Over the years, Nigerian singer, Falz (the Bahd Guy) has used his music as a weapon to fight against the injustices of police brutality, political marginalization, corruption, etc., in Nigeria. On his latest single, he recruits Tekno for another freedom anthem titled ‘Owa’, which is heavily inspired by the current ugly state of affairs in the country, as its citizens prepare to take to the polls on Saturday, February 25.
On May 25, 2020, Falz released the acclaimed ‘This is Nigeria’, a satirical depiction of the country’s ailing leadership. Political powers kicked against the song. There were casual discussions at the red chamber to get it banned, but the voice of the people prevailed. However, little did Falz know that two years later, he would be leading the period-defining #EndSARS movement that claimed the lives of several Nigerians, a crusade inspired by the fight to free Nigeria and Nigerians from the stranglehold of bad leadership.
What many people do not know about the multi-faceted entertainer is that he has a full grasp of the law. Born to the hugely influential legal luminary Femi Falana, Falz was called to the bar in 2012, after graduating from law school. He is no ordinary musician or activist. But it goes without saying that more people need to join the fight for the freedom of Nigeria; more people need to fight with the sort of courage, bravery, and consistency that Falz has. Obviously, there is only so much a person can do in a country of over 200 million people.
Nonetheless, on ‘Owa’, Falz and Tekno champion the course like their lives depend on it. They highlight the many contemporary issues, including the forced, agonising cashless policy (that’s making Nigerians spend money to buy their own money back), the recent scarcity and hike in fuel prices, political oppression, poverty, and the forthcoming general election.
What’s even more remarkable is that they float these subjects over a feel-good, danceable tune. At one point, Falz references Fela’s popular line from ‘Beast of No Nation’: ‘animals wear agbada’, which literally means ‘animals dressed like humans’. ‘Beast of No Nation’ was a song that heavily criticised General Muhammadu Buhari’s military regime in the early to mid-1980s. No thanks for guessing what the country has in common now with that era.
If Fela could conjure such a sick critique of Nigeria and her leadership in the 1980s, one can only wonder what the Afrobeat pantheon would have done today. Falz and Tekno are certainly not the Fela; Falz has even refuted the comparisons severally. However, on ‘Owa’, the two are dauntless and show that they will not be silenced. Pretty much like the voices of many young Nigerians, who continue to hope that the 2023 Election will usher in a new leadership, and ultimately a New Nigeria.
Falz is leading the charge, but will Nigerians follow to significant effect?
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