The African continent is home to many traditions and cultures which span across various ethnic tribes, languages, social norms and customs. Nigeria is not alien to these African qualities being the most populous black nation on earth, the giant of Africa with an estimated 250 ethnic tribes and over 521 languages. Nigeria has over the decades found a way to somehow maintain its people’s traditions and customs by fusing them into the evolution of the nation through giving special powers to traditional rulers. In view of all these it is no longer news that the traditional events and celebrations of Nigeria ethnic tribes do not go unnoticed as some of them usually host guests who come to attend the events from all over the world. Good examples of such Nigerian traditional events are the famous Osun Osogbo Festival which takes place in Osun State, Eyo Festival of Lagos State, Argungu Fishing Festival in Kebbi State and the ever popular Calabar Carnival.
All these festivals sure have many things in common ranging from the soaring crowds, electric atmospheres, traditional dance and acrobatic displays etc among which the Masquerades are also usually prominently featured. Which brings us to the question of how to earn a living through dressing up of masquerades for the various important traditional events.
Well it is an established fact that there are people who make money as wedding planners, event organisers, event caterers, event venue designers and so on. So why can’t we have masquerade outfitters among these categories of people that contribute their skills and talents to the eventual success of events held across Nigeria.
The masquerade outfitting industry in Nigeria is largely unexplored and only a tiny fraction of Nigerians are making a living from this industry while the majority of Nigerians see them as diabolic and unnatural persons. When these people are actually not different from their more common counterparts known as make-up artists.
The culture and tourism industry in Nigeria as it is today is still largely underdeveloped and under-utilised. There are so many benefits that Nigerians can gain from the promotion of culture and tourism but sadly, only a few people are enjoying those benefits.
As odd as it may sound, dressing masquerades up for social events in a big money spinner and there is nothing supernatural or diabolical about it! Do you know that all the materials that go into the costumes of a masquerade are professionally sourced and crafted by people already in the business. A finished masquerade costume is a complete artistic masterpiece judging by the colourful fabrics that make up the clothings and the little pieces of traditional jewellery that dots them. Think about the professionally crafted wooden images they have on their heads and their beautifully designed footwears and also not forgetting the designs on their entourages and assistants as well.
Looking at the above, it is high time for Nigerian youth to start applying to the ministry of culture and tourism for licenses to outfit masquerades and become bosses of their own businesses.
On a final note, Nigerians need to start looking inward in order to boost the development of the nation which will in turn boost the producing strength of our great father land. This approach will encourage export and minimise reliance on import in other to take the country to its rightfully deserved place among the respected league of nations.