As Nigeria marks her 18th Democracy Day celebration, a retrospective view of the entertainment industry in the country has revealed that the industry is one of the best things that have happened to Nigeria, the giant of Africa since the advent of the present democratic dispensation. Besides the oil and gas sector, the entertainment industry is about the most viable sector of the nation’s economy as the industry is currently basking in successes with the music, movie, culture and tourism sectors turning in billions of naira to the economy.
Since 1999, the Federal Government has engaged stakeholders in the creative industry having acknowledged the potentials of the industry as a money spinning sector that could help boost the nation’s economy. Hence, in 2006, the federal government introduced Nolloywood project in collaboration with Eco Bank to boost the film industry. In August 2015, former Nigerian President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan doled out N200 billion intervention fund for Nollywood, a sobriquet to the nation’s film industry which served as catalyst to film making in the country.
To still ginger the industry to greater heights, the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration created the entertainment and creative services department out of the old department of culture for effective administration of culture with the mandate to formulate policies on enter entertainment, promoting private/public collaboration in the development of entertainment industry and provide the regulatory frame work for the entertainment subsector.
Other functions include: packaging the entertainment content of the country, generating employment and create wealth for the youths, developing and promoting cultural festivals and carnivals, relating with Nollywood for advisory services, overseeing the activities of the national troupe of Nigeria and the National theater, providing structure for entertainment and creative sector in Nigeria for proper coordination among others.
Another milstone in the growth of the film industry is to give tax rebate for the creative industry. The gesture which was in fulfillment of the promise made by the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo at the opening of the culture industry financing conference in Lagos between July 17 and 18, 2017 to grant the industry a pioneer status as the Buhari administration is concerned on creating an enabling structure for the industry rather than splashing money on its stars. The conference was also geared towards taking the industry into the era of smooth access to short and long time financing, world class management as well as local and international distribution.
The conference was a follow up to the land mark national summit on culture and information to chart a new part for the industry; these are pointers to the genuine intervention of te present administration to make the entertainment industry an alternative to oil and gas in Nigeria.
Another area the present administration recorded significant breakthrough is the war against piracy where a national task force comprising the Nigeria copy right commission and the police joined forces to clampdown on movie pirates, through the activities of the taskforce the menace of pirates in the industry has reduced.
It was also gathered that the National Film Corporation, (NFC), Nigeria Copy right Commission (NCC) the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), and the Nigerian Broad casting commission jointly endorsed the establishment of the national film development to tackle the lack of funding for film productions activities, not long, the federal government released about N420.2 million to the movie industry to improve and support aspiring practitioners.
With these laudable support to the sector, the entertainment industry is today one of the leading names when it comes to providing employment in the country, it comes closely behind agriculture. Nollywood for instance has defiled pirates, economic recession, leadership tussle and plagiarism and grossed amazing N1 billion in 2016. The figure represents nearly 30% of the N3.5 billion generated from 28 cinemas across the country.
Films like “The wedding part”, ‘A Trip to Jamaica”, “Wives on strike”, “’76, “Okafor’s land”, The CEO and ‘93’ all shaffered box office records. Nollywood right now is ranked third globally as far as generating revenue is concerned, the leaders are Hoollywood of America and Nollywood of India coming behind these two important film making countries in the world is in itself a proof to the fact that Nollywood is in the right direction and nobody should be surprised if in the years ahead the industry dominates the world.
It is also not susprising that the music industry in Nigeria is also a multi billion dollars industry and one of the highest paying industries in the world. They generate revenue from concerts, endorsements, album sales and music tours. Nigerian artistes are about the best music makers in the world which has placed the industry in a global scale. The Nigerian artistes have performed above expectation in several international concerts with prestigious awards to show for their commendable efforts.
Abolore Adegbola Akande also known as gice has performed in different international events including the 90th Nelson Mandela birth day tribute concert where he sang his famous Song “Konga Aso” in London. He was the winner of 2018 Hiphop music award among others, while D’banj, the pop super star has been promoted as brand ambassador in promoting oneness and peace, he also won the MTV Europe music award, Best African Act, KORA awards and channel G’ music awards EK.
Wizkid (Ayo Balogun) beat JayZ, cardi B, Ken drick lamar and others to clinch the international artiste award while Davido (David Adeleke) won Best African ACK, both artistes also emerged the biggest winners at the Headies 2018. Nigeria was also well represented at the MOBO awards as Wizkid and Davido were honoured at the event held at the first direct arena in Leeds, England as well as other popular Nigerian artistes who parade international and continental awards like 2 Face Idibia, the defunct P-Square etc.
Another area of interest is culture and tourism. Tourism no doubt is the fastest growing economic sector world over, in Nigeria, the growth had been stunted due to persistent military intervention in the process of governance, with the ushering in of a democratic dispensation, Nigeria has now joined the committee of nations in the area of tourism development, this is particularly important for a country such as Nigeria that had depended for several years on the oil and gas sector of its economy.
Tourism development in Nigeria has undergone gradual but progressive evolution with each phase reflecting its growing importance in the economy. The main thrust of government policy on tourism is to generate foreign exchange, encourage even development, promote tourist based rural enterprise, generate employment and accelerate exchange. To this regard, government has also established National tourism festivals on rotational basis among the states at a given period in order to accelerate the promotion of domestic tourism.
Government has also embarked on a massive and aggressive publicity campaign both in print and electronic media on the potentials and significance of tourism in our national development at home and abroad, simplified the issuance of visas to intending visitors by lessening the difficulties associated with it, on regular basis or gaining training workshops for all security agencies including customs and immigration for the purpose of re-orientation in the discard of their duties so as to eliminate inconveniences faced by visitors entering the country.
It is worthy to note that in 2015 the revenue earnings of tourism for the country was $1.1 billion, while the Nigeria Hospitality report 2017 lunched by Jumai disclosed that domestic travel accounted for 97 percent of the country’s tourism, while foreign travel made up the remaining 3 percent.
However, Nigeria’s vast and rich cultural heritage should be strategically repositioned to partner tourism as its driver to lift the Nigerian economy. Tourism cannot effectively flourish without the cultural components, the desire to position culture and tourism as the lever of Nigeria’s economic growth and development rests with the ministry of information and culture as it must plan mainstream both sectors into a monolithic entity to galvanise national economic development.