30 Jun 2013


By Poisefreak, 9JEducation
Tuesday, July 30 2013

Education, they say is the key to development. This has become the anthem of every individual that believes in the promise education of any form brings to a nation. In a country where the youth are seen as the future, it is safe to conclude that for growth and development to be experienced at a steady pace, education is a “must have” for the average youth. 

Entertainment is equally an important aspect of societal development (it should be). It develops society along the “not so serious” angle, and helps people adjust to the difficulties of their day to day lives. Entertainment in my opinion sort of brings sanity to the craziness that is Life, and in a country like Nigeria, entertainment, asides Religion, is one of the few things people seek to “escape” the “reality” that is survival in this country. 

Growing Pop artists and Rising stars in their own Right, Wizkid and Olamide are indeed a crowd favorite in these days and times. You can hardly find a music merchant that doesn’t play songs from either of the two artistes every day. These days, Olamide’s single, “Durosoke” has become a sort of anthem amongst young people. A week ago, I was watching my kid brother as he kept repeating “ko durosoke, se ko wale” repeatedly, and I had to ask whose song it was (yea, I have become a bit of an old girl). Like that wasn’t enough, two days ago, my kid sister was dancing rigorously to something she was listening to on her headphones, and I had to ask her what she was listening to. She connected her phone to the sound system in the house, and the first thing I heard was “Let your pant drop for me, baby girl put it down, baby girl ye ma so oyinbo”. Yes, my sister had been “twerking” to Wizkid’s new effort with Wale titled “Drop”. 

Olamide and Wizkid have indeed become sort of a teen sensation in the country today, in fact, their fan base spans across both teenagers, and adults and even some pensioners. While I have no problem with their fame and all that it brings to them, I have a serious problem with the influence they could have on the interest of the average Nigerian youth in education and all things “proper”. First and foremost, these two at one point or the other abandoned their formal education to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. This has served as a point of reference for a lot of misguided youths, who give little priority to their education, flunk at school, and then cite these two as examples of people who didn’t earn a college degree, but are “making it” in life. In tertiary institutions these days, you find more young boys who no longer pay attention to their classes, but spend their days at Studios trying to be the next Olamide, or the next Wizkid. Most of the time, the lyrical content of whatever noise (yes I call it noise) they spew has little or no positive message to pass on. More girls are also interested in becoming Video Vixens and are too concerned about having their faces in different music videos to bother about their next term paper. The result of this is more students now prefer to pay off their lecturers (If they can afford it), or waste 4/5years as the case may be in school, graduated with a third class or less, and become “Musicians” or “Models” or “Business Men/Women” whose crafts bring nothing to the table for the development of this country. 

I know I might come across as condescending, as a lot of people feel youths these days are inclined to “hustle” for their bread, and this translates to tapping into the seemingly “lucrative” business of entertainment. My grouse with this mentality is simple, Why not get an education while at it? Do you really have to drop out of school, and become a failed artist or worse after several years pass and your relevance wanes? A lot of people reading this would probably go, “what is she saying, there is money in entertainment”, or “why are you so bitter, they are making money and you aren’t,” or “Pali no be everything oh, don’t dull yourself”. Well, Pali might not get you that paycheck that would help you “live the life” in today’s Nigeria, but believe me, it is a good start. The Nigerian entertainment industry would do a tad better if more of our artistes/producers had a degree in their craft. Formal learning might seem as such a burden to take on, but believe me, it gives you an edge in whatever you do. The likes of Wizkid and Olamide in my opinion are only “lucky” because the majority of Nigerians love to listen to what I would call “meaningless sound”. Their producers are no doubt gifted in the art of mixing the best of sounds to created beats that one can’t help but move to (sometimes), but if I were to go by their lyrics alone, they make no sense to me. All they promote with their music is the love for flamboyance amongst youths, as well as the growth of immorality amongst young men and women, and even kids. When a teenager is busy listening to lyrics like “Let your pant drop for me”, what hope is there for the nation that such a child would be interested in being the next Phillip Emeagwali?

It would surprise the average youth to know that some of their favorite artistes in the states got college degrees before becoming stars in their own right. It is no doubt suffice to say that their education played a huge role in their rise to stardom. 

J.Cole who quickly became a favorite of young Nigerians and youths the world over for example, attended New York’s St. John’s University on an academic scholarship! Rapping on the side and writing full-time, J. Cole graduated Magna cum Laude with a major in communication and a minor in business!. While I might not totally agree with some of the lyrics of his songs, I do appreciate the fact that he did get an education. 
Rapper Lil Wayne who also is a star in his own right attended the University of Houston as a Psychology major. He later transferred to the University of Phoenix, where he’s currently still taking classes online. It is amazing to know that even someone like “Weezy” as he is called still recognizes the value of education and how it affects his craft. 

Ludacris attended Georgia State University where he majored in Music Management. This is a typical example of learning your craft. Ludacris is indeed one of the best rappers of all time, and has also featured in box office blockbusters like the Fast and Furious franchise. 

Maybach Music main man, Rapper Rick Ross graduated from Carol City Senior High School and later attended historically black college Albany State University in Albany, Georgia on a football scholarship.

These are only to mention a few. My point is clear, no one is saying you cannot become a Pop star, or a star rapper, or a self-acclaimed “Star Boy” like Wizkid calls himself, but it is important to get an education while at it. In a way it shows that you have the discipline to withstand the hardships that would come with the craft you have chosen, and it would also prove instrumental to making serious money and making your mark in life. Who knows, maybe Wizkid and Olamide would head back to the classroom to earn degrees and become more of a good influence on the youth of today, I can only hope that young people develop more interest in getting an education first before anything else. I also hope artistes would produce music that would serve to encourage young people to stay in school, instead of encouraging young men and women to aspire for “the life” that leads them to commit atrocities all in the name of trying to “make it”. The future of Nigeria is the youth, whether some chose to accept it or not. It would not augur well for this country if more students are dropping out of school to sing “gbe soke gbe sile” when they could be making scientific discoveries that would put Nigeria on the map for groundbreaking discoveries as is elsewhere in the developed world. 

Poisefreak has a passion for educational development in Nigeria. An avid reader, closet political analyst and daytime writer, she hopes to change the face of education in Nigeria one blog at a time

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