When the masked artiste Lagbaja dropped the hit track Suurulere, some year’s back, the idea was to highlight the importance of protecting Nigeria’s nascent democracy. Lagbaja in that satire, which enjoyed tremendous airplay largely because it mirrored the rot in Nigeria’s political landscape, challenged Nigerians not to allow those in the political class to ruin their hope for genuine democracy.
Indeed, the multi-talented artiste has been consistent in the clarion call to Nigerians, particularly the common man, to take steps to correct social ills and to also strive for positive change. The saxophonist, whose other popular alias is Omo Babamukomuko, sought divine intervention at the tail of the song when he ends with what many thought was more of a patriotic prayer- ‘God punish all those wey no like our democracy’.
Lagbaja can be that blunt in his songs, especially if the songs are intended to drive home what he considers ‘bitter truth’. The masked one has some more bitter truth to tell, and he tells it pointedly in another set of two mind blowing singles – 200 million mumu (part 1) and 200 million mumu (part 3) intended still at sanitising the society and bringing to the fore certain social ills that have not allowed for meaningful progress. The singles, both timely and apt series, especially for a nation that has long been clamouring for change, are taken from his forthcoming album that contains tracks that are danceable and tracks that are uplifting with serious introspective songs. Like he did with his Knock Knock Knock and 2 African Soldiers – two singles that were released late last year, 200 million mumu (parts 1 & 3) will be released in a two-singles-in-one compact disc package.
In 200 million mumu, which is rendered in parts, Lagbaja hits the nail on the head when he takes on the society that produces the political leaders that they blame for their woes. He admonishes those pointing accusing fingers at others for their woes to look within and examine their individual contributions and roles in society. Although he notes that leaders are often the easiest targets for blames and accusation, the masked one reasons in 200 million mumu that recent events have shown that neither the leaders and the followers can be absolved of blame.
Lagbaja contends that because those in leadership position emerge from amongst the people, they obviously reflect the true nature of the society. So, in the search for visionary leadership and for Nigeria to emerge from the debilitating issues affecting it, the followership, Lagbaja contends, must truthfully examine its roles because as he argues, the power for progress and positive change lies with the common man.
The artiste brings his creative ingenuity to bear when he laces 200 million mumu part 3 with the audio of an interview a former Nigerian leader granted. The satirical style here is akin to what he did in ‘Abami’, his earlier work and tribute to the late Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
‘Truth is bitter but we must tell ourselves the bitter truth. Neither the leaders nor the followers can be absolved,’ Lagbaja remarks while explaining the spirit behind the songs.
“We are dropping these singles so we can challenge ourselves with the message in the songs while awaiting the complete album,” he says again, even as he hints that the full album is ready and will be released soon.