In Yoruba parlance, one is said to be an ‘alaseju’ when you do any particular thing excessively. For instance, a man may be called an alaseju by his wife if for example, when she was frying plantain (dodo), she obliged him one for a taste. But seduced by the tastefulness, he ends up taking more. Alaseju, pardon my lose translation, therefore means taking undue advantage of things, or over-doing.
It is not a flattering attribute to possess, but I must say that sadly, our Nigerian entertainers have come to embody this syndrome.
Four months ago, having spoken to some entertainers about their political careers, I was discussing with a fellow entertainer writer. “I have a strong belief that before the end of this year, the number of entertainers going into politics would be too much to count by anybody,” I said.
“That’s true. I find it strange that many of them are suddenly realizing the need to serve the people. I think they have the wrong reasons,” he agreed.
That Nigerian entertainers are offering themselves up for elections is not the issue here. In fact, it’s a good thing and should be supported by Nigerians, as it has successfully worked in the past…think Arnold Scwhaernazzer, RMD etc.
However, the point is that it should not be abused. Too much of everything is bad. As an observer and lover of the Nigerian Entertainment industry, this writer is aware of numerous instances, when other-wise good intentions and avenues to help, have been so maligned, abused and castigated by the same entertainers whom it is meant to favour.
Politics is serious business, and considering how much it has been bastardised in our darling country Nigeria, we need all the help we can get.
In saying this, utmost care and caution must also be taken so that entertainers don’t inadvertently end up being seen as jesters and comics only fit to sing and jump around, but never any good at being taken serious.
Isn’t it curious that suddenly, entertainers without any prior history of politics, social activism are signifying interest to run for office?
I am privy to the fact that even though major political parties have not picked candidates, some entertainers in support of a particular gubernatorial aspirant, have already split up, with a group of them going on to form a new association of their own.
While speaking with a veteran Nigerian actor, recently, he observed that some of his colleagues have bastardised soap-opera production. In his words, “Nowadays, you have some actors/directors calling you up for production, when you ask them what for, they’ll say soap-opera. Everybody now wants to do soap-opera and thus the VALUE has dropped. Even people like Africa Magic are not paying as much as they used to,” he said. On Film Premieres, he commented, “You will not find me premiering my movies, at least not in the conventional way around here where people just pick Ankara and act as if it’s a party. It has been abused,” he said.
And that captures my fears: Abuse, Band-wagon, Follow-follow things. Hope some of our singers won’t see it as just another opportunity to shoot a music video and use lyrics that rhyme with struggle. I hope actors won’t take it as an avenue to do more interviews, gain popularity and add titles to their names?
Entertainers have a lot of good-will; people love them and it will work in their favour. Politics, on the other hand is a complicated game. There is a thin line between love and hate, and the same people who scream ‘Halleluyah’ today can easily shriek ‘Crucify him’ tomorrow.
A word is enough for the wise…
Written by: Tofarati Ige (Author of Town Crier and Oriki) and News Editor E24-7 Magazine.