January 26, 2023

How music has shaped politics in Nigeria

Music has impacted politics in Africa in different ways. Music remains very dominant in the politics of Nigeria. Music has been mobilizing the political procedures in our country. In this article, we are going to take a look at how music has led to social mobilization in Nigeria.

During the electoral periods, it is common when popular musicians to endorse politicians and their political parties. For example, the local artist Dbanj who was very famous in the year 2010 to 2015, rallied for Goodluck Jonathan to win the election in the year 2011. The artist was a celebrity who was very prominent during the campaigns making Jonathan a high chance to win the election. Many people from the opposition boycotted his music due to the interview campaigns but later after Jonathan won the election he was able to pull back to the music industry and the public favor. This means if the president lost the campaigns would have affected his career. 

Every aspirant for various political seats in Nigeria understands the impact that musicians have on the voters. It is true through observations that singers have a lot of influence on people. Whenever they are seen backing a certain candidate, the people follow them as well. The politicians are therefore aware that good musicians can predict their victory because their followers will be asked to vote for those politicians. This has happened in other parts of the world but Nigeria is very big and populous. Once they love a musician, they follow them even without a second thought because they have willingly allowed themselves to be influenced. 

Music in Nigeria has been at the forefront to fight political and social injustices in the political systems. For example, the government has given a lot of powers to SARS a police unit that helps fight robbery and kidnapping in the country. But the unit has been given excessive powers meaning they abuse power.  This police force has been accused of violence and brutality to justify their actions through the narrative that there is a high level of internet fraud. Therefore they target the young generation violating the rights of the suspects and some of them may not have committed. They go to an extent of asking for ransoms from the suspect’s family and friends. The young musicians continue to fight for the rights of the young generation.

Music is also used as a tool during protests. Music is very vital in influencing the emotions of people. During the protest, music is used to air the different grievances that the people have. The music in protests in Nigeria cannot be underestimated since it can show the policies that people do not want. Music continues to enhance social consciousness. Fela Anikulapo is popular in politically conscious music. Her music ridicules high levels of corruption among the Nigerian elite and she rejects the prominent military rule. She continues to demand change through her music. This has even led to her being arrested and brutalized by the Nigerian police. There are many vices in the community that music continues to address like incompetence and insecurity and human rights violations which are part of living in Nigeria. Music in Nigeria continues to fight the vices in the community.

There was a time the government wanted to ban protests in Ibadan. The people used the song by Davido known as Fem. It was sung not because it was more political consciousness but because people wanted to indicate that they do not want a mere talk but instead wanted actions.  This has helped not only to entertain but also to assess the people living conditions.

Songs in Nigeria have continued to help the young generation air their thoughts. This has led to political consciousness. The young being able to express what they go through in their daily lives and express their mood has been prominent lately due to the political struggles. Now that we have come from a political period music is very important to ensure there is a social and political reality in Nigeria.

It is a known truth that some musicians are richer and more influential than politicians. They are followed by millions of people on social media and those people have accepted to be influenced. Any information that those singers release on their social platforms is taken to be gospel truth and the journey of liberation begins. That is why most of them are very famous and convincing them to campaign for certain political candidates can be very costly.

The only musicians in Nigeria that are not very active in politics are the ones doing gospel music. They don’t want to be engaged in political affairs because their calling is in ministry and they don’t want to side with any politician. Some claim that politics is a dirty game and that it can taint their image as God’s servants. Others argue that they have been called by God to serve everyone and therefore they don’t accept taking sides in politics. However, those who accept to join politics are very influential and they can gather a lot of support for the politicians they’re campaigning for. That is how impactful music has been in Nigerian politics. 

Musicians in Nigeria continue to confront the challenges that people face in Nigeria although it seems like they are inviting doom to their careers since most people are tired of hearing about their problems. All people want music that to listen to music that explores more money love and enjoyment of life. 

From this article, the role of music in campaigning for change is and continues to speak about the prevailing issues in society. We therefore cannot deny the fact that music shapes politics in Nigeria and the leaders are 100% aware of it. They, therefore, try to lure musicians to enter into politics for the sake of convincing voters on their behalf. Some of the artists are very busy, others very demanding in terms of payments but once they agree to campaign for a certain politician, the victory is almost certain.