Your Turn: The Nigerian dream, as told by her music (Vol. 1)

by Debowale Adekunbi

PART I

One may think about what it really means to live a dream literally. Does a ‘Nigerian Dream’ exist at all? Yes, it does, and we speak of the Nigerian Dream in diverse manners because it is read by us on radio screens and TV stereos. Its themes and outlines have been written by voices of prolific singers with the ink of time.

We listen and think of the lyrics often figuratively, but thinking a little deeper, about the literal meaning of the encrypted proverbs and words unveils the Nigerian dream.

The song, Soté is a simple summary of the Nigerian Dream. It makes a biopsy of our current state. It records the pulse of progress and the pain of our people, and casts a vision of the future we desire, the future we deserve. It looks at the situation, first, from a personal perspective, asking Nigerians everywhere to pray for her peace, before taking a more colourful and impressive picture of the large society where Limousines will be our taxis, where the society underdogs will own bungalow homes, where leaders will interact and connect with the people as paddies, not ruling abstract and disconnected.

Ruggedybaba tells of our pride, our uniqueness, the distinctness of our identity, the coercion of our slangs, proverbs, lore and mother tongue, original. It implicitly shows the features of the proud Nigerian living the Nigerian Dream.

We are a nice, fun-loving people who celebrate what we have as told in Gòngò Aso.

The Sultan of sounds advocates for justice, an element of the Nigerian dream in the song Olè. It shows a clip of the dream of a nation where accountability truly exists, in the meanwhile, the bush meats shall have to catch the hunters, for Nigeria to live that dream.

We do believe our motherland will get better. Good enough to let natural bliss be enjoyed and shared by all, one day. It does show our determination to succeed against all odds. If they really don’t care, … we don’t neither. We know we shall get there, one day.

The possessiveness and active ownership of Nigerians of their society is spelt out in the lines of the song, Originality: We own the society, we get ability, we (not them) are the VIPs promoting peace and tranquility in our society. Originality looks at the Nigerian Dream from the days of the noble and unforgettable fight for Independence to human right activism by heroes against the military junta, reminding one of the sacrifices these people made in the currency of unjust and cruel detention. It inspires and tells of what every youth with potential is capable of becoming, while living that dream.

Legitimacy, industry, diligence and dignity of our peoples are effectively depicted, as we emphasize our commitment to succeed legally because Maga no need pay for us to make our pay. Nigerians will rather soak garri and hawk than steal. We will rather enterprise than commercialise our integrity to buy correct moto. The world may say all they can with those corruption statistics: skewed data! The dream tells of a country with a populace free from fraud and dubiousness, which is practicable when the unrepresentative sample of corrupt ‘Nigerians’ are secured by capable leadership in maximum security.

PART II

We are still a very conservative society with appreciation for virtue and respect for womanhood. Every daughter is a princess. Every wife is a queen, an African Queen.

Our cherished value of the sanctity and beauty of marriage is told in the story: No one. After a man has been to many places and seen many faces, when the realest, finest, brightest and best treasure has been found, prior to the walk down the isle, there is certain joy that the one being walked is the lead.

Driving on Ikorodu road to Maryland from Palmgroove, a work of art awaits one that tells of patriotism and unity of a variegated people determined to make her stand, as they sing, ‘Naijiriya yii, ti gbo gbo wa ni,’ dancing gracefully, and are suddenly charged, as they ecstatically sing, ‘Gbe kemi, gbe!’

The Nigerian Dream consists of us, beautiful and gorgeously attired with pomp and clout, a simple index is the gele skentele, elaborately seen on Saturdays, where one is either attending a wedding reception, introduction ceremony, naming ceremony, birthday, or house warming.

Our commitment to sound education and academic excellence, home and abroad, is verified by the scores of our iconic professionals in the baking and making: 10+ over 10. Irrespective of the attempts of thoughtless government to let home universities, the talent-mining factories of the nation, to suffer epileptic strikes, when we begin to live the Nigerian dream, our system will produce, home-made, well-cooked professionals who shall stand head and shoulders above their equals in other parts of the globe.

But one other implicit observation, “dem no fit hold me again”. I will remind you that Nigerian parents, no matter how supportive they are of artistic talents, ensure that their children pursue tertiary education to insure self-reliance in days unforeseen. Who no fit hold am again? Or, who dey hold am before? That is one question I cannot answer expressly, ask the singer.

The buca, agege bread, roasted plantain, toasted peanuts and its accompaniment, guguru; boiled corn, the avocado pear, African salad, and juicy agbalumo are an integral part of the Nigerian elite culture, well illustrated in Iya Basira. Even if we dream of a better Nigeria, we desire to keep these in place as a plus to our Style.

This April, rather ‘Come Aprel,’ we shall not press our hands for the ‘Umbrellas’ again! except for the Presidency, if that is even feasible. I do not enjoy being political but e be like say them want to tell us another story again o. Oh, no o. Even if it is not time for a change, we definitely need a break. But my guy, na your eye you go sharpen because we cannot continue to swallow their empty fairytale promises for our fatherland like we live in fairyland. In reality, these guys with a new political galala dance. They have rehearsed the opera well and in reality, they will turn our state into a more hellish one if we do not defend our right of good governance by our votes and chucking them out! It is not enough to show them the door because they may not go out.

Even if change is going to come, there is no film trick involved, reality is the way … and if I tell you say e easy, na setup. What we need is not a revolution and radical change. This dream is only possible with progressive, long-lasting change in an 11-year young democracy that has been distraught with so many plagues. A quicker way to this destination is to allow people who are not politicians hold political office. ‘Honest politicians’ can do the job, you may say. Honest and politician are mutually exclusive features. Politics is about horse-trading, barter and bargaining, back-door deals and trade-offs. Honesty is a feature of simple, purposeful leadership exemplified in the Centre of Excellence, Lagos. Leadership is about real influence, understanding, touch with the laity, real touch, and definite authority. All this coined in a concept of tender firmness. Not blunt radicalism which will leave too many bruises on a young democracy.

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