Why we are joining protest- Entertainers

2012-01-12
THE PUNCH Newspaper

Some Nigerian artistes and dramatists have said the removal of fuel subsidy by the Goodluck Jonathan administration is bad enough to provoke any Nigerian regardless of his or her status, profession, ethnicity or religion.

Their performances and utterances on Wednesday at the rally in Lagos against the policy clearly showed their chagrin. Nollywood actor, Babatunde Omidina, popularly called Baba Suwe, said the decision was inhumane. The actor also thanked God for seeing him through his ordeals in the hands of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency which arrested him last year on his way to Paris, France for allegedly ingesting banned narcotic substances.

Baba Suwe was detained for 24 days to excrete the allegedly ingested drug but nothing of such happened. To the amusement of the crowd, he said, ‘‘They wanted to put me in shame but God did allow it. I excreted no shit of shame. It is those who want to make us suffer that will excrete to death.’’

Fuji artiste, Saheed Osupa, lamented that government had been deceiving him like other Nigerians since he was young with the promise ’’ he go better.’’

He declared that having grown up, the same promise kept coming from the government without a reasonable change. ‘‘We voted for Goodluck Jonathan because we love him but he now wants to betray the trust we have in him. Government has been saying that ‘he go better’ since I was young. I am now a man and the same promise keeps coming. Will the government fulfil that promise when I become a grandfather?’’

Members of the Association of Juju Musicians including Sir Shina Peters, Femi Opalemo, Yinka Best, Ayo Balogun and Wale Thompson, decried the fuel subsidy removal. They stated that the action was akin to adding to the pain of Nigerians. Actor Kunle Afolayan also spoke in condemnation of the withdrawal of fuel subsidy.

Celebrated cinematographer, Tunde Kelani, fondly called TK, said as a Nigerian he was at the rally to identify with the people to protest against an unpopular policy. Comedian Fagade Olufemi (Omo baba) told the audience that he was not looking too good because the situation in the country was not good. His female counterpart, Damilola Adekoya otherwise known as Princess, urged the President to revert his decision because ‘‘We don’t have money to buy the expensive fuel.’’

Another comedian, Afamefuna Klint Igwemba (Klint Da Drunk), advised the President to listen to the people by doing their wish.

He said, ‘‘You can put water into the fuel but return it to N65. Some people who went for the Christmas and New Year celebrations in their states are still trekking back to Lagos. They are hoping that they will arrive Lagos before July. ’’

Yoruba actress, Toyin Aimakhu, was hailed by the crowd when she mounted the stage to condemn the removal. The actress, which jokingly told the protesters that she could not speak English, said in Yoruba, ‘‘I cannot buy the fuel for N65.50k let alone N141. Those who are making us suffer feel that we will soon be tired of the protest and abandon it but it will not happen. It is their families that will be tired.’’

The late hip-hop act, Olaitan Olaonipekun, known as Dagrin, resurrected at the venue, though briefly, when his rap song in which he probed bad governance was played. The crowd went wild with jubilation as they sang along. At interval, the revolutionary songs of the late Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo, punctuated speeches and performances.

Most of the songs sang by the artistes who represented two generations-old and young-are relevant to the present realities confronting the country.

In particular, Fela’s songs such as Suffer Suffer, painted the pitiable state of the Nigerian masses as protesters gyrated to the tune, changing the lyrics to suit the current predicament.

But beyond the music that entertained the young and old, there was a drama performance by a group which mocked government’s stand on the decision. R n B singer, YQ, was also spotted at the star-studded protest rally. The arrival of fuji crooner, Abass Akande Obesere, further excited the protesters who later cheered to his superlative performance.

Undoubtedly, the support given by the artistes to the rallies is part of the drive for the protesters’ continued resilience.

 

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