Over the past few days, Nigeria has been engulfed by the breakneck tensions of EndSARS protests. Every day, we float a new hashtag as we fight for our lives at the ends of police brutality – a symptom of bad governance.
Be it in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja, Delta or Benin, Nigerians are unified by one voice in refuting terrible treatment as they also demand better governance while holding the government accountable. Governors have been defied and ridiculed on podiums while love for fellow man and country has taken centre stage.
But at the heart of this moment – which seems like a turnaround – is the use of music. As citizens rally for funding and iconic shots are taken, Nigerians have also used music to pass their messages in crystal clear forms.
Here are the top seven songs from the movement;
7.) Naira Marley – Aye
“Aye o le o, aye l’o m’aye le…” That’s Yoruba for, “Life is easy, people just make life hard…” The song basically suits the Nigerian government and its tendency for making life unnecessarily hard for its own citizens.
6.) Burna Boy – Monsters You Made
If Burna Boy’s PR wasn’t at an all-time low for his inactivity as regards the battle to EndSARS, this song would have been the perfect soundtrack for the protests. Chris Martin sings, “We are the monsters you made…” in reference to the political elite. Burna Boy sang about an inevitable conflict after citizens get fed up and this is it.
5.) P Square – Oga Police
A little further back in May 2005, Nigeria’s now-defunct supergroup, P-Square released their sophomore album, Get Squared. At track three was a track titled, ‘Oga Police.’ It also chronicled the ills of Nigerian law enforcement. The long and short story was how a young man got arrested by members of the Nigerian Police Force (whatever command) simply for driving in his own car. For its topical resonance, the song perfectly suits the purpose of protests.
4.) African China – Mr. President
African China released this letter to the Nigerian president to treat the citizens well. This suits the current agenda as the irresponsibility of the central government is one of the reasons why we find ourselves here.
3.) Fela – Zombie
While ‘Sorrow, Tears and Blood’ was also used during the protest, ‘Zombie’ which was dedicated to the military government of the year it was created suits our current dispensation. We are fighting against arm-carrying, uniformed Nigerians who are mis-controlled by the central government.
2.) Eedris Abdulkareem – Jaga Jaga
Released off Eedris Abdulkareem’s fourth studio album, Letters To Mr. President, the song documents the perpetual upheaval that’s inherent in the Nigerian zeitgeist. ‘Jaga Jaga’ is then an onomatopoeia for the trouble and upheaval. In Port Harcourt, the song particularly too centre stage for the city’s natural attitude to conflict.
1.) Davido – FEM
While ‘FEM’is not exactly a song with political background, it has been used as a soundtrack for EndSARS protests across the nation. It was even used to tell Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu to shut up on October 13, 2020.