pop to a viable socio- political tool.
The world is dancing to AFRO-BEATS!
At least that is what the United States’ secretary of state, Anthony Blinken, implied during his address to the Nigerian government when he talked on the impact of Nigerian music on American lives. From series of nominations in global music awards to sold out concerts in major cities of the world, afrobeats
continues to enchant millions of people across the globe. It is perhaps the new ‘woke’ genre of music dominating the world stage. It is also believed in many quarters that this African pop is propelled by Nigerian musicians/artistes.
With all these ‘big wins’ as a result of the world’s growing obsession with afrobeats, one thing is paramount; that apart from making music, leading flashy lifestyles and selling out venues for concerts, Nigerian musicians are beginning to understand that popularity in a country like Nigeria, with all the
enormous social, economic and political challenges, goes hand in hand with a lot of responsibilities. That the music they make and the lifestyle they lead must be one that speaks hope and courage to ordinary Nigerians.
It was probably these thoughts that rang through SIMI’s head when she was writing her latest song ‘woman’. The song encapsulates the struggles of the Nigerian woman in beautifully composed melody, it resonated so well that Nigerian women began a trend on social media on some of the awful things
that have been said to them in the course of their careers or personal lives. It was a way of comforting themselves and other women who are or may have experienced such in one way or the other.
I really hope SIMI gets an award for that song, seriously, and if she has already, congratulations to her!
It is in this light that I examine an anomaly in the Nigerian socio political space: women participation in politics in Nigeria. Although much lip service has been given to address this problem, in reality little has been done to promulgate lasting solutions. Women participation in politics is not just about them
occupying governmental positions or having the same number of cabinet members as their male counterparts. Far from that, it entails the active participation in the decision making process of policies and programmed as it affects their general wellbeing.
In Nigeria’s reality today, with the worsening security situation and exacerbation of economic hardship, the Nigerian woman bear the brunt to a large extent. Many are at the mercy of criminals and are exposed to gender based violence like rape, sexual assault or even feminicide. A number of them are without a voice due to limitations emanating from culture and religion. This in turn creates a large vacuum in the ability of the Nigerian woman to remain relevant in Nigeria’s socio political space.
We can all agree that the Nigerian trajectory is not particular to any gender, however, a quick Google search will inform the reader that women and children have and continue to be the most affected in the decay of the Nigerian system. ‘naija woman don suffer no be small’ , I’m quoting my friend Abbey again.
How can we engender women participation in politics through afrobeats?
I would get to that in a bit, a few months ago, popular Nigerian musician, David Adeleke a.k.a Davido, donated money he got from well wishers for his birthday to orphanage homes across Nigeria. The gesture was appreciated by ordinary Nigerians and some even suggested he ran for president in the country’s next general elections. While we await Davido’s take on that piece of advise, it is important to note how significant the Nigerian artist has become to the everyday Nigerian. Hence, they can use their craft to create awareness on issues and make propositions for positive change.
While it is obvious that not every artist may want to delve into issues of significance like women in politics, I mean some just want to make money, attend parties and buy flashy cars. It is imperative that the global audience that afro beats is garnering be used to ameliorate the conditions of the Nigerian
people, especially the women. Music helps spread information and create consciousness in the minds of people, therefore, it is a tool that can be used to bring to the forefront issues that affect the Nigerian woman. For instance, a song on the trajectories of women who have been ravaged by insecurity in the
Northeast, the gender discrimination obtainable in Nigeria’s professional spaces and the various of fences against the rights and dignity of women in Nigeria can help raise consciousness on the need for government and the people to come together and act to stop the menace.
If the world can dance to afrobeats, they might as well heed to the message it passes across.
Written by Daniel Shaibu