The Reply

When an uninformed person opens up on a topic he obviously knows little about, we generally dismiss him for a fool. when a well read and respected person does the same thing, we have  a bit of a problem calling him what we actually think at that point in time.
I was appalled to read a rather pointless editorial online credited to Mr. Reuben Abati, editor of  the Guardian newspapers. While others more known than me have already defended those so unfairly attacked by Mr. Abati, I I’d like to point out a few things.
First, I’ll talk on artists assuming names. The practice is not in any way a recent development, and is quite a natural part of growing up and creating an identity. I simply ask if Mr. Abati has never had a nickname. Or if he has never called anyone else by a nickname. Creating an alter-ego is not a loss of identity, it’s the creation of one, and it’s often an attempt to seperate the individual from the celebrity. Not everyone likes aliases, but it’s wrong tp say they’re a problem.
Speaking of identity, I personally wouldn’t blame anyone if they decided not to identify with a country with corrupt leaders where nothing works as it should (which is our inheritance from Mr. Abati’s generation). I personally would rather not have an identity than be identified as a failure.
The funny thing is, these artists do their utmost to represent Naija wherever they go. Yes, I said Naija. That’s our identity, not some name cooked up by a white man’s mistress. Mistress! She wasn’t even his wife and Mr. Abati waxes sentimental on the “beauty” of the name Nigeria. Niger Area. Huh! My kindergarten cousins could come up with that.
As I said, most of the artsists who have, according to Mr. Abati, “lost their identity” are actually pretty darn proud of their “great country”. I personally don’t understand what there is to be proud about, but they are, and at least Mr. Abati should appreciate that. In a country that provides very limited opportunity for succes unless you know someone somewhere, they’ve struggled to carve a niche fro themselves and have managed to make themselves comfortable without turning to crime. That’s something to celebrate, not dismiss.
While I won’t bother to point out the numerous inaccuracies and falsehoods in Mr. Abati’s article as that has already been done, I will say that it seems bitter and resentful. He comes off as a pre-conversion Ebenezer Scrooge, trying to hold on to what he has instead of embracing what could truly make him happy. Rejoice and advise these creative and hardworking people, don’t try to drag them several decades into the past. The world has changed, you either change with it or get left behind.
Mr. Abati, some musicians would love to see you eat your words, but I simply want you to accept that globalization is the reality. There will soon be no nationality, but only a true sense of belongign to a free world. That is what you should embrace. If someone else’s culture appeals to you, fine. If you’d prefer your own, find people that think like you, and stop disturbing people who are using what little they have to get what they need to excel.
Nuff said!

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