Mayowa Keleosho - The Dearth of Creativity in Nigeria


Nigerians are in love with position. They love labels, hence the reason why so many are enamored with titles such as Dr., Engr., Prof., etc etc

This article (http://applauseafrica.com/education/146) makes mention of how many African immigrants attend Ivy league schools, going as far as to say that Nigerians in particular are far wealthier and more educated than many Americans of any race.

For such an educated society our country should be better but there in lies our problem, there's little emphasis on creativity. Heck in certain circles it is frowned upon. Of late there's a resurgence in musicians particularly in the Afropop/R'n'b/Hip-hop genres but alas I feel like many going into these areas are doing it for all the wrong reasons.

 People are looking for fame and success rather than doing what they are truly passionate about. If you want to put this to test, look at how many clones are out there. Variations of each other, very little differentiating one artist from the next. Of course the quality of the music suffers, in a nation of 150 million or more, one would think we'd be churning out better music but alas this is not the case. Lest it sounds like I am picking on the music industry solely, let me point out that Nollywood, the Nigerian TV industry is abysmal. Its amazing how Nollywood is the largest producer of films per capita in the world yet most of the movies being made are nothing to write home about. It says a lot about the country and its movie buying/watching audience. I strongly believe when we start encouraging people to pay more attention to the arts, we can move that country in a direction that will benefit all. Where are our world class directors, screen writers, choreographers, artists, authors, cinematographers, animators etc

In a nation with such a rich history, it pains me to know that many of our stories are going to be lost with time. As a kid I remember reading about Sango (Yoruba god of thunder) and his exploits. I loved his adventures, loved the fact that this was a character I could invest in. He was after all our own version of a super hero. Fast forward to this year and I see how much Marvel Entertainment has made from characters like Thor and it pains me to think Nigerians have lost a golden opportunity to do the same.

I remember as a kid, watching shows like Tales By Moonlight, Things Fall Apart, The Village Headmaster, Behind The Clouds, Checkmate, The Third eye etc So many quality shows that I believe could be compared with some of the best shows coming out from that continent if not the world. Alas, short sightedness has always been a problem with Nigeria and is going to be the reason why some of these shows will never see the light of day again.

 Trapped in the anals of the National Television Authority (NTA), collecting dust with no use for them. It is simply baffling to know these shows have not been digitized and turned into DVDs. The NTA is potentially losing millions if not billions of dollars from doing so. The economic model particularly in the Television industry is so flawed, I wonder how they are able to make any money from it.

There are so many stories to be told, so many areas to be explored, yet it seems no one is willing to take on such and if they are, they aren't getting the attention they need to.

Nigerian youth complain about the lack of quality jobs in the country and rightfully so, but you don't have to be an economist to realize that with a vibrant entertainment sector, there will be lots of job opportunities to go around. If you don't believe me, please wait till the end of your favorite Hollywood movie to see the credits and the numerous names that pop up afterwards. We have ways to go before the likes of Hollywood start using our shores for movies, but there's no reason why places like Obudu Ranch and Olumo rock shouldn't be used as settings for major productions. We have the resources, we have the locations, heck we have the talent too.

Thankfully all is not lost, something can be done about this but it starts from the way we view creative people. Its about time we start to nurture the truly gifted ones amongst us. Interestingly enough, in times past, the arts were used as a source to enlighten the masses when repressive governments tried to suppress information from getting out to the public in other to squash dissent of all forms. I believe once we start producing world class talents who are able to convey the Nigerian plight to the public, change will follow suit. 

Nation building involves many facets, the arts just happens to be a crucial part of that.

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