Abuja Entertainment Industry: Who Will Break The Jinx?
by Leadership Newspaper
Entertainers who crave for fame in Nigeria are mostly known to turn to Lagos, the acclaimed centre of entertainment in the country. This has somewhat slowed the growth of the entertainment industry in other parts of the country, particularly in Abuja. Could it be the industry and its practitioners in Abuja are jinxed? ANTHONY ADA ABRAHAM writes
For many years, the capital city has experienced massive boost both in infrastructure and talents. Upcoming musicians and comedians have done very well for themselves; releasing songs and videos that could compete favourably with those in any other part of the country. Though they start off and become household names within the city, before long, they disappear from the social circles with their acts no longer appreciated and applauded.
Hard as they try, entertainers in Abuja hardly ever remain on the radar long enough to attain any serious level of fame before they are dumped like trash.
David Torkuma Joshua aka Pherowshuz is from Benue State but was born in Sokoto and raised in Kaduna where he still resides till date. Since his days in the revolutionary Afro-hiphop group KD World, he has grown in leaps and bounds. His rap music has inspired several other musicians across the country who now emulate him.
Pherowshuz runs a production outfit, Ill-Touch Productions in Abuja, alongside his co-producer, Tommy Illfingers. He is one of the best examples of big talents that have come out of Nigeria. The artiste has all it takes to break all barriers to fame but still, hasn’t reached the height his fans and entertainment pundits expect he would have by now.
His lyrics are thrilling, and he’s got the good talent for rap. But while his counterparts like MI, Ice Prince and others, whom he preceded in the music industry, are enjoying fame even from afar, his brand still struggles for recognition. Several reasons have been advanced for his fate but a recurring reason has been, Abuja- the locale where he plys his trade.
Rave-making artiste, Techno is another musician who used to be based in Abuja and tried to hit gold with his music without success until he relocated to Lagos and is now a hot cake across the country.
When he was in the nation’s capital, he was known locally to be good, but wasn’t considered good enough for the big stage until he left for Lagos and is now doing hit songs, featuring alongside A-list artistes.
What really is the problem with entertainment in Abuja? What really is it about the city that makes it difficult for artistes who choose to ply their trade there to hit the big stage?
A blind Abuja-based entertainer, Mashman, is famous among entertainment pundits in Abuja for his role in growing the local industry. He is one of the Abuja’s finest entertainers and his on-air presentations and analysis on entertainment affairs have endeared him to his peers and several others. Though blind, he would have sold himself more to the outside world if he were not resident in Abuja.There is no entertainment centre within the city that doesn’t know the name Mashaman.
In a recent
chat with E-train, Mashman who is currently handling a project in Lagos, said he would return to Abuja when the project is completed.
According to him, he had to go to Lagos to seek more opportunities because he believes that in Abuja, there are few opportunities for the able bodied and little or nothing for the physically challenged like him.
He advised corporate organisations who patronise and sponsor Lagos-based artistes to also come into Abuja and support the ones on ground, to prove that they are not selective and have preference for the few known celebrities in the country.
Similar to the fate of Abuja musicians, questions are also being asked as to the quality of Abuja comedians; are they not good enough? Are Lagos Comedians better off in rendering rib cracking jokes than their Abuja based counterparts? It is obvious that Abuja-based comedians are not really considered when it comes to shows patronage, though Comedy Assembly set up by one of their own, Nick B, has helped in bringing them together. The assembly is an avenue for the Abuja based acts to showcase their talents monthly, rendering jokes that could compete with anyone around the world. Despite this, they are not given the opportunity on the big stage.
As a popular Abuja-based comedian, MC Wahala said in an interview, “even though Abuja houses many government and public offices, they seldom come out in support of the Abuja-based entertainers unlike their counterparts in Lagos who come out enmasse to support the shows of Lagos entertainers.”
He also said Abuja entertainers are suffering because of lack of patronage.
“They beg to be featured in some shows organised by Lagos event managers, while they bring in artistes from Lagos to take the centre stage because the rave by multinationals and others are high over there than here,” he observed.
A typical example is the recently held AY show in Abuja, where 99 per cent of those who performed were artistes from outside Abuja.Some of the Abuja-based artistes were not even allowed access to the hall because of the animosity between them and those who were supposed to be championing the cause of the Abuja entertainers.
Whereas there is an Abuja chapter of the Performing Musicians Employers’ Association of Nigeria, (PMAN), the chapter appears to be a barking dog that does not bite as it has shown lack of capacity to fight for the rights of its members.
It would br helpful to Abuja-based performers if the local PMAN branch would see to it that its members are given a fair deal in any event that holds in the capital city. Local (Abuja-based) artistes deserve to be patronised for every show that holds there.
Pundits say a mutually beneficial method can be adopted to ensure that no one is left behind and that if this can be done, Abuja-based artistes relocating to other places such as Lagos, would be constrained to stay back, thus giving the nation’s capital entertainment industry the needed lift and that when this happens, corporate organisations would begin to find the industry and its artistes attractive enough for sponsorship and patronage.