Wole Balogun, Ado-Ekiti

A university don, Prof Rasaki Ojo Bakare, and former Director General, Abuja Carnival, on Thursday advocated the use of music, dance and drama in solving myriads of problems plaguing the the country.

Bakare, a Professor of Choreography and Performance Aesthetics at the Federal University Oye Ekiti, said the three instruments of entertainment had, in the past, proven as veritable sources of succour and meaningful engagement that invariably make people, especially youths, happy in other climes with similar challenges.

He made the proposal in his inaugural lecture on the topic, ‘The Healing Properties of the Performative Trinity for a Troubled Society’, at the university. He said the three components of entertainment could also be used as part of a socioeconomic re-engineering strategy for the country.

He described music, dance and drama as critical mobilising factors capable of healing the wounds in the hearts of the country and its people.

He claimed to have composed well over 400 songs as well as written quite a number of musical works, including choreographing a total of 200 dance works, as part of his contribution to academics and entertainment since becoming a university lecturer over two decades ago.

He said music in particular has been acknowledged as a form of therapy which artists use sometimes to make sick patients get rid of their health problems.

“Beyond the clinical use of music as a therapy and its communicative power through lyrics, it also aids social engineering as well as act as catalyst for behavioural change,” he said.

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“This is because members of any given society require art as an avenue for self perception and self analysis so as to engender social instruments of judgment and value measurement

“For instance, with particular focus on the youths of Nigeria, cutting across the diverse ethnic, cultural, religious and ideological divide, dance can be used as an experimental instrument in form of carnivals, festivals, street dance and contests.”

The renowned dance specialist recalled that at a time in Nigerian history, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in response to negative publicity and global diplomatic setbacks experienced by Nigeria, adopted cultural diplomacy as an image building mechanism which eventually worked for the country.

“Dance, like the other two components of the performative trinity, communicates and administers healing, especially when the moral order of the society is ruptured and dance is deployed to the rescue”.

“Art, with reference to the performative trinity, has served as veritable alternatives for the youths of this country in the context of positive empowerment and engagement. This has helped in the reduction of the rate of social vices in the country.

“In critical times such as this, a country like Nigeria, where insurgency, ethnic crisis and communal clashes, among others, are the order of the day, the availability of a functional arts sector helps to reduce the rate of the unfortunate results.

“The sector also has the primary responsibility of providing creative consultancy and prevent leaders and other stakeholders from taking rash or impetuous decisions,” he advised.

Speaking at the lecture, the Vice Chancellor, Prof Soremekun, commended Prof Bakare, describing him as one of the leading lights of the institution.