By Saliu Momodu
I cannot pretend to miss all the encomium and jubilation on social media over some fellow Nigerians and the awards won. But I am certainly not catching the fever, at least not at this scale that purports national heroism.
This may not be the time or medium to express my reservations about popular pop music as it obtains today but at the current rate, I must say that we have to be mindful of what we put upon a pedestal to celebrate. This is as important for us as individuals and, just as it is for our national values and sociocultural evolution which inadvertently become the stuffs of aspirations and inclination for the upcoming generation we nurture and mentor today.
I don’t think great nations started off celebrating what majorly pass for licentiousness served as entertainment. Yes, while everyone is free to pursue their respective conviction and preoccupation, we must collectively, for the life and identity of a nation be very selective on what we eulogize together. With the way everyone is falling upon the other, from religious figures to traditional icons, political leaders and past presidents alike, you would mistake the issue at hand for a major breakthrough in home-grown science and technology that has just humbled our past records or drew the admiration of the international community. But in actuality, we speak of an artform that in recent times has mainly been deployed to promote rape, indiscipline, promiscuity, drugs and internet fraud.
What on Earth has happened to exploits in true and creative arts that depicts, as well as projects our historic, sociocultural ethos and aspirations? When are we ever going to celebrate our brilliant and industrious scientists, engineers, innovators, essayists, physicians, dramatists, novelists, poets and traditional artisans – be they young or old? Is there now a crooked new way to inspire and advance national identity and civilization? What kind of civilization would that be?
Had I over the years observed any appreciable social mobilization in a worthy direction, it wouldn’t have been much of an issue for me if the skies were being brought down today in these recent jubilation. But to reckon that almost as a whole we don’t seem to be weary about the unsavory sociological repercussions from these seeds we today sow and model for our children, and with which we are quickly forging the future of our culture and continent gives me goosebumps to say the least.
I have equally noticed how the current DG of the World Trade Organization, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala has been dragged into the fray. But what has she to do? How can she find a voice now to tell a Grammy-frenzied Nigeria that her’s is of a separate and lofty genre and as such should not be let into the myrrh? How would she begin to endear sundry appreciation for the fact that her ancestry is of professors, PhDs, … of discipline, scholarship, learning, not of frivolities turned accidental stardom of inconsequential national pedigree.
So as we continue to witness an increasingly prestigious place in our national consciousness for notoriety in arts and lewed entertainment, one can only wonder when those who currently sing in glorification of internet scam would eventually receive their own international medallion on the alter of vainglorious stardom?
That our art and artforms have failed abysmally to engender the perculiar travails of our society and those of her countless citizens who continue to endure untold anguish should worry us deeply. And that we now reward and celebrate same at the behest and philosophy of distant aliens of divergent motives and values to ours should have us bury our heads in remorse.
The public absurdity of having young Nigerians collected together as “housemates” to mate in a most deliberate project towards a brazen assault at the nation’s moral and ethical nerve is still very fresh in our national psych.
I can only imagine the indelible harm that we continue to deal upon the vestiges of our perculiar artforms as indigenous to our clime and people.
But it is not too late to retrace these perilous steps. Yes, there is still chance to have our children and youths appreciate, indulge and enjoy the wholesome and uplifting arts and entertainment of shared values; and of purpose for moral, ethical, national and international evolution that we stand to offer ourselves and the world.
Saliu Momodu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org