Like I mentioned in my post on Lai Mohammed’s troubles, he is gaining a lot of support from sections of the country over the controversial statement he is accused of making.
The minister was supposed to have hinted at a ban on Nigerian entertainers shooting (or producing) music videos and movies abroad, much to the chagrin of Nigerian Entertainers who have issued multiple statements stating their displeasure. Rugged man wrote an open letter to the minister strongly stating his displeasure, so did the Coalition of Nigerian Entertainers (CNE) who outright called for his dismissal as a minister of the federal government.
Their statement went further by asking for Alhaji Lai Mohammed to rescind his statement within 7 days or the government should prepare for a nationwide protest. This is what has now irked the Youths For Change NG. They have also dared the Entertainers on their plan to hold this protest.
Seun Bobade, the National Leader of the youth group on Saturday issued a statement on behalf of the group ridiculing the CNE’s planned protest, saying it will incur the wrath of the Nigerian youth if it went ahead. Mr Bobade said Lai Mohammed’s only crime is that “he’s doing everything possible to ensure the creation of jobs for the Nigerian youth, using the creative industry. Indeed, we have declared the nebulous CNE as anti-Nigerian youths, and we dare them to embark on their protest and see if they will not incur the wrath of the youths. We have followed the controversy over the purported ban, and the statement by the minister that he was referring to the production of Nigerian content programme meant for Nigerians outside the country. We believe this statement should be applauded rather than derided,” Mr Bobade’ statement said.
Bobade’s statement continues:
“We appeal to the minister not to succumb to those who are apparently being sponsored by some powerful forces to ensure that Nigerian jobs are perpetually being exported abroad under the guise of shooting music videos and producing reality shows, including ”Big Brother Naija” and ”The Voice,” it said.
“Can anyone imagine a Big Brother show meant for the South African or Kenyan audience being domiciled in Nigeria? Has anyone seen ”Big Brother Africa” being produced outside Africa? Does anyone care about the number of jobs that would have been created in Nigeria while the production of ”Big Brother Naija” lasted?
“Should such jobs and other fall-outs, including the massive purchase of food for the house mates, have been lost to another country, when the show was meant for the Nigerians audience?
“If the argument is that the power situation in Nigeria is poor, didn’t Nigerians watch the show on their television sets with power, either publicly or privately generated? What of the issue of national pride involved in this?”
Last week, when the media storm was at its strongest, Alhaji Lai Mohammed tried to clarify the statement attributed to him by saying: “It is not directed at any particular incident, every country should respect the local industry of other countries. For example, in Ghana they introduced a law today that demands visiting actors to pay a thousand dollars to the government coffers while visiting directors and producers pay 5,000 dollars. We must create an enabling environment and also generate revenue from our creative industry. The argument is simple, when you go to shoot a film offshore, you use the work force of that country to develop the capacity of that country and you improve the economy of that country and that is what we are trying to do here,”
I find absolutely NOTHING WRONG with Lai Mohammed’s statement but I find that in this case, the controversial minister is doomed if he does, and doomed if he doesn’t. It is clear from his statement that the plan of the government is to create an enabling environment for the country’s talents. Let me ask you a question, how many South African (or other African) artists do you see in Nigeria doing their music videos or movies? On the flip side though, the ‘enabling environment’ must not just be a sound bite or an illusion. For talent to remain in the country, government must do much more than talk about what they plan to do, but to just step up and do it. In all aspects of society, Nigeria has lost a lot of talent to foreign countries. It’s not just music or movie stars, Doctors, Engineers, Writers, have all fled the country in search of a better future. Lai Mohammed gets a lot of things wrong, he didn’t with this one.