In December 2014 I wrote this on facebook of the APC and the PDP presidential election between Buhari and Goodluck Jonathan: ‘‘The greatest argument against democracy’, wrote Sir Winston Churchill, ‘is a five minute conversation with the average voter’. I agree. And as I listen to the conversation about the Nigerian election that will turn Africa inside out it occurred to me that the coming battle is not between Gen Buhari’s APC, aka NO IDEAS PARTY, and GEJ’s PDP, aka BAD IDEAS PARTY. It is about their goons. The only reason No Ideas is gaining momentum at the moment is because Bad Ideas has brought so many bad results that people are tired of the bullshit, simply put. If the media reports are right, even the most vociferous voices of Bad Ideas are getting tired of the BS too, people like Asari Dokubo. The goons of No Ideas know that Bad Ideas do nobody any good. How does that translate No Ideas to Good Ideas? I have not heard one conversation about that.’
I didn’t think much of both Buhari and Goodluck Jonathan after examining their manifestoes myself, as you can clearly see.
But Nigerian rapper/artiste Olamide got a better assessment of the situation. He fell in behind the Buhari/APC bandwagon and released two songs for the Buhari/Osibanjo campaign. One song was titled Ese (someone just told me it means ‘thank you for a job well done’ in Yoruba), the second song was titled The Change We Want. I don’t know if he collected money for the artistic input and effort, or if he bought the hype and believed the change mantra. In any case I think it was not the brightest decision for a super star to make. And for a superstar of Olamide’s standing it was a catastrophic decision to have made.
The 2017 budget has just been released with a N305 to a US dollar peg. That represents an almost 50% inflation adjustment of the exchange rate from what the rate was in last year’s budget. Nobody in their right senses can say thank you for a job well done for that kind of financial record. It is also most certainly NOT the change we want. The change we want would probably be pegging the budget around N40 to a US dollar.
I have less issues with Olamide if he got paid for those two clowns of songs than I would have had if he actually believed the hype. If he got paid that could possibly be classified as hustling of the say-anything-for-anybody-to-get-paid category. It is not a shining example of a type of hustling because it doesn’t come with a lot of dignity, but it is hustling. If he believed the hype that will be sad.
I have always believed that super stars have super powers, they stand for something bigger than normal folks will stand for. They can say something and it will mean more. This is why advertisers refer to them as influencers. They influence public opinion and command trends. In 2014 Olamide used all of that for a monumental blunder.
Nobody is talking about it. But I will. Not because I hate Olamide. No. On the contrary, it is because I love his art, his act. I love this guy’s creative prowess and music more than anything else at the moment. He is the type of musician that can easily replace gone giants. Even if he cannot possibly fill Fela’s shoes. Olamide is the type of talent that can at least walk in Fela’s shoes.
Artistes, especially good ones, should stay away from politicians. Stay the heck away from politicians, Olamide my guy. The marginal utility they render to your brand is transitory, like the flare of a matchstick. I read in an interview where you said you cannot pay for collabo with a foreign artiste. I remember shouting ‘YES!’. That is principle, principle is power. It is unfortunate that that kind of power is not common these days. Use that kind of principle to stay the hell away from politicians, especially during election campaigns. You are no longer that hungry, thank God. And they need you more than you need them.
All the messages you have in those two Buhari/Osibanjo/APC songs are laughable now. Things are so worse now that even some of your fans are ready to shove those songs up your you-know-what. Till things change, and it doesn’t look like they are changing anytime too soon, those two songs would remain a blight on the horizon of your creative muse Olamide.
Stay the heck away from politicians. Take their cars if they offer you. Sing your songs for them. But don’t write songs for them of the Ese and The Change We Want type. It is not worth it. Unless, of course, you don’t give a rat’s ass of the alternative, which is true legend.
There is a way those two songs make you look stupid now that doesn’t sit well with everybody that follows you with a brand brain. This is not the Olamide we know. He is not a praise singer, praise singing for politicians. Those people should take a deep breath when they hear your name.
After he won the election president Buhari thanked the musicians that helped him sway fickle minds to his side. It is painful to count Olamide among the musicians that went to sing for political campaigns, a political goon. It was not a good trend. The thought sounds worse now with everything either eff’d up already, or hurrying towards getting eff’d up.
How can Olamide, the oracle of the streets, the chief priest of the masses, assuage the wrong of the past? Maybe he should write a new song and call it Shakiti Papa. In Shakiti Papa Olamide can say that it was not as if he really wanted to side with politicians over the suffering of the masses. Shit just happened. I guarantee it for anybody that Shakiti Papa will be a bigger hit than those two foolish Buhari songs of the 2015 election.