Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the European Union backed European Centre for Electoral Support released a video Public Service Announcement in form of a song titled “Not for Sale” featuring Nigerian music artistes; 2Baba (Tuface) Idibia, MI Abaga, Teni d Entertainer, Chidinma Ekile, Waje, Umar M Shareef, and producer Cobhams Asuquo.
But the video is quite problematic.
Why it matters: The theme song aimed to discourage the pervasive issue of vote buying ahead of the country’s general elections and by all intent is a welcome development. However, the song carries problematic lyrics that should not be found in content from a neutral electoral management body or its international supporters.
Enter MI Abaga’s lyrics (with the issue):
“If you look at the situation, everything harsh for this our nation. Poverty rising and inflation. Lines still dey for the fuel station. Things got to change by determination.”
Bottomline: The intent of the video is good and the message is an important one. However, it has been delivered poorly and a threat to the neutrality of the electoral agencies involved. MI Abaga’s lyrics may have resonance with large sections of the population but there are many who will disagree with his judgement, and that is the problem. With the video, it appears that INEC, Nigeria’s electoral management body and the European Union have endorsed a message that not only castigates the present administration but also hints for a change of government. That is irresponsible and that advert must be deleted immediately to assure observers of the integrity of the elections.