The truth is this, even if everyone stops doing music in Imo State, CDs will still be sold at Douglas Road. Radio and TV stations will never run out of songs at any point in time; headphones would still be worn along the streets and blues will never be played in nightclubs/parties in place of dancehall. No decision by artistes in the state to go on strike can stop music.
The first paragraph will provoke every artiste reading it, especially when they realize I am one of them, but they should understand that it has never crossed my mind, but this is simply what I believe most politicians who have ruled the state have been thinking.
They think Imo artistes have no place in whatever they are doing; they believe the artistes can only serve a ‘campaign jingle bell’ needed just once in four year. This has been going on for more than a decade and all we do is sing about the money, girls and wine we don’t have.
No government has ever placed value on Imo bred entertainers, none has ever thought that Imo state based artistes have what it takes to lead or be part of the government. The ‘campaign jingle bell’ syndrome has always kept the artistes outside Douglass House and in most cases, the artistes hold themselves to this fault by always waiting for the year before election.
If Imo artistes are merged to make one big ‘god’ that will rule over the world of politicians in the state, forgiveness of sins will never be a virtue of such god. The sins of the politicians to the artistes have probably gone beyond the answer to 76 multiplied by 76; the artistes have endured so much, but the question is, has the artistes learnt their lessons yet?
There is a phenomenon called Rescue Musical Club existing in Douglas House and they have been a sought of barrier to artistes in the state from getting close to the governor. They have provided music for the governor and have also enjoyed most benefits Imo artistes ought to enjoy.
Occasionally, we hear about money being shared amongst upcoming artistes by the governor for doing one thing or the other, but the real artistes on the streets have never heard of this happening until they have happened. Members of this group and their associates are mostly the beneficiaries. The governor will be thinking he is making a great impact on the lives of artistes in the state, but the truth is he has been wasting impacts. The more he does, the more wraths he incurs.
Chief Ikedi Ohakim, the former governor of Imo State, created the office of SA on Entertainment, and appointed Okey Bakasi [Now Okey McAnthony]; he did well to create the office, and while many Imo State based entertainers yearned to lead in the office, an outsider got it. Where is Okey McAnthony today? Has he giving anything back to the state after Ohakim’s regime? We all know the answer.
Most of these politicians were once on the streets and they must have heard “na who wear shoe know where e dey pain am”, yet they forget to implement that. Only an insider knows what the problems of entertainers are in Imo State. Saving entertainers in the state is not the job of one Lagos based entertainers who comes home to act like a celebrity politicians to everyone. Not even an Aba based comedian could do a single thing because all he did was expand his business and just like the concept of Aba as a city, he made more cash flow into his pocket.
The likes of Kelly Hansome, Nkiru Sylvanus, Prince Chinedu Nwadike and others did the ‘campaign jingle bell’ job for Governor Owelle Rochas Okorocha in 2011 and I watched with keen interest to see whom our ‘Solomon Governor’ would appoint SA on entertainment. He just scrapped the office. That decision was how Imo artistes have benefited from the battle of some ‘self-acclaimed elephants’. Where are the ‘elephants’, how are the ‘grasses’ fairing?
Blaming only the governor would be a sin, because we still have members of House of Representatives and Senators in the state. Even those who are supposed to have the greatest idea on entertainment did nothing; those without a single clue were just busy wishing us ‘Happy Easter’ on billboards. Somebody tell them they have made no difference. If the new comers are watching now, the answer have been written on the board.
Our dear Owelle built Imo Talent Centre [Bongo Square] and instead of putting it to good use, it was used for political compensation to two opposite and ambitious ‘entertainment politicians’ whose best use of the place was turning it into a soccer match viewing centre. Shame!
No talent has been developed there and now that it seems the facility might be demolished to create more room for the International Convention Centre, does it mean the People’s Governor is done with building talents in the state.
I have seen faces of those warming up to take over Douglas House from His Excellency, Owerri Rochas Okorocha, we have heard where they are all coming from, yet no one has ever said a thing about the artistes/entertainers. No one has guaranteed their place in the government, even now; the artistes are fighting to be employed as ‘the campaign jingle bell’. No one has plans for them.
This is what they think in their big minds, even if everyone stops doing music in Imo State, CDs will still be sold at Douglas Road. Radio and TV stations will never run out of songs at any point in time; headphones would still be worn along the streets and blues will never be played in nightclubs/parties in place of dancehall. No decision by artistes in the state to go on strike can stop music.
Artistes need to take a side come 2015 via the formation of associations that will speak for them, because staying scattered have done no good to them. Imo State Contemporary Musician Association [ICMA], is one of those moves that will insure these artistes move in same direction and speak with one voice.
ICMA can be the next mega phone that will make the collective voices of artistes in the state send shivers in the spines of politicians and others like them whenever the artistes speak. With Hip-Hop, R&B, Afro-pop artistes taking a limp with ICMA, Highlife/Bongo, and gospel artistes are expected do the same to mobilize their members.
Imo artistes should have no business with anyone who only wants them to be ‘campaign jingle bell’, they are worth having a place in the manifestos of these politicians and such politician must not have a record of making empty promises.
A state where statistics have it that artistes based in other states have benefited from the state government more than indigenous artistes. A state where imported artistes were already sleeping in their hotel rooms for the 2014 Imo State Carnival, when no indigenous artiste’s place on the same stage has been guaranteed. Thank God, the carnival was shelved, who knows what the consequences of Imo artistes’ threat to disrupt the event could have been.
Artistes have been lamenting for more than a decade and this is their chance to change it all. The next governor of Imo State should be ready to say what his plans for artistes are; else, he/she should wait for the next person.
Chinedu Hardy Nwadike, writes from Owerri, Imo State.
firstname.lastname@example.org 08136723796, @hardynwa, BBM 763D08AE