Timi Dakolo’s performance at Atiku’s presidential declaration
The Nigerian ecosystem thrives on hypocrisy and the setting up of standards that have no bearing on group or individual realities. This is why the ‘cancel culture’ has an appeal in a society where the illusion of morality and virtue signalling trumps common-sense. The form and character of this hypocrisy is seen in recent times more commonly in the music or creative industry where musicians or performers are hated-on, ‘cancelled’, called out and verbally assaulted for carrying out their jobs in political events.
Mind you, this performative outrage pays no bills. It is done for the sake of it; an empty, hollow ritual that seeks to bring down honest people in the performance of a service that is their job and a source of income. Take for instance, Timi Dakolo’s performance at Atiku Abubakar’s Presidential Declaration event. It was, on the face and substance of it, a job where he got the roles to perform his songs to the pleasure of all in attendance while perhaps earning for himself, family and workers (props, back-up singers and other coterie of a singer’s craft) much need sustenance. It was a job! And one not unlike that done by the Master of Events, stage technicians, event planner and caterer in the whole program.
An artist’s performance in such affairs is a multiple stream of income for a variety of workers that do not receive mention in the hate-filled sprouts of online morality policemen. Lightening and Sound Engineers, Back Up Singers, Disc Jockeys and the likes. It is a business with no bearing on the nature of the event itself and any attempt to sum up the performance of one’s duty as a form of support for the candidacy of a political actor must be backed up with irrefutable facts.
In Timi Dakolo’s case, for example, how does a song about love and women resound with political rhetoric in support of Atiku? How does he suffer criticism for doing the simple job of performing his song while giving even more visibility to his brand while the event planners, caterers and ushers do not, in full or half measure, endure equal suspicion of working to advance a political candidacy? Such querulous barbs and attacks do not serve the purpose of constructive criticism. It is regrettable, senseless and indefensible. We can not have a fair society with such crude orientation. Let people do their job!
It is an entirely different affair if such a musician or event planner is at the event announcing their support for the candidacy of a political actor and using their craft to clearly advance same through jingles or choruses. This is clearly distinguishable from an artist paid to entertain the guests of a political actor. If our worries were truly sincere and our ways straight, such a distinction won’t be hard to see. In fact, if we are going to ask artists to stop entertaining the guests of politicians or political actors then we must also lead a campaign banning said politicians from even listening to or enjoying the songs of those artists. Let nonsense cancel nonsense.
I am myself a legal practitioner by profession and yet inclined towards the PDP politically. I work in a firm where we do lots of briefs that are APC inclined because my political inclination is not my job but the legal practice is. My profession and my political leanings are two parallels that never meet. I argue and defend briefs as a practitioner with a love for the law and due process, unperturbed by anything else. We must let people do their jobs without interpreting it through political prisms especially where absolutely unnecessary.
It is not a bad thing to be loved for one’s craft and be patronised accordingly without the hues and labours of political adoption. In much the same way a TV or Radio station will conveniently air sponsored ads, events and programs by the PDP, APC or any other political parties because it is their business, musicians must be allowed to run their businesses as deemed fit. Thus, the earlier we wean ourselves of wilful hatred and hypocrisy, the better for our society.
Pelumi Olajengbesi Esq. is a Legal Practitioner and Managing Partner at Law Corridor.