Lai Muhammed and his advisers have refused to understand that creativity isn’t what is regulated. With his banning or intended banning of shooting musical videos and possible films outside the shores of Nigeria, this singular statement has generated a lot of debate and has also demonstrated a high level of isolated approach to the world and notion of creativity. A lot of dust has been raised over this singular statement. As usual, the honorable minister knows publicity and basks in it.
The showbiz industry has registered their displeasure in such a statement. A lot of rejoinders, salvos and “we no go green” statements have been made recently. One of the most popular artiste in Africa , Rughedman was quoted
“Even America where their governments give their citizens amenities they deserve, still shoot movies in other countries,” he said.
As a graduate of theatre arts from one of the prestigious universities in the eastern part of the country. We were thought and observed that creativity isn’t regulated but encouraged. According to UN report on the right to artistic expression and creation, the report states that ;
“It is not exactly an optimistic report. Too many artists have been killed, attacked or imprisoned in recent years. Censorship legislations in many countries are neither respecting international conventions nor providing any options for artists and cultural producers to appeal.”
Unfortunately, the minister and his advisers do not know this or they have acted not to know.
The report also stated that
“The protection of artistic expression is just as important for the development of democracy as the protection of media workers. It is frequently artists who — through music, visual arts or films — put the ‘needle in the eye’ and strike a chord with millions of people, some of them unable to read and with no access to express themselves.”,the UN report added.
The Nigeria entertainment industry came up, not as a government policy but as a result of the resilience of the citizens of the country. The industry is worth today over millions of dollars in entertainment fees, endorsement and ticket sales . This has teleported the industry to a global reckoning placing it at the third position after India. Sinned as Nollywood, today this industry crafted and created thousands of employment from directors to artistes and producers. No, government subvention in the 1990s apart from small interventions by Jonathan , which people see more of a campaign moves rather than an interventionist approach.
Lai Muhammed must understand that unlike USA which placed the Hollywood in a vintage production by offering enabling environment for creativity to thrive via credit card facilities ,building of structures like theme parks and enactment of laws. Lai, must understand that as a responsible government ,what this administration should do is to encourage the industry rather than stifling it.
Lai must first of all do what they say in churches ,self examination and ask himself some crucial questions like these :
When government created and build a great theme parks that movie producers can use? Do the Bank of Industry recognise entertainment as an industry ? How many regulation and Kawasaki have been enacted for Intellectual property right ? If there are laws, how many has been prosecuted and convicted? How safe are our “locations”for these video shoot? When all these are answered , we can Atleast say that they government has tried for the industry and would want to recoup the investment .
We shouldn’t forget that the last #BBNaija was shot in South Africa, not because South Africa is the right place but because the country offers enabling business environment for producers such as electricity, security and good/aesthetic environment. How many has Lai and his cohorts provided for these entertainers?
Yes, these artistes have put Nigeria in the global entertainment map, to me, that is a demonstration of patriotism and I think that they should be encouraged not stiffed. USA with all the facilities the country has in place still shoot movies in other countries. An example of this is Lord of the Rings , a movie that earned what most states won’t earn in a decade via IGR was shot in faraway New Zealand! God Father , a classic movie was shot in Sicily,Italy. This is called realism in movie production and this is what the minister doesn’t seem to understand.
Protectionism is great, I believe that the minister will want to save the export of jobs to other climes by shooting overseas but, do we kill creativity on the altar of economically correct standing. Let creativity grow while the government has the duty to create an enabling environment for the artistes. In the words of Yemi Alade, a foremost Nigeria musician . She said in her Instagram page,
“You might think that a musical video is just a thing we do!!, It’s a business! You don’t understand!!”
Anthony Emeka Nwosu