Anyone with a bit of morality, decorum and sense of decency running through his veins cannot, but salute the courage of the Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation, NBC when it finally woke from its slumber and summed up courage to wedge the big stick on some songs considered vulgar, immoral and corruptive.
NBC recently placed a ban on some songs, including 17 by Nigerian leading artistes, from been aired on radio and television stations, citing several reasons, including ‘obscenity, vulgar lyrics, violence, and indecent exposure’ among others. The corporation stated that free-to-air channels are not allowed to broadcast music containing vulgar lyrics, obscene scenes with violent contents.
The affected songs are three foreign songs: Nicki Minaj‘s Anaconda, Post To Be by Omarion which featured Chris Brown and Jhene Aiko and Ace Hood’s collaboration with Rick Ross titled Bugatti. The 17 Nigerian songs include Wizkid‘s In My Bed, Fans Mi by Davido (featuring American rapper Meek Mill), three Olamide songs and Shakiti Bobo and Iyanya‘s collaboration with Don Jazzy, Gift. Others are Tony Montana by Naeto C featuring D’banj, Oyari (Dr Sid and Tiwa Savage), Gbese (Lil Kesh), Ibadi (May D), Tesojue (Reminisce), Yayo (Phyno), Lomo (Jhybo), Pre‘s The Girl and ‘Baby Konga’ by Lawal Olalekan Olumo a.k.a. Konga.
An insider source said Davido’s Fans Mi was outlawed because it is believed to promote ostentatious lifestyle, drug trafficking and indecent exposure, just as the Nigerian Drug law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) had also expressed concerns about the video. The last time Nigerians heard of such ban was when the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, BON placed NTTB on some songs because of disagreement on royalties with members of the COSON; the sole Collective Management Organisation (CMO) approved by the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) to act on behalf of authors, composers, performers, publishers of musical works and owners of sound recordings in Nigeria.
Many Nigerians consider as appropriate, the ban on the devil’s advocate who are simply destroying the moral fabric of our society, while disguising in the garb of globalisation; but all in the overall interest of financial gains. Sex and sexuality are being marketed wholesale, unhindered. After many wrongs had been committed Though, the move came rather belatedly after many wrongs had been committed, those who applauded the ban regard the effort as part of the cultural rejuvenation, value re-orientation and national rediscovery which was currently being embarked upon by President Muhammadu Buhari. The move has also suddenly gingered the erstwhile comatose EFCC to rediscover its bite after dancing Makosa for about eight years.
The country became whitewashed and the slumber had continued even after Oprah Winfrey dubbed all Nigerians as fraudsters when the nation was agog with the dancing to Yahooze by Olu Maintain without single official condemnation from official quarters. The effort is thus considered worthwhile since it tells the world that not all Nigerians are morally bankrupt after all. It also sends the necessary signal and make the morally deprived realise that, in any case, some monitoring still exists if wrong things are done and at least, sanctions are there for any one that runs afoul of the law.
Many have wondered and inquired to discern what has gone wrong with all our monitoring organs and censors boards. Some even asked to know whether there still exists in the country, the Ministry of Youth and Culture and National Orientation Agency- as the leadership watch cruelly, how the future (youths) of the most populous black nation is being mortgaged on the altar of freedom, liberty and free market. Why the prevalence of violence sexual relates crimes? Come to think of it. Must we swallow anything that is packaged from foreign lands hook, line and sinker?
While would this kind of development be justified under what is described as ‘commercial music’? Simple knowledge of the central nervous system reveals that the nature of what is often watched and what is always listened to has a lot of impulsive impart on the brain and the mind. Do we need then to any rocket science to discover the reason behind the pervasiveness of incest, underage sex, rape and other related developments? Again, why shall we not have proliferation of rubbish when nuisance and thrash are glorified and noble efforts are rubbished and pushed to the back?
For instance, while virtually all educative and brain tasking programmes on broadcast media are begging/pleading for sponsors, multinationals are struggling to fund programmes that promote nudity, immorality, drunkenness and time wasting. Today the universities debate and quiz, national mathematics competition, business proposal competition, Zain African Challenge among many other brain-teasing and intelligent (IQ) development programmes are off the air due to lack of sponsors. What now dominate our air waves are: Guilder Ultimate Search, Shine Shine Bobo (Star Beer) Maltina Family Dance Show, MTN Project Fame, Beauty Contests, Nigerian Idol, Big Brother Africa, and Star – The Winner; currently being anchored by Uti Nwachukwu among others. Useless songs with violence and vulgar promoting videos are being rewarded by proselytizers of obscenities as GhaNaija Awards, The Headies, formally known as Hip Hop World Awards., MTV Awards, Grammy Awards, Independent Music Awards, Golden Melody Awards and Gbedu Awards among others. Yet, those who are calling to rectitude and integrity are neither being encouraged nor rewarded.
The prevalence of these thrash called music or song, no doubt symptomises the death of intelligence and the weakness of the thinking faculties of the people. If not, how will an artiste release an album without a track dedicated to any noble theme except love, sex, romance and immorality? Tracks devoted to promoting social harmony, political education and economic emancipation of the people is almost non-existent. If for no other reason, it could be used to critique and run commentaries on popular or unpopular government policies.
Better still, songs and music could be better used to enlighten the teaming masses as it was in the good old days of Haruna Ishola, Ebenezer Obey Commander, Ayinla Omowura, Ik Dairo, Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, Oliver De Coque, Dan Maraya and a host of others. Today no new theme is available in the market except love, champagne, and booty songs! This is where music stars like Asa (especially her newest song- Bed of Stone); Sound Sultan (in 2010 where he featured conscious rapper M.I.) Timi Dakolo and Beautiful Nubia stand out. They dared to be different; churning out songs with noble and splendid themes; refusing to join the bandwagon under the pretext of the usual lame excuse: ‘that is the demand and wants of the society’. They argue: “If the society does not appreciate or want it, how come people are buying it and artistes are smiling to the banks’. The argument holds no water, lacks merit and simply falls like a pack of cards. For instance, should you permit your children to take to permissiveness, allowing them to watch television and play computer games at the expense of their studies, they will happily embrace it”.
Similarly, if you feed your children with junks: biscuits and sweets instead of good nourishments of fruits and vegetables, will they not embrace it and praise you as ‘the best dad or mum in the world’? Hence, as those children have rights to good parentage and proper guidance, innocent Nigerian youths equally deserves the rights to good governance, proper guidance and ideal spiritual or soul nourishment to make them useful to themselves, their families and the country at large. Singers like Iyanya and the management of Made Men Music, the record label under which, Iyanya is signed had in the wake of the NBC ban said the restriction won’t affect their song’ Speaking on behalf of the group, Iyanya’s manager, Ubi Franklin arrogantly said; “My song don blow already so whether them ban am, I no mind. I don’t feel bad in any way. Nobody can fault the NBC. It is a body that decides whether a song has vulgar lyrics or whether it should fit for airplay so it is their decision to make….”
Of course, no sane person should expect anything contrary from the originator of the obnoxious materials; but since they are not hurt, it means NBC must be allowed to do his job. So, good riddance to bad rubbish. However, what cannot be denied is that Nigeria’s entertainment industry has grown to economic reckoning, the ‘transformation’ of Jonathan administration and the rebasing exercise placed Nigeria as biggest entertainment industry in Africa, with Nollywood contributing N853.9bn or 1.2% to Nigeria GDP in 2013. Though Nollywood ranks 2nd largest producer of movies behind Bollywood, it is placed behind Hollywood and Bollywood in terms of economic generation raking $590m annually. But beyond the economic boost, our entertainment industry has become a veritable medium of impacting social decadence to the public.
Today we have: Abasha-Iranu, Jedi…, Iyalaya…, I want to do shina today, Bajinatuka fawon…, Efe joku nioo, Moti mu dongoyaro…, Enter the place, Pishaun, E ju won si Konga…, Shake your behindocks, Elo lobo e…, ‘E pon mi si Konga’…, Dayan mo etc. Our Nollywood now promotes sex, nudity, assault, violence, smoking, rascality etc. In what a friend called a ‘Transformation that needs Change’: “Now that change is here, our government should make National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) work. Any video that is anathema to human nature must be taken off public”, he concluded. At this juncture, the argument of rights and liberty of the artiste and the listeners is useless and therefore not tenable. If not, why do governments globally arrest drug addicts and refuse to allow them kill themselves? Why was Governor Babatunde Fashola’s decision to ban Okada (motorbike) on the highways applauded, even when the riders were willing to commit suicide on daily basis? Moral sanctity That it has market value and promotes mere economic interest of the few at the detriment of the moral sanctity of many is also foolhardy. Should we rely on such baseless position then, the world the world would not have been justified for frowning at the ‘blood diamond’ exploit in Ivory Coast and for condemning Mexico, Columbia as well as Afghanistan that make a fortune and brisk money from hard drugs”.
Serious countries do not allow harmful foreign cultures to be marketed to their innocent youths- the future of the nation; and that is exactly what the NBC has done. In as much as musicians like D-banj otherwise known as Koko-Master (Oliver-Twist, Tumba), Olu-Maintain (Yahooze); Kelly Handsome (Maga don pay) Zule Zoo, Kokolets/Tongolo, X-Project (Lorile…) MP (Pasa), Tuface (Enter the Place), Tiwa Savage (Gboju o), St Janet of St Bottle Cathedral and so on might have escaped ban since they released their albums when NBC was in deep slumber; and the likes of Shaggy, Usher, Snoop Dogg with other foreign artistes showcasing naked girls in their tracks might not have been affected by the ban, the recent effort simply symbolises the dawn of a new era and a good step in the right direction. Some even ask: why banning the songs when they’ve already gone viral or when it could be downloaded on the internet and will remain on cable platforms like Hip TV, MTV Base and Soundcity? Others simply ask: why banning ‘Shakiti Bobo’ when two hit songs have followed it? Yes, those questions sound logical, but the simple answer is that, with the ban, innocent souls are protected from their damaging effects.
So let their fans keep consuming the garbage at night clubs, disco parties and private abodes. Such position only reminds one of the arguments of the corrupt individuals who have virtually mortgaged our future through their mindless looting of the nation’s treasury; but are rather masquerading under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to find fault in what they tagged ‘needless fight against corruption’.
They argued that concentration on fighting corruption may likely slow down governance (as if fighting corruption is not part of governance and as if that was never part of the campaign promises of PMB). For those who feel the ban is of no effect, read what Lawal Olalekan Olumo a.k.a. Konga said when asked in an interview about what his next step would be since NBC have placed a ban on his hit single, ‘Baby Konga’ from being played on broadcast stations. He responded thus: “I will go on another research, while I will make sure that whatever I am coming out with is well furnished, fresh and won’t have any loopholes. I want to make sure that everyone who hears it will attest to the fact that I am a world class musician… This is just going to be a challenge that will put me on the right path and I hope sooner, God will further put me in the limelight.”
IWhile wishing Konga well in his future endeavor, one other thing that borders one is why women (Muslims and Christians inclusive) have been so complacent whenever womanhood or woman dignity is being dragged in the mud. One wonders why all the so called women rights activists, who are always too quick to put all the blame of cases of sexual harassment on men (when it is obvious that ladies do dress to arouse men) keep mute when male artistes are fully kitted and decently dressed (even at bar beach) in a video, but hire ladies (dancers) of jezebel, fondly called video vixen(s) to dance nude!
The whole scenario of criminal silence, negligence and submissiveness reminds one of what is now obtainable in our higher institutions where cultism and the Kegites (with their associated cultures and practices of permissiveness, vulgarity, drunkenness, rape, drug addict and nudity amongst others) were not fashionable in the eighties and the nineties have practically taken the stage, relegating morality, religion, decency and decorum to the background. No doubt, so many things are still very wrong with NBC. It is simply not pro-active. There are standards to follow before releasing songs to the public and the terrestrial stations- radio and television (excluding cable channels and online platforms), yet, it is as if NBC is non-existent. Why must it wait until the irreversible harm is done before pronouncing a ban? It means, by all intent and purposes, was not designed to be effective; perhaps, just to convince the new President that the board members and the management team deserve to retain their seats.
Artistes are quite aware that a copy of their song/album must first be forwarded to NBC for certification, before it is sent to stations for broadcast. But while the artistes ignore this condition, NBC merely encourages them by doing nothing. Corruption seems to have permeated the whole system! The same is also applicable to National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB). The body does not even update its website. NFVCB has the sole responsibility of screening movies before they are released to the market, but they have crassly failed to justify the tax payers’ money they receive as salaries. Hence, they bombard the airspace with “rubbish” movies. How many Nollywood movies go through Censors Board? The answer is Nil. This is one area the Federal Government must address, as a matter of urgency; otherwise, the Change Revolution will not be total and won’t be considered a success.
Therefore, NBC must realise that aside from artistes, it must fully go after television stations. For instance, television stations like Galaxy, MITV, OnTV among others daily feed our young ones with junks of Mexican, Brazilian and Indian love movies whose selling points are love, romance, intrigues, betrayals and suspense that only keep our youths glued and addicted to useless foreign cultures. The ‘exposures’ are so terrible that the erotic scenes are regularly ‘covered’ when they become unbearable to the ‘naked’ eyes. Sometimes, the producers (behind the scene) get carried away that they forget to ‘cover’ the ‘indecent’ or ‘obscene’ parts and viewers who are not hitherto warned are allowed to consume the junk. Or of what purpose is a movie tagged ‘16’ or ‘18’ that is shown at noon, afternoon or evening when children are fully awake?
All the above notwithstanding, the recent effort of NBC deserves commendation. It is a good start and the commission can always do better. Other relevant government organs- NFVCB, Ministry of Youth and Culture, National Orientation Agency including law makers and enforcement agents- must pick it from there. They must ensure that whatever is injurious to emotional, psychological, spiritual and intellectual well-being of the people is neither allowed to thrive nor fester in the community; so that it becomes a crime to play them on the streets, at parties or any other place outside the privacy of the rooms, clubs or discos.
This of course, presents a big lesson; a wake-up call to those who claim to be promoting morality and decency to present sound alternatives in the entertainment industry and swiftly come up to fill the vacuum which the messengers, agents and peddlers of vulgarity, immorality and violence are needlessly filling. After all, idle minds, they say, are the devil’s workshop.
Yinka Salaam of Voice of Nigeria writes from firstname.lastname@example.org