The man in Tu-Face would appear to have been awakened by the scary reality of a nation that limits, and then devours its inhabitants, and this call to protest is only an outlet for the primordial scream of that man…
I am not a fan of the gentleman known as Tu-Baba. I have only heard snippets of his music, and seen his videos, mostly because I’d been trapped in environments where they had been aired. I have a general disdain for contemporary Nigerian music, with very few exceptions being held, in salute to the genius and originality of the likes of the late Da-Grin, Asa, Beautiful Nubian, and Idris of the “Nigeria jagajaga” fame. If I left you out, fret not, I am better known for my love of Nigerian musical releases from decades ago. Dauda Epo-Akara, Odolaiye Aremu, Haruna Ishola, Ebenezer, I.K Dairo, etc. And of course, you know of my love for the Abami Eda.
These clarifications are necessary in view of the task to which I have set myself. Hunger has become so endemic in our land, that the laziest argument in all of eternity, that the person with whom you disagree, has been purchased, has gained credibility, even on the tongues of those who have been bought and sold, more times than the sisters eking out livings on Lagos streets. I am not for sale, and I have not been bought. Not now, not ever.
I disagree with the call for protests against this government. I find the call uninformed, unimaginative, and ultimately unwise. I was reading the post by my friend Ezenwa Nnwagu on Facebook yesterday, Eze reprised our school days, and the many struggles led by the likes of him. I will let you read Eze’s piece yourself, but he validated a position I held as a student, and holds till date; You cannot change Nigeria, until you have sufficiently educated the people, to understand that they are the beneficiaries of your exertions. Until then, you are merely railing at windmills. A modern Don Quixote.
We stood in rallies, spoke at rallies, organized rallies, but we never moved the people until the critical period between 1993-1995. That awakening died because it lacked conscious leadership, and because there wasn’t an agenda that sought a replacement of the same moribund system, that has produced the current moribund government that Tu-Baba is asking that we protest against again. What is the plan. What are the objectives? After the protest, what next?
December 2011, Jonathan and his government, took a decision agreed to by all levels of our political leadership, opposition and all, and increased the prices of petroleum products. Days before, the Lekki Toll Plaza was opened, and the imprisonment of Lekki inhabitants began. Gucci clad protesters went picnicking at Ojota and Falomo, opposition politicians including the Alaafin of Bourdillon, became scarce, the people were primed and mobilized, and then the sellout began to play out. You all know the story. January 2012, is what has given birth to the infantile radicalism of Tu-Baba and neutered most of his critics.
As I disagreed with the infantile radicals of my university days, I must now disagree with the latest iteration of infantile radicalism of this age. The planned protest is not going to do anything beyond provide an avenue for the angry to vent their angers, platforms for the likes of Ayodele Fayose to grandstand, and another opportunity for the Nigerian security forces to show their brutality and confirm their alienation from the taxpayers and fellow citizens, whose interests they are honor bound to serve, and whose lives they are sworn to protect.
I have heard and read many arguments against the planned protests. I have read where Mr. Idibia’s libidinous activities are supposed to have disqualified him from the leadership of such protests. Others have argued that seeing as Akpabio, the same one said to have acquired the treasury of a state, had shared the loot with Tu-Baba, the latest efforts are opposition sponsored and PDP packaged, Ayodele has not helped matters by jumping on the latest bandwagon available in his Roforofo fight with St. Buhari. Some have even argued that Tu-Baba should confine himself to his music and the satisfaction of his harem, but I am waiting for someone to tell me when Itu Baba-Ita, ceased being a citizen of the Painful Republic of Nigeria? Would he have qualified if was to lead a solidarity rally for the president?
My own personal CNN, Robert Bamidele, recently sent me an archival clip of an interview granted by Fela, responding to some question about the inspiration for his music, he explained that unlike the European or American artistes, who can sing about love, sex, money, material acquisitions and pleasures, the African artiste, like himself, draws their inspiration from the injustice, inequalities, deprivations and pains evident in their immediate environment.
To listen to popular Nigerian music of the last 10 years, is to invite an assault on your senses, if you have any, ”waa fe jo ku ni, skibo!” and all manners of noise masquerading as music, celebration of criminality and pornographic videos that pushes the boundaries of sanity, the ones with social content have only marginal success in a generation consumed by sybaritic living. The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge, and the music of the children, has come to largely reflect the debauchery of the fathers.
The man in Tu-Face would appear to have been awakened by the scary reality of a nation that limits, and then devours its inhabitants, and this call to protest is only an outlet for the primordial scream of that man. Leaders don’t scream. My counsel to brother Tu-Face is to first educate himself as to why we are where we are, how did we get here, and how can we get away from here? When he has done that, he should then use his considerable clout to educate the youth, whom he undoubtedly leads. To do otherwise is to betray the very people his awakening should serve. An uneducated mob, no matter how well intentioned, remains a mob, and mobs by their very nature, do stupid things. The true danger of this current call for a protest, is that it might exacerbate the challenges of mobilizing the citizenry when the time comes.
The lesson of my long years of consciousness in Nigerian activism, is that personnel come and go in Nigerian government, perennially recycled in the service of the ultimate culprit that remains impervious to changes, even as the faces changes, khaki, agbada, babanriga, lapa and bowler hats. The system around which the architecture of the state is built, is the real problem with Nigeria, let today’s youth protest against Buhari’s government, if they must. It’s their God given and constitutional right, my generation paid the price for that right in blood and tears, and the man should die in anyone who presumes to censor another’s right to protest.
I salute the courage of Mr. Idibia, even as I disagree with him. The professional human rights activists knocking Tu-Baba and his call for this protests should look to January 2012 in search of whatever shred of credibility they ever had, and the conscientious amongst them should mentor, without corrupting, and then educate Mr. Idibia on the issues. The man speaks for legions and they must be heard for Nigeria to fulfill her destiny.
I ask that you share in order to educate those that would elect to exercise their constitutional rights, and to ensure that nobody dies in a war that they neither understand, nor sign on for. May God save Nigeria, for Nigerians, and from Nigerians. Amen.
First published 2 February, 2017.