Dear MTN Nigeria,

Today I was sent a link to the ad you placed on the popular Instagram page #Instablog9ja! The one with Scientific Ayomide and Intelligent Tope.

For the sake of those who might not have seen the ad, allow me to explain what you were advertising.

It was a video advertising your new partnership with Disney. In the ad, Tope is shown looking over Ayomide’s shoulders as she’s watching a Disney cartoon on her phone. Tope then quizzes Ayomide, “Ayomide, yesterday you were watching Moana but today you’re watching Lion King, show me the way now”. 

Ayomide doesn’t intend to show her brother the way but instead makes him carry out chores. Their older brother walks into the room as Tope is jumping up and down calling Ayomide ‘Aunty Ayomide’. Turns out their brother had subscribed for both of them to watch the cartoons and Tope didn’t need to be shown any way.

According to the ad, the new web service provided by MTN Nigeria will allow users to access Disney trailers, recipes, movies, series, wallpapers and so much more! A whole new world in the palm of your hands.

I have to commend you and the young stars for producing a simple yet effective advert. The last time I checked, your ad had clocked over 158,858 views on the page.

You may then be wondering why I am writing this open letter to you!

Well, it’s simple, I took some time to go through your social media handles and the dedicated website for this new partnership and true enough, our children can step into ‘a whole new world, a new fantastic point of view’. Basically all the Disney favourites dey there jaburata! 

Excuse my vernacular!

MTN NIGERIA! MTN NIGERIA! MTN NIGERIA! How many times did I call you? Three times abi! 

I will get upset with you!! Is like I need to go foreen!! (sic) #MrForeen

Oh, wait! You beat me to it! You have already gone foreign! You are using Nigerian stars to promote American productions.

This is not a rant or a ploy to get unwanted attention. It is an appeal.

I am appealing to you, don’t go foreign! 

Empower the amazingly talented animators, illustrators, filmmakers, producers etc that we have in Nigeria. Have you seen the brilliant productions by home-grown talents such as Turtle Taido, Akin Alabi Films, Anthill Studios, Bino and Fino etc etc? 

What is the difference between Thor and our Sango or Zena the Warrior Princess and our Queen Amina? I’ll leave you to try to answer that question!

Why do you need to partner with a giant like Disney in Nigeria! Why not create opportunities for young talented Nigerians to produce cartoons and movies that Nigerian children would be happy to watch both home and abroad? Cartoons where they see characters that look like them. The world has clocked on that #RepresentationMatters but it seems you didn’t get this memo. 

Why are you watering someone else’s rainforest and not the grass in your own garden?

Let’s build Nigeria together. The grass is greener where we water it! 

I’m playing my part with CultureTree. We are making sure our children will be proud to call themselves Nigerians and are learning our language and culture. Perhaps you might want to partner with us, perhaps not but las las we go dey alright.

I hope you do take what I’ve said onboard, not just you but also those in our government who are always trying to go ‘foreign’!