Students On The Entertainment Run

by Sunday Ogundugba

The entertainment industry in Nigeria over the last 10 years show an upsurge of interest. The interest is basically of the influx of students into the sector in the areas as music, television production, cinematography and the likes. The tertiary institutions now double as an entrepreneurship base of entertainment, alongside recruiting labour into the labour market. Tony Tetuila, the famous hip-hop star had his Kwara Poly experience to bear in his musical career. In 2004, the R & B Olufunmi crooner, Style-Plus, who were students of the Federal University Of Technology, Akure, debuted and gripped stardom. Even a secondary school leaver, Danny Young, is making fortunes in music despite his age. What accounts for this growing interest?

In the 20s, there was an awesome importance attached to stage plays and musical instrument. Before one could qualify as a musician or actor, he must have mastered an instrument or learned as a pupil under a master. Then music and acting were more of band stuff. Each member specialized in one aspect or the other. When hip-hop shot out its tentacles of influence to Nigeria with the likes of Tupac, Notorious B.I.G, people came to terms with the wonder of such music. You do not necessarily need to learn a musical instrument before being qualified as a musician, since raps produces its own beat with rhyme and rhythm. As well there was also the development of musical software and better video production as a result of technology. These factors created an enabling environment and people began pitching their talents in entertainment. The earliest of these campus musicians were the Remedies, the Plantashun Boiz, who formed a hybrid hip-hop by mixing English with indigenous Nigerian languages in production of music.

In today’s higher institutions, the trend has developed. The amazing wonder in being adored, the relative ease in production of music, the financial benefit attached to stardom has come to be identified as the impetus. What we have today is a long train of musicians, film directors, comedians, etc, who are students.

Folorunso Busayo popularly known as Fliptyce, a 200 level Geology student of the University of Ado-Ekiti is a musical producer. Asked to speak on his experience in such a trying job, he says, ” the passion for entertainment has always been in me right from my secondary school days. In 2003, I started writing my songs and did a couple of musical productions. Today I have many student-artistes who are products of my work”.

Osunseemi Temitope, a 200 level student of Industrial Design at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, runs a management outfit called Reveille where student-artistes can be rightly nurtured to face the challenges of the entertainment world. When posed with the question of the challenges being faced in being a student-promoter, he says, “merging studies with entertainment has been the major challenge. To become a prominent promoter in Nigeria is my dream”

In the movie industry sub- sector, Fashuan Oluwole, a student-film director enthused on the growing interest of youths in the movie industry. “Soaps like Super Story have influenced the entrance of students into acting. The likes of Opeyemi Ayeola and ace actor Kunle Afod who were students benefited from this development.

In magazine production, an overwhelming interest in entertainment journals is the feature of modern times. Students seem to parade themselves as unique in producing one magazine or the other. We have Dynamix, Campus Kokolets, etc. However there are myriads of issues.

Many people have poured out their minds on the quality of entertainment produced nowadays. In music, a great deal of what is sung by today’s campus musicians is far below standard. What we have today is “sensible nonsense” as one man rightly confirmed because with good beats and proper studio management a poor lyric can be upgraded to marketable standard. Most of the so-called students- musicians are unique only in their ability to copy their foreign hip-hop masters. This has affected the quality of good music today.

Another problem is the inability of these youngsters to make their way due to the financial challenges of meeting up with the career. In the movie industry, a student with a good script cannot dabble into production of film because of the financial hurdle. The so–called godfathers in the sector could buy the script for as low as N15,000 whereas the same script could produce whooping millions of naira if properly harnessed into a film. Fliptyce confirmed this when he analyzed the cost of producing a track in the studio. “A session in a musical studio is 8hrs at a cost of N8, 000. A session can produce a track depending on the length of the music. In producing 10 tracks, you would have spent N80, 000 which is even the beginning as fiercer costs would still be forgone,” he revealed.

Blue Face, an upcoming artiste, believes that an enabling environment where the government shows an interest can change the situation for students in entertainment. Hear him, “our government loves to hear you are from their state after you have suffered to grip stardom. They should create an enabling environment for the development of talents.”

Fasuan Oluwole is of the opinion that students can get off the crowded road in Nollywood by creating stories other than the “love and marriage” stuffs for which Nigerian movies are known. “Students should be unique by bringing research stuffs into films like Harrison Ford’s Raiders of the Lost Ark. A better Nollywood would emerge when our minds are at work on new features for entertainment”, he added.

However the entrance of MTN, GLOMOBILE and other giant corporations has more than compensated for the financial problem as a number of students have benefited from the benevolence of these companies. This has come to be identified as a good prospect for the entertainment industry.

No matter what attitude government is showing to entertainment, the fact remains that it has helped salvage unemployment. Entertainment is the hallmark of “good pay syndrome ” in Nigeria. Entertainment has absorbed a number of graduates and is even the leading employer in Nigeria today because of the financial benefits attached. This is because people pitch their tents in those sectors where their labour can translate into millions. No wonder students are hustling to make fortunes there. This should stir the interest of governments. However there is a need to be cautious.

To the upcoming student entertainers, talent counts. A person nurturing the dream of becoming an entertainer should check himself if he or she has the talent, as he or she might be chasing shadows doing so. Also the upcoming artistes should not jettison their education. The glamour in being a good entertainer is a product of one’s education and talent. The likes of Tosin Martins, a law graduate, Paul Play Dairo, an engineering graduate, Paul and Peter Okoye (P – Square), graduates of Mass Communication and Business Administration respectively from the University of Abuja, among some others, are examples.

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