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Funmi Iyanda
Lagos, Nigeria
Funmi Iyanda is a multi award-winning producer and broadcast journalist. She is the CEO of Ignite Media and Executive Director of Creation Television
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Friday, October 13, 2006


I did not attend the Thisday Independent concert. Wild horses could not have dragged me there. Why not, you ask? In a country where the per capital income is less than $100 a month, you ask people to come and pay between $192 and $750 for a foreign pop concert! I don crase finish!!

By the time sanity began to sink in a la poor ticket sales, there were offers of $75 student tickets, students! In a country where that amount will pay for tuition and more for one term in a federal university and l still have up to 100 students at any given time asking for help with that. We don crase finish!

No wonder, my only "friends" who attended were senators. Yes l got a call from three different senator friends asking if l wasn’t coming to the concert. The only other people l know who went were a few spoilt rich kids with arrested development and a recalcitrant young friend of mine who informed me that there were different entrances, one for the foreigners, very, very yellow people, people with real or acquired non Nigerian accent and recognisable politicians. The rest of Nigerian humanity were hustled through a dingy entrance with dogs baying at their heels. On our own soil? To celebrate our liberation from colonial masters? My head don scatter.

Let me not even begin to tear apart the arguments as to how this is supposed to benefit Nigeria and Nigerians or how our law makers and attorney general went en mass. Just a simply question? Can you conceive of such top level American government presence at a pop, hell! Beyonce concert unless it was clearly altruistic and free? If it is a private party for "awon" boys at polo club and one wants to ship in a nubile female artist, her boyfriend, their directionless protégé and an extinct gal band for whatever reason, l have n problem with that but don’t bullshit us about it benefiting or honouring anyone but the organizers. To seek to profit of peoples stupidity is a legitimate aspiration to but to then figuratively slap those same people on the face is unnecessary.

This in a country that would not have allowed a female artist use her sexuality (legitimate to me) sell her talent. A country that does not have one first-rate music-recording studio or distribution network. Where no bank will give money to build a standard event venue or to Tunde Kelani to make a first rate film.

A country where fear of robbery, rape and murder will not permit a vibrant concert going culture. All malaise, which is linked to the corruption and inefficiency of government, complicity of the private sector and complacency of the people. Do we roll up our selves and begin to tackle these? No we spend even more money to pay mega rich artiste who have benefited from an environment that allows them thrive to emphasize to our young that nothing great can come out of here, although of course to cement their inferiority we prize it such a way that only our bloated selves and our non achieving children will be able to afford to see them live, the rest of the wretched Nigerian humanity can watch on screens provided by alcohol producers at an insecure venue where hundreds of girls will be raped and boys robbed and beaten, all at a token affordable masse price of course. Happy Independence Nigeria


Anonymous said...

Funmi, ou sos totally rock! I'm happy someone is finally speakin the truth about this celebration of nothingness under the disguise of Natinal Honour. Some people said am just being too hard on the politicians for thinking its out of place for them to show off the way they did at the show of this kind.

The Foley scandal in the US is giving the republicans a hard time, not just because Foley is republican, but because there are claims that top republicans in congress had earlier reports on his conducts but did nothing.

Is that possible here? I think its a shame that in the midst of all the political 'finger-pointing' drama at national and state levels of the past weeks, some of our leaders chose to celebrate (cause of celebration I don't know) in this way.

Question: Why did they have the Nigerian artists perform first?

Answer: We celebrate our own less.


Tiwa said...

whoa! I didn't really think of it like that until now and I guess you do have a point. After reding your post the whole idea of it actually being beneficial to our country actually seems stupid.

I just hope Nigerians will learn to appreciate their own things more than that of other countries.

Anonymous said...

Fumza,u are really funny..men i can imagine your anger when you wrote on "Beyond Beyonce".i felt that way at first,but later i thought,they didnt force anyone to come and watch the show,if you have your money yes go and watch it,if not sit in your house.I agree with you it is bullshit to say it was honouring or benfitting anybody.But as long as they no put gun to our head that we must pay and watch by force,na dem palaver be that o.

Anonymous said...

Aunty Funmi, you completely spoke my mind. Imagine a country such as ours where its citizens are still struggling to live above the a dollar a day mark having some foolishly rich ones spend that amount to watch a girl sing and shake her behind.
It is a big shame where people are dieing by the minute cos of Malaria some money bag spends #200,000 just to attend a concert with his girlfriend I weep and all we can do in this country is pray as we have always done for God to help us out.
My dearest aunty funmi on a lighter note I really love your show that is what we need in Nigeria not some ancient spanish soap opera as I've said earlier God help us all.I love you.

Anonymous said...

All dat for happy independent.maybe dat was 4 the elite among us who indepent was for.think of it 46 yrs and yet notin different such a pity.thanks for thinking of it dat way. hey didnt answer my ques thru oge

Anonymous said...

i for one tot u would be one of the first to buy a vip tiket for the show but am surprised jobless senators who left the cries of their constituencies locked up in the village to warch beyounce i tot we had more responsible leaders i can swear that any nig gal who attempts to b a wanab beyounce is goin to get herself and her mum lovely insults

Anonymous said...

Hey the sahow was cool but expensive wish it was cheaper. about the begging habit dats a big worm dats eating deep into our society,some depend on it for ma living and could hav been stopped wit job availability.there wont be excuse thou we also hav a role to play so lets build nnaija bfore "u go craze finish"

Jeremy said...

Well said Funmi - its a relief to hear this passionate critique from someone else. The whole fiasco has left a bad taste in many people's mouths here. See my post:

In a funny kind of way, its potentially a positive development - now we can see the utter folly of a certain way of doing things, the challenge is to do things differently ourselves.

I have a wise doctor friend here in Abuja who has remarkable insights into many aspects of life. He revealed how much he detests his father's generation to me recently - for clinging onto power, demanding respect and yet leaving nothing behind - no institutions, no credibility etc.

I often think if I were Nigerian, it would be extremely hard to go along with the whole respect-thy-elders tip. All I would think is: its your generation that messed it all up - why should you get my immediate respect?

The only thing I could say to him was: make sure that you do not repeat the sins of your father onto your children. Recognise that there will be a time for you to hand over the baton to your children - don't stand in their way as your father did. And see how you can help to build capacity in the institutions you are involved in..

Anonymous said...

funmi i feel you on this one! what a waste i saw beyonce in atlanta for $10 front row for that matter! guess some people have their prorities mixed

Anonymous said...

You know a friend said it best (Wale) Nigerians are entertainment whore's.. $100 kini for ticket.. Even here $25 gan dey pain person... It's sad but who do we blame.. the kids who want to spend money they don't have to watch or the system that convinces us that this is for our own benefit? Wut da heck happened to investing in our own artist.. I mean sheesssh..! Nice write up..

Anonymous said...

i totally agree with you concerning the thisday music festival..i mean call me young and naive but when i heard about the concert in london i was furious! how could they spend so much money bringing foreign acts to help us celebrate our independence when we are supposed to be honouring the talented men and women who have put nigeria on the african entertainment map .talk about adding salt to injury-the poor masses barely have enought to eat and the so called rich people have enough money to waste all in the name of a concert:nigeria is suffering form a classic case of misplaced priorities!God help us!

Anonymous said...

very well said Funmi

Anonymous said...

Fuunmi.......You rock!!!

True talk.