NLC Protest: Music Relevance

Two days ago (11th January 2012), the minister of labour said during an interview that the NLC protests (on fuel subsidy removal) lacks focus because they play songs that are irrelevant to the issue at hand by playing Fela’s songs from the 70s. This post aims to debunk this claim.

Tolstoy said that all successful economies have something in common while unsuccessful ones need not have anything in common. Well, oppressive and corrupt governments have something in common. This is evident in the timelessness and relevance of song lyrics that were played during the NLC protests in abuja this week. One only needs to be in the crowd to appreciate this point.

12th Jan 2012

Protesters forget that these songs were sang more than 20 years ago because of its resonance to the current situation. A particular part of a Fela song that got me was when Fela mentioned the (first) military Obasanjo regime then immediately talks about Yar’adua. For a moment I thought Fela was alive and probably in hiding (like Tupac is believed to), releasing new songs. I thought Fela was talking about the (democratic) Obasanjo regime and then the subsequent (Musa) Yar’adua regime. But Fela was actually talking about the military Obasanjo regime and (Shehu) Yar’adua who was then vice president.

Eedris Abdulkareem’s Nigeria Jagajaga, Fela’s Waka Waka Waka, African-China’s Mr President, Wande-Cole’s Say na like dis are among the favorite songs the crowd cheer and dance to. None of these songs was recorded for this sad situation we find ourselves in, but they feel very relevant to the situation. Surprisingly, P-Squared’s Danger was also a favorite.

Eedris Abdulkareem’s Nigeria Jagajaga was criticised when it came out, foremost by the then Mr President. Many others that liked the song liked it for its club-value; it is a banging song to dance to. But during this protest, this song couldn’t have been more accepted; its time is now (and hopefully not again in the future).

12th Jan 2012

The songs are relevant to the situation because the perception of corruption, oppression and callousness that resulted in the songs years ago are still perceived by the crowd in the protest. This government has indeed succeed in proving that corrupt and callous governments have something in common.

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