When will the lyrics Change?
Years after I wrote this piece (2015), it was republished in 2020, translated in Arabic and published again in Egypt by The Asian. That hasn't been the news however, but it's evergreen relevance to the current situation in Nigeria. Indeed, Nigeria's leadership must jump out of their pretence coat and fill the tongues of the citizens with finest lyrics. Now, some elements are drumming sectional war and never know if everyone is happy or sad about it. They dance to demented song and no aroma in sight to replace the stench of the old lyrics.
It was a day to my birthday and was fun to be among friends. suppressing the stresses that aroused from hectic routine with cold drinks. The day was not too bad with countable bottles of ‘honourable’ green bottle – Trophy Lager Beer.
Perhaps I did the unusual that evening; I slept all night and didn’t wake up until it was about 6:45am the following morning. That was June 2, my birthday. The month of June has been a special month in my life. The first day of it was a day a bond was broken and I was gifted the bondage of a single dad. Let me save the rigmarole anyway. But then, the two days that preceded each other in the month of my birth slapped the good and bad in my face. It happened in the year 2014. And the second day of the month of June, I was born.
Like I was saying, i slept all night, and thanks to Mr ‘honourable’ for the deliverance from my usual sleeplessness. That night, I was honoured with a deep slumber.
Waking up from my sleep, a prince from the royal lineage of Lapoki’s family in Ode Aye, Okitipupa Local Government Area of Ondo State, West Africa, Nigeria was a year older. I had left the bustling and bubbling cosmopolitan city and commercial nerve of Nigeria to my sunshine state capital, Akure home to wake up into moment of memories. Behold! The reflections began as I fell my arrogant booty on the humility of a gentle sofa in the living room. It screamed but I ignored its pain. After all, I was comfortable it hosted my buttock with no rebellion noticed. I was occupied with thoughts. Reminiscence of my voyage in the journalism profession was never in short supply. I was daydreaming.
I took time to reflect on my pretty and ugly pasts, great men and women from diverse backgrounds I encountered, and of course, their contributions. These encounters with some people would either make our dreams come true, deferred, denied or paddled to the shore of actualisation. In some cases, these personalities drive our ambitions to a point.
In this pen pushing profession, I remember some drivers, the seeming captains and oarsmen of my aspiration’s ship. I reflect on my encounter with a great unionist, once upon a time Acting President of Nigerian Union of Journalists, now a monarch of Imoru town, Ose Local Government of Ondo State, Oba Rotimi Obamuwagun who placed me on encouraging pedestal and gave me the first opportunity of having a platform to practice after my professional education at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism. Candidly, I think the people of Imoru are blessed to have such great personality as their ruler. The journalist turned monarch never ceases to amaze me with rare qualities and compassion. ‘Kabiesi was my first boss. He made indelible bold imprint in my sail. I cherish his personality and disposition in very many occasion. The qualities perpetually compel me to imagining how stupendously, his entire environment will massively benefit from his wits and wisdom.
Akinwale Osodi was another prominent actor in my life episodes. He was a brother and boss. Until the harsh hands of death cut him off the space and took him away from our view, he was a Special Assistant on Electronic Media to former Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko. Osodi was a songbird who sang at the midday and vanished with its tide. So painful!
Still in reverie until spasmodic beep from my mobile phone was unavoidably obstructing my daydream. I reluctantly submitted to its din. It was Facebook notification conveying birthday goodwill from yet another brother, boss and broadcast guru; Tope Akin Adeleye popularly known as ‘Tatinto’ Tatinto is a shinning colorful bird in Ondo State media nest. Back then in his days at the Ondo State Radiovision Corporation, seeing him on the screen, reminiscence of the talented wiry vocalist, whose music all the time was shooting the congregation to ecstasy at Celestial Church of Christ, Oke Aro Parish 4, Akure refuses to elude my memory.
But that was that time. The Tatinto I see now is a robust media practitioner and sonorous singer wearing physique of huge baseball player. He’s a blessing to CCC as a singer. This day, I read ‘egbon’s goodwill message and I wished he could be with me for a bite of his rendition. Back then, we the younger choristers aspired to be like him. He was a role model. His lyrics laced with spiritual messages were giving a lot of hope. To be honest, a nation’s adversity and progress can be glimpsed in her music makers lyrics. In them reside hope and hopelessness, courage and anxiety. Apparently, Nigeria is not in short supply of her own political music makers and lyrics.
I crawled back into my daydream. Memories of my teenage years was featuring like fascinating movie and soap opera of those times. When I was a kid, I recollect how we wrap around our old mamas feet under the kind smile of the night ‘skyball’ for tales by the moonlight. Even though our mothers were not that educated or denied of western education by circumstances, I salute the magnitude of their fiction enrichment and native intelligence. With folktales, we were taught the path of morals, courage and honour. Unfortunately, that tradition of installing values in our hearts has vanished without much notice. We learnt in those stories how tortoise was always a greedy animal and in the resultant effect got trapped in gapping abyss.
I remembered as teenagers how the desire to watch the Indian movie showing every Friday on our local TV station immuned us against early sleep. I remembered how we explored cinemas in town for latest busters. I remembered the inter streets football competition. I was endlessly meandering. Those days, the western music never eroded our interest in our home made songs.
Once again, another phone call truncated my reverie. It was from a friend and old school mate who would only appreciate to be addressed simply as 'BB' than his full names. BB was also a lyricist and actor in our teenage episodes. Eventually, heavy hammer of challenges shattered our tenage stage and fantasies. Aspiration flung us out of our homes and spread us across and beyond borders. While I moved to Lagos and pressed my interest to the Sales and Distribution Department of Daily Times of Nigeria Plc, Agidingbi, Ikeja, BB sought solace far away from fatherland. His coming home from sojourn coincided with my birthday. He gave me a call upon arrival and wanted to know if I was in Lagos. I told him I was in Akure, and six hours after I dropped the call, BB hit the soil of the capital of the sunshine state; Akure Oloyemekun. He put a call through that we should first meet at a popular rendezvous in the capital city.
An unforseen drama almost stymied my voyage to the venue. Eventually, I got through and arrived the place some thirty minutes behind schedule. The alluring ambience of the rendezvous was a sort of hypnotic fascination. I met BB at the exquisite bar waiting for my arrival. He was enjoying the moment and didn’t care about my late arrival. No wide grin on his face. One of the ‘come alone’ chicks had pressed to his company. The old buddies met with warm embrace and drilled endlessly into many episodes from the teenage drama both had missed at the expense of excusing our teenage territory.
And of course, the rendezvous was not expected to be silent as a cemetery at that particular hour. The Disk Jockey was active, and music blaring from the DJ’s arena, once again stole my attention. Obviously, old music from Nigerian reggae maestro; African China. I listened to it a lot of time. I could remember years ago when my humble personality and another friend and colleague, Olusiji Balogun, CEO, Eminent Leaders were Magazine heads of Editorial Management of the short lived Western Times Newspaper. Siji is another rare breed and ambitious young man in the political orbit of Ondo State. Our relationship was much more than that of pen and paper. We are like brothers. Many a time, i pictured Siji’s mental furniture and discovered intense memories and antidote to Nigeria's political septic sore. He fights for objectivity with fierce strength. We were finest pair. Speaking of his compassion, I’m afraid I never had the accurate adjectives even as of now. That particular track in the African China’s collection inspired my crucial message to Nigerian political leaders back then. The song track was ‘Mr. President’ I also listened to another from Eedris Abdukadri titled ‘Jagajaga’
African China ‘Mr. President’ and Eedris Abdukadri ‘jagajaga’ music tracks were horrible lyrics. But the funny thing was that youths at the rendezvous were happily dancing to them. Why? The musicians were bold enough to exhume the rot in the nation’s governance and threw in the face of Nigeria’s leadership. The reactions further exposed Nigerians as berserk downtrodden.
The narrations were years back but still largely relevant. Even the emerging lyricists never put together new songs of hope from the horizon. As Nigerians, we never had it better. Corruption is growing in alarming proportion and the citizens have been arrested into typhoon of penury for too long a time, hence the downtrodden who are the political music makers are evolving lyrics of hopelessness, despair and despondency. When will the lyrics change?