By Oludayo Tade
THE cloud of criminality and institutional impunity which have enveloped Nigeria are bitter pills being forced down the throat of Nigerians. In a country where the so-called activists have collapsed their structures into the ruling elite; where hitherto feared pressure groups such as the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, and Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, are prioritising the self above the rest and the country; a state of nature is being birthed in Nigeria where human life is worthless and there is uncertainty about who is likely to see tomorrow. Institutional impunity has led to the murder of hapless young Nigerians in the Lagos megacity by those late Fela Anikulapo Kuti would call animal-in-human skin. Were it not for militarised mentality, what would make a professional police officer shoot unarmed suspect? How do you expect citizens loyalty when there is widespread injustice? The objective reality of happenings in Nigeria has been mirrored by the hip hop artiste, Folarin Falana also known as Falz in his phenomenal cover song, This is Nigeria. Unlike his cohorts who glamorise societal ills, Falze the Bahd Guy, follows from his activism background signposting societal ills largely domesticated in Nigeria.
The chaotic situation in Nigeria is visually represented in the song with one crime or social problem commanding its own sphere of strength. Gang fighting, Fulani herdsmen killings, and other forms of crime occur simultaneously while Nigerians look on or continue with their businesses since they are yet to be victimised. Wondering why abnormality has become normalised in Nigeria, Falz x-rays Nigerias state of nature wondering how humanity has become cheap and no one seems to be troubled. Echoing the criminal in all of us, Falz invites viewers to examine the processes leading to what we own, eat and the environment we inhabit. He concludes that everyone in Nigeria is a criminal. Criminality becomes general since we see evil and fails to condemn it. To Falz, not speaking and acting against evil emboldens evil. However, thanks to the relative anonymity of the social media, people get to report some crimes.
April 14, 2019 marked the fifth-year evil-memory of the kidnap of Chibok school girls. Not even the #BBOG movement could rightly capture the nightmarish condition of parents whose children are yet to return home. As the Yoruba saying goes: omo eni k sn ju omo eni son lo, which roughly means a dead child is better than a missing child. When a child dies, there is finality and total disconnection. When she goes missing, the mind is perpetually tortured in expectations. Falz captured the Chibok episode by representing them with ladies dancing Shaku shaku in hijab. To him, we focus on distractions and allow evil to thrive.
Part of the objective realities in Nigeria includes the process of electing leaders. The system is skewed to elevate corruption to high pedestal. This has mostly lowered accountability and responsible governance. If the structure that throws up candidates for elections stand on corruption, it is unlikely that such a person and the government he or she heads will be responsive, responsible and decent. Falz viewed this as problematic. To him, Nigeria is a country of many troubles and anomalies where looters and killers are still contesting elections o. Politicians wey steal billions and billions, e no dey go prison o. The dangerous dimension to the problem is how others are joining the pro-corruption movement while the nation bleeds.
Meanwhile, insecurity is overthrowing calm and social order with each geopolitical zone having its own form of this national emergency. From cult war, armed robbery and kidnapping in South-West Nigeria; bandits massacre in Zamfara; herdsmen killing in North-Central; ethnic clashes in Kaduna; insurgency, terrorism and cattle rustling in North-East and West; there is a rise in insurgent citizenship, all contesting the hitherto state monopoly of violence in the most daring manner. Worse still, leadership character does not show any sign of intent to check the menace. Introducing humour, Falz depicts the Nigeria police as lily-livered saying police station dey close by 6 (pm), security reason o. By saying this, Falz shows the helpless condition in which those who are to secure Nigerians found themselves. Why should a police station close by 6.00pm due to security reason?
While they may not be able to check crimes in the neighbourhood, they are on the road mounting illegal roadblocks where hapless citizens become their victims, sometimes in cash, kind or paying with their lives. Methinks the trigger-happy police in Lagos should be deployed to Maiduguri or Zamfara since they are sharp shooters. With their protruding gnje bellies, these policemen misrepresent the upright policemen. Worse are the SARS killer squad who use crude profiling tactics to suspect all youth as cybercriminal. Their aim was never to check the menace but to harass, extort, steal, maim and kill. Youths who dare to protest have unfortunately paid with their lives! HmmFalz documents this rights abuse singing:This is Nigeria, SARS stop you for road, no explanation, you go talk am for station o.
Falz did not spare the church from institutional impunity which characterised modern day pente-rascalism. Churches and mosques embrace the corrupt and use corruption monies to build cathedrals. They both worship money and convert their brethren to mm whose life must revolve around the dictates of our daddy and our mummy. Falz re-echoes sexual rascality among demented pastors and so-called alfas who commit the abominable with their members. In a country where life is almost meaningless, religion is taking the vulnerable for a ride. This is why the kingdom of God suffereth violence and the clergy unrelentingly lure and dupe their followers by force. Hmmm.Falz says praise and worship we singing out, pastor put his hand on the breast of his memberspulling the demons out. Chai, there is God o!
Falzs This is Nigeria was unsparing of cybercriminals who are mostly youths. He wondered why people are no longer asking for the source of personal wealth. Lately, undies of women were sought after to make money.The activities of EFCC and successes recorded have shown the ubiquity of cybercriminals. Falz calls for decisive action against this ill. As he sings, Yahoo-yahoo don tear everywhere now and we dey act as if its so cool. In the process of trying to monitor and do the right things, he noted that the upright may become victimised.
This is indeed Nigeria, where singing about societal ills receives the ban of the state. The same state that allows anti-social songs to continue to air. Unfortunately, from Change to Next Level, there has been aggravated killing, kidnapping, and rising insecurity in general. While emboldened institutions become active when handling hapless citizens, they are beginning to confirm their incapacity and lack of ingenuous way out of the woods. For Nigerians and Falz, the desire is to live in a country where unity, peace and progress reside and where Nigerians can achieve their life goals unthreatened.
To achieve this desired Nigeria, lukewarm Unions mentioned in the opening of this piece need to wakeup and speak against institutional impunity and the states abdication of her duties toward her citizens.