywhere across the country, people’s crave for fun and entertainment can’t be quenched because of the enthusiasm it carries. At clubs, pubs and even some gardens, they are paid to come and perform, but today, it seems the crave is dying as only a man that has a filled stomach would want to go and listen to people singing.
Not a few entertainers were shocked that change must actually begin with them before they could experience a change from their leaders. While many who are sympathetic to the Buhari-led government applauded the new campaign, saying change should begin with the citizens first as demanded by the President, others say it should be amicable.
“I am therefore appealing to all Nigerians to be part of this campaign. Our citizens must realise that the change they want to see begins with them, and that personal and social reforms are not theoretic exercise. If you have not seen the change in you, you cannot see it in others or even the larger society. In other words, before you ask ‘where is the change they promised us’, you must first ask how far have I changed my ways ‘what have I done to be part of the change for the greater good of society’,” Buhari said.
During the former president Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, there was no weekend that the cities of Lagos, Abuja, Cross River, Port Harcourt, Akwa Ibom and others that went by that wasn’t a hive of social event.
The administration also witnessed big event which features entertainers coming in from various parts of the country and Europe. Today, what are visible are event organisers utilising upcoming talents who are looking for shows to sell themselves to the world without even paying them while killing the tourism.
Even though some notable artistes have praised the president’s fight against corruption, others have continued to lament the hardship the change administration is bringing to their profession as people who usually call them for shows don’t do that anymore. They feel that their profession is at a risk and want the government to solve the economic problem urgently.
Pundit in the industry are not keeping quiet, like an on-air-personality, Daddy Freeze who though praises President Buhari’s administration for fighting corruption, but super worried about the hike in food items.
Reacting to the campaign, 96.9 CoolFM OAP, Freeze commented about the rising prices of food in the country, and the hardship Nigerians are facing. In one of his recent Instagram post, the light-skinned OAP praises the government for tackling corruption but also revealed that he’s very worried about the poor state of the economy.
In his words; “I thought corruption was the worst thing a nation can endure until I saw the suffering and poverty my people are going through. A month ago, a keg of vegetable oil was N4, 200, one week later it rose to N4, 800. I know the government is trying to fix Nigeria, and I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but what about those that will die of hunger and lack, inside the tunnel, never to reach the light? Everything is going up and salaries are coming down, companies are shutting down and with the airlines folding up, transportation is becoming crazy. I look around me and all I see is suffering and hunger. Yes, I am proud of the fact that Nigeria is not as corrupt as it used to be, but is this ‘famine’ the progress we are seeking? Is it really better than the corruption we did away with? What do you guys think?” He asked.
Recently, it was revealed by a popular artiste to e-Rendezvous that majority of Nigerian famous entertainers are finding a greener pasture outside the country because shows are no longer profitable in the country. According to him, people want to organise shows and want to them to perform free which was not what used to be. He said he and some of his colleagues in the industry have decided to go outside on tours which would fetch them more money.
“As I am speaking with you my brother, things are not going well. Gone are the days when you will hear I’m travelling about or I can’t be booked because of schedules. Today, people are complaining when you tell them the amount to pay, they would say the economy is weak so they too are managing. I’m tired so I believe tours would help salvage us from this misery. I believe that if our house is in order, this will become great again,’ he said.
Another artiste revealed that why they wanted president Jonathan to continue as president was because he was a huge supporter of the youths and entertainment. The artiste who doesn’t want his name in print said the contract he signed with his recording label has been difficult to execute because according to them, there is no money to execute all the programmes they promised him.
He concluded by saying that the government should consider the plight of Nigerians and entertainers in particular so that the change promised by the president would not lead to something else.