Eedris Abdulkareem’s ‘Jaga Jaga’ And Nigeria’s Mess

Ezinwanne Onwuka

Ezinwanne Onwuka

What better time than now to reminisce on the very controversial song, ‘Jaga Jaga’ from Eedris Abdulkareem which put him at loggerheads with the then Head of State, Olusegun Obasanjo; and was eventually banned off radio waves because of its supposedly non-gratifying lyrics that were centered on our nation’s goings-on.

In the 2004 politico blockbuster, ‘Jaga Jaga’, a Yoruba term for shambles, Eedris lyrically noted, “Nigeria jaga jaga. Everything scatter scatter, poor man dey suffer, suffer…”, decrying the alarming rate of inflation, insecurity, corruption and suffering in Nigeria.

Eighteen years after, his message is still relevant. As a matter of fact, the circumstances that necessitated the song have grown worse; so much so that the artiste had to do a remix of the timeless classic.

The song points to one conclusion: the country is terribly sick and this sickness did not start today. Governments have come and gone, with each new administration exacerbating the pain caused by the previous administration. Thus, it has been the case of a vicious cycle of hardship, suffering and hunger.

We are living witnesses to the despondency and hopelessness that pervades the country: regional autonomy agitation; ethnic conflicts; religious tensions; the reign of absolute terror by kidnappers and bandits across the country; stealing from public coffers now done with more shameless impunity than we used to know; the systemic corruption everywhere you turn; the dilapidated public infrastructure around the country; the decline of our economy exemplified by the ridiculous value of our currency.

Moreso, our public universities which used to be incubators and factories of transformative ideas are in ruins. Youth unemployment is on the rise, just as there is massive retrenchment of workers, with its attendant rise in crime rate. This accounts for the mass production of flamboyant fraudsters like Hushpuppi, who are now the mentors and exemplars of hundreds of our youths.

Furthermore, bandits who are copycats of Boko Haram, labelled ‘unknown gunmen’ are springing up every day and kdnapping has become an easy and quick way of making money in the country. As a result, foreign investors are afraid to come and settle down here because what has become certain in Nigeria is uncertainty itself.

Indeed, the situation in Nigeria is pitiable. It is a catalogue of woes, unmet expectations, dashed hopes and aspirations, and worse. A situation that could best be described as a state in disarray. Strife here, discord there, killings everywhere. As a result, the country is being dragged into a hole of economic mess.

Economically, it is the paradox of want in the midst of plenty; abject poverty dwelling side by side with stupendous, ostentatious wealth.

Just like Eedris, African China lamented the realities of our time in 2006 in a track titled ‘Mr. President’. He sang: “Food no dey, brother transportation no dey and our road no good o, what about NEPA people oooo we no get light. Make una lead us well, no let this nation to fall inside well. Mr President!”

Failure to heed the advice of African China, our leaders have allowed the nation to ‘fall inside well.’ Consequently, Nigeria has become ‘jaga jaga’ and everything is ‘scatter scatter.’


Ezinwanne Onwuka, Abuja

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