Nollywood and the rage of rituals

Kenechukwu Obiezu

Kenechukwu Obiezu

It is particularly painful to witness the level of decadence among Nigeria`s young people. This becomes even more painful when it is considered that the cherished hopes of the Giant of Africa lie of the shoulders of this demographic which by reason of age, intellect and innovation, is primes to live to see another day.

Today in Nigeria, it has become too comfortable and even too convenient to say that children, and by extension young people, are the leaders of tomorrow. In fact, many of those who were consoled or hoodwinked, depending on one`s experience, by this ruse many years ago, have since moved from childhood to adolescence to adulthood. Today, they are poised to sign the eternal checkout and puzzlingly   little has changed.

Instead, in Nigeria today, the reality that bites with countless teeth is that children and young people find themselves between a rock and hard ground even before they properly come of age to make sense of the formidable challenge that being from Nigeria and living in Nigeria is.

What is prevalent is that while the stranglehold of sexagenarians and septuagenarians continues to appropriate the levers of power, those who by reason of youth can perhaps offer a breath of fresh air are left lurching about in no man`s land. Those who cite inexperience or exuberance to justify their being left out in the cold cannot in their own defense show that they have been exuding the wisdom that age brings.

As the desperation and despair that have practically become part of being young in Nigeria continue to bite, moral decadence has continued to gain ground sweeping young people into the eagerly waiting arms of all manner of vices considered incurably despicable from the standpoint of every African value. Surely, one of these vices is money rituals.

With the pseudo-Latin song ‘dorime’ amply available as theme, and the energetic but ultimately empty exertions of some Nigerian music artistes, money ritual has come to be gleefully accepted and promoted by many of Nigeria`s young people as the highway to riches. Their aspirations to a better life which they glean mostly from the lives of these artistes many of whom are just exhibitions of fakery   find ample expression in the glee with which money rituals are embraced and glorified.

Because these rituals promise quick, cool cash, all that glitters is suddenly mistaken for gold. However, cautionary tales abound along the way about the dangers posed to young people and the dilemma Nigeria is daily plunged into by this most alluring of dangers.

In a bid to check the rising allure of money rituals, the Nigerian government recently directed Nollywood, Nigeria`s movie industry, to preclude money rituals and smoking from its contents.

Announcing the ban, Mr. Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture announced that he has directed the National Film and Video Censors Board, the body set up to regulate the film and video industry in Nigeria, to take the issue into consideration while performing its role of censoring and classifying films and videos.

To bolster his position and justify his directive, the Minister cited how recently apprehended money rituals suspects blamed social media and Nollywood for influencing their decision to engage in ritual killing.

Nollywood has since hit back at the Federal Government over the move. The industry has since queried why it should be made a scapegoat when all it does is to mirror what is happening in the society as a way of keeping the society informed and armed.

It is a question that is set to rage for a while but it would reward handsomely to properly keep the fingers pointing where they should be pointed as Nigeria confronts a number of devastating moral crises that permeate practically every aspect of the Nigerian society.

One of the strongest reactions against the move came from veteran Nollywood actor, Mr. Jide Kosoko, who while stressing that Nollywood has a responsibility to mirror   the society as a means to keep those who live in the society informed and guided queried whether Nigerian politicians embezzling money here and there also learnt their dizzying embezzlement from Nollywood.

It remains critically important to keep the issues in perspective if only as a first step in seeking a solution to the moral morass confronting Nigeria today. It is crucial to pinpoint what exactly keeps many Nigerian youths in the moral quagmire they today find themselves in.

There is no doubt that the insecurity which ravages Nigeria today has many young people as its foot soldiers. The cyber criminals who now threaten to overwhelm Nigeria`s security agencies with the sheer depth and sophistication of their operations count many young people in their ranks.

If many of Nigeria`s young people are taking to crime as they undoubtedly are, it is inescapable that there is a problem which goes beyond what Nollywood churns out as content. This problem cannot be obliterated by a mere ban on money rituals content.

ASUU is currently on strike to keep many young people stuck at home and feeling the heat of another senseless interruption of their lives; it is in Nigeria that many young people come out of school and find nothing to do; it is in Nigeria that many young people see only a bleak future for themselves with their dreams cruelly extinguished even before they properly take hold. Nigeria is a country where practically every young person has an eye permanently fixed on a foreign country.

In a country where aged political kleptocrats continue to inspire a new generation of kleptomaniacs, many young people find themselves in the clutches of frustration and desperation. Unless something is urgently done, the Giant of Africa seems headed for very dark days.

 

Kene Obiezu,

keneobiezu@gmail.com

 

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