The title, “OMG the Musical” would spark the image of a light romantic comedy or coming of age story at best. The show, which was supported by the MTN Foundation, was staged at Shell Hall, MUSON Center which carried a bright new look with enlarged photos of the cast and MTN themed set.
The musical is woven into the story of Gafuma, a capable and ambitious woman who works in a paramilitary organization called the OMG – One Movement Group.
Gafuma is both qualified and eager to become the General Commander of the OMG. She is keen to succeed the current commander-in-chief. However, Gafuma is ignored and a man – who falls far short of her in terms of qualifications and skills – is appointed commander-in-chief.
Disappointed, Gafuma confronts the former commanding general over his decision. In a very typical misogynistic way, he urges him to be content to be the second.
Invariably, OMG actually means “only men rule”. Gafuma accepts this for a while, but her determination to fight for the job is rekindled after traveling through the past and meeting phenomenal women from Nigerian history who are known for their tough stance against the oppression of women – Olufunmilayo Ransome Kuti, Margaret Ekpo and Gambo Sawaba (OMG).
It was interesting to see how the themes of gender inequality and the under-representation of women in the workplace and in the political space are linked in the play.
This is a long-standing problem that in many cases cannot be attributed to the incompetence of women but to the unwritten rules of society that leadership positions are predominantly male.
According to an article published by UN Women ahead of the 2019 national elections, Nigeria has one of the lowest female representation rates in the legislature in Africa. In global rankings, Nigeria ranks 181st out of 193 countries with a low representation of women of 3.8% at federal and state levels and only 16.2% in nomination positions to the Federal Executive Council of Nigeria, although ‘it constitutes nearly 50% of the population. .
While some argue that progress has been made recently through the introduction of fair policies requiring a quota for women’s representation in politics and the workplace, women are still generally either completely ignored, named as figureheads or like Gafuma, forced to content themselves with supporting roles.
This is the best of tokenism, which gives an illusion of progress without addressing the cultural, systemic and societal issues that underlie the repression of women. OMG the Musical does little to tackle the root cause of the problem but encourages women to go ahead and “take up space” despite it. It does so by alluding to the stories of female emancipation champions.
Even if the principle of equality fails, the social and economic benefits of increased participation and representation of women in positions of work and political leadership make it an absolute necessity.
Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP) could grow 23 percent – or $ 229 billion – by 2025 if women participated in the economy to the same extent as men, according to a McKinsey report. Indeed, the future of the Nigerian economy lies in large part in harnessing the untapped potential of women’s human resources.
Producer Ayo Ajayi spoke about the challenges his production team faced and MTN’s role in helping to overcome them, Ajayi said, âThe process of directing this musical has been very difficult. The problem we have in this sector is finance …
âThis production actually brought together nearly 100 young people from different fields – acting, dance, theater, lighting, design, costume, among others. As such, without proper funding, such things will not happen. That’s why we really appreciate MTN for their study of this industry and they do it on a regular basis. Without organizations like MTN, this would not have happened.
MTN Foundation Executive Secretary Odunayo Sanya expressed MTN’s support for important stories like OMG the Musical when she said, âAt MTN Foundation, we are committed to promoting stories that can positively shape society. .
“We believe that stories with messages that advance efforts to create a more equal and safer world for all women are very important because beyond entertaining the audience, they spark conversations about this very important issue.”