Being in a full queue for over 2 hours teaches you patience, a virtue important in accepting the redundancy of a continually failing government. About 3 years ago, a significant amount of the country voted for and rightly expected change. Oh well, being in a queue to get fuel today is normal.
They say events move around in circles, and the yearly fuel queue in Nigeria is as sure as the earth completing its full course around the sun. With every obscene situation that becomes the object of negative fixation, it’s obvious that Nigeria has been moving around in a very short circle, constantly traversing a path that’s already worn out. You’d think we’d try new things to see if things would be better, but old habits die hard and that circle might really be just a point.
I mean, how do you explain Terry Tha Rapman’s “Only 4 Naija” being an apt description of Nigeria, about 11yrs after its release? I mean, you could easily write out the lyrics of the song as a sociopolitical rant in 2018 and you wouldn’t be out of place, not even a little.
“Fuel price don increase, you can’t be serious” is the intro to the song, a situation that has recurred several times since. Today, fuel price is twice more than what it was sold for in 2007, that’s some serious regression, seems like we’re even continually digging a hole on that point.
“Don’t give up on your country, but na the same people wey dey oppress me”
Sometimes you want to not give up on the country, but hearing that dead people were ‘mistakenly’ appointed into cabinet positions is a quick reminder that the system is rigged against you, the average Nigerian citizen. As Terry posits on the first verse, “don’t be surprised if the country has been sold for a price” is a pretty solid theory as to why we keep on digging new lows regularly. Why else would a few people sabotage ‘change’ (that they promised) at the expense of the majority?
The idea of being a patriotic Nigerian living in Nigeria is constantly tested in such an abusive system, which is why it’s very true and quite funny too when Terry raps “I stand up to salute the green white green flag/but every time I recite the anthem, I go begin laugh/because I don lose the strength and faith I need to serve my fatherland.” Ah, sarcasm. An important coping mechanism.
Then, there’s Maytronomy’s hook that boils down the Nigerian essence of patching everything and packaging well enough to be good and look good into one line; “you go dey suffer still dey claim ajebutter.” The frustration is all over the place, but the resilience is in there as well, a dual condition engrained in the DNA of every Nigerian to grind hard and look out for themselves and those closest to them. It’s personified in all three of Terry’s excellent verses, delivered in a mix of English and pidgin over G-Links’ production combo of hard hitting bass, handclaps and chirping piano synth riffs.
“Anybody wey talk sey we dey progress na born liar”
For as long as I remember, most Nigerians have been in a toxic relationship with the country. But unlike most people here, there have been no scars or wrinkles on Terry Tha Rapman’s face since the equally timeless (hopefully it changes) “Only 4 Naija” came out. I hope he’s planning on telling us the formula to his secret elixir on his upcoming mixtape Life of Joe Spazm, due out on January 28th, his 42nd birthday. Many of us would gladly take it while listening at a fuel queue.