Saturday, October 31, 2015

SINAI PENINSULA CRASH: TERRORISM OR MECHANICAL FAULT?

The SINAI peninsula is filled with insurgents, mainly targeting Egyptian security forces, especially since the military toppled Mohammed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood from power, and conducted elections which brought one of theirs, (former General) Abdul Fatah Al-Sisi into power as president.

Some of these terrorist groups are allied with the ISLAMIC STATE, IS (ISIS) which is in control of large swathes of land in Iraq, while battling the governments in Iraq and Syria. A few weeks back, Russia waded in on the side of President Bashar Al-Assad of Syria in a bid to rid the country of elements of the Islamic State, to the anger of the terrorist groups operating in Syria, as well as the opposition groups and to the chagrin of the Americans and her western allies.

So, when a Russian airliner ferrying more than two hundred tourists back home to Russia, disappeared over the Sinai peninsula this morning, only one thing came to my mind, considering recent threats issued by ISIS to their cells to target Americans and Russians, as well as their interests worldwide, which was followed by recent arrests claimed by Russia's security agencies, even in Moscow of people alleged to be planning attacks on the homeland, that maybe this was the outcome of a terrorist attack, probably by ISIS.

WRECKAGE OF THE RUSSIAN AIRLINER, FLIGHT KGL9268 WITH 224 PASSENGERS AND CREW ON BOARD, AT THE SITE OF THE CRASH IN SINAI, EGYPT.


When it came over the wire later today, that a group loyal to ISIS had claimed responsibility for downing the plane, I wasn't surprised especially considering the region in which the plane disappeared from the radar. What surprised me however, was how Russia swallowed its pride to claim that the crash could likely be due to the age of the aircraft (something it may not do under different circumstances), citing examples of other planes of its kind which had also experienced unfortunate endings and near-unfortunate situations to buttress its point, rather than agree that the plane was downed by terrorists, which would be sure to draw discontent at home amongst the Russian people, who may begin to question the Kremlin's position on Syria.

I really would like to believe the Russian narrative that there could be no way the terrorists' portable surface-to-air, anti-aircraft missile launchers could reach the airliner at the height it was flying when it went off the radar, but you know how with these terrorists one couldn't be too certain about their capabilities, till one finds them exceeding long held limited expectations of them, and compared with a Kremlin that needs a supportive populace for the kind of news they will find convenient to put out as cause of the crash. For now what is most politically correct to do (while awaiting the result of investigations into the likely cause of the crash), is to pray for the repose of the dead, and wish their families the fortitude to bear the huge losses and void this crash would have brought them. Hmmmmmn!

'kovich

PICTURE CREDIT:
- http://www.cbc.ca

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

FOUR THINGS NOLLYWOOD MUST LEARN FROM SHUGA

I saw Season One of the Nigerian version of SHUGA this past weekend, and was totally amazed by that piece of work. Had I not seen Nigerian artistes, or Nigerian names in the credits I wouldn't have believed that it had anything to do with Nigeria.

It will interest you to know that most of the actors in this flick aren't the ones you'd normally see in Nollywood movies, though it contained artistes that have made it in different genres of music for youths in Nigeria, especially as it appeared to me to be aimed at youths with the message about the ever present menace of HIV and AIDS in todays' society. Maybe it appeared the way it did because of the groups involved, notable amongst which was MTVBase, National Agency for the Control of AIDS, NACA and I suppose an International Donor Agency, amongst others. 

I always had the opportunity to see Shuga before now, but I was afraid it'll end up being like movies from the stable of Nollywood (Nigeria's movie industry), or one of Nigeria's endless, oft-repeated and focusless soaps and sitcoms. After seeing Season One, it totally blew my mind, hence I decided to note the areas in the season film that Nollywood can learn from, to become better and maybe buy back critics and cynics like me, back to the fold of their viewing public (which continues to grow despite their shortcomings), as they mostly pander to Nigerian society's myths, superstitions, religion and the likes over facts and reality that could help the way Nigerians perceive things in tandem with the dictates of the times.



1. Nollywood must build capacity in order to provide accurate information on any subject they intend to disseminate in a movie, sitcom or soap. Even when myths or superstition is to be flown beside facts and proven science, technology, medicine and art, they must ensure all are distinctly put out to erase the situation where they all exist in a blur. I have lost count of Nigerian movies, sitcoms and soaps on TV where wrong and unhelpful information was put out using that platform, most annoying is the many times caesarean section to aid child delivery was portrayed as anathema, and made to be strongly condemned as an option for the expectant mother in many movies, because of one superstition or the other, for instance.

Shuga focused on the topic of HIV and AIDS, and all along the points, accurate information and news that are vital and useful were systematically diseminated verbally and non-verbally, even in deeds. Every thought, word and deed were intentionally coordinated to arrive at what seems to me to be predetermined outcomes of the producers or directors, towards the dissemination of information relation to the subject matter. I doubt that I saw moments when it appeared that the actors and actresses freestyled or used their own initiative to cover up a mistake like you'd routinely see with Nollywood movies, soaps and sitcoms.

2. As with Shuga (Naija Version), Nollywood must learn to begin to use ACTUAL and BELIEVABLE locations, and places. Watching Shuga reminded me of the University of Lagos, UNILAG hostels, which they used, even though they reduced the number of roomies considerably (two in the cases portrayed, for the usual four or more roomies including squatters), but the plot was quite believable. I understand that many students also live off campus, but ascribing palatial mansions to students, especially the females, as is norm with some Nollywood movies is an exception rather than norm in real life, and makes many Nollywood stories unbelievable, even when they portray the females as capable of affording such houses because they practice "prostitution" or "running an escort business" by the side. 

3. Lighting and Sound in Shuga can be said to be adequate. The night felt like night (not with day showing from a part of the window blinds when a night scene is staged as with many Nollywood flicks), not with lighting very obvious as the extent of the Neon light shows, and the day as should be. Even the nightclub scenes were as dark as one would expect in real life without compromising the ability to see the actors and actresses play their part in the scenes there, with audio of their conversations not swallowed in the din of the music from the nightclub in the background. There were no shadows or images of the behind-the-scenes crew on walls or even in mirrors adjacent to the scene, neither were there accidental opening of doors, as you would find in some Nollywood flicks, which I am sure the editors may fall upon, yet refuse to properly edit.

4. Subtitling is a major flaw area for Nigerian movies, especially in the Yorùbá language section. Many of the still photos of these are often found trending on Nigerian twitter handles, Facebook pages and blogs authored by Nigerians. Though, Shuga was done majorly in English, there were aspects where pidgin English, and the vernacular (in the Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo) of Nigerian local languages were freely but sparsely used. Those scenes had subtitles done for them, and I had and found no cause to hold Shuga to ransom there.   

These four here highlighted are the major areas I noticed (amongst many others that don't easily come to mind right now) where Shuga had an edge over most of what is put out by Nollywood. Although I know that there are also stables that put out quality movies (Mainframe Pictures for instance), I continue to have issues with storylines even with better picture and sound quality as you would find with Kunle Afolayan's movies amongst a few others, as there are many distractions that tend to dilute the message in some of these better movies from Nollywood, something that the producers of Shuga appeared to have taken nail-biting care to avoid, to my wide-eyed cheer and applause.

I would love to see more of what I saw in Shuga in Nigerian movies, sitcoms and soap operas going forward. Especially with the current producers, directors, writers, and the works to show that something has been learnt from the many years of "hands on", trainings and retrainings (if they have been undergoing such), even further education preferably abroad in reputable film institutes. Failure to do this will spell doom for Nollywood, despite the overflowing confidence practitioners in the industry have because of the huge size of the industry, as well as the large following and recognition it currently garners and enjoys, not just within Nigeria or Africa, but worldwide. Civilizations in time past, have at one time or the other disappeared, even empires fell and ceased to exist, a complacent Nollywood cannot stop what will come to it, if it fails to redirect its step for the better.

'kovich

PICTURE CREDIT:
- http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

RUSSIA'S NECESSARY EVIL IN SYRIA

But please, what would the Americans have the Russians and indeed the world do? America had all the opportunities to mould Syria anyway they liked in the early days of the crisis but opted to play the ostrich. Even when it appeared that President Assad crossed the RED LINE Obama set, the latter still balked against what many in his party as well as in the opposition Republican Party, saw as better advice to go into Syria, with the British having developed cold feet he jettisoned the idea, leaving the Russians to take the initiative in spearheading a United Nations process of ridding Syria of Chemical Weapons.

Russia's President Putin leveraged on the statesmanly popularity the above earned him internationally and most importantly at home to pursue other agendas in eastern Europe, Ukraine to be precise to the anger of the United States of America and her allies, for which the latter activated as many sanctions against Russia as they can muster, which hurt Russia's economy so badly, that Putin had to strengthen further relations with China and other economic blocs opposed to America's superintendence, even sometimes negotiating from a point of weakness just to stay afloat.

We had begun living with this new state of affairs until out of the blues, Russia reactivated it's engagement in Syria, though many see it as more like making overt what was already covert, or escalating what was at a lower level, with bombing raids which Putin said was aimed at degrading the capacity of the ISLAMIC STATE, IS to continue to make war in Iraq Syria. This move not only angered the Americans whose indecision on Syria many tend to blame for the rise of the Islamic State, but led to a campaign in the media it controls in the west to go on a lampooning spree against the airstrikes, hardly seeing any good, except a Russian Evil in Syria, by showcasing the destruction allegedly left behind by the strikes in civilian areas, while Islamic State held areas appear largely unscathed, neither accepting that there had been any form of degradation of ISIS' capabilities.



It became so bad that they kept on reporting the "harm" the Russian airstrike was doing to Syria's innocent populations, especially those in regions in opposition to Assad's rule that they conveniently ignored (except for some speedy mentions, or tiny scrolls at the bottom of the TV) the event of an American airstrike on a Médecins Sans Frontières, MSF run hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan in which some doctors and patients lost their lives, while many more survived with varying degrees of injuries, and only began to regularly mention it when the MSF remained unrelenting in asking for an independent investigation into the incident.

BURNING MSF HOSPITAL IN KUNDUZ, AFGHANISTAN AFTER IT WAS HIT BY AMERICAN FORCES

Atleast, we know what Russia wants in Syria, but definitely not what the Americans want, and by implication what the American foreign policy is, concerning the middle east at large, especially with this Obama government, which claims it detests Islamic State's activities, and would do all it takes to wipe the scum off the surface of the earth, yet the only thing it appears to have done in the case of Syria is train and arm groups opposed to Assad's government in Syria, who then go on to avail the Islamic State American weapons and expertise earned in their interactions with special forces. Even bombing raids by America and her allies in Iraq have done little to dismantle the group, even as Obama refuses to send boots on ground to bouy the government in Iraq.

The Americans claim that the sort of peace they would welcome in Syria is one that does not accommodate the status quo at the helm of affairs, the rest of the world wants peace there at any cost, especially if it will put an end to the migrant crisis bedevilling mainly Europe, and then to some extent the United States, Australia and others. Interestingly, Russia has been spared the nightmare of Syrian migrants at her borders and hence seen by many as doing the world a favour. I will rather this than nothing, and if peace is hopefully procured by Russia's military intervention with possible wiping out of ISIS, then I don't mind. We may begin to talk about what should happen to Assad (of whom I am not fond) once this elusive peace is miraculously found there. This Putin's "evil" in Syria may just be a necessary one in the long run.

'kovich

PICTURE CREDITS:
- http://www.edition.cnn.com
- http://www.telegraph.co.uk

Saturday, October 17, 2015

ENCORE BOKO HARAM

I just saw a recent video (http://t.co/Psky5vQ0sE) posted by the Islamic Fundamentalist group operating in Nigeria's Northeastern region, Boko Haram (seeking to impose a stricter form of the Islamic Jurisprudence, The Shar'ia on the country as it has successfully done in areas under its control in recent times) on youtube, which started by showing an onslaught against Nigeria's military forces in an unnamed location (may have been named in Arabic though) somewhere in what I suspect to be the Northeast of Nigeria, that ended with the beheading of a Nigerian soldier,


THE SOLDIER IN THE AFOREMENTIONED VIDEO

and a show of arms seized by the group after the attack. Contrary to what we are made to believe about the group striking a retreat each time they encounter Nigeria's military, the video shows members of the group surging towards gunfire, all of them without Kevlar.

Though the veracity of the video, especially as regards timing isn't easy to ascertain, it is not difficult to conclude that the footage may have been recently shot. If this is so, it makes a mockery of all that we have been getting as information from the military of successes recorded in the fight against the insurgents with assurances that they will be totally quashed by December, in the light of recent cases as well as frequency of suicide bomb attacks in Maiduguri (Borno State) and other parts of the Northeast, in which many civilians have lost their lives.

The stories of arrest of masterminds, including of so called financiers (with a few millions on their persons) with picture of an emaciated fellow as the suspect for instance, or of bomb makers, or of fuel suppliers (in Jigawa) amongst others, many of which there are no pictures to verify, nor names given makes the case of the military hardly believable in the face of mounting evidence of the activities of these Islamic Fundamentalist whose bombings go almost unchallenged, many times in the same vicinity within days with nothing to show that anything was learnt from the last suicide bombing either of a female suicide bomber, or from a male dressed like a female suicide bomber, or of a male suicide bomber. Even the pro-government media which helped this administration get into power, and then went further to keep mute over the resurgence of the suicide attacks (even of recent in Nigeria's capital, Abuja) appear to have realized the foolishness of their actions and now joined the foreign media to report these attacks as well as their frequency.

I was taken aback when President Buhari in an interview he granted an Al Jazeera journalist days back, claimed he hadn't read the report by an international Human Rights organization, that accused the Nigerian army of gross human rights violation in it's battle against Boko Haram in the Northeast, when one of the reasons Nigerians voted for him was on the strength of allegations against the past government on the way it had handled the war against the insurgents albeit with laxity. This is coming just days after Nigeria (which he led to New York) missed a key event at the United Nations, where the plight of Internal Displaced People, IDPs was up for discussion, of which fringe countries and Nigeria's neighbours attended and made their positions before the international community, while his handlers played down the importance of the event, rather than admit that a huge mistake had been made.

Sadly, what the president's handlers were concerned with was how President Buhari became Nigeria's first president to speak on the opening day of the UN's General Assembly. Just like they regaled us with how he was hosted at Blair House, that only few foreign Heads of State had had the pleasure of staying at during a visit to the United States of America, over and above the fact that nothing concrete was obtained of the Americans, especially with a President Obama who was nice enough not to have abandoned the Nigerian delegation in his haste to hurry off to Kenya, all because of a LEAHY ACT which prevents the American Department of State from assisting nations, whose military have been accused of human rights abuses militarily. It therefore was no surprise that a nation like Cameroon which made little or no noise, employing quiet and strategic diplomacy had just last week welcomed the first batch of a contingent of three hundred military experts from the US to help the country combat Boko Haram terrorists within her borders, and this while the Nigerian president was simply offered a visit by the commander of America's  Africa Command, AFRICOM.

Unfortunately, this Buhari-led administration jettisoned whatever gains was achieved by the last administration to chart a new course it is looking to be doing LEARNER at, when they could just have built on it. Now, in the latest interview he granted the foreign press (as if he detests the local Nigerian press), President Buhari stated that he wouldn't resign if Boko Haram isn't wiped out by the Decenber deadline he set for the military (whose command headquarters he relocated to Maiduguri, in Borno State which is the heart of the insurgent group), an indication that it may have dawned on him that the war against these Islamist may not be a thing of the past in the nearest future. A scary thing to ponder upon for the discerning.

I hate to think that this war against Boko Haram will be long drawn. Having followed the evolution of this group, beside writing about them (the latest been: LAFIYA NOT YET DO-LE | madukovich's cogitations https://madukovich.wordpress.com/2015/10/05/lafiya-not-yet-do-le/), I think that it is high time we begin to humanize some of the things associated with this war. I know that it may be difficult to get the names of victims at the hands of Boko Haram, but when such is possible, even of the injured, their names should be documented, even if (as is expected) that the government may abandon them to their fate. That way, somehow or somewhere in the future we may just be fortunate to find non governmental organizations, NGOs or even governments at different levels that may be interested in the welfare of such people to cater for them, not only physically but psychologically as well.

The military's quiet (even of denial as in the case of a beheaded member of the airforce few months back, at the hands of members of the dreaded group) over it's captured personnel must stop. The

THE SAME SOLDIER ABOUT TO BE BEHEADED

name of the latest victim in the video I saw (and that of many others, including a female member of the intelligence services), as well as many of our gallant men and women lost to these barbarians during combat should be made public so that Nigerians can honour them in anyway they might deem fit, and have their families feel proud of what their wards, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters etc, had done in sacrificing their lives for not just the peace and security of their beloved country, but for it's unity, rather than just focussing and making news of the court-martialling of deserters, even sentencing those who refused to sacrifice themselves because they were ill-equipped to face members of Boko Haram to death.

'kovich

PICTURE CREDIT:
- http://africanspotlight.com
- http://realchannel165.com.ng

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

FAYOSE, EKITI AND THE AIRPORT PROJECT

So Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has ordered the immediate suspension of work on the Airport project in the outskirt of the state till December because of the death of an oil plantation farmer, Tijani Hakeem who died from shock following the destruction of his farm by Ekiti State government bulldozers, to make way for the airport project.

DEMOLITION IN PROGRESS ON PROPOSED SITE OF AIRPORT IN EKITI STATE

Many people have argued about the propriety of undertaking an airport project by this Fayose-led government that has less than four years to do in office for reasons such as the following:
- when there are airports in neighbouring states, 
- when these are lean times not only for the federal, but state governments as well, with the latter (including Ekiti State) requiring bailout funds to offset salary arrears, indebtedness to contractors and banks amongst others,
- when at a time Nigeria should be looking to wean itself from overdependence on revenue from sale of crude oil, to embrace sectors such as the Agriculture, only to be siting an airport on a palm oil plantation (as well as other food and cash crop producing farms) because of other non-agric factors in consideration,
- when the state government appears not to have carried along fully the owners of the land, including the plantation farmers one of which has now died from shock, for which the attention of the governor has finally been drawn, in requesting to meet with affected landowners and farmers to discuss amongst other issues, compensation.

GOVERNOR AYODELE FAYOSE OF EKITI STATE, NIGERIA
             

Besides the fact that the airport project may not positively impact the lives of the majority of the people in the state, its viability is also suspect, as several other airports dotting the landscape of Nigeria (including that of its neighbours), especially most of those built by state governments have remained but huge monumental failures unable to raise even the capital used to build them in revenue years after they were built, catering only to private jets owned or chattered by the governors, political acolytes, with major traffic only during christian and muslim pilgrimages (sponsored in the main by most state governments).

At the end of the day it massages only the ego of the governors and serves their megalomaniacal tendencies (in their attempt to leave behind legacy projects that can be named after them, or go down in history as initiated by them) over and above service to humanity or the uplifting of the circumstances of the ordinary people of the state, in the siting of many of the white elephant projects they embark upon when they are in government, and that includes even laudable projects such as hospitals like the so called "WORLD CLASS HOSPITAL" built by former Governor Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, which he abandoned for a hospital abroad when he had scratch following an accident in Abuja recently. Infact, when eventually, these projects begin to impact the lives of the masses, it is usually more like a "side effect" rather than an "expected result" and that is only in the few instances when these projects aren't abandoned by successive governments. 

This airport project embarked upon by Governor Fayose, is ill-timed, wrongly located (as regards the opportunity cost it makes of agriculture), ill-advised (in relation to other pressing issues of importance for the state) and totally needless because of the presence of other airports in neighbouring states, one of which is suffering from neglect and is at some stage of disuse. It isn't likely that Governor Fayose can now be dissuaded. (definitely not from a pliant rubber stamp state legislature, or by a subdued majority of Ekiti people waiting on STOMACH INFRASTRUCTURE packages dispense at will by the governor when it tickles his fancy) from towing a different line over this issue, so I can only hope that the best of possibilities happen with this airport to the people of Ekiti State if not while Fayose is in office, then years later after he's left office.

'kovich

PICTURE CREDITS:
- http://www.thescoopng.com
- http://www.thenationonlineng.net

Monday, October 12, 2015

COLUMBUS DAY RANT

Twas COLUMBUS DAY yesterday (and the day before it) and I had quite an engagement with my friend Ogidi Musso James aka OMJ - Comments https://m.facebook.com/?_rdr#!/story.php?story_fbid=10153459686286997&id=675001996&ref=m_notif&notif_t=feed_comment,  about the propriety of Americans still celebrating or marking a day in honour of someone whose actions will at best be described in the main as genocidal, and had he been striding the earth at this point in time would be a candidate for the International Criminal Court, ICC at The Hague, except maybe as an American he'd be shielded from prosecution there, as many of that countries men-in-arms are, even when they have committed gross human rights abuse while on tour of duty elsewhere in the world.

Though I doubt that my friend OMJ was entirely against my point, his point however dwelt rather with why I would single out the Americans  for an act other countries like Japan and other nations (and major ethnic groups in an amalgam of a country like Nigeria) shamelessly do even without care for the sensibilities of those affected by their action of commemorating pioneers (in the case of America), or the celebration of the exploits of a forebear of a large marauding tribal leader over minor ethnic/tribal groups (in countries like Mongolia, Turkey, Nigeria etc), even of great rulers/leaders like Genghis Khan, Atatürk, Uthman Dan Fodio amongst others. I defended my action by reminding him that I raised this issue because at that moment in time it was Columbus that was being celebrated and I would gladly do so if and when the days for the commemoration of the others come too, especially if it was given the fanfare Americans give to the controversial "Columbus Day", especially when descendants of the victims remain within their country of aborigine in a position nearly second class in nature, and having to witness this annually. 

It is even more unfortunate, that in the midst of all these is the campaign train for the presidential elections for next year, of which immigration continues to play a major role, howbeit divisive to hear Republican Candidates banter the way they do about immigration. Imagine a Donald Trump going at the Mexicans the way he's been doing like his forebears sprung up directly from the American soil, after hounding President Obama years back over his birth certificate. Most unfortunate is the fact that this rhetoric of his appear to have been partly responsible for his steady rise in the polls, a disgusting prospect in thinking that some section of America actually feels that way, and that he infact is speaking the mind, hopefully not of the majority. 

The marking of days like Columbus' by Americans demean their stance as a nation that values Human Rights, and reduces their moral standing before the Comity of Nations especially when they fall out with nations like Turkey for refusing to acknowledge what they did against Armenians in WWI was genocide. It doesn't matter if before the landing of Columbus, the Amerindians were killing themselves (as portrayed in Mel Gibson's APOCALYPTO) with stronger tribes meting all kinds of inhuman treatments (including human sacrifices to the Gods) on weaker tribes, as the British also thought of Black Africans on the so called DARK CONTINENT, and therefore came in to bring forth to them enlightenment. Did Europe not have its DARK AGES? Sadly, unlike with Africa where the idea of bringing enlightenment in the main spared a large number of the natives, Columbus' expedition sought to annihilate America's natives, which begs the question why in the first place such a person should be honoured with a day. Even if the ancestors thought it right to so do, considering their racist tendencies, does it seem right for their offsprings to continue in the same light? Shouldn't this be a basis for such a commemoration to be struck off the calendar, besides the fact that it leaves a bad taste in the mouth of a section of the American society?

Even the notion that he discovered America cannot cut it. How about the Arawak Indians? (Asks Winston Rodney aka BURNING SPEAR in his CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS track). How long can we continue this foolishness in History of who discovered "where" on earth (like Mungo Park discovering the -source of the- Niger, when he didn't paddle himself across it in the first place) when those places were already well inhabited by indigenous people? Isn't that so very absurd? Mtcheeeeeeeew!



The British recently came close to rendering an apology for what they did to the Mau-Mau in Kenya, the Australians went further by actually apologising for their treatment of aborigines, which is good. America should rid itself of a position currently occupied by Belgium as regards its treatment of the Congolese in time past, as with Turkey to the Armenians, amongst a many inglorious others if she is going to be taken seriously as the nation that upholds and respects the rights of every one and group that forms an integral part of it. *Drops mic*

'kovich

PICTURE CREDIT:
- Comments https://m.facebook.com/home.php?refid=52&ref=m_notif&notif_t=feed_comment#!/story.php?story_fbid=10103745856036331&id=6028496&fs=4

Friday, October 9, 2015

NIGERIA'S LOCAL RAPPERS


 
There's a lot Reminisce's "LOCAL RAPPERS" track featuring Olamide and Phyno tells about the evolution of the Nigerian music industry, as well as the enterprise of the Nigerian young person and youth in the face of the everyday challenges (some of the most trying the world over) s/he faces.

It was norm in the early days, even to these times, when it isn't out of place for young people going into the music or entertainment industry mimicking western culture. That actually gained ground with Nigerian singers doing all their best to outdo singers in their chosen genre from the west. Unfortunately, the reggae artistes, no matter how much they tried, couldn't sound better than the worst rudeboy doing reggae in Jamaica. The same could be said of the Hip-Hop, Rap, Rhythm & Blues crooners who could only do their best but were nowhere to be found on the scale legends of those genres easily maintained for the time their careers were at the peak.

It is testament to the sagacity and resilience of these young people, many of whom have been failed by contemporary Nigerian society where the welfare of youths remain the last, if not least on the agenda at every level of government and out of it generally. It took lots of belief in themselves for those who attempted in the early days to Nigerianize, or localize (as with Ghana-Hip Life, Kenya and the rest) foreign genres with loads of African content, even when at the time, it wasn't the most popular or profitable thing to do. You would notice that even with Musical Talent Hunt Shows, after the ones in the academy might have been shown the proper ropes, defending those with and by doing foreign music on show nights, even the winner or some of the bests on the show, once out of the academies/show in general go back to the streets to do their song street-style, i.e. Hip-Hop and Rap heavily laced with "Naija" nuances. One lesson from what these ones have done is to take something western and localize it, which we will do well to adopt in other sectors of the Nigerian socio-econo-political space, amongst others.

Though many of the forerunners have long seized to make tracks, some (like Da Grin) even dead, their dream and their labour is finally beginning to yield fruit, with Hip-Hop and Rap heavily laced with everything Nigerian is making waves not just within Nigeria, but outside of it, with international awards rolling in on all sides to complete the cycle, such that it must create fear in non-Nigerian artistes if they find they are nominated alongside Nigerian artiste(s) for any music award, in their home country or elsewhere (that's not Nigeria).

It is interesting to note that this stride by Nigeria's youths in the music industry isn't restricted only to music, as many have found their hands in many startups, especially taking advantage of the ease of communication enabled by social media platforms to market their ideas, services and products amongst others. This generation of young Nigerians largely ignore the government and society that ignored them in the first place, making the best of the situation they have found themselves in, indeed making lemonade of lemons thrown to them by life.

To say that I enjoy every bit of LOCAL RAPPERS, each time I listen to it 'pon dah REPLAY is a gross understatement, as much as I find very creative and prolific many of the songs put out by Nigerian and Ghanaian artistes who have fused very well Africanness into Hip-Hop and Rap. I wouldn't say that I am as impressed with Reminisce as I am with Olamide and Phyno in the track, even though he claimed no one rapped better than him this year, when he was totally outdone and outclassed by those he featured on his own track.

In all, the song not only sounded great, it is inspirational especially to youths with the message to encourage belief in oneself, though the song could do with less explicitness, something some of today's artistes will do well to take a cue from Tuface who has achieved fame and all (and at forty still going strong) doing purely Nigerian music without as much as leaning to the vulgar.

'kovich


PICTURE CREDIT: 
- http://tooxclusive.com

Saturday, October 3, 2015

A NATION UNDER GUNS

I wanted to use the last shooting incident  in which ten people died at a community college in Roseburg, Oregon in the United States as the background for this epistle, but refrained from doing so for fear that by the time I am done writing these few lines some other shooting incident may have taken its place in the media.

An average of thirty-six people die by the gun daily in the states if statistics by the Huffington Post are anything to go by, yet Americans are looking at all solutions but "the one" in tackling the issue. Obama in his press conference appeared exasperated in expressing how the routineness of his pressers after another shooting, indicate how the American society have become benumbed by the gun violence situation it has found itself in in recent times.



As with other times both sides of the divide (of the pro- and anti-gun lobby groups) have further dug in their trenches, for and against the further tightening of gun control legislature. What the last incident (as well as some of the ones before it) showed is profound, in that it highlighted the fact that most of the weapons and ammunition used by most of these rampaging gunmen, were legally obtained, for which it is becoming increasing pertinent amongst the discerning to begin to consider a limiting of gun possession to very few individuals and for strictly stated reasons, beyond a series of tests that people can easily pass and/or walk their way over, and still find themselves in possession of the arms with which they end the lives of some of their victims, maim others and alter the lives of those directly and indirectly affected by their actions, sometimes for life.

It is also interesting for many of us non-US citizens, to note how it is that the gun lobby has unalloyed support of the Christian right, that one would've thought would hold the tenets of peace, non-retaliation and dependent on the divine for defence physically and spiritually, prefer to argue heavily in support of gun ownership by the citizenry, even of children, than seek solace in those standards christian scripture especially of new testament theology requires of them.

It is my belief that until there is a radical shift in the thinking of all concerned in the gun control debate, in which no plausible reason can be found to put guns in the hands of any member of society that's not a member of the armed services in the main, then America is not ready to be rid of its unenviable position as A NATION UNDER GUNS.

'kovich

PICTURE CREDIT:
- http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk