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Minister tasks Nigerian musicians on content

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has urged musicians to use their music for advocacy, to preach moral, fight injustice, unite the nation and chronicle its history.

The minister gave the advice in Abuja when he received in audience a delegation from Evergreen Music Ltd, a music collector.

Mohammed said that music played significant role in the building and development of a nation.

“When we were growing up in the 70s Nigeria was more united by music even more than football and other sports.

“Music was effectively used to fight the colonialists.

“In 1956, Hubert Ogunde released records which led to revolt of workers against the colonial government.

“At that time they used to pay the daily workers one penny and Ogunde led the revolt with his song in Yoruba – Ki la o fi kobo ojumo se”

“The song says that what do you want us to do with a penny a day. From the penny we are going to feed our family, pay school fees, pay rent take care of our parents.

“If we tell the authorities and they refused to listen to us, we will leave their jobs,” he said.

The minister also said that when Nigeria changed from the right hand to left hand driving, it was the likes of Ebenezer Obey  and Ayinla Omowura that used their music to tell Nigerians about the implication of the change.

He added that music was also used to sensitise the people when the country transited from the use of Pounds and Shillings to Naira and Kobo.

Mohammed noted that musicians of those days were the custodians of  morals and they use their lyrics to correct negative trend such as bleaching, immorality.

He said Fela Anikulapo Kuti used his music to fight injustice with notable tracks such as “Unknown Soldier” and “Beast of no Nation”.

The minister stressed that Nigerians had produced great musicians who had used their music to help the country in advocacy, moulding morals and uniting the nation.

He assured that the government would assist the Evergreen group in its efforts to promote its production of a packaged 120 songs (oldies) by Nigerian from 1914 with a 70-page stories of some of the artists

“What they have been doing for the country cannot be quantified because they are the repository of our music dating back to 1914,” he said.

Earlier, the leader of the delegation, Mr Femi Esho said the initiative was to revive the Nigeria music of yesteryears which was going into extinction.

He said the production contained works of old Nigerians musicians such as, Domino Justus, Irewole Denge, Darosha, Ojoge Daniel, Haruna Ishola, IK Dairo,  Fela, Victor Olaiya , Victor Nwaifo, Sunny Okosun and others.

Esho advised young musicians to emulate the old ones by playing good music with rich content and not “making noise” as they were doing now.