Electioneering, Songs and Party Politics in Southwest Nigeria

Published: 2021-08-18 10:15:07
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A research effort titled Electioneering campaign, songs and party politics in south western Nigeria Table of contents Abstract Introduction Chapter 1: African music Chapter 2: Background to Nigeria election process Chapter 3: Music and Politics in Nigeria the meeting point Chapter 4: Music and electioneering campaign in south western Nigeria Chapter 5: Other impacts of music Conclusion References Abstract
The world faces a wide variety of security and violence threats, Politic and electioneering is one of the major issues on conflict especially in Nigeria. Elections campaigns go with songs which some time results into violence. Music is also a powerful force for political mobilization which can also result into violence due to the textual ability of the songs. The scope of this paper is to look into the introduction of music to the adopted political system and the yorubaland in the south western part of Nigeria pecifically, , effect of songs on the electioneering and campaign process, role of musicians in party politics, songs as a social phenomenon, songs and political violence This paper recommends that songs in party politics should be scrutinize some political jingles and songs before they are aired. That scholars in the field of music should make credible effort towards bringing about positive effect of music on the Nigeria political scene. Also politicians should know that the songs can cause harm and violence and should avoid such.
Likewise musicians should compose political songs in the spirit of sportsmanship and for the development of the country. Introduction African music has indeed played big role in objectifying, unifying and bringing peaceful co-existence among African communities. Scholars have opined that the knowledge of the African cultural value systems provides the understanding to interpret African songs and deduce full meanings from the communication experience. Music has always been the most visible attempt employed by ourselves to listen to ourselves.
African music is a powerful medium of communication, through which human actions and reactions are expressed. It provides a forum to mirror the society so that members could understand things better and learn more about life. African music focuses on the teaching of morality, building restraints in to the psyche of the public and in settling conflicts. Also it has been asserted that music centers on folklore which crystallizes the history, philosophy, arts and literature of the people. Music is a social organizer.
It supervises the operation of established government, assists in the maintenance of the land, safeguards and perpetuates tradition. Furthermore, traditional songs discourages the degeneration of personal or corporate morals, promotes social equity and fights injustice, crowns rulers, welcomes births, buries the dead, enforces rule of law and enlivens different purposes of communal get together. Chapter 1: African Music Music is a universal language of mankind. It is also a product of the creative genius in man. Good music makes this world a desirable place for all.
It plays significant roles in shaping the society, takes away sadness and gives us happiness. African music has indeed played big role in objectifying, unifying and bringing peaceful co-existence among African communities. The knowledge of the African cultural value systems provides the understanding to interpret African songs and deduce full meanings from the communication experience. Music always been the most visible attempt employed by ourselves to listen to ourselves. African music is a powerful medium of communication, through which human actions and reactions are expressed.
It provides a forum to mirror the society so that members could understand things better and learn more about life. African music focuses on the teaching of morality, building restraints in to the psyche of the public and in settling conflicts. scholars that music centers on folklore which crystallizes the history, philosophy, arts and literature of the people. Music is a social organizer. It supervises the operation of established government, assists in the maintenance of the land, safeguards and perpetuates tradition.
Furthermore, traditional music discourages the degeneration of personal or corporate morals, promotes social equity and fights injustice, crowns rulers, welcomes births, buries the dead, enforces rule of law and enlivens different purposes of communal get together. The origin of Nigerian modern music which has been traced to Islamic and European contact. This led to the emergence of highlife music, orchestral works, and vocal works and other forms of traditional music In traditional society, there is no universal language of music in Nigeria. That is, each tribe has a musical language of its own.
Hence the three largest ethnic groups in Nigeria namely Hausa Igbo and Yoruba each have a music language peculiar to each. The Hausa type of traditional music is the royal music of the emir’s palace or court. An example is the ceremonial music called ‘rok on fada’. It is performed regularly in front of the emir’s palace. Igbo traditional music is strongly tied to extra-musical events which provide a means of expressing group solidarity and beliefs from one generation to another. An example of traditional music in Igbo land includes those that accompany initiation rites into the masquerade cult.
While the Yoruba word “orin” (music) embraces all forms of traditional music in Yoruba culture. Yoruba traditional music consists of both instrumental and vocal music. In other words, when the Yoruba speak of “music” in its totality, it involves drumming, singing and dancing There are various forms of traditional music in Yoruba land, most of which can be grouped into two: religious music and social or secular music. Religious music is used during indigenous religious festivals in worshipping gods and entertaining the celebrants and their visitors. Some of the major religious music types are Dundun, Bata, Gbedu and Ikoko.
Social music on the other hand is basically used in entertaining people during social activities, festivals and engagements. Apala, Sakara, Waka, Fuji, juju, and many others are the most popular forms of social music The Yoruba are a music loving people. No aspect of their life is devoid of music. In joy or in sorrow, time of meeting and departure, time of exhortation or rebuke and so on. There is always music to express the situation. Music among the Yoruba is a reflection of people’s feelings and those feelings center especially around their world view.
That the Yoruba enjoy expressing part of their world view through music shows the appealing nature of music in their society Chapter 2:Background to Nigeria election process Democracy is a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people collectively, and administered by them or by officers appointed by them. No doubt when these set of leaders take over, the entire population of Nigeria was happy to participate in the election to usher in new leaders who would protect their interest and give the succour.
The effort to democratize involves matters of constitutional choice which transcends multi-party elections or replacement of one group by another in government. In line with this statement, it becomes imperative to evolve governmental regime which will provide opportunity for all and sundry to contribute in the governing processes which will not destabilize the integrity and effectiveness of the political ideology in Nigeria. It is at this junction that the use of music comes to mind, to mass mobilize the populace into participating in the elections.
Music has been tested and wholesomely discovered by people to have the power to educate the people on current burning issues on national policies. The first recorded election in Nigeria took place in 1923 in Lagos and Calabar. This was made possible following the introduction of the Clifford Constitution in 1922, which made provision for four elected members of the Legislative Council, three for Lagos and one for Calabar. The development then directly led to the emergence of political parties in the two prominent cities of Nigeria.
The Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) was formed and led by Herbert Macaulay while the Calabar Improvement League emerged in Calabar. The political impact of the elections was therefore restricted to Lagos and Calabar with the participation of a minute circle of elites. The rest of the country including the North was left in political darkness until 1946, when the Richard Constitution provided for a Legislative Council that would legislate for the whole country. This consisted of the representatives of the three regions, which had been delimited as separate political units.
From 1946, after the introduction of the Richards Constitution and the emergence of regional legislatures, the indirect system of election was used in filling seats at both the regional and central legislatures. The practice continued until 1954 when the Lyttleton Constitution replaced indirect election with direct election as the means of choosing members of the Federal House of Representatives. The indirect election is a system in which the people choose from among themselves the person(s) who in subsequent elections exercised their collective rights to choose the candidates and leaders to represent them.
This system was used in picking candidates at elections, especially during the colonial rule in Nigeria. Under this system of election, the adult males in each village came together and chose one person to represent them at the district level. These men now elected one person in order to represent the district at the provincial level. The provincial Electoral College would then elect by secret ballots the specific number of members to represent the province at the Regional Assembly. In the North, the Native Authorities usually selected about ten per cent of the members of the Regional Assembly while the rest were ndirectly elected. The consequent split into three political units, that is the Northern, Western and Eastern Regions, in 1946 under the Richard Constitution led to riotous and acrimonious displays during the elections conducted to fill the regional and central legislatures. The reason was that regionalism introduced ethnic politics. The struggle for power and dominance among the major ethnic groups, Hausa/Fulani, Yoruba and Igbo, transformed elections to political battles and created conflicts. In 1960, Nigeria gained political independence.
Direct elections were conducted to fill the regional and federal legislatures as well as a considerable numbers of local councils. Ethnic politics was already entrenched in Nigeria as the various pre-independence political parties retained their ethnic identities and the struggle for ethnic dominance became their major pre-occupation during elections. This, they were able to achieve through various ethnic songs, music and dances. This situation reflected in the outcome of the 1959 election, which ushered in the independence constitution of 1960.
Notably before 1960, it was one party system in the regions, where dominant ethnic parties had been entrenched, with a multi-party system at the centre. This structure was retained until 1964 when a two-party system evolved at the centre following the emergence of the grand party coalitions namely, the Nigeria National Alliance (NNA) and the United Progressive Grand Alliance (UPGA). Following the civil war, and after almost thirteen (13) years of military rule, Nigeria decided to opt for a presidential system of government and multi-party system.
The 1979 Constitution and the subsequent creation of more states, were believed to have doused and extinguished the members of ethnic politics. But all these expectations and hopes were dashed as Nigerian politics in the Second Republic was again haunted by the previous mistakes and failures. The political transition programme that ushered in the Third Republic was a total break away from the practice and norms of the old. The election as witnessed in the Third Republic showed a considerable level of reduction of vices of the past, but not totally and completely eliminated.
It also witnessed a greater participation of the people in the grassroots than had hitherto been the case, with frantic efforts made to discourage resort to money politics. Hence, music, dance, songs dominated the electronic media in form of jingles, and at political occasions and rallies in order to win more support of the people. Moreover, these gains in our polity were wiped off with the continual intervention by the military in the political process of the nation. Chapter 3: Music and Politics in Nigeria the meeting point
Music and politics have long been connected. Political satire is one form of poetic device used by the people to express their grievances against political office holders. Some of the compositions of music are laden with political messages either for or against an important political personality in the society or its political affiliations. Current events, particularly political developments are continually encoded in popular song texts. Apart from political affiliations, composers of music have also actively participated in political discourse through their music.
For instance in political gatherings today, music are the instruments used for canvassing support for aspirants in an election. It is also used to pull down or tarnish the image of opponents. Thus, musicians have brought to the fore, important social, economic and political problems bedeviling the Nigerian states and the Yoruba in particular. Therefore, musicians are in their own right political cum musical enigmas, held in awe by their supporters and can sway political fortunes in favour or against any politician in the society.
Even in the developed countries of the world like United states. Music possesses a unique power to inspire, motivate and energize a campaign. And music has been used in campaigns since the founding of the country. George Washington effectively used “God Save Great Washington” (a parody of “God Save the King”), Franklin Roosevelt used “Happy Days Are Here Again” by Milton Ager and Jack Yellen, Dwight Eisenhower used “They Like Ike” by Irving Berlin and President Barack Obama used “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m
Yours” by Stevie Wonder just to name a few of the Presidential campaign success stories. Schorlars contends that ‘no phenomenon void of utility survives in a society; an indication that the presence of music in almost every African society has a formidable role to play’. This viewpoint suggests that human beings have always used music to meet certain societal needs in different circumstances. Contemporary Nigerian musicians use their lyrics to reflect on happenings in society.
As such, they become chroniclers of events, recreating the history and culture of their people, commenting on aspects of societal values that have diverged from historical reports, and suggesting ways by which society could be restored to the normal order. In so doing, the musical social critics cannot but resort to employing the tool of satire to deride the prevalence of social ills in a society bid to correct them. This brings to the fore the didactic function of music. The didactic function of music is affected through logical organisation of lyrics and performance practice.
Some lyrics are presented in direct or indirect satire through such speech figures as simile, metaphor, alliteration, allusions, and even short anecdote to convey an observation or/and opinion to a witness-audience. In other situations, other activities in performance teach both viewers and participants the coded lesson(s). Music today has been an important tool in the electoral process in Nigeria. Characteristically, a close relationship exists between music and dance since both depend on rhythm. Dance cannot be performed without some form of accompanying music or rhythmic beats.
The ineluctable power of music engenders a natural response of the human soul and body which is dance. Rhythm is, therefore, the heartbeat of music and dance, while music is the universal language of the soul. Consequently, since the attainment of independence in 1960, creative artistes have continually made their own contribution to the electoral process in varying ways. The electoral procedures consist of primaries, conventions, campaigns, elections and inauguration. Music has played leading roles in Nigeria in all the facets of electoral process.
For instance, music through media coverage/ support has been used to: Educate voters on voting procedures Warn against election malpractices Support the manifestoes of parties or individuals Enlighten the people on the conduct of elections Democracy as a form of government in which every citizen in a state has political investments of political participation and trust. Democracy is usually described as a concept that does not seem to lend itself to any universally accepted definition because of the ideological, cultural and historical contextualization that underpin its meanings.
Some scholars has posits that democracy is that institutional arrangement for arriving at political decisions in which individuals acquire the power to decide, by means of a competitive struggle for the people’s vote, independent judiciary, bill of fundamental human rights, a free market economy, and a two or multi-party system, in which every party has a chance of coming to power through periodic elections. On the other-hand, democracy was described as ‘rule by the poeple’. This simply means a popular government.
It is difficult to find a government where an individual will be the sole ruler. It is a form of government in which people are allowed to take decisions on issues that affect their lives. It is a system of government in which the masses decide who should lead them. For instance, the electorate during the last electioneering campaign in Ondo State sang their support for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as follows: PDP yii le mi o se PDP yii le mi o se Egbe alayo to n kore wa le PDP yii le mi o se. [I will rather be a member of PDP
A richly endowed and joyous group. ] Moreover, it is also a system through which the people determine the identity and relevance of every individual in the society. It is a system where popular opinion in respected; a system in which an individual does not exist in the true sense of the word, because an individual’s opinion has to be adopted by the general public before it can be considered as being legitimate. A member of a community, therefore, struggles to establish his relevance by contributing to general society for there lies his own legitimate contribution.
Therefore, it is a political system where the will of the majority prevails over that of a group within the body polity. This can only be achieved in a situation where the majority of the people in a political community participate fully in decision making on issues that concern their collective co-existence, whereby the freedom and equality of the citizens is adequately guaranteed and informs all spheres of their existence. This giant stride can only be achieved positively through elections.
Elections are part of the democratic process, which are periodically held to provide opportunities for the electorates to make important decisions about policies and programmes, as well as choose representatives and the leadership through whom their decisions are expressed when votes are translated into state power. Thus, the PDP supporters in the last April 2011 polls, as part of their political strategies in order to win the hearts of the electorates, made use of some flowery songs, music and dancing to solicit support, such as: 1)jonathan lo le se o Lo o le se jonathan lo le se o Lo o le se [Only jonathan can do it Can do it Only jonathan can do it Can do it] (2)jonathan ni mo n ba lo Iya mi gbon danu [I am in support of Obasanjo I am free of want] Consequently, there are divergent views among scholars on the factors which influence elections and their outcomes. For instance, in America, some scholars oppose the widely held belief that the socio-economic structure of the society is a major factor that influences voting pattern.
Others are predicated on class, religion, language and ethnic groupings. While some opines that the major factors are: first, the level of voters’ awareness of the political parties in the political system and, second, the event to which voters identify with the various political parties contesting elections. Some other scholars, believes that voters’ decision in a two party system, for example, is determined by their tendency to make rational choice between the programmes and policies contained in the manifestoes of the two parties.
For instance, the supporters of the former Governor of oyo State, came up with the encomium loaded songs itemizing their gains and trying to convince others as follows; Lawal yi naa ni, Akala o Lawal yi naa ni, Akala o O ko’le fun wa, Akala o O fun wa lo’wo, Akala o O ran wa ni Mecca, Akala o O fun wa lo’mi Akala o Lawa Lawa, Akala o [It’s the same Akala, Akala It’s the same Akala, Akala He built houses for us, Akala He gave us money, Akala He sponsored our pilgrimage to Mecca, Akala He provided water for us, Akala Akala, akala, akala.
Based on the above, there is the tendency, therefore, for them to vote for the political party that appears to them to offer programmes and policies which best meet their material needs and aspirations. The aforementioned analogies draw us nearer to the focus of this research which is the employment of dance and music as a device by the political parties in order to reach the electorate. This is meant to get the people adequately informed on their policies. The political aspirants and their supporters have made use of music and dance to achieve tremendous support and various aims during campaigns.
For instance, the dexterity of speeches that led into songs occasionally and transformed into complete music fused with dancing as witnessed and relayed on the television as campaign gimmicks, and physical display of loyalty, were captured as follows: (1)The category of songs, music and dance used to throw their unflinching support and loyalty for their candidates are: (a)Awolowo, baba OluwoleAwolowo, Oluwole’s father Iwo l’aa fi se It’s you we have chosen Iwo l’aa fi s’agba ileIt’s you we have made the head of the land Iwo l’aa fi se e. It’s you we have chosen. (b)Ta lo so p’a o ni babaWho says we don’t have father
Kai ani babaYes, we have father Shagari ni baba wa Shagari is our father Kai a ni babaYes, we have father. (2)The other category of songs, music and dance used to solicit for more support include: (a)Laye Obasanjo ko sosiNo poverty during Obasanjo’s reign Eni o kawe o An uneducated person O n gbowo osuReceives salary Laye ObasanjoDuring Obasanjo’s time (b)Daddy, Mummy, Bukola ni eDaddy, Mummy, cast your vote for dibo funBukola (c)B’ojo ba su Don’t smoke when it is about e ma ma mu siga o to rain Olukoso ko gbodo ri’na oIt is a taboo for Olukoso to behold naked light
Adelabu o gbodo ro’lopeAdelabu must not come in contact with the men of Palm tree symbol (Action Group) (d)Bi Jeje ba woleIf Jeje wins Gele mi a ta panpa My headgear will be stylish. (3)The other category of songs, music and dance used to either satirize individuals or opposition parties, also include: (a)Boo rowo miMy hand is visible O rokan miNot so my heart Demon ni mo wa Demo (NNDP) is my party. (b)Obasanjo ni mo n ba loI am in support of Obasanjo Iya mi gbon danu I am free of want. (c)Ponki la o ma sanyanWe shall eat pounded yam with relish Ponki la o ma sanyanWe shall eat pounded yam with relish
B’owo ba ‘kukoIf we lay our hands on the cock Ponki la o mai sanyanWith relish we shall use it to eat pounded yam. (d)E ma’se bu Saraki (3ce)Don’t blame Saraki (3ce) Awon t’ofi si’po ni o dara It’s those that he put in power that are bad E ma’se bu SarakiDon’t blame Saraki (e)E o r’egbe wa bi? Behold our party Eyin te segbe yin jatijati Those of you rubbishing your party. (4)The other category of songs, music and dance are those produced by our Musicians/Poets who waxed records praising individuals or political parties in order get more support from the electorate.
Example are: (a)Sir Shina Peters’-Titled ‘Mr. President’ in 1994 on Chief M. K. O. Abiola. (b)King Sunny Ade’s-Titled ‘Surprise’ in 1992 on Chief M. K. O. Abiola. (c)Chief Kolligton Ayinla’s-Titled ‘Kebe lomo’ in 2003 on Ex. Gov. Muhammed Lawal of Kwara State. (d)Saad Zungur -Prominent in the Northern part of Nigeria. (e)King Wasiu Ayinde Marshall’s- Titled ‘Aiyetoto’ in 2002 on Ex. Gov. Lam Adeshina of Oyo State. (f)Late Gbenga Adeboye’s-Titled ‘Aiyetoto’ in 2002 on ex. Gov. Lam Adeshina of Oyo State.
The above examples show the forms and means by which our creative artistes (politicians) have displayed their peoples’ loyalties in order to support their candidate or parties. These are in forms of either traditional or contemporary music or dance medium. It would be betray scholarship intelligence to overlook the use of music as a form of protest or a way of accompanying political movements. I think it’s also interesting that politicians use it as a branding device, as a way of trying to indicate what sort of party they belong to or what kind of people they are.
As a matter of course it is incredibly difficult to come across as a credible music fan if you are a politician When considering the role music played in the major totalitarian regimes of the century it is music’s usefulness as propaganda that leaps first to mind. There is a complex relationship both between art music and politicised mass culture, and between entertainment and propaganda. Music is used as propaganda; music is also use as a form of national identity; music’s role in shaping identities of ‘self’ and as both resistance to and instrument of oppression.
Artistes can also be seen as ‘town criers’ who satirise social foibles in order to make human society and living worthwhile. In fact, this is an important cultural element of developing countries that face extreme social and economic hardship. I will now set out points of view from Nigerian musicians that will provide a background to Nigerian music as a social voice. . Eedris Abdulkareem One contemporary musician who has devoted his music to commenting on Nigerian society is Eedris Abdulkareem. In his album Mr Lecturer where he chronicles the degeneration of the nation’s socio-economic and political structures, he titles one track
Nigeria Jagajaga, a term literally meaning a state of disorderliness and chaos. He sings: Nigeria jagajaga, Nigeria in total disarray, Everything scatter scatter, Everything has scattered, Poor man dey suffer suffer… The poor are suffering . . . Gunshots in the air… Gunshots in the air . . . Due to the biting satiric thrust of the lyrics, Eedris was reported to have incurred the wrath of Nigeria’s former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who scolded him for portraying Nigeria in negative terms.
The song was said to have touched a wrong chord with the President who reportedly thumped the artiste’s head when he visited Aso Rock, the seat of power, with the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria, PMAN. In his response, the President reportedly told Abdulkareem: “It is your papa and mama that are jagajaga”. Thus, in a subsequent album titled Letter to Mr President, Eedris attempts to shed light on the import of the signifier jagajaga, and the degeneration that has permeated Nigerian society, pointing out that his lyrics are a reflection of the realities that require urgent solutions.
Specifically, he cites the endemic social vice of corruption which must be fought for the nation to develop. Chinagorom Onuoha The concerns of Eedris are given expression in the lyrics of another new breed of musician, Chinagorom Onuoha, also known popularly as African China. In his first album titled Crisis, he labels the Nigerian government as ‘bad’ for their perceived insensitivity to the plight of the ordinary people on the streets. Writing on the satirical thrust of African China’s message,
The track, Our Government Bad, is a satirical x-ray of the pauparised state of citizens occasioned by perceived insensitivity of the government. He opines that there are no job opportunities for the ghetto man and if he eventually gets one, it would now be a battle for survival. Ingeniously blending raga tunes and social commentary into a stunning music tapestry, African China is unsparing in his caustic criticism of the government’s anti-people policies which have left Nigerians more impoverished than ever.
In his second album titled “Mr President”, the musician continues with his musical preoccupation, expressing his disenchantment with the lack of basic social amenities such as water and good roads, coupled with the appalling scarcity of food in Nigeria. The musical social critic thus calls on the President and his team to attend to the problems, and put Nigeria on the right track so those at the grassroots level can benefit from good governance.
Other popular artistes represent this new breed of Nigerian musicians, including Augustine Black Face Ahmedu, Femi Anikulapo-Kuti (the son of Fela Kuti), Tony Tetuila, and Lagbaja. They have, in their own ways, used the medium of music to reflect on the socio-economic conditions of Nigeria. However, it should be pointed out that the current relevance of their music is tied to the history of popular music in Nigeria where Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s Afrobeat holds sway.
The Influence of Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat on Popular Music in Nigeria Afrobeat is the name by which Fela’s music came to be known in the late 1960’s. It is the combination of Yoruba music, jazz, highlife and funk rhythms, fused with percussion and vocal styles. Fela, the main creator of this brand of music, used it to revolutionise musical structure as well as political context in Nigeria. Through his music, Fela became critical of the successive military governments that ruled Nigeria between the early 1970’s and the mid-1990’s.
Commenting on the political climate in Nigeria when the military held the reins for two-thirds of the entire period of nationhood, The human rights situation regressed as the political public sphere shrank. Evidence of military pressure on the public sphere could be seen as wanton violation of rights through arbitrary arrest and detention, detention without trial, torture, indiscriminate killing, abduction, kidnapping and military attack. Fanning of ethnic and religious embers, and general brutality against public psyche became commonplace.
The language of hegemonic discourse was further entrenched through the sole control of the electronic media by the state, and even when by the mid-nineties, licences were approved for private broadcast, allocation was largely to perceived client figures under a very strict regime of censorship. It was precisely in this atmosphere that Fela emerged with his Afrobeat form, first as a reformer and later as an activist and artiste. In terms of lyrical content, Fela constantly questioned received notions through his strongly expressed political commentaries, rude jokes, parodies, and bitter sense of humour and satire.
The predominant persona of his narrative is a troubadour in quest of justice and fair play, trenchant and uncompromising in exploring the nuances of everyday life and depicting the subject as victim of authoritarian constructions’. It is not surprising that successive Nigerian governments expressed morbid fear of Afrobeat. In fact, the Nigerian state forbade the airing of this musical expression while encouraging other mass music forms like juju through generous allocation of air time and patronage. Explaining the rationale for this preference,
Unlike Afrobeat, juju does not challenge its ideological assumptions or the elite project to “reproduce its structure of dominance”. Herein lies the uniqueness of Fela’s Afrobeat form, which, even as a popular musical idiom, exhibits a rare capacity to locate society’s sense of place, time and event, while also challenging the patronage structure on all these fronts. Many factors inform the classification of Fela’s musical practice as popular art. An important distinction is the relationship between the artiste and his/her audience.
Fela was invariably reenacting the subversive professional oral historian of ancient times, with the burden of delivering his art uncorrupted by material lure. Afrobeat, a subversive musical and cultural performance, had to shoulder the task of the brewing post-independence confrontation in Nigeria. The musical genre was not accepted because of ‘its breezy, generally covert political themes, obsessively hedonistic lyrics; of transcendental love, of women and wine; and a rather sedate rhythmic structure.
It is interesting to note that the satirical thrust of the musical form of Afrobeat performers operates within the generic brand that calls “yabis” music. Yabis music, as a phenomenon, does exist in the works of many contemporary Nigerian popular musicians, regardless of their techniques and styles of performance – reggae, soul, rock, rap, afrobeat, and so forth. That is the reason why musicians such as Eedris Abdulkareem, African China, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Femi Kuti (Fela’s son), Seyi Akinlolu (beautiful Nubia), and a host of others are all having some yabis songs to their credit. abis as ‘a biting satirical song that is deliberately composed with the aim of correcting an atrocity, a misdemeanour or sacrilege committed by an individual or a corporate body within a particular society’. He notes that this brand of music was pioneered and propagated by the late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti who, during his Friday night musical show known as Yabis Night, criticised the government for corrupt practices and insensitivity to the suffering of the people. Satirical music is not new among many African societies.
For example, among the Egbado people of the Yoruba in Nigeria, the phenomenon is known as “Efe”. Efe music, which integrates masks and dance, provides an ample opportunity for its performers to criticise, deride and ridicule any individual member or an organisation of whatever status in the community who had contravened the laws and ethics of that particular society. This is done under the auspices of conventional artistic immunity, which implies that artistes cannot be arrested, detained or punished for taking part in a live performance of satirical music or drama.
Despite being largely satirical in both its concept and content, yabis music still has some roles which it performs in the nation’s music scene. The stimulating or motivating role whereby the music brand serves as a stimulant or motivator, moving the people into action against oppressive and repressive forces in Society. There is also the propaganda role by which the exponents criticise governments, systems and society, with the purpose of forcing them to change anti-societal programmes. Furthermore, yabis music portrays life in its base society.
This is because artistes create their works from raw materials supplied by events in society. Finally, the music brand performs the great role of cultural revival; its practitioners use it to antagonise the dominance of western cultural values over those of Africa, at the same time try to extol the beauty of African cultural heritage. Chapter 4: Music and electioneering campaign in south western Nigeria Music performances are central to artistic expression and experience in African tradition.
Music performance is the act of playing musical instrument, singing with the voice, dancing with the body, or acting in a music drama. Musical performance in Africa maintains an integral relationship with other aspects of life. A notable feature of this interaction, as we have stressed, is the fact that music is often performed in a multi –media context in which dance, elaborate costume, mime, poetry and drama are featured in a total theatre spectacle. The location of this otal theatre spectacle within the context of religious, social and political activities underlines the indigenous perception of music. As an expressive idiom combines musical and are characterized by an engaging interaction between professional musicians. ‘we forsake the conscious, constructive use and power of music to our loss’ In interpreting this fully, it means the product of music in the electioneering campaign must be able to function at the best and highest levels of the country’s political development.
In the traditional Yoruba society, songs and music occupied a unique place in the preparation, mobilization and prosecution of war. The importance of songs in instigating conflict is aptly captured by a Yoruba proverb that says “orin ni isaaju ote”, meaning songs herald hostilities. Scholars has examine the importance of drums, chants and songs among the Yoruba and aver that more than their entertainment roles, they perform religious, social and military purposes. As a communicative device, songs are employed for inspiring warriors and for lunching verbal assault in inter-personal conflicts.
In many instances verbal assaults often result in physical assaults such that thought is provoked about the linguistic process that accentuates a conflict. Songs of assaults are almost always accompanied by cheering, laughing and savouring of the exchanges, until the conflict intensifies into brawl. What this implies is that the metaphors or linguistic devices employed in songs are not innocent and should be taken seriously. Songs of assault have a long history, and can function not only on a personal level but also as politically effective weapons.
Campaign and post election pretest song in Hausa language songs are situated within this frame, and like war songs. This communication through artistic medium open up danger and provocation against the person the artist sing about. Just like the elections during the colonial rule, first, second and third republics, songs have continued to play a key and dominant role in Nigeria Fourth Republic post election protest songs. 1999-2003 Experience It would be recalled that Nigeria got her independence in October 1960 from the colonial masters.
The democratic exercise can, therefore, be described to have commenced from that period. Hitherto, colonialists were in power and the process of administration cannot be said to be fully democratized. Although, consultations took place and there were other semblance of democracy in the process of administering local and regional governments, it cannot be defined as a full fledged democracy. With the attainment of independence, Nigerians were faced with a new and alien system of government.
It was not only foreign but because the process of democracy involves the formation of political parties on the basis of political ideologies and manifestoes, competition became imperative. For that reason, the politicians quickly perceived music as a powerful instrument that can be used not only to convince the voters to vote for them but also to influence the people up to the grassroots level. Music becomes a singular instrument that is not alien to the people whether they belong to the elite class or the popular class.
All other instruments of advertisement and persuasion by the politicians are somehow alien and may not cut across the entire segment of the communities. The theatre, therefore, becomes a unique instrument that was utilized in the campaigns leading to the Fourth Republic between 1999 and 2003. The conceptual paradigm in theatrical experience of that period must be perceived against the background of the military rule in Nigeria. Of the 43 years of Nigeria’s independence, the military ruled for about 22 years. This confers an imperative significance on the use of music.
Hitherto, the military had ruled without any serious consultation or any mandate from the people. The democratic system demands not only consultation, but mandate from the people. The need for persuasion to earn the voters’ favour enhances the use of music. Thus, it has been observed that at various times in history, groups with a particular message to teach, a sermon to preach have used the music as an immediate, effective and entertaining means of direct communications. In the 1999-2003 electioneering campaigns, the politicians engaged themselves in the use of music in different forms and styles.
Songs were composed to present politician’s cases. The politicians themselves were engaged in singing. When the occasion demands for it, the politicians did not mind dancing and digging some theatrical steps in front of their enthusiastic supporters. Music was played premeditatively to capture the attention and interest of the crowd of supporters. In addition to call and response, the politicians sometimes encouraged their supporters to clap and sing along with them, so as to build-up a psychological compliance to their request for votes.
One of the interesting highlights of the 2003 electioneering campaign was the transformation that was observed in the personality of the PDP Presidential candidate. Here was a man known as a career and disciplined soldier turned into a politician who is now engaged in the use of all forms of theatrical gimmicks, including dancing, singing, clapping and gesticulations in order to win not only admiration but also the support of the crowd. If a man of his caliber can transform himself thus, from his military posture, how much could one expect from the professional politicians when it comes to the use of theatre?
Therefore, the fact that democracy is all about conviction and not coercion, justifies the use of theatrical means. In addition, democracy also implies advertisement of the politician’s manifesto and music is an effective medium for this. The Late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, used his music to preach against political domination, oppression, economic hardship, unemployment and nepotism It is the view of this effort that music plays a highly important function in creating awareness in the framework of mass-mobilizing the populace towards the next general election.
If music is used as a cross-fertilization of ideas through the medium of television or radio, then the electioneering campaign will be made easy to reach the teeming population who are willing to hear what each political party need to deliver to deliver to electorate What the people hear or listen must have a communicative power and this is one of the reasons politicians had used music to their advantages. Only through music can political parties and politicians get their information to the grassroots, it is like advertisement which is used to reach out to the public.
Whatever message to be set into music must have common objectives of attracting positive reaction and which will work with the people for the upliftment and good of the citizenry information must be of relevance to the genuine, development and also involve social participation. This implies that music is a useful tool in dissemination of information. It is only through it that the electioneering campaign can reach the grass root. For example, The October 20 governorship election in Ondo State has come and gone.
But the memories it left in terms of the role played by artistes for the candidate of each of the three main political parties – Labour Party, Action Congress of Nigeria and the Peoples Democratic Party – will remain fresh in the mind of the voters and the state as a whole. At the rallies held across the local government councils and the three senatorial constituencies in the Sunshine State, musicians engaged in a battle of wit as each dished out songs to canvass votes for the candidate who engaged their services.
Prominent among them was the Bonsue Fuji creator, Adewale Ayuba, who called on the people of the state to re-elect the LP government candidate, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, who eventually won the election. Ayuba sang that with the feats of the governor in his first term, he would take the state to another level when re-elected. Ilaje gospel singers, Debo Ojubuyi and Lekan Remilekun-Amos,  were also available to deepen the rallies of the LP with Christian music. Notable dramatists such as Sunday Omobolanle (Aluwe) Olofa Ina, Yemi Ayebo otherwise called Yemi My Lover and Saheed Balogun joined the artistes as the campaigns drew to a close.
The actors were at their best, singing, dramatising and dancing. The performance of Aluwe was so good that Mimiko’s wife gave him a handshake as he was leaving the stage. The ACN proved that it is not new to electioneering too as it engaged popular fuji singer, Wasiu Ayinde (KI), to thrill its supporters. He actually showed that he is an experienced musician as he urged the people of the state to  cast their votes for the party’s candidate, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN. Perhaps, trying to use different strategies, the PDP did not really explore much in terms of music. It was generally focusing on how to sell its manifesto.
The musicians, by their creativity in blending music with politics, have shown that music is an integral part of any society. In attempt to educate the people, music should be used to get something done and equally used in controlling behavior, thought and character. Its Communicative role is a two-way traffic, a dialogue when used realistically; and also, it provides adjustment and redirection for political enlightenment. Sometimes, slogans in form of music are used in political rallies and campaign Songs like “ come out and vote it is your right, come out and choose your leaders for the future of your children” were played by INEC.
Sunny Ade was also used to sing Nigeria yi ti gbogbo wani (this Nigeria is for all of us) during the 2011 post election violence in some part of the country. Musical Forms in the Election Mobilization Songs Different musical forms were observed in the songs for political mobilizations for elections in 2011. Selected songs below are examples of songs in different forms: Olarun opolo Olarun opolo Gomina to d’agbale oja Olarun opolo Meaning He is mentally deranged He is mentally deranged The Governor who turns a market sweeper He is mentally deranged
The song above is a song against Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) with the broom as the party’s symbol. The song is also a simple tune in through-composed form. Another song also in through-composed asserts that the party will win the election. See the song below: Egbe wa ni o wole Egbe wa ni o wole E ba na’wo na’wo ke d’onigbese Egbe wa ni o wole Meaning The victory of our party is certain The victory of our party is certain You can overspend and go bankrupt The victory of our party is sure The form of the song above is through-composed. It uses a simple folk tune in it composition.
Another campaign song for President Goodluck Jonathan is written below: Goodluck to you,goodluck to me goodluck to every body,goodluck Nigeria o The song above is part of the campaign song composed and performed for Goodluck Jonathan. The song promises goodluck to Nigerians, as an individual and as a nation. It promises better living condition of Nigerians, which includes; better education for Nigerian youths, good governance and better economic growth. The song is through composed musical form. The PDP gubernatorial candidate in Oyo state Alao Akala Christopher had a team of singers that campaigned for him one of the songs is written below:
All- A egbe mi ewa sia PDP lonfe lele, Alao Akala eni Olorun yan kose lekeji, Egbe olomburela egbe PDP, egbe onire tide kire wole wa, Solo-Efibo gbe debe kowole,Chorus-Alao Akala leni Olorun yan o, Solo-Eni olorun yan lawanfe, Chorus-Alao Akala leni Olorun yan o, Solo-PDP, Chorus- power to the people. Meaning Oh my comrades see the flag of PDP flying, Alao Akala is the person God has chosen to go for second term, Its umbrella party, it Peoples Democratic Party, A party with a good will, Please use your vote and let him win, Alao Akala is God’s anointed. The song employ a religious song tune.
It elucidates PDP as a party with its flag of victory flying in Oyo state. It also postulates the divine candidacy of the PDP gubernatorial candidate for the 2011 gubernatorial election in Oyo state. That God’s anointed to govern Oyo state is Alao Akala. It also call on the good people of Oyo state to allow him to win the 2011 gubernatorial election by voting massively for him. call and response antiphonal form, the through-composed form The song below is by rival party of Governor Alao Akala. The song form is through-composed. Gbo ohun awon Akala toun korin Gbo ohun awon Akala toun korin Won korin tibon tibon Won korin tobe tobe
Gbo ohun awon Akala toun korin Hear the sounds of Governor Akala singing Hear the sounds of Governor Akala singing They campaigning with guns and cutlass They campaigning with guns and cutlass Hear the sounds of Governor Akala singing One of the chieftains of PDP also sang during one of the campaign rally that it is a must for PDP to win in Southwestern part of Nigeria. See one of the song below: Lau erebe erebe lau, Lau erebe erebe lau Obasanjo onigba kadibo Kamawoleo lau erebe erebe lau Meaning Lau erebe erebe lau Lau erebe erebe lau Obasanjo will not agree For election to be rigged Lau erebe erebe lau Lau erebe is Yoruba folk tune.
The song emphasizes that Obasanjo will not agree for 2011 elections to be rigged. This is an irony considering the do or die election campaign slogan or chant that he choruses during the 2007 general elections. The song is through compose musical form. Chapter 5: Other impacts of music Socio-Cultural And Religious Impact, an example of Ayinla omowura’s music Music in Nigeria is always functional. It has been closely knitted with lots of social activities such as sporting activities, mass media, to mark ritual activities, like weddings or funerals and most importantly, for entertainment and artistic enjoyment.
There are renditions for different occasions for stimulation. For instance, music helps to keep the rhythm of workers on the field especially farmers, mechanics, hunters, weavers, dyers, bricklayers, carpenters and even traders. Nowadays music has been associated with sporting activities and it seemed music is the delicious soup with which the sumptuous dinner of sports is taken. Artistes have produced works aimed not only at providing support but also to boost the morale of the national teams as well as restore confidence in the mind of both the spectators and the masses.
Example of such music was performed in Ayinla Omowura’s album tagged the ‘Challenge Cup’. He Sings: comentiri to n’lo ni gboro mo fe yan leti araye ni Legosi ’74) 2ce iroyin o to afoju ba Challenge Cup ton gba ni josi (Ayinla Omowura and his Apala group, volume 6:1:1. ) The above song is translated thus: The commentary that is prevalent now I want to bring it to the hearing of the world in Lagos ’74)2ce seeing is believing in the Challenge Cup they played not quite long ago. Traditional music such as Apala is one of the strongest agents of cultural reflection.
One method of finding out about culture of a people is to examine how they conceptualise their music. Music is a stable cultural trait and therefore provides a useful basis for determining the diffusion of other cultural traits. For instance, an ancient African drum in a museum may be an object of the art, but musicologist will want to play on it so as to find out what kind of sound it produces and to what use it is put, an archeologist will be interested in examining the Wood work to determine its make and age, while a historian will be curious about its historical origins and dispersal patterns.
In the same vein, music is used during national festivals like the festivals of arts and culture, Independence Day celebrations and so on. Below is Ayinla Omowura’s music on the national census conducted in Nigeria in 1973. Anfani senso yi po fun eni ti o leti sunmo mi nibi November 25, 1973 lojo Sunday… ……(Ayinla Omowura and his Apala group, volume 5:1:1). It is translated thus: Advantages of census is much for those who do not understand move closer to me November 25, 1973 on Sunday.. Apala music has a very prominent role in religion as it unites the mind with the body and soul and equally serves as a perfect linkage with God.
Music also set one free from physical and spiritual bondage. The role of music in religious observance of the Yoruba cannot be overstated. Either in traditional or in the foreign religions, music is an important adjunct to all religious services. Music has spiritual functions especially in the worship of various deities, giving thanks, purification of the individual groups or community, warding off evil forces, imagined or real enemies as well as appeasing offended deities for violation of taboos or social morality.
Ayinla Omowura’s Apala music has this spiritual function in that they talk about God’s protection, love, kindness, generously and hope. Various forms of prayers are said during the performance of Omowura’s music; he offered prayer of long life for his clients and fans and the society. In all, prayer is an important feature of Apala music. Ayinla Omowura in his volume 13 urged the society to offer prayers to God, so that all will be well with our land, economy and the world at large. He sings: Ile aye den yi lo sopin )2ce Omo Adamo se n’ roju aye gbogbo nkan lo ti won bi oju
Gari two naira ko ju teni meji…( Ayinla Omowura, volume 13:2:1) It is translated thus: The world is coming to an end (2ce Everyone, are you seeing what the world is turning to, everything has become very costly two naira Gari is not enough for two people… Therefore, musicians are in their own right political cum musical enigmas, held in awe by their supporters and can sway political fortunes in favour or against any politician in the society. The example given below is an excerpt from Ayinla Omowura’s music- “Eyin oselu wa” (You our politicians).
Leader: K’okunrin ri ejo, ki obirin pa ki ni awa nfe Chorus: ki ejo ma se lo la wa n’fe k’alagbada ko k’agbada ka jo ma se Ijoba ko ’leewo ki Naijiria sa ti r’oju (Ayinla Omowura, volume 16:1:1) The song is translated thus: Leader: if a man sees a snake and a woman kills it what do we want? Chorus: what we want is for the snake not to escape be it civilian or not, let us govern together provided Nigeria is at peace. As political and economic power is inseparable in government, so it is in music. Thus, musician eulogize individuals in government in other to enrich their pockets.
An excellent rendition of music on functions could evoke deep rooted emotions from lovers and fans, who in high spirit could ‘plaster paper currency’ on the forehead and other parts of the body of the musician. This act is popular, and is called spraying. It is the expected reward for good performance. Aside from reward of an excellent performance from the fans, the music industry has become a very lucrative business in present day Nigeria. It is no longer seen as a job of nonentities, but rather they are called celebrities. Conclusion
There is hardly any aspect of life without the involvement of music. Just as the traditional music is vital to the continued existence of the traditional society and culture, so also is popular music necessary for the survival of contemporary Nigerian social life. Of all the genres of music existing in contemporary Nigerian society, popular music in one form or the other is of great importance because its ability to appeal cuts across class, ethnic groups, age, nationality, gender and faith, thus affecting millions of people.
The uncertainties of life, helplessness and impotence in the face of the prevailing socio-economic hardships have resulted to a lot of patronage of the gospel musician whose music provides solace from the scores of material and spiritual problems. The fact that Nigerians are able to survive enormous hardship caused by economic, political, religious and social and ethnic instabilities requires that some credit be rendered to popular music for it contributes in no small measure to the alleviation of the stress and strain connected with these conditions through entertainment and relaxation.
The general wellbeing of individuals is achieved, which results to a more stable society and higher productivity. Apart from entertainment and relaxation, Nigerian popular music contributes significantly to other areas of human endeavour. The impact of the popular music on the national economy cannot be overestimated. Nigerian popular music has been able to raise the standard of living by creating more job opportunities in the nation.
The establishment of subsidiary industries, which have created jobs and incomes for the musicians and the personnel of the recording studios, storage and marketing agencies, is a direct consequence of the music industry in Nigeria. The patronage of popular music helps create new identities and social bond, and consequently, stability in the country. This is because individuals with age-long and deep-seated animosities from various faiths, geographical locations, ethnic groups, socio-economic and educational backgrounds can identify with it.
Music is one of the strongest tools for cultural uniqueness and self identity in the life of any society. Concerning the unstable nature of the African nations and the role music can play in it, Music is not only a great harmonious influence in general, it can also assist in sustaining broad cultural solidarity and to some extent help to resist the inter-group rivalry that cause so much bloodshed in Africa and elsewhere’. It is a well-known fact that there is sustainable development where there is no conflict.
The song text ‘reflects mechanisms of psychological release and the prevailing attitudes and values of a culture. Thus the lyrics of the Nigerian popular musicians capture the concerns of the Nigerian society – protection, survival, material prosperity, belief in God, fear of the supernatural, love unity and stability. The song text is a very powerful tool and when employed tactfully contributes inestimably to the general well-being of individuals. It is very effective at the ‘vanguard of protest movements’ and gives eloquence to voices that are otherwise muted and uffled’. Song texts are indicators of culture rich in insights into concepts, value systems, societal norms and behaviours. Just like traditional music, popular music also helps to maintain the continuity of the tradition including history and literature through their beautiful verses rich in onomatopoeia, figures of speech, idioms and proverbs. Popular music is an agent of social control as it is sometimes used to regulate social order in the form of reward and punishment through admonition and ridicule, in effect, it inculcates good morals.
Popular music provides information through the song text as to the social, political and economic climate within and outside the society. Public enlightenment and government’s mobilization programs are made very effective through the enlisting of popular and glamorous personalities, particularly the popular musicians deviate to “… make their own musical It can, therefore, be suggested that it is high time the experts in the fields be called upon to ably sensitize the people and the political group on the relevances that music, have in the propagation of stable politics.
Also here is need for government to ensure the participation of professionals who are scholars of repute in the area of music politics and administration, in the political process in order to apply their theatrical experience to the poltiical development of Nigeria. In conclusion, it is clear from investigations that the society is the bane of democratic freedom in Nigeria. It was evidently displayed and confirmed in the last elections that power resides in the electorate. Therefore, music is a medium have been well employed to further educate, inform and instruct the populace.
It has also been used to relieve people of tension, as they were effectively employed for prevention of rigging. They were also used for campaigns at rallies, for political slogans on Radio/Television in order to educate and re-orientate the electorates. Thus, we believe that they do more than entertainment of people. They equally project the goals of the political parties. There is, no doubt, that music and dance are tools/instruments of political communication in Nigeria’s fourth republic.

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