About two weeks ago, the hottest news was that the National Broadcasting Commission had queried 101.9 FM in Jos, Plateau State, for playing three songs that had been declared unfit for broadcast because of “vulgar lyrics”. The songs: Iskaba, See Mary, See Jesus and This is Nigeria.
According to the NBC, in Iskaba (Wande Coal): “Girl you de make me kolo, shaking the ass like kolo’’ are vulgar and contravene Section 3.6.1 &18.104.22.168c of the NBC Broadcast Code. DJ Kaywise and Olamide’s See Mary, See Jesus is supposedly “laced with the casual use of Mary and Jesus, regarded as sacred by the Christian faith (sic)”. As for Falz’s “This Is Nigeria”, inspired by Childish Gambino’s This Is America, the words which the NBC finds very vulgar are: “This is Nigeria, look how we living now, everybody be criminal.’’
The obvious question: Is the casual use of Mary and Jesus the most pressing problem facing “the Christian faith” (whatever that means) at this moment? Someone from “the Christian faith”, a mother of 7, Mrs Eunice Olawale, was hacked to death in Kubwa-Abuja, FCT for preaching in 2016. People professing “the Christian faith” are now regularly murdered, pastors, reverend fathers, killed in their place of worship-church. Even last week. Not trying to justify See Mary, See Jesus. Suffice it to say if I may, as a person of “the Christian faith”, Christians in these parts don’t usually fight over the casual use of Mary and Jesus.
Nonetheless, the inclusion of This Is Nigeria has generated the most controversy. This is because in June, the Muslim Rights Concern, had threatened to sue Falz, giving him a 7-day ultimatum to take down the video for the song. The body found the use of hijab-wearing models and depiction of Fulani people offensive. Pastors were also parodied in that video but people of “the Christian faith” didn’t seem to have noticed. Anyhow, everyone had concluded that MURIC dropped its threat because it found more pressing matters to attend to. Until the NBC announced the This Is Nigeria ban.
Naturally, the first thought was that MURIC had got its way through a sympathetic NBC even though I wouldn’t have shouted this from the rooftop. Except that MURIC couldn’t stay silent and be magnanimous in “victory”. A few days later, MURIC’s director, Ishaq Akintola, declared: “…Instead of going to court, we decided to ambush him (Falz) by sending a petition to the video board. This week, the NBC banned the video and others like it… let him go and show how brilliant he is in court. He and his fans laughed at us when we complained about his provocative and vulgar video. But there is no doubt that he who laughs last laughs best.”
For the avoidance of doubt, I’m not against bans. Ishaq Modibbo Kawu, the NBC DG, has reportedly said the commission doesn’t ban songs, etc. The difference between declaring a song/video unfit for broadcast and a ban is like that between six and half a dozen. The fact is that we—media, parents, regulating agencies need to join the fight for cleaner airwaves through education and sensitisation, etc. But quibbling over words is neither here nor there.
Speaking of which, the NBC needs to show it’s working hard to really clean the airwaves of “vulgar lyrics.” There are far more vulgar lyrics and videos on air as you read this, such as Wizkid’s Soco, Oladips’ Lalakukulala, and more. Have they been sanctioned? You check these lyrics and let me know if they are as vulgar as Iskaba or This Is Nigeria…
“Eledumare bless you with body o baby o, Star Boy go bless you with money o omoge o…”
“Oya gbefun lopo, lopo lopo lopo…” (Give it to him in different ways).
Body o body o, girl you confuse my thinking…With with your baka behind oh, girl come chop all my money oh…You make a man wan smoke cannabis; soco. All my brain don reset; soco.” (Translations from www.ogefash.reviews.com)
And from Lalakukulala:
“Dako gbe si, mo fe da golo si (Dako put it, I want to pour gonorrhoea into it)
Idi rabata t’anti Alaba (Big butt of Aunty Alaba)
T’o da bi alapa, m’a fi jo Galala (It’s like a rock, I would dance galala on it)
Se kin la? Se kin la? Se kin la? (Should I lick it? should I lick it? should I lick it?).
Lalakukulala (licking anything)
Wo! Ko fun wo l’otun, l’osi (Look! Give it to them, left and right). (English translations from www.musixmatch.com)
These are just two songs off the top of my head. The point of this little transcription/translation exercise is to show that cleaning the airwaves goes beyond randomly choosing two unlucky songs to justify the ban on This Is Nigeria. There’s more work for the NBC to do than dance to MURIC’s tune, wittingly or not. Otherwise, it only confirms #ThisIsNigeria!
Meanwhile, who is monitoring the misogynistic adverts against women? This column has written about a few like the TVC for VAIDS (FIRS/Ministry of Finance) which reduced women to mistresses/misdemeanours to declare to the FIRS.