At the turn of the current millennial,humanity has,seemingly,buckled under unmitigated,frightening happenstances.
A cursory evaluation of every strand of verifiable Rating indicators,globally,present sobering trajectories,of no mean proportion.
On the Economic front,wealth and prosperity,across continents and jurisdictions,are increasingly constricting,
so much so,that the dominant socio-political ideology,in Europe and america,has transmuted to “wealth for self”.Inotherwards,
political leaderships consciously determine to distribute scarce resources,and opportunities,within their citizens,to the exclusion of “invading migrants and refugees”.Consequently,hitherto,open borders and liberal acts of humanity,hospitality and charity,have become tightly shut, and austere.
Politically,the scramble and contestation to secure advantaged spaces in whatever remains of global wealth(in terms of Natural Resources,sovereign control and trade dominance),have pitched once-friendly nations,against themselves.The current global balance of trade architecture is experiencing tinkering and chiselling,as the “power show-to-grab more”thickens.
Indeed,those who,today,are emerging as electoral victors,in the developed world,are those who have understood,and exploited this sentiment,to their advantage.A certain Donald Trump,bears mentioning here.
NIGERIA: A DIFFERENT KETTLE OF FISH
On the home front,the picture is,at once,gruesome and pathetic.
We have had to wrestle,since independence, with elementary templates of governance.
While some would,loyally,allocate generous doses of approbation to so called”founding fathers” of our Nationhood,the yawning absence of functional systems,leading to institutional growth processes,after nearly sixty years-and a deluge of Natural endowments-Oil,Gas,Iron Ore,etc-as well as rich Agricultural topography-a once-mainstay of our National Economy-invalidates any strand of justification for such specious praise outbursts.Afterall,chronicles abound,to the effect that,long before the harvest of Military Rape of our collective consciousness,and patrimony(for close to three decades),the First Republic reeked with profoundly corrupt,and thieving leaders.
Therefore,it is no surprise that we are fraught with burgeoning hunger,comatose public infrastructure,scandalous unemployment margins,and, a broken spirit,for good measure.
It repels me,my friends,to say that the Youths,here gathered,are the most vulnerable casualty catchment.
Without veering far,afield,the failure of successive leaderships-Military and Civil-has given birth to,and nuturing of,a generation of Cultists,Yahoo-Yahoo Fraudsters,Kidnappers,Armed (and Pen) Robbers,Modern Slave merchants and middle men,Human Traffickers,Terrorists,Mercenaries,Drug Barons and Couriers,Human Organ Harvesters(Malaysia Boys),Assassins,Internet Scammers,Pimps-For-Cash(Gay+Lesbian) Prostitutes,Fake Prophets and Pastors,Fake Drug Manufacturers,Touts,Drug Addicts,Thugs(for Election rigging,financial scores settlement,land grabbing,banditry),Slave Labour syndicates ,Irregular Migration(and it,s attendant fatalities along the Sahara Desert corridor and, on the Meditteranean sea ,in the quest for a better life in other climes),among several other inflicted ungodly ends
THE PLACE OF ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Art,in my humble opinion,mirrors creation.It speaks to a latent sensibility,hidden,by God Almighty,in the inmost recesses of each being.Art is,inextricably,intertwined,and intermingled,with our very persona.By it,we are able to recreate beautiful and significant things
Whereas,Art is embedded in our being essence,it cannot,like Science be acquired by some form of learning,or tutelege,even though,at some point,Education-formal and informal,may heighten it,with finer polish and lush.
Within the context of the theme of this conference,therefore,we can safely say that,from creation,God,had foreknown that youths would,at a time in their sojourn on earth,and particularly,in a certain country,where snakes swallow millions of her currency,and deposited,in them,capacities,by which,if well deployed,they could navigate,legitimately,through material,psychological,emotional,mental,and spiritual absences.
As a career Actor and Filmmaker,i have,in all my years of practice,and still counting,been ruled by the dictate of this God-endowed sensibility (gift,talent,if you like).
As a Role interpreter,i have,severally,reached into my being to challenge creation,regarding how to find a cinematic equivalent,and concourse,between the intendment of a dramatic scenario,and the objectivity of true life.
Therefore,as Actor,Painter,Choreographer,Sculptor,Musicologist,Poet,Dancer,Comedian,Visual Artist,or Singer,
you are,first,an ARTIST;you are laden with capacities,through the aforementioned professional vehicles,to secure the human space,domestically and globally ,thereby,enthroning a world less strewn with war,poverty,fear,terror,immorality,insensitivity and needless bloodshed.
To be clear,the Artist does not go to bed hungry;he does not submit to unethical indulgences to get by’
He is a creator.He squeezes water out of a rock.He is wired for exploits.
Perhaps,the Artist is the last hope of Nigeria.
Thank you for your kind attention.
Delivered by Charles Izu Okafor, on Saturday, 21/4/18,