Music icon, Sikiru Ayinde Barrister, died on December 16, 2010 but the messages he left behind are relevant in this coming elections. The late Fuji musician, well respected for his deep and philosophical lyrics, also remain largely alive in the hearts of his fans.
That album, NIGERIA, was released in the run-up to the 1983 general elections. But the messages therein remain as relevant as ever, especially now that the country is days away from crucial general elections.
The album, Nigeria, with the Oro Ibo (Election Blues) track, was produced under Siky Oluyole Records in 1983.
Until his death, Ayinde Barrister was regarded as the pioneer of Fuji music.
Below is the translated version of the ever-relevant album. It is a powerful message as Africa’s most populous country inches towards elections.
Mr Balogun gave PREMIUM TIMES the permission to publish the translation.
ORO IBO (ELECTION BLUES)
From the album NIGERIA
By the Late AARE SIKIRU AYINDE BARRISTER, MFR (Creator of Fuji Music)
February 9, 1948 – December 16, 2010.
Copyright Owner: Siky Oluyole Records1983
Translated by Gani Kayode Balogun Jr
The issue of the upcoming elections that is giving everybody sleepless nights.
By the grace of God, the Glorious One, the dangling sword will not fall.
Ayinde, by the grace of God, the Almighty.
The dangling sword will not fall.
My people, wisdom is mightier than power,
But power resides with the politicians.
I fully comprehend, Ayinde olokun ola,
That the colonialists tried their best,
Before handing over to the indigenes.
It is we Nigerians that demanded independence from the British.
Insisting that we want freedom.
On the first of October, 1960, we got our independence. Nigerians were happy and prayed that freedom will not turn to hardship.
The Nigerian President was Nnamdi, Doctor Azikiwe that was so honoured.
Tafawa Balewa was the Prime Minister who held the power.
Opposition Leader was Baba Awolowo Obafemi, father of Oluwasegun father of Oluwole, the political giant from Ikenne.
In the blink of an eye, it was three years. In 1963, first of October, we became a republic, and we were grateful, and the trio continued to lead us.
15th of January, 1966 that went by, power shifted to the Military, with Aguinyi Ironsi becoming our leader.
He too, did all he could before death came calling.
General Yakubu became our new leader.
Under General Gowon, the country became prosperous, progressive and money flowed. Those who were not rich were at least comfortable. We were giving supplication to Allah in appreciation.
Nine years in power unchallenged.
Nigerians eventually chased Yakubu away. General Murtala Muhammad became our new leader.
Once Murtala assumed office, we started working harder, became more disciplined and therefore more productive.
NEPA staff dare not tamper with electricity supply. Those of Water Corporation dare not switch off water supply. Doctors became more attentive, Engineers became more dedicated. Even teachers redoubled their output.
Any sector not putting in their best, the man would immediately pounce on them like a hawk, compulsorily retiring them, with or without benefits.
But good men do not last. He lasted only six months before Muritalabi was assassinated.
May your soul rest in peace with seven kurisiyus for you, Alhaji Muri.
Uncle General Siege became our new leader, Obasanjo the son of Owu, General the scion of Owu Oduru, He who wakes up to play with charms Obasanjo.
He too did his own and worked hard. No more war and strife for which we are grateful before he handed over to civilians.
On the first of October, 1979, Nigerians voted and elected Usman Aliyu as our new leader, Alhaji Shehu Shagari.
He too did his bit to which we Nigerians are thankful.
We are now on the eve of another election, you politicians.
Once you get into power, please redeem all the promises you made.
We the poor people are pleading with you.
It doesn’t matter whether it is PRP, NPP, even it is NAP that wins, as long it is a party that will deliver, we the people will be grateful.
Whether it is the party with the house symbol, NPN that wins, even if it is the party with the candle Unity Party that wins or even GNPP we will accept.
As long as it is the party that will provide succour, let us get together and do it. After all, we are the children of the same father and the same mother. As long as Nigeria is progressing, we will support them.
The upcoming election is like the dangling balls of ram, in the name of God, it will not fall.
The politician that makes promises before assuming power and refused to deliver is an enemy of God.
Power resides with our politicians, but the wisdom of voters are also enormous. While the politician will spend his four-year tenure in full, he will not be there with us in the voting booth.
Please increase the salary of Nigerian workers. He who earns One hundred and twenty Naira a month will have to pay for transportation and for food, before feeding his wife and kids. By the sixth day, he is already broke.
This austerity measure is really biting hard.
As it affects the rich it also affects the poor. Only that the intensity differs. It is a lack of knowledge that makes us think it is unique to us.
As it happens in European countries, it also happens in the Americas and the world over. Even other African countries go through it, but it is far worse in Nigeria.
Truth be told, the poor are suffering. Let us stop paying for electricity we hardly enjoy and water that is never supplied.
Let Nigeria work and prosper, we poor people are really suffering I keep shouting. Do not say because someone is not a member of your party, then this duly approved building should be demolished for road expansion. Nigerian politicians should have the fear of God
It is better to live for twenty years for speaking the truth than live for a hundred years in a nest of lies.
Whatever I say today, Adeyinka, will not become toxic tomorrow in God’s name. Truth, they say, is always bitter. But we do not speak out today, then we cannot be critical tomorrow.
Please do not let it degenerate to the level of that other country before we wake up. When Nkrumah was their leader, they were prosperous and progressing, we even refer to the country as the pride of Africa.
But look at their lot today, Not that one is gloating, and I pray that God gives them succour.
But we should be a shining light, do not allow us to become a bad example.
Please ensure, Nigerian politicians, that we have electricity, the one that is constant. Please work harder to provide potable water.
Give us well-equipped hospitals.
Education is most essential. Please provide it.
As fine as Nigeria is, once there is blackout, all the beautiful layouts will disappear.
We are the ones who voted for you, and wisdom is stronger than power, my dear politicians.
I am not a politician nor affiliated with any political party, Agbaje.
The money from oil sales must go round.
Let some trickle down to the masses.
Even it is minuscule, just let it trickle down for peace to reign.
Politicians, please remember that it was our votes that put you in office and in power.
It is not we are stupid, we are wise.
A bowl of gari that was two shillings a while ago, is now six Naira per bowl.
Yam flour is now beyond reach, pepper and tomato are now untouchable. Palm and groundnut oil is too expensive for the masses.
Minerals that was sold for six kobos is now selling for nine kobos. Before you know it it will go for fifty kobos!
Only the rich can afford that for sure.
If we kept quiet and bear it, it is not because we are stupid, we are smart but powerless, so we expect those of you elected into office to do the job with the fear of God.
After all, we have seen princes who became paupers, and slaves become masters. My prayer is for us not to suffer a reversal of fortune.
Please remember the day of judgement and do the right thing. Because nobody plants vegetables and harvest onions.
I have said my bit, Ayinde olokun ola, so that if it becomes toxic tomorrow. But if we speak out, we die, and if we didn’t speak out, we will still die.
Whoever is on top today should praise God, because we don’t know who will be on top tomorrow. Because only God will decide.
If you win at the polls, please remember the masses, so they won’t suffer, I plead.
YOU CAN LISTEN TO THE ALBUM BELOW.