More than a dancing Governor
KNOWN as the dancing senator, and now sworn in as governor of Osun State, some people, especially on the social media, have advised Ademola Adeleke to leave dancing and get serious with governing Osun and improving the economic condition of the ninth smallest state in area and nineteenth most populous with an estimated population of about 4.7 million.
Such advice tends to continue in the erroneous view that music and dancing are unserious activities with little or no economic benefits. But facts on ground suggest otherwise. Music and dancing, if properly invested in, can pull the entire state and people of Osun out of poverty, given that the state already has a kind of comparative advantage in related activities such as tourism, arts and culture.
As revealed by Augoye & Ojewale (2019), the dance and music industry combined is the only sector of Nigeria’s economy that generates about N18 billion profit annually with little or no government support or investment. It is this music industry, through the Afro-beat genre of which Davido, the governor’s nephew is an exponent, that has most positively put Nigeria on the world map more than any other industry.
Indeed, Osun State already has comparative advantage in allied activities such as tourism, arts and culture. The Osun Osogbo Festival which holds annually in August is a landmark event. Annually, tourists travel from different parts of the world – Brazil, Cuba, Trinidad, Grenada and other nations in the Americas with Yoruba cultural heritage – to Osun for the annual Osun-Osogbo festival. Ìsun-Ìsogbo Grove, the shrine of the annual rites of the deity and an important artistic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Other important cultural events in the state with close affinity to music and dance include the Ori Oke and Egungun festival in Iragbiji and the Olojo in Ife. We should not forget that Ile-Ife itself, the great historical town in Nigeria, which is of huge interest to tourists, is in Osun State.
The seven-level Erin-Ijesha Waterfalls, another tourists’ attraction, is located in Oriade Local Government Area of Osun State. Osun is also rich in fauna which include mona monkey, common kestrel, purple heron and royal antelope. The state is home to some of Nigeria’s last remaining Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee and African forest elephant which inhabit the now endangered forests along the state’s southern borders with Ondo and Ogun states.
Passion, they say, is the fuel and best propeller of success. Ademola Adeleke was a dancer and music lover before he became governor. With his passion for these arts, leveraging on the music and dance industry in the composition of his investment portfolio will be a step in the right direction. Since a larger per cent of the population of workers in this sector are youths, it means that such investment will also be driven by young people who are actually the engine of growth of every economy.
Scholars, arts and entertainment journalists, should be interested in the music and dance skills of Governor Adeleke, especially in investigating whether they have links with his nephew’s, Davido. The dance we see Adeleke display can be harnessed to boost the GDP and revenue earnings of Osun State. It can be an art that can bring Osun State out of poverty.