Reiterating that this country is in the toilet profits no one but I’m afraid I must, in order to drive my point home.
Please bear with me.
This is a country where its “honorable” finance minister is in the thick of controversy concerning a forged NYSC exemption letter, its embattled senate reels out one scandal after another, from a notoriously garrulous member allegedly staging his own kidnap, to another being a prime suspect in in a robbery case.
With all that and much more taking centre stage in our country’s polity, somehow Falz, one of the most talented and conscious artistes this country has ever produced is the bad guy.
The Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) recently placed a ban on Jay FM 101.9 Jos, stopping the radio station from playing songs such as Falz’s ‘This is Nigeria’, Wande Coal’s ‘Iskaba’ and Olamide’s ‘See Mary, See Jesus’, with a N100,000 fine to boot.
The NBC in a statement said Wande Coal’s “Iskaba” is laced with vulgar lyrics particularly the line “Girl you dey make me Kolo, shaking your ass like kolo” and is in contravention of section 3.6.1 and 220.127.116.11C of the Nigerian constitution.
Olamide’s “See Mary See, Jesus” is laced with casual use of “Mary and Jesus” names which are sacred to the Christian faith. The song is also in contravention of 4.3.1e of the Nigerian constitution.
Lastly, Falz’s “This is Nigeria” is (wait for it)…Laced with vulgar lyrics, specifically the opening line “This is Nigeria, everybody be criminal”
Well, let me start by saying that apart from a demonstrably poor sense of justice the NBC is also severely lacking in the sense of humor department.
But maybe bashing them is not the answer, let me wear my black hat and play devil’s advocate for a minute.
With regards to Wande Coal’s Iskaba, perhaps the NBC is squeamish about eulogizing a woman’s rotund backside in song. Now, love and respect of the African female form is either your thing or it isn’t. Fair enough.
Also, according to the Pew Research Center, Nigeria has the largest Christian population of any country in Africa, with more than 80 million persons in Nigeria belonging to the church with various denominations. Though I don’t know that I agree with an outright ban, I can somewhat understand some nervousness around titling a pop song “See Mary, See Jesus”.
Where I am completely lost, is the ban on Falz’s song.
I’m sorry what part of his timely, brilliant and apt work of art contravene any laws?
The ban is at best is draconian and at worst, it displays the NBC as a moribund government agency that could do with some reform just like fellow government parastatal SARS.
The Nigerian entertainment industry is one that has flourished in spite of the Nigerian government. The industry has become a global force to be reckoned with and its actors have nothing but pure talent and doggedness to thank for how far they have come.
So if the government isn’t going to create an enabling environment for artistes like Falz , then they should please focus on more productive things. The successful migration of Nigerian broadcasting from analogue to digital is a good place to start.
If they however want to come on board and partner with the industry, a step in the right direction would be knowing the difference between a text book bad guy and a Bahd Guy.
Credit: Tobi Akhanamoya
Tobi Akhanamoya is your typical millennial. She loves selfies, has an occasional penchant for punctuating with cuss words and wants to “change the world”.
She works as a corporate communications officer at MTN Nigeria by day and by night? Well….you’ll find her asleep on her comfy bed and fluffy pillow after a long hard day of stirring up controversy.
Instagram : @Osione_Akhanamoya