The President of the Nigerian Senate, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, recently delivered a keynote address at Georgetown University, Washington D.C’s Africa Business Conference, where he praised the dominance of Nigerian musicians.
At the conference, Saraki spoke on ‘The African Value Chain: Harnessing Local Talent and Opportunity’, during which he made a case for quality higher education and the creation of the right conditions and opportunities for entrepreneurship and employment in both Nigeria and Africa.
A highlight of his speech was the acknowledgement of the efforts of Nigerian musicians, and their dominance on the continent.
“Another sector that provides value addition and comparative advantage is the Entertainment industry, which has grown tremendously over the last 20 years,” Saraki said.
“Nigerian musician Wizkid recently sold out London’s prestigious Royal Albert Hall, and is much sought after for collaborations with major American Music artists. Whilst interacting with Wizkid recently, he told me he ‘filled a stadium of 40,000’ in Gabon a French-speaking country where they didn’t understand a word of his lyrics; and he himself was astonished.”
He continued: “The Shoki dance movement went from the back streets of Lagos to galactic heights in the music video of U.S. Hip-Hop artist, Missy Elliot. I remember in my younger days, if you went to a disco party in Nigeria, the deejay would play 100 per cent American RnB like Shalamar, The Whispers and Earth Wind and Fire. Now, no such thing. Nigerian musicians like Davido and Phyno are all the rage. I would never have thought in my lifetime that I would see this happen. We have come full circle.”
This isn’t the first time politicians are declaring their love and support for Nigerian music stars.
In 2017, Wizkid and Davido shone at the MOBO Awards, where they picked up trophies for Best International Act, and Best African Act, respectively.
Wizkid’s win, in particular, was a big deal. It was the first time an African had bagged the trophy for Best International Act. He beat Drake (his collaborator), Cardi B, Hip-hop heavyweight JAY-Z and Kendrick Lamar to the trophy.
A number of politicians and people in government joined in the congratulations.
Former President Jonathan wrote,
“When Nigeria does well, I cannot help but feel well. My happiness is tied to the happiness of Nigeria and when Nigerians break records and take the name of Nigeria to greater heights it exhilarates me. Thank you Wizkid for raising Nigeria’s flag high for the positive, not the negative. Your emergence as the Best International Act at the #MOBOAwards is a proud moment for Nigeria. And the fact that you emerged over JAY-Z and Drake makes it even more celebratory. WELL DONE. GEJ.”
Senator Ben-Murray Bruce joined in too, with his own words on marble, delivered via Twitter. “Dear @wizkidayo, I‘ve been in the entertainment business as an investor since 1980 and one of my proudest moments for Nigerian music is the day you defeated both Jay Z and @Drake, two of the biggest stars in the world, to win the Best International Act at the #MOBOAwards well done.”
Former vice president Atiku Abubakar also felicitated with Wizkid via social media. “My young friend, WizKid @wizkidayo beat other big international artists to win one of the world’s biggest music awards,” tweeted Atiku. “Congratulations.”
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo also applauded Wizzy and OBO. “Once again the talents, hard work, and enterprise of our youth have been celebrated on the world stage,” Osinbajo said.