Despite seeming socio-economic and political challenges since 1960, the entertainment industry on the contrary is basking in success with the movie/music industry turning in billions of naira to the economy. ANTHONY ADA ABRAHAM samples people’s opinions on this
Entertainment in Nigeria dates back to the introduction of the TV set. That generation enjoyed it as it served as a means of passing across vital information to the public.
The music of Nigeria includes many kinds of folk and popular music, some of which are known worldwide. Styles of folk music are related to the multitudes of ethnic groups in the country, each with their own techniques, instruments, and songs. Little is known about the country’s music history prior to European contact, although bronze carvings dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries have been found depicting musicians and their instruments.
Nigeria has been called the heart of African music because of its role in the development of West African highlife and palm-wine music, which fuses native rhythms with techniques imported from the Congo for the development of several popular styles that were unique to Nigeria, like apala, fuji, jùjú, highlife, and pop.
Subsequently, Nigerian musicians created their own styles of United States hip-hop music and Jamaican reggae. Nigeria’s musical output has achieved international acclaim not only in the fields of folk and popular music but also in Western art music written by composers such as Fela Sowande.
Polyrhythms, in which two or more separate beats are played simultaneously, are a part of much of traditional African music; Nigeria is no exception. The African hemiola style, based on the asymmetric rhythm pattern is an important rhythmic technique throughout the continent. Nigerian music also uses ostinato rhythms, in which a rhythmic pattern is repeated despite changes in metre.
Nigeria has some of the most advanced recording studio technology in Africa and provides robust commercial opportunities for music performers.
Ronnie Graham, a historian who specialises in West Africa, has attributed the success of the Nigerian music industry to the country’s culture – its “thirst for aesthetic and material success and a voracious appetite for life, love and music, [and] a huge domestic market, big enough to sustain artistes who sing in regional languages and experiment with indigenous styles”.
However, political corruption and rampant music piracy in Nigeria has hampered the industry’s growth.
Since independence, there has been a massive shift from what used to be known as Nigerian music.
Both the movie and music industry in Nigeria is enjoying massive investment, bringing in lots of professionals across the globe to feature in movies or music.
Nigerian artistes are signed under big record labels across Europe. Davido, Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, and others. While many like 2face, Asa, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Yemi Alade, Olamide, D’Banj, Joeboy, Burna Boy Teni, Phyno, Falz and others have continued to attract international artistes and recognition into the country since independence.
Though Nigeria music has changed for the better, people see Nigeria as a land of bountiful opportunity which has not even been taped.
According to some Nigerian entertainers, their opinion on the growth of entertainment in Nigeria is awesome compared to the early 60s. Modern instruments and young enthusiastic men take time to study the rudiments in music becoming world-class producers and directors like Don Jazzy, Cobhams Asukwo, Jesse Jags, Drillmix, TY-mix, and lots more.
Technology has contributed a lot to the growth of the industry, HD, 3D, and other hi-tech cameras is helping in improving the picture quality in videos. Clarence Peters has been at the forefront of this achievement.
Nigeria’s music video of late can never be compared with those before and after independence.
Modernization has really helped in equipping producers who use all forms of modern techniques in collaboration with their international counterparts.
Young men and women like Mode 9, Naeto C, Wizkid, Olamide, Davido, Burna Boy, Ice Prince, Tiwa Savage, M.I, Omawumi , Yemi Alade, Phyno, Rema, and others are waxing stronger every day. Little wonder, the craving for the Nigerian kind of music has risen tremendously among the youths.
The cinema of Nigeria grew quickly in the 1990s and 2000s to become the second-largest film industry in the world in terms of the number of annual film productions, placing it ahead of the United States and behind the Indian film industry.
According to Hala Gorani and Jeff Koinange formerly of CNN, Nigeria has a US$250 million movie industry, churning out over 200 videos for the home video market every month.
Nigerian cinema is Africa’s largest movie industry in terms of both value and the number of movies produced per year. Although Nigerian films have been produced since the 1960s, the rise of affordable digital filming and editing technologies has stimulated the country’s video film industry.
The Nigerian video feature film industry is sometimes colloquially known as Nollywood, having been derived as a play on Hollywood in the same manner.
Nigeria movie stars like Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Olu Jacobs, Mike Bamiloye, Pete Edochie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ramsey Nouah, Saint Obi. Genevieve Nnaji, Funke Akindele, Tonto Dikeh, Nkem Owoh, Omotola Jalade, Aki and Pawpaw, John Okafor, Jide Kososko, Chiwetalu Stephine Linus, Agwu, Shan George, Mercy Johnson, Ini Edo, and Chika Like, recently Ali Nihu, Uzee Usman , Rahama Sadau, Chizzy Alichi , Uche Elendu, and other Ghanaian names making waves in Nollywood, seen as iconic celebrities across the globe.
Since Nigeria’s independence, the industry has lost lots of entertainers in the industry. From Sam Loco Efe, Actress Jennifer Omole who passed away on January 3, 2020, Toyosi Arigbabuwo, Frank Dallas, Pa Kasunmu, Gbenga Ajumoko, Justice Esiri, Enebeli Enebuwa, Amaka Igwe, Jenifer Okereossai, Jt Tom West, Geraldine Ekeocha, and Pete Eneh.
Others are Bisi Komolafe, Funmi Martins, Francis Agu, David Ihesie, Christy Essien Igbokwe, Ashley Nwosu, Clem Onyeka, comic actor Baba Sala, Chike Osuji, Ezeora Nelson Oluchukwu, Okwu Chukwujekwu, Chukwudi Bambino, Chris Ekejimbe, OAP Tosyn Bucknor, actress Aisha Abimbola, Uduak Akrah, Nora Nkiruka Ugo, singer Ras Kimono, Majek Fashek, Alkali Matt, Yomi Obileye, Gbolagade Akinpelu better known as Ogun Majek, OJB Jazz Reel, Danfo Driver Mad Melon and many others were among the entertainers who have died since Independence.
Though comparing the music and movie industry might draw controversies, a lot still needs to be done in making sure that Nigeria movies and videos meet the music video standards.
Nigerian artistes are recognised by international organisations and entertainment outfits, bringing home awards and flying the flag high. But a lot still needs to be done.
According to an Abuja based famous gospel artiste Kenny Sam, the industry is a step ahead but has not moved as it should, empathizing that a lot still needs to be done to keep the Industry afloat in Nigeria.
“Though we are doing better than the early 90s, a lot has changed in style. We now see the big names in the music industry doing ‘colabo’ with us here. I think it has moved significantly and it’s more profit-oriented than it used to be,” he said.
Also speaking with the CEO, Peace Ambassador Agency, organisers of Big Dreams Talent show and Peace Achievers International Awards, Amb. Kingsley Amafibe, he explained how the industry had grown since inception while appreciating all those who had kept the industry intact and lucrative till date.
“The entertainment industry in Nigeria has grown in leaps and bounds in the past six decades. It has evolved from what can best be described as “a fun industry” to a multimillionaire consortium.
“Our predecessors engaged in entertainment out of passion and largely because of their skill and gift. However, today the narrative is quite different. We see entertainers using the industry to build wealth, fame, and considerable influence in our society.
“Entertainers have today become “game changers” in national affairs. To further buttress my point, flashback to 2012 during the subsidy removal protests, entertainers wielded as much power and influence as did the politicians. Entertainers commanded immense respect and we’re at the vanguard of that struggle.
“And today that influence is waxing ever stronger as we have witnessed in recent times through the social media space. In wrapping up, I would also like to establish the fact that entertainment can become Nigeria’s “black gold” in the near future if effectively harnessed and utilized as is being done in advanced climes. From 1960 to date the entertainment industry has achieved tremendous results and is poised to excel beyond this current status,” he concluded.
As Nigeria marks 60-years of entertainment, the belief is that the government will continue to support the industry as it has been noticed as one of the largest employers of labour that has not been noticed.