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One Africa Music Fest: The concept of African time is an embarrassment we all should be ashamed of

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How many times have you been a to a Nigerian concert that started on time? Never! It’s as it there is an unwritten law that says ‘Advertise 6pm but don’t start until 10’. I’ve been at several shows where the stage construction begins AFTER fans arrive.

And it never bothers the organizers; they hardly apologize. If they do, it’s a lame ass joke like the one Banky W gave at One Africa Music Fest on Saturday night in London: fans should be used to Nigerian shows starting late.

Except that this wasn’t in Nigeria. Elsewhere in the world we things happen as they should, timeliness is everything. Little wonder that the authorities at SSE Arena practically turned off the lights with people still in there. This is not Eko Hotel where evening shows run into the following morning.

That perhaps is what most people will remember about One Africa Music Fest London, not great performances by Nigeria’s finest artistes. Many of them rushed through their sets and our brother in obodo oyibo, Jidenna couldn’t even get three minutes to sing ‘Bambi’. Psquare was nowhere to be seen.

The idea of a concert tour is noble, after all no matter how Drake bites the Nigerian pop song, he cannot do it better than us. So when promoter Paul Okoye brought up the idea of an Africa music festival outside of Africa, it sounded like a winner.

If you look at the chest beating the concert organizers are indulging in, you’d think that it was the best show ever created.

Of course they trended worldwide but it wasn’t entirely for good reasons. The majority of fans felt cheated with the poor time management. Jidenna couldn’t hide his disappointment at not being able to perform. Though he claimed not to be pointing fingers at the organizers, he didn’t need to: who else is responsible for the flow of an event if it’s not the organizer?

Upfront Bookings, SSE Arena and the artistes who were gifted a paid vacation weekend got the better end of the deal. Fans for whom the show was created felt scammed out of their pound sterling.

They won’t understand it. Resident Nigerians do. African time has permeated every sphere of our existence. Schools do not run on time. Doctors at the hospital will delay you. Government events start hours behind schedule. It has become part of us.

Sometimes it will be out of our hands, like the London leg of One Africa Music Fest. People who think highly of us would then see that we’re a bunch of undisciplined folks who delight in being mediocre.

‘African Time’ must die. As we attempt to export our music, arts, culture and business overseas, basic things like time management must become important to us. It’s a shame that the lights had to be cut off at the biggest African music concert. The shame doesn’t belong to the organizers alone, it’s shame for all Nigerians who live by the rubbish concept of African Time.

Nigeria News.

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