How To Ask For A Better Nigeria, In 7 Songs

October 29, 2018

“Naija, how far?”

Nigerians have been asking for better leaders for as long as we can remember – from street protests to social media. But judging by the state of things, we can’t say we’ve achieved much. Perhaps, it’s time to learn from people who have actually pulled it off quite well, like Nigerian musicians.
Nigeria nationwide protest
When they’re throwing all sorts of accusations at Amaka, or praying for money, our artists know how to take their pain to the people in power, and most times, they get reactions. Don’t believe us? Let’s take you on a short trip down memory lane.

“Zombie” – Fela Kuti

Who better to emulate than a man who went for the jugular and likened soldiers to zombies as people with no mind of their own? Whether Fela’s message of military oppression got across is not in doubt. The song hurt so much that weeks later, they executed the infamous raid on his home, Kalakuta Republic. On second thought, don’t try this at home.

“Mr President” – African China

This is how to convey so much agony that you oppressors may be moved to pity you. An open letter signed, sealed and delivered with pain. You will be hard pressed to find a protest song as detailed and realistic as African China’s magnum opus, yet there was no arrogance in this song. African China was simply begging because like all of us, he was actually tired-“lead us well, no let this nation to fall inside well.”

“Which Way Nigeria” – Sunny Okosun

Back when he was on his pan-African vibe, Sonny Okosun literally asked, Where exactly are we going to? He called Nigeria an agbaya ruined by indiscipline and corruption and pointed fingers at the government and regular people. This is how to do it if you want to hold everyone accountable.

“For Instance” – 2baba

Instead of going the regular route, 2face chose to imagine himself as one of the people in power. In three minutes, he outlined what we’ve come to expect from our leaders, the lives we’ve resigned ourselves to and what they could do differently. If only our leaders could imagine themselves as better people.

“Jaga Jaga – Eedris Abdulkareem”

Sometimes, presenting alternatives is too nice. Sometimes, you just want to say how you feel and get it over with. I imagine that’s how Eedris felt when he described Nigeria as jaga-jaga, a word that describes disarray like nothing can. The sad thing is many people still feel it’s the right term to describe Nigeria with, so maybe Eedris’ template is the way to go.

“E Wa Fun Mi Ni Visa” – Bembe Aladisa

56 years after independence, after all the protesting, it often feels like we’ve made no progress. So no-one could blame this guy when he showed up on our screens begging the international community aka ‘eyin oyinbo’ for a visa. We hear he eventually got the visa, but not without getting into trouble with, you guessed it, the Nigerian government.

“I Go Yarn” – Eldee

But even when it gets tiring, we must continue to demand more as Eldee does in this classic. He sounds tired, as we all do when we ask for a better Nigeria, but in doing so, he makes it clear that it won’t get better if we go quietly. A manual from someone who believes in his country. Side-note: The funny thing is that the video for this song is no longer available for watching in Nigeria. Ordinary complain, you can’t even complain in peace.
Segun Akande

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