Tekno and that assault on public morality

A Nigerian rap artiste, Augustine Kelechi, aka Tekno, was recently in the news for the wrong reasons. In the process of rolling out another ‘hit’ and remaining relevant in the music industry, he  engaged in public filming of his music video, Agege, employing scantily clad ladies as dancers. On the Ikoyi-Lekki bridge in Lagos and in a transparent truck, he allegedly danced with the ladies, spraying currencies on them in a video which eventually went viral.

In reaction to the controversy generated by the video, the Lagos State police command said that it would investigate the matter and do the needful since the act which allegedly occurred in the night assaulted public decency. Tekno himself has since apologised to Nigerians, explaining that the video shoot was to promote his latest record and that he had to transport the crew in the manner that he did because some vehicles in his train developed faults. In our view, it would still have been possible to shoot the video without offending the sensibilities of the public who did not bargain for a free show of pole dancers. If anyone wanted to watch pole dancers, there are various venues where such experiences are made available at a fee, and without inviting the wrath of the law. After all, in a democracy, people have the right to go to night clubs and such other venues where the consumption of lewd material is increasingly the norm rather than the exception.

To be sure, it would have been well within the musician’s rights to shoot the video at a suitable, pre-arranged private location. The issue, after all, is not that the video was shot in Lagos State; it could have been shot in Lagos State or any other location of his choice. But throwing prurience in the face of the public certainly was in poor taste. It took their sense of decency and propriety for granted. Although the video would eventually have got to the public through the various TV stations and social media platforms which play such videos, viewers would have been able to choose whether or not they wanted to watch it in the privacy of their homes. Virtually forcing some members of the public to watch the production process is the issue here and we are of the opinion that it constituted an assault on the public domain for which a tepid apology should not suffice. To be sure, society needs a lot of restrictions in public conduct for it to remain safe and conducive and all forms of impunity should be punished if it is not to descend into decadence.

The right of the public to be able to choose what to watch at all times must be protected and enforced by the police. We are dismayed by the wantonness with which the society is slipping into various forms of licentiousness and debauchery which are beginning to assume monstrous dimensions and spiralling out of control. The slide should be stemmed by the authorities and the place of public decency retained in order to keep the society safe from the violent intrusions of things dangerously pretending to be modernity or civilisation. Society still needs some measure of control and discretion in the conduct of public affairs.

Sadly, the youth population has adopted these artistes as role models. Such a development bodes ill for the society, especially if the values of hard work, resilience, self esteem and confidence get compromised along the way. The attitude of spraying currencies on ill clad ladies promotes the get-rich-quick syndrome that is so prevalent in the Nigerian society these days. We think that the police should investigate the matter and do the needful.

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