The amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorate of a certain West African region led to the birth of the most populous black Nation of the world. Today, that place is known as Nigeria, a nation so majestically and abundantly furnished with everything you find within most world powers today, but they fall short.
107 year’s since Lugard’s merger, 61 years since Nigerian folks found independence from Britain, and much of the country’s glory has almost everything to do with her past, no matter how marred by political instability and corruption as it was.
Once referred to the giant of Africa in all ramifications, the country owes much of that tag now to it’s worrying exponential population increase. Much so that, Nigerians scoff at the mere mention of the tag in reference to their own country.
But despite that, Nigerians, mostly independently, progressing to collectively, continue to live up to the same African Giant tag in the global creative industry, dominating Africa in the music, movies, and TV business.
The Nigerian entertainment industry is unarguably the brightest star in a cluster of dark clouds. Built largely by Nigerians themselves, with little contribution from the government, the sector is increasingly becoming the biggest employer of young Nigerian talents. Its fiscal numbers deceive to flatter anyway, but that’s due to piracy and a lack of world class regulation.
That would have been easier to curtail or manage with a little help from government agencies, as it is in America with the FBI. But again, it shows how uninvolved the government has been within the industry.
The theme is consistent with other sectors in the country, except that the sheer determination to succeed, the desire for fame, self-satisfaction, and to create legacies that are immortalised in works of art, push these stars to keep striving.
Of course, talent was always going to be abundant given the country’s numerical advantage, but it is the striving, rising through dire circumstances without having anything granted, that separates most Nigerian entertainers from their international counterparts.
The stellar 17-year-old career of Innocent Ujah Idibia, popularly known as 2Face or 2Baba is a typical example. Wizkid’s rise from the impoverished streets of Ojuelegba to becoming the face of Afrobeat, Burna Boy’s Grammy Award success earlier this year are also major proof of the direction that the industry is headed in recent times.
Several Nigerian theatrical titles have also grossed hundreds of millions of Naira in the domestic Box Office, including Funke Akindele’s “Omo Ghetto,” Kemi Adetiba’s “Wedding Party” film series, and even recently, Seyi Babatope’s “My Village People,” which did it in record time. Not to mention Nigerians in diaspora contributing to the many successes of Hollywood.
Perhaps as Nigerians celebrate the country’s 61st anniversary today, October 1 2021 amid difficult circumstances tormenting the nation, there is hope that with determination and unparalleled desire to come together and build, the nation can one day rise to fulfil it’s true potential and prove Lugard was indeed a visionary after all.