Entertainers seek support for industry

Luqmon Balogun, Lagos

The Nigerian government has been charged to support the entertainment industry and tap into its opportunities to boost the nation’s economy.

This was the submission of participants at the fourth Nigerian Entertainment Conference held in Lagos, Southern Nigeria.

The Conference Chairman, Ayeni Adekunle said, “the entertainment industry has suffered neglect in the past and there was a need for its support by both private and public sectors.”

Adekunle explained that holistic measures must be in place in order to ensure adequate harnessing of the sector with the economy.

“If we plan to diversify our economy and plans to tap into the opportunities of other sectors, we have to sit down and rethink our approach to development,” Adekunle said.

Panellists at the Conference.
Panellists at the Conference.

Saving the economy
Adekunle, who emphasized the need for proper structure of the entertainment sector, promised that; “The industry would continue to project the image of the country to the rest of the world.”

The conference tagged “Entertainment Industry, Last hope for Africa’s Largest Economy” was according to the Conference chairman, designed to show the world how the creative industry can help save Nigeria’s economy.

The conference filled with Nigeria’s brightest minds in music, film, media, technology and government, serving as speakers and panellists at this year’s entertainment conference.

One of the panellists, Bankole Wellington said the entertainment industry is a money-spinning world which must have attention by the government.

Wellington popularly called Banky W maintained that most of the Nigerian entertainers, who had worked with international acts did not enjoy government support.

”Most of the Nigerian acts are self made and we cannot achieve the strength of entertainment as an alternative to oil, if government is not looking at this direction by ensuring support for the entertainers,” BankyW said.

Other participants emphasized the need for proper structure of the industry.

Timi Dakolo is a Nigeria’s songster; he explained that music is not just about musicians.

According to him “If we have the structure we will make more money and government will be part of it. This is because music is not just about musicians; there are producers, event planners, songwriters, promoters among others.”
In his thought, the Commissioner of Information in Ogun State, Southern Nigeria, Dayo Adeneye feels comfortable with the current status of the industry.

Adeneye, who is also an entertainer, stressed that the industry has been a platform for nation’s rebranding.

“If you mention Nigeria in any part of the world today they know us through our music and movies which has never happened in the past and that is why government must encourage its growth.” Adeneye said

Bright Okpocha, popularly known as Basket mouth is another Nigeria’s export in comedy.

The comedian mentions cultural differences and language barriers as an impediment to the inter-Africa movement of entertainment.

Other issues discussed during the sessions include content management, involvement of ICT into entertainment, restructuring of the industry among others which according to the participants would make the industry the last hope for Africa.