Radio Shrine! Gan! Gan!
Recently on my facebook page, my name was inscribed as one of those in support of Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan’s election bid. I immediately made it clear that: “I am not a supporter of any “Badluck Jonathan’s” election ambitions”. Since my re-post, those responsible have taken my name off their list. My reason, not to endorse Nigeria’s current president and indeed the political class in general is that one can consider both as a pair of the same coin –“Soldier Go! Soldier Come” apology Fela Kuti ‘Army Arrangement’. In a Nigeria endowed with so many riches, needless to say that there is mass poverty and unemployment - most Nigerians feel insecure in their homeland and this has been the plight of majority of Nigerians since our so-called Independence, without solutions from either the politicians or successive military regimes.
FRONT COVER ARMY ARRANGEMENT ALBUM
How do we explain this weakness among Nigerian and indeed African leadership particularly among us: we have both competent men and women, we have intellectuals, we have capable doctors, we have scientists, why then does Nigeria like rest of Africa not have the right leadership? To make the situation worse in this gloomy landscape, there is no credible opposition with clear ideas how to resolve Nigeria’s worsening political situation. The problem is that Nigerian politicians like other African leaders, places their own interest before the interest of the whole nation. Alhaji Balarabe Musa, the first executive governor of Kaduna State confirmed this in his blog Balarabemusa@77 where he declared that “Nigerian leaders are thieves”. He said Nigerian leaders from counsellor to the presidency, have always emerged the richest in their respective constituencies after leaving office.
What has changed since the so-called transition to civil rule? Given this lack of leadership, one can conclude that Nigeria’s so-called peaceful transition, from military rule to a democratic civilian regime is nothing but an illusion as the army is still very much in control. All the registered political parties are controlled by former army generals. Today, they put-on civilian clothes and use religion to create a political base. We keep recycling those Fela in his song Army Arrangement, described as: “the same old politicians that stole Nigeria before! The same politicians that ruined Nigeria before! All of them are there right now!” The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); the party endorsed by most ex-Nigerian Army Generals during transition to civil rule and the governments in power in Nigeria since 1999, have even worsened the problems as we can see but what is the opposition proposing?
So far no member of the Nigerian political class that we can point to, are doing politics for the people. Instead of proposing ways to make the necessary change so that our country can be competitive in a 21st Century world, every politician and party in Nigeria are all talking about, who is competent for the post of President, who will fly the party’s flag in 2015? A blogger talking about the Nigerian opposition party wrote: “When I heard the new opposition party’s name, I remembered a popular analgesic in the 1970s. As kids, we were given APC whenever we had a headache or a fever… A party’s name may not matter but this one is just apt. And I want to be optimistic this time round. May the APC (All Progressive Congress) provide soothing effect like the pain killer we used to take in our younger days...”
I am surprised at the optimism from this blogger as everyone can see that all the parties struggling for power are definitely pair of the same coin. Leading members of the PDP and APC are either retired army Generals or their former commissioners or Governors. There are at the least two ways to do politics, either do politics for personal reason or doing politics for a common goal. I can make politics for my own personal interest, or I can make politics for the general interest, collective interest - the interest of the people. When you place your personal interest before the common interest you in-fact make compromises, sign contracts which alienates the interest of the people. But if you do politics for the common interest, you will make compromises in the interest of everyone - it is thus an affair of political clear-sightedness, driven by dedication. It is not enough to do politics for the sake of doing politics, if one wants to make a change in African politics - it should entail dedication and patriotism.
Another reason, why I am not in support of Goodluck Jonathan’s election bid is that we are all aware that the president (without any declared opposition from members of parliament), was party to the decisions adopted at the historic 21st Ordinary session of the Summit of the African Union in Addis Ababa Monday 27 May 2013. A major outcome of the summit was the adoption of the declaration in which the leaders committed themselves to achieve the AU goals of an integrated and prosperous Africa, at peace with itself and with the world, an Africa whose development is driven by its own citizens and which is a significant player on the world stage. The leaders also pledged to translate the provisions of the declaration into action in their different countries by 2017.
So far I have not heard President Goodluck Jonathan or any political party in Nigeria, openly talk about these decisions entered into in the name of Nigeria as a nation.
Again as affirmed in my post: AFRICA: THE NEED FOR A RADICAL CHANGE, the idea of a national dialogue is a step in the right direction, if we take into consideration the modalities for the conference announced by the federal government of Nigeria. It is a step in the right direction, if the issues to be debated are clear before the modalities and delegates are proposed. Sadly; national participation conferences and committees are countless in the history of Nigerian nation, unfortunately the outcome of all these conferences and commissions is that nothing concrete comes out of their deliberations. We can see proof of this with the on-going Nigerian National Conference, with recycled old and tired ex-rulers of Nigeria doing nothing but have a paid siesta. One would expect, a National Conference worth its name, to have at the top of its agenda the African Union goals of an integrated and prosperous Africa, at peace with itself and with the world, an Africa whose development is driven by its own citizens and which is a significant player on the world stage.
In this age of globalization, it is clear that no nation can survive without a continental approach hence the formation of world organizations such as – World Trade Organization (WTO), Regional Trading Arrangements (RPTA’s), European Union (EU), Asia-pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), etc. Brothers and Sisters out there; instead of struggling with like minds to UNITE AFRICA, is it not a surprise to see that we are being Balkanized as: Ijebus, Egbas, Hausa, Igbo, Christians, Muslims, etc. Nigerian politician are talking of keeping the Christian and Muslim balance, while politics under the guise of religion is clearly leading Nigeria towards another war like Biafra. Another important issue to note is that there is no point looking for the sponsors of Boko Haram outside the circles of Nigerian Army so-called retired Generals. If the American CIA can find Osama Ben Laden close to Pakistan’s Army Barracks. If we really are searching for Boko Haram leader - we should start our search in the massive palaces of Nigeria’s ex-Generals.
North / South dichotomy talk is as old as colonialism on the continent. It is nothing but a diversion that enabled the colonialist to divide and rule. To continue to talk in this manner in a twenty first century world is to perpetrate colonialism. Instead of encouraging the masses to overcome years of fear and apathy and take to the streets like the case with Arab streets peacefully demonstrating and calling for change, we hear a great deal of talks about balkanizing Nigeria. At this point in our history, isn’t it time to look at what unites us as a people than what will potentially tear us apart – an essential part of Fela’s message.
FRONT COVER VIVA NIGERIA! VIVA AFRICA ALBUM
Thanks to social network today we can ask questions that before you need to pay journalist before you can be heard. Make no mistakes, I am not dumping all Nigerian journalist in the “corrupt basket”, like Fela’s description of the journalist in his song Government Chicken Boys: “…inside these offices, some people dey work. Good people and bad people them dey. The good people na wahala eé bee for them. The bad people na like chicken them dey jump. The decease we dey call shaki-shaki don catch them!” Translated into proper English: “…inside those offices there people working – good people and bad people. The good people go through a lot of trouble staying upright, while the bad people have been infested with the sickness called “shaki-shaki” (head bowed and hand-behind the back syndrome).
I refer us regularly on this page to Fela Anikulapo-Kuti because he was the man who sang yesterday about today and tomorrow to come. When we hear Babangida say publicly today that he gave 35 million Naira to Abiola for his election campaign one cannot but remember songs like “Army Arrangement” or “Just Like that” with words like: “…no be Obasanjo put him old paddy-paddy for there. The young politicians him come shuffle them for one side. In the name of democracy, justice and fair-play! Just like that! Today we hear all former Presidents underlining the importance of education to the development of the nation. While they were in power little was done regime after regime to give education its revered place in our development moves.
Despite the 200 million Naira spent by the Nigerian government during the military regime of Obasanjo, to organize the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture in 1977, nothing has been considered or implemented by successive regimes with the recommendations put forward by Black intellectuals present at the festival. Again thanks to social network, people don’t have to depend on the mass media for information. In the 70’s when we were publishing monthly and distributing for free 80,000 copies of YAP NEWS (Young African Pioneers news letter), we didn’t have all the social networks available today. Maybe if we had, the more than 40,000 civilians standing and watching while 1,000 Nigerian Army soldiers were burning down in broad-day-light Fela’s Kalakuta Republic would have reacted differently.
Fela’s attempt to rally the more than forty-thousand people watching was prevented by the invading Nigerian Army soldiers. The armed soldiers prevented Fela’s boys from mounting the public address system by throwing stone and sticks at them. Today with a simple tweet or text message on the social network, I am certain that at least more than ten-thousand of those 40,000 people watching Nigerian Army attack Fela’s Kalakuta would have reacted differently – that is the advantage of social network today. In this gloomy landscape of general demobilization characterizing African officials, it cannot be over-emphasized that to save our country we need to act now. There are initiatives that have been indicated in my post titled: Felabration – one of the solutions. If other people concerned out there have propositions or initiatives please bring them out so we could discus on social network.
FRONT COVER CONFUSION BREAK BONE ALBUM
We can decide on what actions to take. Thanks to social network we can come-out from the situation Fela aptly described in his song CBB (Confusion Break Bone): “…in the country of the blind. Na one-eye man be king! In the country of the blind, it is the one-eyed man that is king.” In the words of Fela: “Our country (continent) needs an authentic revolutionary ideology to progress, e.g. Pan Africanism, otherwise we shall always lose our heavy leaders and valuable properties too. I wish we had Internet and facebook when Fela was spending his hard earned money to publish YAP NEWS, today Nigerian streets are saddled with all kinds of news Medias and from all indication our people seem less informed. Why don’t we seize the opportunity of these social interaction networks to constitute us into a voice that needs to be heard and must be listened to? A pressure group that will give voice to the pioneering works we discus with so much nostalgia – a Movement Against Second Slavery (MASS).
Radio Shrine! Gan! Gan! Please Pass the Message!
LINK ON AMAZON FELA – PHENOMENON & LEGACY