The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said the government will leverage on the power of music to promote the National Re-orientation Campaign tagged “Change Begins With Me.”
The Minister said this in Abuja on Wednesday when he received a group of collectors of music dating back to 1914 under the banner of the Evergreen Music Limited on a courtesy visit to his office.
He hailed the enviable role of music in inculcating morals and uniting the country, saying good music has no tribe, section or religion.
“We believe that this is very important to us because when you look at our campaign, it’s about returning to those old morals and values that stood Nigeria in good stead and you can learn more from music than anything.
''That is why I believe that we will gladly partner with you because we are pitching from the same side of the field. We want Nigerians to go back to this old music because they not only preach good values but they have actually chronicled the history of Nigeria,” Alhaji Mohammed said.
He saluted foremost musicians like Rex Lawson, Dan Maraya, Victor Olaiya, Victor Uwaifo, IK Dairo, Mamman Shatta and Fela Anikulapo Kuti who stood up against injustice while also promoting morals through their music.
The Minister also underscored the role music plays in advocacy and in mobilizing the people to pursue a common cause.
“Music has been used to build government and for advocacy. When Nigeria changed from driving on the right to the left, it was the likes of Ebenezer Obe and Ayinla Omowura that were used to sensitize Nigerians. When we transited from Pound Sterling to Naira and Kobo, it was the same musicians that were used.” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed commended Evergreen Music Limited for being the repository of Nigerian music, saying it is doing a great service for posterity.
Earlier, the Chairman of Evergreen Music Limited, Chief Femi Esho, said the group has a collection of about 150,000 African songs dating back to 1914.
He said the group delved into the collection of old music in order to prevent them from going into extinction, especially because of the messages they convey.
Chief Esho advised the present crop of musicians to emulate the old ones by enriching their music with good content.
“I like what the present boys are doing but 90% or 95% are making noise not music, because good music should have content and it has to talk about something in particular,” he said.
He commended the Minister's vigour in promoting Nigeria’s culture, particularly in the area of music, saying he is doing an invaluable service to the nation.