By Sam Kagbo
I was not in any way bothered, disappointed or even surprised to see footballers –present or past – mounting campaign podiums alongside politicians during the electioneering preceding the last general elections in the country. A successful footballer may be a role model, but hardly a moral bearer. I could not be querimonious about actors and actresses flocking Aso Rock or reveling with the first lady, or promising to bring the moon to the ocean for Mr. President at the polls. Their lives, or rather, their business is about acting roles for career prospects and/or monetary gains, and not to further conviction. It will be unfair to expect an actor, whose livelihood is dependent on acting roles, to be guided by the biblical injunction that says, in 1Corinthians 10:31, “So then, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all it for the honour and glory of God”.
With the exception of those who have strong religious convictions, the decision of an actor or actress to take up roles is guided by the effect the role will have on their career and, of course, the money involved. So, seeing Nollywood in Aso Rock was, to some of us, nothing more than a reality show scripted by those who wanted a piece of President Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign war chest. This is not ruling out those who were merely reciprocating and expressing gratitude for the largess the President had showered on them, besides some other personal benefits.
In summary, footballers, actors and actresses who identified with or put out themselves for President Jonathan during the electioneering might not have lost anything. As I am certain that the campaigns, elections and their outcomes are materials for good scripts, I am looking forward to watching great soaps and movies from Nollywood – rich productions depicting the lessons learnt from this revolutionary electioneering season.
I however strongly believe that some musicians lost some valuable standing in the society in the course of the election campaigns. Musicians are supposed to be conscious people who should not, according to Ephesians 4:14,be “tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes”. Rather, they should be speakers of the truth, as Apostle Paul advises in verse 15.
Although there are hints in the Bible that tend to suggest that Satan was in charge of music in Heaven (see Ezekiel 28:13 and Revelation 5:8, and 15:2), I would rather stick to the value that the Bible places on music. There is hardly any topic that engages the scriptures like music. My research reveals that music accounts for over seven percent of the Old Testament. Some of the strongest personalities in the Bible – like Moses, David and Solomon –were musicians. We see Jesus and his disciples singing in Mathew 26:30. The accounts in Luke 1:46-55 and Luke 2:14 also hint at Mary, being a musician.
Music has a boundless effect on society. Indeed, Shakespeare calls music the food of love, saying, in Twelfth Night, Act 1, Scene 1:
If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it; that surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
Besides, being an instrument for praising God, the scriptures show that music was used at coronations and some other events in the royal courts, at feasts, wars, and for healing troubled souls.
I believe King Saul was schizophrenic. That is my understanding of what the Bible means in 1Samuel 16:15 when it says Saul was being terrorized by an evil spirit from God. To soothe his raging nerves and rescue him from his wild delusions,Saul needed a musician. That was how David, the musician,was weaned from the sheep in the fields and drafted into the Saul’s palace. The Bible describes David as a good-talking and handsome, brave warrior – a typical picture of a modern-day superstar.
In today’s world, music fulfils all of the roles mentioned above and many more.Bob Marley’s music exemplifies the revolutionary role and power of music. Peter Tosh’s didactic “Equal Rights” played its role in the fight against apartheid. The impact of music in the struggle against military oppression in Nigeria in the 80s and early 90s cannot be over emphasized.
The turn of this century saw Nigeria taking the leadership in music on the continent. What the country, however, gained in the number of hit-making musicians, it lost in the ability of music to serve as a political game changer. Musicians are now concerned more about making hit songs that fetch them money and fame than making social engineering music. Electronic recording has opened the music industry to all manner of conscienceless charlatans who have no idea what musicians owe to the society.
The fact that these musicians could not see the wind of change or lead the people away from the bondage of deceitful politicians and their mental trickery tends to present them as a breed that has lost the necessary spirituality to see tomorrow. Now that the people have left them behind, one prays they buckle up and do the necessary catching up.
*Kargbo is a lawyer and author based in Abuja