I received with great joy the news of the forth coming Nigerian Entertainment Conference-A dose of a prescribed medicine to be taken in time. The Nigerian Entertainment Conference is a wonderful idea; a noble cause, with good line up of speakers and pane lists, deliberating on topics worth discussing.
The theme of the conference is ‘building the industry of our dreams’. The conference, which will debut on Friday April 26, 2013, ‘is an invaluable initiative needed at this critical time in our industry, to steer the different sectors and associated elements, in the appropriate direction’, according to NET founder Ayeni Adekunle. Nigerian Entertainment Conference will cover all the sectors associated with the entertainment industry. These include Fashion, Music, Movies/Films, and Media. Others are Sports, Arts, IT, Comedy and Events.
‘The Nigerian entertainment industry has shown its capacity – if we’ve been able to generate billions of dollars without any visible structures or government support, then imagine what would happen if we’re able to put our house in order? And I say ‘put our house in order’ because no one will do it for us. Not the government, not the ‘corporates’. If it’s ever going to happen, then practitioners will have to be the ones to spearhead it. And it all starts with this conversation’. As the entertainment business the world over continues to see rapid, shocking changes, with the future of the industry increasingly relying on information technology and new ideas, NET says it’s bringing practitioners in Nigeria together, to ‘study the global trend, understand it, master it, and put it to use – for the benefit of practitioners, consumers, corporates and society’.
After gladly spreading the message in my coast (Uyo-Akwa Ibom State) where I currently reside, I thought again and said to myself ‘for the conference to achieve its set goals and its effects felt in all nooks and crannies of the country and industry, then all hands must be on deck.
I observed closely the marginalization of some sectors of the industry and the key players therein, a quick example is in the absence of Copyright Society of Nigeria, Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria, Association of Artistes and Music Managers, agencies and NGO’s like those fighting the piracy scourge with the Marketers, not excluding entertainment stakeholders and practitioners in different states of the federation.
The entertainment industry does not begin and end in Lagos, and as such, the fate of the million people in the industry cannot be left in the hands of an active few.
If adequate attention is not given to details like I just highlighted, the conference will be a conversation like Ayeni said, and the same old story of a group of people capitalising on their strength and relationships in the entertainment industry and using it to milk out some companies and government.
Sincerely I am not out to condemn the efforts of the Ayeni led NET team or criticise them, but to suggest and request by means of this open letter and subsequent conversations on different platforms, that the afore-mentioned sectors should be made arrangement for in the quest to move the industry forward.
Years after the birth and boom of the Nigerian Entertainment industry, the number of people that depends on it for livelihood has grown exponentially, and I make bold to say that I am in the forefront of those who are galvanising for a Bureau or Ministry of entertainment in states of the federation, and or at national level, the establishment will help mediate with Government and regulate the activities concerning the entertainment industry.
I just had to share my silent thoughts, and I was motivated to take it a step further by Ayeni, who believes that ‘The conversation has been on for years, conversations about the way forward for the art and business of entertainment in Nigeria. And, since NET was established three years ago, we’ve been at the forefront of efforts to get the conversation going. Now, it’s time to bring everyone together so we can begin an active process of re-organisation’.