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Why the Ministry of Health declaring ‘Wo’ a public health hazard makes no sense

Just when you want to enjoy something such as listening to Olamide’s new ‘Wo’ video or cruising in your new car, the Nigerian government finds a way to take it from you. From SARS extorting people indiscriminately, to the cost effects of the fall of the Naira, there’s just one government bogeyman hiding by every corner of your life, and waiting to ruin any sliver of happiness from you.

This time, it’s the Federal Ministry of Health ‘choking’ their mouth where it doesn’t belong. Or rather, where it should never even belong in the first place. The Federal Ministry of Health is not only warning that “smokers are liable to die young,” but has revealed its displeasure over Olamide’s new song, “Wo.” The ministry has warned the public of the “dangerous public health content and violation of the Tobacco Control Act 2015.”

Via their Twitter handle, the Ministry, which is being represented by an overzealous intern, or a company that desperately needs to score cheap points, took a clip of less than a second and used it to brand Olamide’s new video bad for Nigerian youths.

It’s nonsense. It’s a classic case of ‘reaching’ and has no use. I support different arms of the Federal Government doing their jobs. The Federal Ministry of Health has one of the most important jobs in the country. It is concerned with the formulation and implementation of policies related to health, with several departments specializing in different aspects of health care. But turns out, they now have a department focused primarily on scrutinizing music videos for cheap points.

Let’s look at Olamide’s ‘Wo!!” video and independently analyze it for claims about it encouraging secondhand smoking. The 4-minute visual shot by Unlimited LA takes Olamide back to his old neighborhood of Bariga, where he grew up. The rapper engages the youth via dancing, brings the community together with music, and curates different dance styles from the streets. Before the video, three dance crews had won N1 million each for making dance videos of the song, and a group had their visual incorporated into the final cut of the video.

It’s almost four minutes of dancing and celebratory brilliance. A hood hero had returned, inspiring the poor people of the community and showing them how hard work and good fortune can befall one of their own. Before his stratospheric rise to superstardom, Olamide roamed those streets, with nothing but hope and a talent. He got rewarded and has always given back to the community. One of his projects has been Lil Kesh, who he picked from the hood and made a star.

‘Wo’ video is the hood becoming art, but not for the thirsty folks at the Federal Ministry of Health. The only time a smoker is shown in the video is at 0:53 seconds, and the young man spends less than a second on-screen. He barely registers in your brain, your mind forgets that a smoker showed up, instead, you are drawn to the very healthy scenes of young people keeping fit.

The Federal Ministry of Health didn’t take its time to see the dancing which is the main feature of the video. Dancing is healthy. Dance is a great form of exercise because it provides you with both aerobic and anaerobic movements. Our bodies need a combination of both types of exercise in order to be at their healthiest. But no, that flew over the Ministry’s health.

What I see here is an opportunity to trend, which was cheaply grabbed by those at the ministry by stretching. They stretched really hard, and it has paid off. They are in the news, people have engaged them on social media, and they have trended. Also, for the first time in a decade, you now know that Nigeria has a Health Ministry, and they watch Olamide’s video. Let them clap for themselves. Job well done lads, way to go.

We should see it as what it is. Don’t be fooled into thinking that they really care. If they do, they would encourage the dancing that was abundantly provided. But no, they had to pick the most obscure, inconspicuous part of the clip to drive home an agenda. It isn’t just selfish, it is low and makes no sense.

P.S: I just discovered a little task that the Federal Ministry of Health can do to actually gain points. They should fix the hospital at Aso Rock, so our President doesnt have to travel abroad whenever his ear hurts, or some other undisclosed ailment afflicts him. Thanks guys!


About Raphael Adegboyega

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