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Growth and entertainment industry in Nigeria at 60

entertainment industry

By Mutiat Alli & Folarin Leonard

Happy Independence Nigeria! If only you could be ahead of time like our entertainment industry which seems to be the only thing moving at the right pace over the years.

Nigeria became a formally independent federation on October 1, 1960. Nigeria gained independence from the United Kingdom on 1 October 1960, as the Federation of Nigeria, while retaining the British monarch, Elizabeth II, as nominal head of state and Queen of Nigeria.

Independent Nigeria’s founding government was a coalition of conservative parties which includes the Northern People’s Congress (NPC) led by Sir Ahmadu Bello, a party dominated by Muslim Northerners, and the Igbo and Christian-dominated National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) led by Nnamdi Azikiwe.

Azikiwe replaced the colonial governorgeneral in November 1960. The opposition comprised the comparatively liberal Action Group (AG), which was largely dominated by the Yoruba and led by Obafemi Awolowo.


At independence, the cultural and political differences were sharp among Nigeria’s dominant ethnic groups: the Hausa– Fulani (‘Northerners’), Igbo (‘Easterners’) and Yoruba (‘Westerners’).

In 1963, the nation established a Federal Republic, with Azikiwe as its first president. In a bid to keep you glued to this page, let’s check out obvious but gradual development so far.

Nigeria has a highly developed financial services sector, with a mix of local and international banks, asset management companies, brokerage houses, insurance companies and brokers, private equity funds and investment banks.

Nigeria has one of the fastest-growing telecommunications markets in the world, major market operators like MTN, 9mobile, Airtel and Globacom basing their largest and most profitable centers in the country.

Nigeria’s ICT sector has experienced a lot of growth, representing well over 11% of the nation’s GDP in 2019 as compared to just 1% in 2001.

Lagos is regarded as one of the largest technology hubs in Africa with its thriving tech ecosystem.

Several startups like Paystack, Interswitch, Bolt (which has made more profit since the okada and keke ban) and Piggyvest are leveraging technology to solve issues across different sectors.

Tourism in Nigeria centers largely on events, due to the country’s ample number of ethnic groups, but also includes rain forests, savannah, waterfalls, and other natural attractions.

Abuja is home to several parks and green areas.

The largest, Millennium Park, was designed by architect Manfredi Nicoletti and officially opened in December 2003.

Lagos, subsequent to the re-modernization project achieved by the previous administration of Governor Raji Babatunde Fashola, is gradually becoming a major tourist destination, being one of the largest cities in Africa and in the world.

Lagos is currently taking steps to become a global city.

You could take note of the hike in BRT bus activity.

The 2009 Eyo carnival (a yearly festival originated from Iperu Remo, Ogun State), which took place on 25 April, was a step toward world city status. Currently, Lagos is primarily known as a businessoriented and a fast-paced community.

Lagos has become an important location for African and “black” cultural identity. They say people come to Lagos to struggle and to “chop life”.

So, if you can make it big in Lagos, you can make it in any part of the world.

Many festivals are also held in Lagos; festivals vary in offerings each year and may be held at different times.

Some of the festivals are Eyo Festival, Festac Food Fair held in Festac Town annually, Lagos Black Heritage Carnival, Eko International Film Festival, Lagos Carnival, Lagos Seafood Festac Festival, Lagos Photo Festival and the Lagos Jazz Series.

These festivals provide entertainment of dance and song to add excitement to travelers during a stay in Lagos.


Lagos has a number of sandy beaches by the Atlantic Ocean, including Elegushi Beach and Alpha Beach.

Lagos also has a number of private beach resorts including Inagbe Grand Beach Resort and several others in the outskirts.

Lagos has a variety of hotels ranging from three-star to five-star hotels, with a mixture of local hotels such as Eko Hotels and Suites, Federal Palace Hotel and franchises of multinational chains such as Intercontinental Hotel, Sheraton, and Four Points by Hilton.

Other places of interest include the Tafawa Balewa Square, Festac town, The Nike Art Gallery, Freedom Park, ATV World and many others. Nigeria’s output has been on the spot light for decades.

Thanks to our players in the entertainment industry, old and new. Wizkid, Davido, Burnaboy, Teni, Rema, Fireboy, Joeboy, Naira Marley, Simi, Adekunle Gold and Mayorkun are some of the popular musician in Nigeria, Africa and worldwide. 2020 has been a hit in the music industry with jams, gossip, fallouts and online concerts.

Not to forget the just concluded Big Brother Nigeria season 5 which got Nigeria solidly behind winner, Laycon.

Nigeria has had a huge role in the development of various genres of African music, including West African highlife, Afrobeat, Afrobeats, and palm-wine music, which fuses native rhythms with techniques that have been linked to the Congo, Many late 20th-century musicians such as Fela Kuti have famously fused cultural elements of various indigenous music with American jazz and soul to form Afrobeat which has in turn influenced hip hop music.

JuJu music, which is percussion music fused with traditional music from the Yoruba nation and made famous by King Sunny Adé, is from Nigeria. Fuji music, a Yoruba percussion style, was created and popularized by Mr. Fuji, Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Barrister.

Afan Music was invented and popularised by the Ewu-born poet and musician Umuobuarie Igberaese.

There is a budding hip-hop movement in Nigeria. DMW aka 30BG, Mavin Records, Star Boy Entertainment, YBNL Nation and Spaceship are some of the developed record labels with new generation hip-hop acts.

Listening to recent sounds, you’d notice the influence and presentation formats imbibed from the arts of Sade Adu, King Sunny Adé, Onyeka Onwenu, Dele Sosimi, Adewale Ayuba, Ezebuiro Obinna, Ebenezer Obey, Femi Kuti, Lagbaja, Dr. Alban, Bola Abimbola, Tuface Idibia, Aṣa, Nneka, Wale, the old P-Square Skepta and D’Banj.

In November 2008, Nigeria’s music scene (and that of Africa) received international attention when MTV hosted the continent’s first African music awards show in Abuja. Additionally, the very first music video played on MTV Base Africa (the 100th station on the MTV network) was Tuface Idibia’s pan-African hit “African Queen”.

Reflecting on the growth of Film in Nigeria, the Nigerian film industry also known as Nollywood (a blend of Nigeria and Hollywood) is now the 2nd-largest producer of movies in the world after India’s Bollywood.

Nigerian film studios are based in Lagos, Kano and Enugu, forming a major portion of the local economy of these cities.

Nigerian cinema is Africa’s largest movie industry in terms of both value and the number of movies produced per year.

Although Nigerian films have been produced since the 1960s. The earliest feature film made in Nigeria is 1926’s Palaver produced by Geoffrey Barkas.

It was also the first film to feature Nigerian actors in a speaking role; Nigerian film actors featured in Palaver include Dawiya and Yilkuba.

The country’s film industry has been aided by the rise of affordable digital filming and editing technologies.

As of 2004, at least four to five films were produced every day in Nigeria. Nigeria movies now already dominate television screens across the African continent and by extension, the diaspora.

The film actors also became household names across the continent, and the movies have significantly influenced cultures in many African nations; from way of dressing to speech and usage of Nigerian slangs.

This was attributed to the fact that Nigerian films told relatable stories, which caused the decline in viewership of foreign films, though they cost much less.

According to the Filmmakers Cooperative of Nigeria, every film in Nigeria had a potential audience of 15 million people in Nigeria and about 5 million outside Nigeria.

In no time, the industry became the third largest producer of films in the world.

However, this didn’t translate to an overtly commercial film industry when compared to other major film hubs across the world; the worth of the industry was approximated at just about USD 250 million, since most of the films produced were cheaply made.

The film industry regardless became a major employer in Nigeria.

As of 2007, with a total number of 6,841 registered video parlors and an estimated 500,000 unregistered ones, the estimated revenue generated by sales and rentals of movies in Lagos State alone was estimated to be ₦804 million per week, which adds up to an estimated ₦33.5 billion revenue for Lagos State per annum.

Approximately 700,000 discs were sold in Alaba market per day, with the total sales revenue generated by the film industry in Nigeria estimated at ₦522 billion per annum.

At the peak of the video era around 2008, the industry had become the second largest producer of films, releasing approximately 200 video films monthly.

However at this point, the Nigerian film industry had practically degenerated into a visionless industry because inexperienced people ventured into it and took a turn to repetition and lack of originality.

Piracy was at its peak. The decline of the Home video era has been attributed to several factors, such as the refusal of the Government to provide support and funding, the lack of a formal and effective indigenous film distribution infrastructure and the increase in the cost of production in Nigeria.

Year 200 was an emerging phase in Nigerian cinema, in which there became a major shift in the method of film production, from the video format, back to the cinema method, which constituted the films produced in the Golden era.

Few years into the 21st century, Nigeria began to experience the growth of cinemas, which was initially structured for the middle and upper class.

The Silverbird Group is the first company to launch a series of modern Cinema houses across major cities in Nigeria, mostly situated in affluent areas and districts. It launched its cinema chains in 2004, starting with the Silverbird Galleria in Victoria Island, Lagos.

The Silverbird Galleria is a large shopping mall, with an upscale cinema facility and various outlets where mercantile activities take place.

This provides more reasons to visit the place beyond just watching films, but more of a social activity and a modified sort of entertainment beyond film watching.

This trend has given another probable explanation as to the demise of the Nigerian cinema culture in the 1980s, which might have been as a result of the unfashionable appearance of most cinemas of the Golden era.

Silverbird cinemas upon establishment started screening Nigerian films with high production quality, as a result discouraging poor film production.

The first New wave film to be shown at a cinema was the Yorubalanguage film Irapada (2006) by Kunle Afolayan, which was screened at the Silverbird Galleria in Lagos.

The Silverbird experiment became very successful, and as a result, the group launched few more cinema branches in Lagos and other cities in the country.

Not long after the establishment of Silverbird cinemas, Genesis Deluxe Cinemas and Ozone Cinemas were also launched creating a competition in the cinema business.

Much later, in 2010, Filmhouse Cinemas also came into the picture, leading to the availability of more cinemas in the country.

The Nigerian Government, in order to support quality content in Nigerian films, have given several grants.

The Nigerian government launched “Project Nollywood” in 2006, in conjunction with Ecobank.

The project provided ₦100 million to Nigerian filmmakers to produce high quality films and to fund a multimillion Naira distribution network across the country during this period.

In 2010, the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan launched a ₦30 billion “Creative and Entertainment Industry” Intervention Fund, financed by Bank of Industry (BOI), in conjunction with Nigerian Export and Import (NEXIM) Bank.

This grant, although dubbed as a spin-off of “Project Nollywood”, was for the entire Nigerian Creative Arts and Entertainment sector.

The vision of the grant for the film industry however is to help more Nigerian filmmakers in training, funding, and also help in creating necessary infrastructure for the industry.

The popular 2009 thriller film The Figurine is generally considered the game changer, which heightened the media attention towards “New Nigerian Cinema” revolution.

The film was a critical and commercial success in Nigeria, and it was also screened in international film festivals.

The 2010 film Ijé by Chineze Anyaene, overtook The Figurine to become the highest grossing Nigerian film; a record it held for four years, until it was overtaken in 2014 by Half of a Yellow Sun. By 2016, this record was held by The Wedding Party, a film by Kemi Adetiba.

By the end of 2013, the film industry reportedly hit a record-breaking revenue of ₦1.72 trillion (USD 11 billion). As of 2014, the industry was worth ₦853.9 billion (USD 1 billion) making it the third most valuable film industry in the world, behind the United States and India.

It contributed about 1.4% to Nigeria’s economy; this was attributed to the increase in the number of quality films produced and more formal distribution methods.

Other notable improvements in the New Nollywood include: more subtle performances from actors; different from the overt melodrama which constituted the video era, more practical, more logical and generally better stories.

Themes explored in these films are often characterized by consciously cosmopolitan themes, as most of the filmmakers are relatively young.

A proper copyright and distribution system still remains one of the major challenges in the New Nigerian Cinema.

READ ALSO: Nigeria at 60: Brymo, Shina Peters others collaborate on theme song

We can’t discuss growth and exclude the input of actors like Olu Jacobs, Pete Edochie, Yul Edochie, Femi Branch, Jide Kosoko, Richard Mofe Damijo, Femi Adebayo, Genevieve Nnaji, Adesua Etomi-Wellington, Efe Irele, Lilian Esoro, Sola Sobowale, Joke Silva, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Funke Akindele, Ini Edo, Mercy Johnson, Rita Dominic, Fathia Balogun, Chioma Chukwuka, Odunlade Adekola, Zack Orji, John Okafor, Nkem Owoh, Babatunde Omidina, Late Bukky Ajayi, Adebayo Salami, Dele Odule, Jim Iyke, Nse Ikpe Etim, Regina Daniels, Chika Ike, Lola Margaret, Oge Okoye, Alex Ekubo, Ayo Maku, Ken Erics, Osita Iheme, Saheed Balogun, Ramsey Noah, Chinwetel Ejiofor, Saint Obi, Rachael Oniga, Patience Ozokwor, Late Moji Olaiya, Bukky Right, Zack Orji, Mike Ezuruonye, Clem Ohameze, Yemi Sodium, Bukky Wright, Beverly Osu, Adunni Ade, Toyin Aimakhu, Shafy Bello, Yemi Solade, Mercy Aigbe and many others. Yes! It’s a big industry, and we look forward to better years, in unity and a greater Nigeria.

5 Interesting Facts about Nigeria

• Nigeria is home to 7% of the total languages spoken on Earth.

• The Walls of Benin in Edo State are the longest and ancient man-made structures on Earth.

• According to the World Resources Institute, Nigeria is home to 4,715 unique kinds of plant species, and more than 550 types of breeding birds and mammals, making it a standout amongst the most environmentally lively places of the planet.

• The Jos Plateau Indigobird and the Anambra waxbill bird are found nowhere else on the planet but Nigeria!

• The Yoruba tribe has the highest rates of twin births in the world: 158 twins per 1000 births!

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