Glo Ad Sparks “Azonto” Warfare Between Ghana and Nigeria

AzontoAn international TV Commercial of Nigerian mobile telecom giant, Glo, has ignited warfare between Ghana and Nigeria over intellectual property right ownership of the popular “azonto” dance which has gone international.

The Glo advert which is being screened on international news channel CNN, according to a Ghanaian NGO, Generational Youth Movement, gives a wrong impression that “azonto” is a Nigerian creation.

The group, in a protest statement to Glo Mobile said the ad is unfair to Ghana, where the group insists the “azonto” dance originated.

In the letter dated Saturday June 1, 2013, which was copied to the Advertisers Association of Ghana (AAG), Ghana’s Tourism Ministry, the President of Ghana’s Musicians Union (MUSIGA), the Director General of Ghana’s National Communication Authority and CNN’s Director of Publicity, the group said it was “astounded” by the Glo advert’s suggestion that “azonto” is a Nigerian creation.

In the advert, a man called JJ in a Nigerian village is seen making the rhythmic hand and leg gestures considered to be the quintessential signature moves of the dance.

JJ’s sister records his brother’s moves on a mobile phone, uploads it on Youtube after which the dance went viral on the internet.

Nigerian R&B duo P-Square is also featured in the ad fine-tuning the “azonto” dance to their music.

“This in our view goes contrary to the advertising ethics in Ghana”, the Ghanaian NGO asserted.

The group accused Glo mobile of craftily referring to the dance in the advert as “Jokolo” instead of “azonto”.

It said: “The azonto dance that you have termed ‘JOKOLO’, we all know originated from Ghana and has been the Ghanaian trade mark in recent times”, adding that: “The dispirited attempt to make the azonto dance a Nigerian brand is never welcomed by Ghanaians especially to most of the Musicians who are the face of Glo in Ghana, since that is what they thrive on as their own”.

The Ghanaian NGO noted that the “azonto dance has attracted many to the Ghanaian shores as Tourists and therefore making it a Nigerian brand is just another strategy to kill the Ghanaian tourism industry”.

It has therefore issued a 24 hour ultimatum to Glo Mobile to “withdraw that publicity on CNN and on any other network” after receipt of the protest letter.

“Failure to do that, the group will go on a massive campaign against Glo for a national boycott of their brand in Ghana. We will also insist on the Musicians whose livelihood depend on the azonto dance to break away from Glo”, the group threatened.

It said Ghana has become fed up with such sinister attempts to shortchange the country in the creative industry and “we believe as a multinational organisation operating in Ghana, [Glo] should give credit where it is due”.

This is not the first time Nigeria has been given credit for the dance on the international scene.

American R&B star Chris Brown, who performed at the rLG Hope City concert in Ghana a few months ago credited Nigeria for the dance.

Chris Brown told BET’s 106 & Park, while doing a promotional interview for one of his albums that he learnt azonto from Nigerian musician Wizkid.

He was making a point on how big an influence Michael Jackson’s dance moves had on him and his career.

He made reference to the “azonto” dance while explaining the dance influence and said: “…there’s a dance in Africa…it’s funny but it’s kinda like the Michael Jackson. You wait; you’ll see it in the video…just wait!”
But after several shouts of “Do it….do it” from the crowd, he decided to demonstrate it on state. After that, he said: “I learnt that…I learnt it from a Nigerian artiste by the name of Wizkid…so I don’t wanna act like I created it…it’s in Nigeria…it’s a Nigerian thing”.

Wizkid and P-Square are among the few Nigerian Artistes who have incorporated the “azonto” dance into their music videos.

In Ghana, “azonto”, albeit the name of a dance has now become more of a music genre of its own due to its peculiar beat.

Some of the Ghanaian Artistes who have made the genre popular include Sarkodie, Keche, Stay Jay, Dr. Slim, FUSE ODG, Tiffany, Guru, Gasmilla, 4X4 amongst a raft of others.

Source: Ghana |

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