Almost every song now has content that hails ‘young Benzers'(youthful owners of millennium Mercedes Benz), physically stable takers.
The rate at which the entertainment industry and musical celebrities in particular normalise Yahoo-Yahoo, Yahoo-Plus and drug addiction through various social platforms is becoming alarming.
Almost every song now has content that hails “young Benzers” (youthful owners of millennium Mercedes Benz), physically stable takers of a cocktail of drugs and young people who can throw lavish parties or spray dollars endlessly at social events. Part of the lyrics of one of the musical hits in 2018 goes thus: “T’awon boys ba n’owo ope, wa sha ino wole… (Once Yahoo Boys have made it big, they must come in to gatherings big and smoky…)” For the records, Yahoo-Yahoo is Internet fraud for which Nigeria has become globally infamous. Yahoo-Plus is money ritual with human parts or blood, which is taking dangerous dimensions in an increasingly m0rally sick society.
Should I quickly add that such young Benzers are often either school dropouts, unemployed graduates or roadside hawkers, known for “double hustle” but who, after moving closely with the “sooji” or “sharp pra-pra” or “shraproper” folk become stupendously wealthy overnight? How? Human parts, young women’s pants or some midnight blood sacrifices have been traded for sudden riches.
These musical acts, DJs and nightclub hypemen and the numerous mixtapes of songs, encourage and energise youths and make them believe only the strong-willed get rich before 21 and deserve all the “life enjoyment” that there is.
No wonder there has been a meteoric increase in the spate of female pants-stealing, disappearances of young ladies and children whose lifeless bodies litter covens and bushes, as well as proliferation of shrines for money-making rituals and arrests of ritual killers across the length and breadth of the country.
What needs to change? Our attitude to money and emphasis on lucre – or how much acquired – as the elixir of life. Nigerians at all levels, from the marketplaces, public offices to religious centres, worship money. We put too much of pressure on ourselves (public office holders, business tycoons, public figures, professors, family benefactors, etc) that once we reach the top of the ladder, so much is expected of us materially and financially, which tends to push to the elastic limits. These often manifest in stealing public money, inflating contract budgets, engaging in dirty deals or going into Internet fraud.
The latest get-rich-quick device is money ritual and the “lazy Nigerian youths” (apologies to President Buhari, who’s alleged to have used those words) are leading the pack in this new “lucrative” venture. The young envy the older generation of politicians who get extremely rich within a very short time at the expense of the teeming population of the depraved. Some of these “small boys” justify their use of “just one lady” for money by citing examples of public officers who sacrifice hundreds of lives through road or air accidents caused by inadequate funding of those social infrastructure on the platter of politicians’ personal greed.
Our lust for money is a dynamic of corruption. There is a need for attitudinal change. Do we often ask ourselves why we form the highest number of Africans who flee abroad to settle? One pound equals to plenty of naira at home? One case of drug peddling fetches hundreds of millions at once. Our people prize money ahead of peace of mind.
Our attitude towards money must change. Money is good. I love it too. But we must have a decent approach to getting it and have a sense of content. Whatever is enough is enough. Not everyone can be a Dangote.
Before the musicians who madly celebrate money and encourage money rituals can be stopped, let those in government also be shining examples of responsible people. We have monetised everything in Nigeria, including our votes. We trade just anything for cash or food, which the elected official is willing to provide so long as we are ready to sell our conscience.
Billions are thrown around before and during elections and impressionable youths, including the artistes assume that the only source of happiness or measure of success is owning plenty of money, no matter the source of it. Once the politicians are done taming themselves, they can then have the m0ral fortitude to place restrictions on content in songs, nightclubs and social arenas where young people converge.
Sheriff F. Folarin is a Professor of International Relations at Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State