In Abuja, they dance Alingo with our lives!

by | March 3, 2013 8:47 am



I have found myself developing a particular bad habit lately! And I am not about to shout heeeeeeeelp! So don’t worry about it as it is not the kind of stuff where they put up that famous warning, “DON’T DO THIS AT HOME!” I am dealing with it and, like the Mississippi farm workers would sing, “I shall overcome … I shall overcome … I shall oooovercome… some…daaaaaaaay!” Please join me to sing if your lungs are still healthy and strong!

You see, because Lagos can sometimes be the ‘hell on earth to live in’, you have heard said so many times, especially when you think of the traffic jams that we all unfortunately frequently run into, plus the fact that in some traffic jams a certain kind of people (who haven’t the chance yet to join their brothers and sisters in Abuja, state capitals and local government headquarters to steal us blind) invade the gridlock brandishing all sorts of weapons intent on frightening and harming you before robbing you of your valuables, that many workers tend to now stay back in their offices or just go hang out somewhere near the office to wait out the traffic.

Yes, that’s our life in Lagos, and I believe it would be the same in many other busy capitals in the country. The exception might just be the scale of the daringness, the intent expressed and the robbery involved! If you lived in one quiet, leafy city like Calabar (which I thoroughly liked when I visited again about two years ago), then you would put up a warning sign to anyone seeking your advice about going to Lagos. But then, your own city problem might be kidnapping, suicide bombing, among other such vices for which our lives are now constantly under threat. The real trouble is – no one truly cares. You are on your own (OYO – and if Adedibu didn’t help you seeing that he was from Oyo State, then Ajimobi wouldn’t, even if he’s now in charge in the state of delicious AMALA, the Yoruba carbohydrate that goes well with their ewedu and gbegiri soups. Seriously speaking, that’s a digression in favour of indulgees who don’t like us to be too serious whenever we gather at the Square Table).

Now, in my own case, this job can be punishing – even if it is what one poet, who I cannot easily remember now, once called painful pleasure – and so it can sometimes drag on into late nights. And it is not helped by the fact that some of those people in Abuja whose actions (ought to) mean a lot to all of us, the other ordinary citizens, choose to hold on to information and then release it very late. It happens that when I get home I just find myself practically spent – so spent that sometimes I am unable to push myself past the living room. I just either drag myself onto the sofa or just go spread-eagled on the carpet. It was in this position that I stumbled on cable channel Crime & Investigation, which has been helping me to further understand a few more things about the nature of man (and woman), especially the wickedness of his (and her) heart!

However, as I found myself waking up on the carpet instead of my bed on Wednesday morning, with the television still on C&I, the channel I had left it and slept off on Tuesday night, I decided to do a little channel hopping to the news stations – but then found myself stopping momentarily when I saw the popular Nigerian musical duo, P-Square, on the Afro Music channel. You can’t take away from them their great choreographic skills. They are great on-stage performers! And they top it off with some good music too. It’s like in our days when we were watching Tina Turner do her stuff on stage. She was a delight to watch; and the music was good too, which made it a bonus!

Now, P-Square were singing one of their latest songs, Alingo dance, which in truth must be another of many responses of some musicians to the current craze of making music around unique and indigenous dance steps – Azonto (Ghanaian style made popular by Sarkodie and then globally by Fuse Odg with Tiffany), Etike (the Calabar, Nigeria style by Iyanyan), Gangnam style (a creation of the South Korean, PSY). Watching P-Square do their Alingo dance and remembering the phenomenon that Azonto and Gangnam have become in the social music circle, especially around Nigerian party and dance circles, drew my attention to something else about our polity and governance. Music, in particular music that is made with the dancehall in the mind of the musicians, has two vehicles to move it – it must necessarily have rhythm, which suggests that it must have resonance with the ears, and it must be danceable, that is, cause you to dance. And there is something ‘about the night’ with them. In other words, ‘about the night’ would refer to the time of the day when you are most likely to derive the best benefit from dancing to the music. If you watch the P-Square video for Alingo dance, you will find that it was shot at night and everything about the atmosphere is nightly!

And then there’s disturbingly something else! Every dance step that comes along very quickly fades for another to take over – Azonto, Etike, Gangnam, Alingo. This is as far as the night business is concerned! Now, it is leading me to ask questions about why it is that our elected politicians seem to like to do things under the cover of darkness. Why is government business in this country so shrouded in secrecy? Why do they like to wait until midnight to start their meetings? It would seem to me that government, especially the executive arms across the country, has been turned into a cult, where vampires meet to drink blood and dance Alingo with all our lives. The truth is that there is a lot of motion but little or no movement. Governments, particularly individuals who come into government, Mr. Goodluck Jonathan for instance, try to bring about specific profound positive changes. Truth is, since the return to civilian rule, you can pluck only two fruits – negotiating Nigeria out of IMF-World Bank debt noose and telecoms growth (and that’s simply because government got itself out of the way).

There is something very UNSERIOUS about leaders who waste all our lives over Nigerian Governors’ Forum, PDP Governors’ Forum, PDP BOT elections, among other such useless, people-unfriendly diversionary behaviours that clearly suggest that the men and women in government are in alignment with the devil. Why should governors leave their states for days, cumulatively weeks, to attend an unconstitutional gathering called the Governors’ Forum that has no bearing whatsoever on why they were elected into office! I shudder as I ponder over this matter. Tell me the governor that was elected because of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum. And why is PDP BOT election made to ground government work just because the President is diverting his attention to matters for which he has not been elected? Call it a naïve way of looking at it, and I will hold up my hand and agree with you. But it is what we have all allowed them to do freely to us – to do Alingo dance with our lives! PAWNS, we all!

PHILLIP ISAKPA