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This Azonto generation

02 September 2013, 15:57 Fredrick Nwabufo

I was listening to a programme for the youth on one of Nigeria’s popular radio stations. The question directed at the youth was “who is your role model?” Disappointingly, nine five per cent of the responders reeled off names of musicians, actresses and actors who were their role models.

Not that there is anything bad about having an entertainer as one’s role model, but for the overwhelming majority of young minds to be enamored with entertainers and entertainment is something that should concern a true Nigerian who wants the development of the country, for the youth they say are the leaders of tomorrow. Perhaps, we will grow Nigeria by entertainment!

Ifeoma is an undergraduate of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra state. She is studying History and International Studies. She is in her sophomore year. A chat with her reveals she knows the latest songs by some Nigerian and foreign artists. She is well aware of their itineraries as she gets regular updates.

Ifeoma can write a sterling essay on the lives of her numerous entertainment idols. When asked if she could give a historical account of Nigeria since 1900. She replies, “That is simple. Mungo Park discovered Nigeria!”  She goes further to give her own account, rubbish from an entertainment fecundated mind. And I say, it is well with this Azonto generation! In Ifeoma’s case, would you blame her teachers or would you blame her?

Ifeoma’s case is a window into the entertainment besotted minds of some Nigerian youths. Although, it will not be sensible to categorize all Nigerian youths as intellectually porous and entertainment filled, for that will be an error of generalization. It is undoubtedly true that the quality of graduates which our higher institutions produce which a majority in a sincere estimation has been termed unemployable is as a result of the slithering into unconscionable sensual gratification. There is too much youth exposure to entertainment.

Again, considering the fact that some of the contents of music and movies some Nigerian youths listen to and watch are not educative and intellectually stimulating, there is no room for youth intellectual development. The contents of music by some Nigerian musicians are usually within the purview of lust, gross sensuality, ostentation and materialism. This is also the case with some Nigerian movies. How can the mind of an average Nigerian youth flourish positively with all of these?

Music is a strong force that can either make or mar an average mind. This is because the message-positive or Negative which a piece of music contains owing to constant repetition, and exposure to it, would lead to its registering in the subconscious portal, and even in the conscious portal. This is applicable to everyone. No one is immune to the power of music. The same goes to film. The image we espy stays with us for a long time. It is registered in our minds. Entertainment can be a positive means of intellectual development if its purveyors are intellectually wired. But this is sadly not the reality. Only a few entertainers most especially those long gone fit into the mould of intellectually-wired entertainers.

Having said that, here is another scenario. Bayo is an undergraduate of Olabisi Onabanjo, University, Ogun state. He is an English student in his third year. Bayo is very conversant with the lyrics of songs of some international hip hop artists. He can recite them pretty well. According to him, he does not listen to songs by Nigerian artists because they corrupt his English.

Who are the foreign artists Bayo listens to for improvement in his English? They are Drake, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross and 2 Chains. And I say, this Azonto generation has gone nuclear! When asked if he had read any of Ngugi Wa Thiong’O’s works. He answers with definite affirmation, “Yes, I have read “The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born”. To that I say, well done!

These are some of the examples that portray the dramatic descent of the Nigerian youth of today into the abyss of ignorance and intellectual aridity. If only our entertainers will use their gifts to educate the young and impressionable generation of youths who see them as role models, there will be a significant leap out of the doldrums of ignorance. Until such a time, it is well with this Azonto generation!

PS: Azonto is a popular Afro-hip hop dance that is common with the youth of Nigeria. The term is employed here satirically to describe the present young population.

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