Nigeria got her independence from Britain on the 1st of October 1960. It’s been 59 years of independence and Nigerians can hardly have a cause for celebration. Nigeria, despite being blessed with everything to enable it to become one of the top nations of the world, is behind the times. The system – health, education, judiciary, sports, etc. – is nothing to write home about. 59 years and we are yet to get so many things right as a nation. The Nigerian entertainment industry, however, is one of the few areas we seem to be getting right. It has played a huge role in the Nigerian economy and has been making us proud all over the world.
Nigeria is the world’s 20th largest economy, it’s worth more than $500 billion and $1 trillion in terms of nominal GDP and purchasing power parity respectively. The Nigeria entertainment industry contributes to this great figure. In 2013, the entertainment industry accounted for over 1.4% of the GDP. By 2014, the Nigerian film industry alone was worth USD $5.1 billion and makes up 5% of Nigeria’s GDP. The figure hasn’t slowed down since then. The Nigerian entertainment industry is just one sector of the economy that has also made us global apart from contributing to our economy.
The Nigerian entertainment industry comprises of the movie and music industry which
Entertainment Industry After Independence
There has been a massive growth in the industry since the turn of independence. Many people have contributed to the growth of the industry, from our music to movies and comedy. It has since been a major export of Nigeria to the world. Our great culture and tradition have been displayed through our movies and music, thereby making us a force to
The cinema business has grown as new cinema houses are being established. As a result, Nigerian content in theatres increased in the late 1960s into the 1970s with credits given to former theatre practitioners such as Hubert Ogunde and Moses Olaiya a.k.a ‘Baba Sala,’ who transformed theatre from stage play into the big screen. The oil boom of the 1970s also contributed to the spontaneous boost of the cinema culture in Nigeria, as the increased purchasing power in Nigeria made a wide range of citizens to have the disposable income to spend on cinema-going and on home television sets.
Soon, Papa Ajasco by Wale Adenuga in 1984 made history as it became the first blockbuster, grossing approximately N61,000 (approx. N21, 552, 673 in 2015) in three days. A year later, Mosebolatan by Moses Olaiya broke the record as it gross N107,000 (approx. N44, 180, 499 in 2015) in five days.
By the 1990s, when the film and music industry merged to become Nollywood, the industry also experienced a second major boom. The movie Living in Bondage by Kenneth Nnebue in 1992 helped pave the way for greater things in the industry which today is not only a delight for Nigerians but for the world. The decline of the video-film era also led to some restructuring in the new millennium.
This helps to promote quality in output and professionalism in the industry. In 2009, The Figurine by Kunle Afolayan, starring Ramsey Noah, Omoni Oboli and Jide Kosoko, marked the major turnaround of contemporary Nigerian cinema. Today, the box office kings in Nigeria are Merry Men (#230 million), King of Boys (#100 million), The Ghost and the Tout (#80 million), Mums at War (#65 million), and Royal Hibiscus Hotel (#59 million).
This quantum leap in the Nigerian movie industry has seen it being named the world’s most prolific film industry by the International Federation of Film Producers’ Association. Nollywood have also signed a deal with America’s Netflix, which is a significant milestone for the industry. Lion Heart, a film by Genevieve Nnaji, made history as it became the first Nigerian movie on the platform. It has since accommodated many Nollywood movies such as The Wedding Party, Fifty, When Love Happens, and so on.
The works of talented actors and actresses such as Richard Mofe-Damijo, Olu Jacobs, Pete Edochie, Justus Esiri, Genevieve Nnaji, Patience Ozokwor, Fred Amata, Sola Sobowale, Adesua Wellington and so on has made a huge statement in the movie industry. Nigerians have also been getting recognition in the global film awards such as the Oscars. Actresses Jalade-Ekeinde Omotola, Wunmi Mosaku, film producer and directors Femi Odugbemi and Ngozi Onwurah made the list of 928 members after
Nigerian really has really evolved since independence. There have been numerous contributions by several
Great Nigerians like Fela-Anikulapo-Kuti (Afro beats), Oliver de Coque (Igbo highlife), Nigga raw (Igbo rap), Ayinla Omowura (Apala), Ayinde Barrister (Fuji), King Sunny Ade (Juju), Shina Peters (Afro juju) and so on have made music which has since been modified by other Nigerian artistes and has taken us to the world. Nigerian musicians have gone beyond the days of just live band performances to having concerts, tours, album sales, Ep releases, movie soundtracks and so on. These are now a means of making our music sell better.
The present wave of R’n’B and pop music began in the late 90s when groups such as the Remedies, Plantashun Boiz, Def ‘O’ Clan,
Over the years, Nigerian artistes such as KSA and Femi Kuti have been nominated for the prestigious Grammy Award. Wizkid, Davido, Burna Boy and several others have been keeping the Nigerian flag high worldwide in their performances. The rise of the Afro beats genre originated by Fela Kuti has been phenomenal in recent years. Nigerians artistes have been signing international deals with record labels after Kennis Music set the pace years ago. There have been Nigerian acts making the billboards and topping charts with private Nigerian radio stations such as Ray Power doing a good job in promoting our music. Today, millions of Nigerian songs and musical videos are one of the most streamed online. All this has contributed to the entertainment industry.
The impact comedy has had on the growth of the Nigerian entertainment industry cannot be underestimated. Despite the hard times we are passing through as a nation, comedians have used their talent to put smiles on our faces. Moses Olaiya popularly known as Baba Sala, a comedian, dramatist,
Comedy later went in the direction of Stand-up comedy, popularized by Opa Williams’ Night of a Thousand Laugh which started in 1995. It has since led to the birth of new generation comedians & comediennes such as Basket Mouth, Bovi, I go die, Klint da drunk, Helen Paul, Chigurl, Ay, and so on. The Nigerian show business isn’t complete without these people. They have taken their act all over the world, gathering crowd. Ay Makun and Bovi have also had enormous roles in the Nigerian movie industry. There is also
How have we moved forward?
Even though there have been challenges of piracy, proper distribution channels, and several other issues, the Nigerian entertainment is growing. What then are the factors that make this possible?
For Nollywood, it appeared that aggressive social media campaigns, backed with corporate tie-ins, has helped to transform the industry. Nigerian movies are displacing foreign movies in the cinemas. Efforts made towards movie premieres have been outstanding and bringing results. Movies are now being streamed online and downloaded. The deal signed with Netflix is also a step in the right direction for the economy.
The rate of unemployment has also been a blessing in disguise for some artistes in the entertainment industry. In the past decade, the growing numbers of new production studios, record labels,
We can’t but praise the entertainment industry for making us proud and also contributing to our economy against all odds. According to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers Nigeria, Nigeria’s entertainment and media industry’s revenue witnessed a 25 percent growth in 2017. This amounted to $3.8 billion, with $605 million out of the estimated $764 million said to be attributable to internet access. If the internet seems to be a way of having a better industry, who then knows what to do to move other sectors of the economy and also help build a great Nigeria?
Well, Happy 59th Independence Anniversary, Nigeria.