Dec 6, 2015

ENTERTAINMENT AND POLITICS: STRANGE BED-FELLOWS by Kayode Omosehin




Politics in Nigeria is taking a new dimension as power has changed hands from one political party to another. The new party is leaving no stone unturned in its efforts to sustain/succeed itself in power. The entertainment industry is the main focus to achieve the desired drive to control federal power in 2019 and beyond. The entertainment industry secured not less than 42% of the efforts that led to the emergence of the new political class in the last general elections. Most political rallies could not have been merrier and fun-filled except with super stars performing live on stage to a depressed population who saw it as a free ticket out of boredom and depression. Political rallies were music fiesta most times. 


Going forward, the leading figures in the entertainment industry are now being made political loyalists. Some of them get chieftaincy titles. Some get ambassadorial contracts. Some get project contracts or national awards. Some are appointed as Youths Coordinators with huge budgets. Some are simply enlisted on the pay roll of their respective state governments. Some are special purpose vehicles for back-channels and other confidential transactions. All of them can now have audience with our political leaders. There is nothing bad in youths or players in entertainment industry partaking in the national politics. Non participation is worse. As a matter of fact, the government will be incomplete without every sector ably represented. However the curious roles/reasons for the engagement of our talented youths are worrisome. Politics and entertainment are not the same and do not relate well particularly in this country. They are strange bedfellows. 

Most of the class of entertainers targeted by the politicians are young persons whose experience in life is far less than what is required to survive the dynamism and peculiarities of the murky Politics in Nigeria. The target class cannot withstand the intrigues, blackmails, propaganda, assassinations, threats and other ugly sides of the kind of politics in this country. For God's sake, the greater benefits of these entertainers lie in their talent. Let it remain so! They ought to be shielded from the filth and corruption from which we are still trying to extricate our government. Our chance of national redemption from corruption, bad governance and sit-tight syndrome diminishes when the political class can go to bed rest assured that they have what it takes to secure (or compel) the loyalty of the leading figures in the talent industry, which they can ultimately use to drive the depressed population in a particular direction during elections. 

Politicians will come to you whenever they see potentials in associating with you. They did this to the Nigerian soldiers, dragging them into the country's politics till the soldiers lost their credibility and discipline for which they are most identified world wide. The politicians are responsible for the absence of a vibrant true civil society group in the country. Most of the peaceful protesters have been infiltrated by the politicians to achieve a counter result of the planned demonstration. Why? Because, all comrades are now paid by government or government-connected big man. 

The politicians came to lawyers and judges. Apart from using them to chase out the military, they dragged them into politics. The lawyers and judges have been accused of corruption or aiding corruption again and again by the same politicians. The latest came from the current president. As much efforts the politicians have made to discredit the legal profession, it is still about the only ally they consider a necessary evil. Can we say the same about the young entertainers now being dragged into politics? When the chips are down and the table is turned against these entertainers, can they defend themselves? Is the entertainment industry stronger than the Military which the politicians used, dumped and rubbished?

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