By Orbih William.
Johnny is not just the name of one of my best friends ever; John Amadi, or my former Archbishop; John Cardinal Onaiyekan, or my favorite Pope ever; Saint John XXIII. It is the name of innumerable Nigerians who have been victims of police brutality and excessive militarization of the Nigerian society. Let me explain. It is the title of the first track in #falzthebahdguy 2019 album; Moral Instruction. In that song, Johnny is killed “for no just cause” by a bribe-seeking and trigger-happy police officer.
#falz calls himself “the bahd guy.” I think he is a good guy—one of the “best” human beings in today’s Nigeria. He is one of the most courageous moral instructors in contemporary Nigerian. He spews truth with the forthrightness of a lawyer and the fearlessness of an activist.
This is of course not surprising; he is a lawyer and son of one of Nigeria’s foremost lawyers and activists; Femi Falana. In my opinion, Falz is the true successor of the fearless Fela, whose songs he sampled extensively in the award-winning album.
Like Fela, he is vehement; no one is too sacred, rich, revered, or famous, to be criticized, or as Fela popularized, to be yabed. He spares neither hypocritical religious leaders nor their fanatical followers. He spares neither corrupt politicians nor the suffering-and-smiling citizens who are too naïve and fearful to stand for their rights. He condemns every kind of social injustice, ranging from corruption to rape, from lack of patriotism to social irresponsibility.
This is, simply, my note of sincere appreciation to him and a call to all young Nigerians to listen to him. The guy is so full of sense. However, what is most encouraging is that Falz and his mentor; Fela, are not the only two Nigerian musicians who have constantly decried the ills of Nigerian society.
With a deep sense of appreciation, I have recently noticed that virtually every Nigerian musician has at least a song on the theme of social justice. To my utter amazement, I noticed how police brutality is one of the recurring themes in many Nigerian songs.
Two examples readily come to mind: African China’s in “Mr. President” calling on police to “police well well, no dey take bribe,” and P Square’s asking “oga police wetin be dis?” in “Oga Police.”
Like most Nigerians, events in the country these past weeks have caused me immense psychological distress. One of my strategies for staying sane and in sober reflection has been listening to some of these songs. You too can do same.
While I read scripture to assure myself that God is always on the side of the poor, I listened to these songs to help me feel a sense of solidarity with all Nigerians calling for change. Things cannot remain as they are.
We cannot afford another Johnny getting killed for no just cause. While I Thank all Nigerian musicians, living or dead, who continue to contribute their voices and fame to the fight for social justice, I also thank to all Nigerian protesters risking their lives for the rest of us who are unable to. Let us shun violence. As we decry our bad leaders, let us not forget to celebrate our modern heroes.
Disclaimer: “The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Orbih William and do not necessarily reflect those of The World Satellite. The World Satellite will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article.”