It’s election season, people.
The familiar issues that defined Nigerian elections over the years are now major topics as the scheduled dates for Nigeria’s 2019 elections draw nearer.
If you thought “vote-buying, rigging and more”, I might have a cookie for you.
In an effort to raise public awareness ahead of D-Day, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the European Centre for Electoral Support (ESEC) assembled the Avengers.
The result is “Not For Sale”–a song that asks the people to hold themselves to a higher standard and not sell their votes.
Together, the legendary 2baba, MI Abaga, Teni The Entertainer, Chidinma Ekile, Waje, Umar M. Shareef & Cobhams Asuquo ask Nigerians to believe in the power of their votes and resist any offers to exchange their franchise for instant gifts or payments.
As one would expect, 2baba takes the lead, warning pointedly against getting involved in election violence “because their pikin no go join you”.
MI Abaga reminds the listener that the onus lies on the people to vote for the leaders they want.
Chidinma and Waje then offer their two cents, while wearing their tribal identities with pride.
“Not For Sale” makes an effort to be deliberately inclusive as all geo-political zones are represented in the line-up.
Yet, its voice is clearly targeted at one group: the youth.
It is a vital consideration considering over 60% of registered voters for the coming elections fall in that class.
Teni sings at some point, “No let them take your vote from you, na your future be that”.
It is a message that would only make sense if it was directed at her younger listeners.
This union of entertainment and civic education is not new territory in any sense.
2baba, for instance, uses his art and influence to draw attention to ills and encourage youth participation in elections.
It is worth noting though that this is a non-partisan offering. In that sense, it is a stark departure from the 2015 elections where many artistes proudly represented various parties.
Questions are constantly asked about entertainers and their reluctance to get into the political arena.
And while there is room for progress, it’s refreshing to see a few focused on the bigger picture.