Nigerian musicians and songwriters have been advised to produce more songs that preach moral, fight injustice, and foster unity.
That advice is coming from the country’s Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed. Mohammed made it known when he received a delegation from Evergreen Music Ltd, a music collector.
Music as tool for national development
The minister recalled how music was in the past, stating that it connected with most Nigerians. He also remarked that music played a significant role in the country’s attainment of independence.
“When we were growing up in the 70s Nigeria was more united by music even more than football and other sports.
“Music was effectively used to fight the colonialists.
“In 1956, Hubert Ogunde released records which led to revolt of workers against the colonial government.
“At that time they used to pay the daily workers one penny and Ogunde led the revolt with his song in Yoruba – Ki la o fi kobo ojumo se”
“The song says that what do you want us to do with a penny a day. From the penny we are going to feed our family, pay school fees, pay rent take care of our parents.
“If we tell the authorities and they refused to listen to us, we will leave their jobs,” he said.
Mohammed also remembered how the likes of Ebenezer Obey and Ayinla Omowura used their music to tell Nigerians the implication of changing from right-hand driving to left.
He noted that musicians of those days were the custodians of morals and they use their lyrics to correct negative trend such as bleaching, immorality.
He also mentioned how Fela Anikulapo Kuti used his music to fight injustice with notable tracks such as “Unknown Soldier” and “Beast of no Nation.”
The minister then assured the Evergreen group of government’s support in their efforts.
Minister pledges support
“What they have been doing for the country cannot be quantified because they are the repository of our music dating back to 1914,” he said.
Leader of the delegation Femi Esho said the initiative was to revive the country’s music of yesteryears which was going into extinction.
He said the production contained works of old musicians such as Domino Justus, Irewole Denge; Darosha, Ojoge Daniel; Haruna Ishola, IK Dairo; Fela, Victor Olaiya; Victor Nwaifo, Sunny Okosun; and the others.