By Damilola Faustino
Since the great and fearless Fela died on 2 August 1997, only a handful of artists address social issues in this current millennial. Their powerful voices are missing from the social discourse. It is either they are singing about girls, money or booty and lyrically, the songs are nothing to write home about.
So, when Folarin ‘Falz’ Falana, the son of the popular lawyer Femi Falana released This Is Nigeria, it was refreshing. Oh…oh! Finally…a Nigerian artist is speaking up about social issues.
Although he got the inspiration from Childish Gambino’s This Is America, the talented Falz did not disappoint as he rendered the Nigerian version with perfect imagery, vocals and lyrics. Falz deserves a lot of accolades because not many artists will dare to do this.
Indeed, Falz has shown that he is truly the son of his father by addressing social issues that Nigerians have been grappling with and need urgent attention of the government and the people. Here are some of the issues:
Drug abuse has become a big problem in Nigeria. The severity of the problem was recently brought to the attention of everyone after the release of a short documentary by the BBC. The report detailed how Nigerians abuse cough syrups because it contains codeine-a drug if taken too much can get the user intoxicated. In This Is Nigeria, we see a student alighting from a University of Lagos shuttle bus and he is see gulping or downing a bottle of cough syrup.
Religion is a sensitive matter in Nigeria and anyone who dares to touch on it should be ready for the backlash. Already, some people are criticising the singer for using the girls in hijab for the choreography. Beyond this, I feel (like many others) that the girls are used to depict the missing Chibok girls. Besides, he also lashed out at some religious bodies that built educational institutions their members cannot attend or afford.
The imagery is enough to pass the message of the herdsmen crises. At the beginning of the song, we see a Fulani playing the traditional guitar and the next moment, we see the same man with a dangerous weapon attempting to harm another. This is also just a part of the huge security flaw Nigeria is encountering.
Nigeria has struggled to conquer over the years. Successive administrations have promised to kick out corruption but…We remember the rather ridiculous and laughable account of Madam Philomena Chieshe, the sales clerk of JAMB who told the world that a mysterious snake had swallowed the sum of N36million from her office vault. Falz couldn’t help but talk about it.
I am usually baffled by the question how did we get to the point where many of us now see internet fraud aka yahoo-yahoo as normal. No matter how obsessively lucrative it may be, there is everything wrong with it just like Falz says in the song.
In the end, Like Falz sayz, Everybody na criminal.
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