Chris Steven, Abuja
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has hailed Nigerian musicians for putting the country’s name on the global map, urging them to pay more attention to the need for socially-relevant messages in their music
The Minister gave the commendation in his keynote speech at the Business Roundtable of the 2016 African Music Awards (AFRIMA) in Lagos on Friday
“The whole country is listening, dancing and sending via all forms of social media, our music and videos, and our artists clearly have more influence and reach than our law enforcement agencies. As 9ice and 2 Baba boasted, they are the ones with Street Credibility!” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed, who spoke on the topic ”Championing Social Justice and Advocacy Through Music,” observed that for music to achieve the desired objective, it must have the right content to drive home the message, saying the works of foremost musicians in Africa, including Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Rex Lawson, Sonny Okosun, Victor Uwaifo, Dan Maraya Jos, Mamman Shatta, IK. Dairo and Ebenezer Obey continue to reverberate because of the message they contained.
He said the legendary musicians all used music to fight social injustice or for advocacy, listing many examples, including ”Unknown Soldier” by Fela; ”Fire in Soweto” by Okosun and ”Nigeria go survive” by Veno Marioghae
The Minister described music as a powerful tool of communication, saying the federal government will leverage on the power of music to promote the National Re-orientation Campaign tagged “Change Begins With Me,” which was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on Sept. 8th 2016.
”Because this campaign is about returning to those moral values that stood our country in good stead, a lot of that can be done through music. In order words, music is a powerful tool of advocacy. Good music has no tribe, no gender, no section, no religion,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed hailed AFRIMA organisers for promoting, celebrating and elevating creativity in the area of music.
”This, to me, is one of the most important and credible platforms to promote African Music globally, using Nigeria as a pivot. My sincere hope is that you will do everything possible to sustain AFRIMA which, in your own words, is propelling African Music to the glorious pinnacle far beyond the borders of Africa.”