Fela Anikulakpo Kuti will forever remain a legend in the history of Africa; not just for his exploits in the music scene, but for his stand on the emancipation of blacks, which was boldly expressed in the lyrics of his songs and scenes of his videos.
With songs like ‘Trouble Sleep, Yanga Wake Am’ (1972),’ Zombie’ in (1976), Sorrow, Tears and Blood’ (1977), Shuffering and Smiling (1978), ‘Coffin For Head of State’ (1982), Beast of No Nation (1989), to mention but a few, he portrayed the state of the society and criticized the ills of the government.
Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode said this about Fela Kuti during the 20 years anniversary of his death:
“It has been 20 years since he passed on, but the memories he left us with remain evergreen. Today we celebrate a man who voluntarily turned his back on a life of comfort and privilege, and took up his saxophone as a weapon to fight for the liberation of our people from neo-colonialism and bad governance.”
However, over time, African music had lost its originality and ability to express the yearnings of the people; the ills in the society and reflect the society through music. This is as a result of commercial sound taking over, and truth be told, that is the cash-cow.
However, in rare cases, we still find artiste who fit the demand of commercial music as well as the boldness and audacity to preach against the menace in the society. Falz The Bahd Guy did just that with his latest wave making cover titled ‘This is Nigeria’. His conscious rendition of the state of the Nigerian society has received international applause and accolades as even Music Mogul, P. Diddy showed solidarity to the song.
A look at the salient points raised in ‘This Is Nigeria’
- The N36 million JAMB money alleged to have been swallowed by a snake
- The harsh economic recession in the country
- The spate of corrupt individuals (with corruption cases still pending against them) seeking election or re-election
- The poor state of Nigerian security epitomized by the Nigerian Police Force
- The spate of various miracle centres springing up across the country with suspicious practices
- The poor state of electricity in the country
- He also took a swipe at the President’s comment that Nigerian youths are lazy, stressing that many have multiple jobs
- The gruesome killings of Nigerians by alleged Fulani herdsmen
- The get-rich syndrome which has driven many youths into internet fraud (Yahoo Yahoo)
- Similarly, shading those against Noble Igwe for calling on the EFCC to arrest more Yahoo boys.
- Finally, the menace of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) harassing innocent civilians in their supposed hunt for Yahoo boys.
At the end of the song, there was also an imitation of the trending ‘Transmission’ blunder by the IGP. While also coming hard on churches that use monies generated from their members to build institution such as school which are too expensive for their members to attend.
Invariably, Falz has proven that indeed, Fela’s legacy has not been eroded and that Nigerian music can still be used as a tool to fight and expose bad governance.