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WADEMOS launches Democreatives in Nigeria 

The West Africa Democracy Solidarity Network in collaboration with Ghana Centre for Democratic Development, Africtivistes, Awo Hub, and Yiaga Africa, has launched ‘Democreatives.’

‘Democreatives’, an initiative aimed at leveraging the power, influence and resources of creatives in the West Africa sub-region to promote and defend democracy, was launched in Lagos, Nigeria on Friday, June 21, 2024.

The programme had in attendance creatives from various countries in the sub-region who shared ideas on how they can amplify activism towards democratic consciousness. 

There was also a panel discussion with creatives such as playwright and poet, Chief Moomen (Ghana); rapper MI Abaga (Nigeria), rapper Sister LB (Senegal); artist and journalist Ben Osar Youssouf Barry (Senegal) and Yemi Adamolekun (CSO leader in Nigeria). It was moderated by Cynthia Mbamalu from Yiaga Africa. 

The discussion was based on spotting the opportunities and challenges in advancing the cause of democratic awareness. 

Nigerian disc jockey, DJ Switch, who was very instrumental in the #EndSars movement, highlighted the influence of creatives in creating democratic consciousness, in her keynote address. Ghana’s Grammy-nominated artiste Rocky Dawuni, also sent in his message, admonishing players in the culture and creative industries to be proactive in taking part in democratic activities that will ensure to the benefits of the citizens. 

In his address, Dr. Kojo Pumpuni Asante, the Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement at the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) stressed the need to use creatives to advance the cause of democracy. 

He also spoke to Joy FM on the sidelines of the launch about prospects of the initiative.

“All across Africa, there are huge governance challenges. Young people in their millions are feeling despondent. They feel that even democracy is not working. It’s not delivering the dividends that will improve their welfare. So  some people say ‘why don’t we get military governments?’ 

I think everybody believes that every true society that will be developed and sustained needs to have right to expression and freedom. So there is not alternative to democracy. But what we have to do is recognise the problem and confront it. One of the best ways to do this is use every necessary resource we have in society, and an area we have neglected is the use of our creatives. 

If the people have so much influence in terms of their music, their art, how can they also raise their voice to address some of these challenges and move people so that we can begin to overcome the challenges,” he told Joy FM. 

Asked what activities and initiatives have been tabled in their roadmap for this agenda, Dr. Asante said more interactions with the creatives will spawn subsequent actions.

“We see this launch as a conversation starter, a movement. We have created a platform for creatives and other activists to come together to see how best to work together,” he said.

These, he believes, could be achieved through a series of targeted workshops, collaborative campaigns, public forums and concerts.

The launch of Democreatives sought to provide creatives with the knowledge and tools necessary to understand and engage with democratic processes, to create collaborative platforms for artistic expression focused on governance and civic issues, and inspire and facilitate active citizenship and political accountability by the creative community.

It was also aimed at deepening our understanding of the context, role, and opportunities for creatives in West Africa and to leverage the abilities, skills and talents of creatives for democratic consolidation and the promotion of democratic norms and values in West Africa.

Paul Osei Kuffour, Network Coordinator of WADEMOS, did a presentation on the dwindling fortunes of democracy in West Africa and why creatives must get involved.

There was a presentation of a set of artistic drawings based on discussions at the event, a performances by Awo Hub, Killa Ace (Gambia) and Sister LB (Senegal).


In recent years, the global landscape of democracy and governance has faced numerous challenges. From the erosion of civil liberties to the rise of authoritarianism, the need for an informed and active citizenry has never been greater. 

The West African, Central African, and Sahel regions have witnessed nine coups since 2020. The coup in Niger is the latest challenge thrown at the sub-region, bringing to four the number of countries in francophone West Africa undergoing political transition. These series of setbacks have reversed the gains made at consolidating democracy and good governance and have highlighted the challenges to stability and cooperation within the regional organization. 

A September 2022 Afrobarometer poll indicated a decline in support for democratic elections in 26 of the 30 African countries surveyed between 2011 and 2021. This trend extends to nations with historically stable electoral processes, such as Ghana and Nigeria.

Creatives play a crucial role in reflecting societal values, inspiring change and proposing alternative solutions by using arts to express their opinions, perspectives, and experiences on socio-political issues, such as democracy, human rights, corruption, development and culture. Through arts, creatives can raise awareness, challenge stereotypes, and inspire societal change. Again, creative arts create spaces for participation, interaction, and collaboration among different stakeholders in society- artists, activists, policymakers, politicians and citizens.

Creatives have, through their skills, talents and products, tackled the exercise, maintenance, and dynamics of power through a variety of artistic means. This political and civic consciousness that influences their artworks increasingly defines African art as citizens seeking the dividends of democracy and demanding improved democratic governance and good leadership.

West African youth, most notably young women and creatives, have been at the forefront of several protests and movements against democratic backsliding and bad governance, pushing against violations of democratic norms and values. In recent years and over the past months, several notable mobilizations, including the EndSARS protests in Nigeria – which saw the involvement of many creatives, the Y’en a Marre and Balai Citoyen movements in Senegal and Togo.

In 2020, Yiaga Africa and the African Movement for Democracy created an album titled "Music as a Messenger of Democracy" that uses music to encourage young people to get involved in politics. 

This pan-African project features musicians from Senegal, Mali, The Gambia, Togo, Nigeria, and Benin and addresses issues including corruption, peace, and good governance.

Despite the potential and efforts of creative arts and the creative industry, it has not effectively positioned itself to address the perennial democracy and governance challenges across West Africa and the sub-region and there has been a lack of collaboration between creatives and other democracy champions. 

The disconnect between creatives and everyday governance issues limits the promotion of citizen mobilization and accountable governance.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.