Fela Anikulapo-Kuti was a huge music success from Nigeria to the world.
But with due respect, Fela did put Nigeria in a mental condition that contributes to why Nigeria remains stubbornly underdeveloped. Fela explosively objected to government’s ineptitude, from his family experiences, and from what he understood was a big sham.
The Nigeria Fela complained about seemed better than contemporary Nigeria. Fela was fascinatingly entertaining, but his format was, in part, to blame government, and more blames for the government. Maybe nobody asked him that, “Fela, this government you’re blaming in your new song, you already implied its useless in your last song, why do you keep blaming what – you think – is useless?”
That question, maybe, not asked or insisted of Fela, became how Nigeria came to look abandoned, and problems of thirty, twenty and ten years ago are the same, sometimes even worse than they were. Knowing government will do nothing, should Nigerians in the 80s and beyond, have formulated models on how to make the system more functional, more useful, more helpful and more available? YES. But instead of that, did we get suggestions that almost all the conclusions ended as government should, government must, after complaining that government did not, government this and government that? YES.
Fela left a little of himself in most Nigerians, then there were some who really became mini-Fela, both in entertainment and in other sectors. The follow same pattern – complain of what you had concluded useless. No need for efforts or major, real analysis or paths to externally force government hand, no passion for new and relevant change, not a lot of impactful social responsibility, nothing really, just the same complains about government – already agreed by all is useless.
Fela used some of his songs for extended activism, mentioning religion, the United Nations, apartheid, etc. Lots of what he sang were obvious, but with due respect, looking closely not many are right. He also spewed negativity and used lots of vulgar terms. But yes, people love the great Fela.
Fela was no fan of religious leaders – those of Christianity and Islamic Faiths. But since Fela died, Nigeria experienced an eruption of religion and some abused it. Year after year, Nigeria got worse – many people found the situation mysterious and probably needed some faith to keep hope – making Church crowds and places increase.
Churches are everywhere now, so are Mosques. Churches face the most criticisms because nobody can touch Mosques or Islamic Clerics. Churches are now blamed for everything government should be doing. Suggestions were made for them to give free education, airlift Nigerian refugees, give loans, build roads, build bridges, eradicate poverty, provide security from carnage of Christians, etc., and not collect any contributions.
Even though these are not the mission of true Churches, and some have in many ways touched some of these areas for members or others, the blame rages and the foolishness intensifies. In a real debate, all the questions can be answered, and the aggressors can be made to understand how wrong they are.
Nigeria claims to be a smart country but shows off: packaging, sharpness, internet fraud, corruption, cheating, institutional fraud, government fraud, staunch cronyism, counterfeiting, excessive entertainment, ghost workers, ghost data and airtime deductions without usage, ghost bank charges, ghost electricity usage [bills for postpaid meter when no power for weeks, who used it?], PHCN fraud [pay pre-paid meter bills and no electricity] etc. Or maybe Nigeria is really smart but hidden by all.
Normally, there could be focus on solutions and analysis of situations, two aspects of smartness enabled by knowledge.
Knowledge can catch fire, and that fire can splatter – like wildfires or volcanoes – bearing passion, producing analysis and stimulating real solutions.
Take Dangote for example, richest African of acclaimed success, but no one really understood some details about how his businesses ran until someone wrote an article detailing what should be understood, about several announcements that kept coming but never came to be, etc. That analyst also explained TETFUND.
There was also a twitter thread by another on why Ajaokuta Steel failed, and a couple more insightful takes. Solutions are different but explaining economic stuff is a good thing. Outside these rare classes of explications, the common debates have nothing to do with solutions needed for Nigeria. What incites anger for many, now, are Churches and whatever any Pastor said.
Sometimes thoughts could jab anyone to complain and feel like they are the problem; but, NO, true Churches are not. Hotels too are now everywhere and are more than factories. The side business of hotels is growing – with young women. Bet and Lotto shops are more than factories, so are bars, banks, etc.
Imams, Emirs and Sultans have no major critics, but they have a lot of work seemingly undone. Quality of life is down in the North, there are lots of beggars, there are lots of insects, and a lot of so much that cannot be listed that they could ease for their own people, but no one can say anything. The state governments too – do nothing, or maybe they are all doing everything, but their people can’t see anything, who knows?
Loudspeakers are outside at most Mosques in Nigeria, no changes and don’t say. In some government offices across Nigeria, some Muslims do their prayers inside shared offices, but don’t say. It does not affect their work and it is really brief, some can defend, but speaking strictly of work, maybe there is really no work that makes a difference, which means there is, in fact, no work.
There are several more examples expected for improvement from other faiths, but the only hate is true Churches and tithes.
There are some people in Nigeria, Christian or Muslim, who will never comment on other family matters, no matter the issues of spouse, offspring, relatives, child thrashing or siblings clashing. To them, they always say be patient, give light advise, etc. they never criticize or dwell much on other family matters. In a way, it is wise to stay out of it, but with the idle, it is the gossip they carry from place to place and person to person. They remain at the same spot while others have moved on, they are confusion, they think they alone are right and know it all.
Daddy Freeze is a public example of this, his concern with Redeem Church and their lead Pastor says everything about him. That Pastor is not the one who turns off your electricity, he’s not a doctor at a tertiary clinic where oxygen finishes and people die, he’s not SARS police making unjust arrests, neither is he responsible for massive Nigerian asylum applications abroad, how is he a public problem? Going to the Church he leads is optional, you need no visa or ticket to get out of there if in disagreement, so why the agitation?
Daddy Freeze will not speak against killings of Christians, but keeps accusing. All his criticisms are duncish and knavish. Nigeria needs real solution providers or at least more amazing analysts who can do great work, not those pointing in the wrong direction or critics who point to problems they pointed yesterday and offer no realistic ways forward.
Daddy Freeze has some of Fela’s complaining tactics but unfortunately for Daddy Freeze he has no talent, has built nothing and looks like he has no destination in life, just to trend on social media with ideas he steals from others on Twitter and amplifies.
Daddy Freeze re-tweeted excerpts of an interview Femi Kuti did, questioning why people give to Pastors, who are already rich. Femi Kuti also sang in Wonder, Wonder – na Pastor life dey better, the people dey suffer. With due respect to Femi Kuti, who is incredibly gifted and superbly talented, many of his fans are poor too, and remain so, but his own life is getting better. Also, some people question why some of his fans get destructively high on smoking or drinking at the African shrine. Though, Femi Kuti has some near-inspirational songs including Day by Day. Those, from him, are better.
True Pastors are not the problem, no matter who says it. They aren’t. Church services and doctrines are a family matter, not a public headache. Online posts, daily devotional and live stream of true Churches are for members or those really interested, not for those who want to criticize messages or testimonies.
Daddy Freeze in a recent event said Churches are mental slavery, that we should question everything. OK. But Daddy Freeze himself exhibits all aspects of mental slavery. Imbalance, one-sided points only against the Church. Everything else – OK, only true Churches and everything they do are bad. He used his family matter to say medical science has done more to curing diseases than all religions combined. OK, thank you pharmacologist Freeze.
For your information, accepting Christ Jesus as Lord has cured destructive behavioural issues like radioactive anger, prostitution, evil, etc., for millions around the world where medical science is near useless. There have also been medical miracles, and healing testimonies, through the Christian faith that millions experienced.
Daddy Freeze also enjoys mocking Church testimonies, and says people did not experience what they knew they experienced. Some of his followers said they should verify testimonies. OK, of everything needing verification in Nigeria for safety, accountability, quality, and improvement, it is Church testimonies that should be verified, super smart!
Daddy Freeze said after he took on Churches he realized that 60 percent of his followers were abroad. Maybe illegal immigrants or those who cannot contribute to the society where they live or find new ways to make a change in Nigeria, but focus on Daddy Freeze, a destroyer, who can never inspire them to become something, with prevailing thoughtfulness, only more wastewater and misdirection.
Daddy Freeze will always say he schooled someone or he wants to enlighten someone. See who is enlightened. When we talk about calibre of men, genuine builders, who ran through fire, and achieved massive things, Daddy Freeze does not compare. He couldn’t even take the risk to own a radio station.
Electricity in Nigeria is like madness, it just goes – anytime, and comes – anytime. It could take hours, days, weeks, months or years. Rather than serious efforts for solutions in every corner, most Nigerians or groups became generator cowards; get gen, case closed. Same case for most problems, but instead of hard fight for solutions and questions by companies and individuals on how they can be of help in providing solutions, Nigerians focus on accent competition, talking points, government blame, entertainment, travel stories, jewelry flashing, fashion, relationships, football, social media, Dino Melaye, Churches, tithes and Daddy Freeze.
Even most foreign organizations running businesses in Nigeria came to understand that the country is heavily delusional, so they help Nigerians focus on the wrong things properly. Most of them understand everyone is deceiving themselves. Don’t say solutions, just give them shiny objects.
Nigeria’s underdevelopment is inscrutable. We should know what we need from what we don’t need. Entertainers should look at themselves and their industry before accusing true Churches. Internet fraudsters should look at themselves and their ignorance before blaming true Churches. Unemployed graduates should look at their country and the universities they attended before attacking true Churches. Everybody should look at Nigeria in this chronic underdevelopment, acute backwardness, and find how to move forward not becoming a mini-Daddy Freeze, specialist in negativity, ineffably vacuous, with no solution.
For those who will understand, always remember and strive to live by this biblical motto: “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing steadfastly in prayer.”
An opinion piece by Nneka Okumazie