• Parents, religious leaders worried
• NBC wields big stick on offensive songs
Mrs. Omotola Morakinyo was shocked to the marrow when recently, her six-year old daughter raised her two hands half-way and raised one of her legs in a manner depicting a dog peeing as she danced to one of the trending lewd lyrics, ‘One Corner’.
The school teacher said she was oblivious of the strange song and its ungodly dance step until the private secondary school, where she teaches, organized an event where the song was played. “Initially, the lyrics sounded harmless until some of our students began to dance to the offensive music. The school principal had to order the DJ to stop the music. I felt very bad few days later when I saw my daughter dance to the same song,” she said.
The Basic 2 pupil would later confess to her mother that she learnt both the song and its dance step from her classmates in school. If the girl’s disclosure was shocking, Morakinyo was further jolted when her tattletale of a daughter squealed that her elder siblings also sang and danced to the same song. “Besides being Christians, my husband and I are very circumspect about what our children are exposed to, so I was cocksure that her elder siblings, just like her, must have learnt the song from their colleagues at school. I was not proved wrong as they all confessed they learnt it from their colleagues at school,” Mrs. Morakinyo revealed, adding that “the trend is a dangerous aberration from what we were used to in our growing days.”
Many parents are equally disturbed by this ugly trend. Mr. Stephen Oni appears to be less affected by this disturbing trend. His children are all grown-ups and married. Yet he feels concerned about how the nation’s entertainment industry is pushing up the level of depravity in the society. “Recently, I boarded a tricycle and I was shocked to hear the lurid music being played by the keke rider. Initially, I restrained myself against requesting him to either stop the music or change it. Moments later some secondary school students joined the tricycle. At that point, I was compelled to request him do so because of the students in the keke. But he defiantly ignored my request. I was further stunned to hear two of the students sing along,” he said.
As noted by Oni and Morakinyo, not a few Nigerians are perturbed by the growing indecency in the music industry as signposted by obscene lyrics and their accompanying dance steps.
If the trend connotes anything, it is the worsening decadence in the nation as noted by Mrs Josephine Irene, the coordinator of Rescue the Nigerian Youth, a non-profit organization.
According to Irene, the nation’s entertainment industry remains a major agent of socialisation particularly to the youth population.
She, however, pointed out that the industry has in the recent years lost sight of its role as a formidable agent of socialisation as it now places premium on profit-making with vagrant disregard for decency.
“If you are to compare the kind of songs that dominate the airwaves now to what we were used to in our days, you will realize that our country is sitting on a keg of gunpowder. I have lived all my life in Lagos and I really enjoyed the old lyrics of great musicians of yore. Music of those days was full of instructive lyrics laced with words of wisdom, but what do we have now? You are inundated with songs full of foul and offensive language.”
As a way out, Irene called on parents to pay more attention to their children, particularly the young ones and by helping to regulate what they are exposed to. “It is clear that our regulatory agencies have failed in their task. If not, how do we justify the ubiquity of lewd music in the country?” she queried.
Besides, Irene also called on religious leaders and organizations to live up to their billing as agents of socialisation. “Our society is one that holds religious leaders in high esteem. So our religious leaders should leverage on their vantage position to help stem this ugly tide. The musicians who reel out these ungodly songs and their numerous followers are members of the same religious bodies. So their gathering in church on Sundays and mosque on Fridays should be explored to drive home this point, they should as a matter of responsibility teach their followers the need to uphold high moral standards and desist from promoting depravity and corruption,” she said.
As instructive as Irene’s suggestion may sound, religious leaders and organizations are not completely absolved of complicity in this negative trend. While lurid lyrics may not have explicitly made inroads into religious centres, some of them have been caught off guard, giving tacit consent to immoral songs and dancing.
Recently, a video where some women wearing the uniform of the women wing of an orthodox church were seen dancing unabashedly to the beleaguered ‘One Corner’ dance step, went viral. The Pastor-in -Charge, Altar of Grace Evangelical Mission, Alagbado, Lagos, Pastor Japheth Iwedike, who also acknowledged to have seen the video said it was evidently clear that the church is failing in its role in upholding godly standards.
“I shuddered when I saw the video clip. My anger was particularly buoyed by the fact that the event, where the shameful scenario took place was a religious setting. It is unfortunate that we continue to tolerate such ungodly practices in the house of God. What I can infer from this is that the church has failed to isolate itself from the world as our Lord Jesus Christ enjoined us in the 1 John 2:15-17,” he noted.
Speaking in similar vein, Apostle Taiwo Shoretire of Cherubim and Seraphim ChurchS, Mercy Land, Lagos, traced the origin of what he called worldly lyrics in the church to the introduction of traditional drums, particularly the talking drums into religious settings.
“Traditional musical instruments are traditionally associated with secular music but we now see them in our places of worship. Sadly also we don’t have control over them since we all get carried away instantaneously with their melodious rhythm. Most times we are often led astray by the drummer who alone understands whatever he is saying with the drum.
“And talking about our dance steps, it will be very difficult to dictate to people the way they should dance in the church because we all cannot dance the same way. And a dance-step considered offensive or worldly by a person might be another person’s best dance offering to God, it could be the person’s David’s dance,” Shoretire said.
He, however, called on the regulatory authorities saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that entertainment contents meet specified standards to live up to their responsibility. As part of its oversight functions, the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) recently issued a ‘Not To Be Broadcast’ (NTBB) warning on works by three of Nigeria’s music artistes for allegedly violating its rules and regulations.
The commission named Olamide’s Wo and Wavi Level; a remix of Davido’s If and 9’ice’s ‘Living Things’ as the culprits in the list of banned songs and music videos.
The Head of Public Affairs, NBC, Hajia Maimuna Jimada, while confirming NBC’s stand on the song, pointed out that the regulatory body did not ban the song, but considered it unfit for broadcast.
“NBC does not ban music. Our mandate is on what goes on radio and television. Olamide’s Science Student has been declared ‘unfit for broadcast.’
“The profligate mention and the subtle promotion of illegal drugs declared the song unlawful. We have communicated all our licensees for compliance or they will face sanctions.”
But many Nigerians feel the NBC’s NTBB order amounts to crying over spilled milk and called for thorough screening of songs and other entertainment contents by relevant government agencies to ensure their conformity with prescribed standards before they are released.