#SagaCity | Falz, 9ice and the destruction of our future

Today I woke up to the latest saga that is brewing in the city. @Falzthebahdguy has seemingly done the unthinkable by attempting to address artists who make music with lyrics that glorify fraudulent behaviour. Some have implied that the message was directed at @9iceofficial because of his song Living Things. Make I no lie the moment he said wire wire, I thought of 9ice too. When I heard Living Things for the first time I was shocked that a man who once contested to serve in the federal house of representatives and was subsequently appointed as a special assistant on youth, would put out a song with a chorus that uses all the known jargons of fraud, without condemning it. Instead of an outright denunciation of the criminal act, he can be heard cosigning as he shouts wire wire, money order, singing that as a living thing, he wants to be on top of things, he wants to be doing things, he wants to be controlling things because he wants to be somebody. 

He goes on to sing that money doesn’t fall from heaven and people make money differently. That may not be a direct glorification as stated by Falz but it is definitely an attempt to excuse the inexcusable. Would his time as special assistant on youth not be better spent researching the issues faced by many and trying to bring young people out of their current predicament? Why not give them hope instead of giving them an anthem for their fraudulent behaviour? Please let it sink in that this is someone who was appointed by the Oyo State Governor to advise him on youth. This is also someone who has stated publicly that his ultimate goal is to become the governor of Oyo State. In typical 9ja fashion, he wouldn’t need prove himself. If the internet is anything to go by, he will be the ideal candidate for all the Yahoo Yahoo boys. They will vote him in.

glo¦ri|fi¦ca|tion 
NOUN
the action of describing or representing something as admirable, especially unjustifiably.

Many are confused as to why Falz chose to “beef” with someone who they believe has more street cred than he does. And then there are the threats of those who have registered their protest by claiming to delete his music and unfollow him because they are so distraught with his lack of empathy for the average suffering Nigerian. They say that Falz was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. So anyone who has been afforded a good chance at life is not allowed to voice out opinions about the ills in our society? Between Falz who is a civilian going about his life as an entertainer, and 9ice who accepted public office, who should be held at a higher standard?

Before I continue let me say if the EFCC had advanced internet monitoring, web tracking technologies and the man power, they would have made a lot of arrests over this issue. The number of people who have come out openly on social media, with no shame to claim that they themselves are fraudsters and they do it to make a living is still shocking to me. One even callously asked who Yahoo Yahoo has ever hurt or killed. That is the thing about fraud. Unlike murder or armed robbery which involve direct contact with your victim, the effects and victims of fraud especially identity theft cannot be seen by culprits. So it is easy to assume that no one is getting hurt not because they aren’t, but because you just do not know who they are and you can’t see their suffering. There are also economic costs on the country that are far reaching. Truth is every time a “maga” pays, there is always a heavy price!

VIDEO | THE ECONOMIC COST OF CYBER-CRIME IN NIGERIA

I responded to a few of the people laying curses upon Falz and initially I was heartbroken by stories of hardship. So many have condemned and blamed the government for subjecting them to abject poverty. People talk of having no other means to feed their families. People are complaining that there are no jobs for young people. What kind of country are we living in where young people have given up all hope and accepted conducting fraudulent activities as a normal way of life?

And then I checked the instagram pages of some of these people and I see them desperately trying to emulate the very lifestyle portrayed in so many music videos. I see posts showing off fake Rolex watches. I see guys surrounded by lots of scantily clad women while popping Moët and Hennessy. I see guys showing off money. Wire wire. Money order. What I do not see is any evidence of the work that they do in order to afford themselves such luxuries. These were the very people using the excuses of the bad economy, recession and poverty to explain their foray into fraud. In my mind I made my conclusions and I wont go into that here but you can check out my post titled SagaCity | Fraud is the new normal for more on my thoughts on flexing for the gram.

The annoying thing about this whole situation and other similar ones that I have watched unfold on social media is how people listen or read to comment and argue. THEY DO NOT LISTEN OR READ TO UNDERSTAND. So many people are stating categorically and confidently that they can’t believe that Falz mentioned 9ice. Where? Let me insert the extended video for you to watch again:

VIDEO | FALZ SPEAKS: “STOP GLORIFYING FRAUD WITH YOUR MUSIC”

Falz NEVER once mentioned 9ice in that video even though I chose to do so in this post. Furthermore he never even addressed fraudsters or Yahoo Yahoo boys so if you are one and you feel some type of way about his comments, it is your guilty conscience that is pricking you. No one knows the question that was presented to him by Hip TV for this short clip. I believe that Falz is conscientious enough to know that indeed there are issues within our government. All he said was that entertainers have a responsibility to entertain with colourful story telling or to inspire. That they should stop encouraging bad behaviour and leading people astray. What is so wrong in saying that? Some have decided to drag his father into this debacle. Let us not forget that in the same way that people are condemning Falz for speaking his mind, Femi Falana, a lawyer and human rights activist was once kidnapped and threatened for criticising the government.

What is scary here is the way 9ice has been cushioned in all of this while Falz has been openly vilified by many for speaking his truth. The mindset of our youth is dangerous and upsetting. It makes me wonder whether there is any hope for us at all. This is the same generation in which someone saw fit to start a #FreeEvans hashtag campaign on social media because in their warped minds, the kidnappings and killings orchestrated by Evans were justified due to the hardship that our leaders are inflicting on us everyday. I agree that we are going through hard times. I accept that our leaders are corrupt and have traded in our future to satisfy their personal greed. But that does not make Yahoo Yahoo a justifiable “profession”. It is a crime that will land you in jail if you are caught. There are people who are really struggling to make ends meet but will NEVER commit a crime in the name of survival. I appreciate that it takes integrity and a strong sense of character. Things that our leaders lack. What is scarier is that we are the generation raising the next generation. We have become more sophisticated in our fraudulent ways than those who came before us. Imagine the next generation? Just imagine. Background and home-training go a long way and we need to be mindful of the value system that we are building for our children.

Today I have no food for thought. Just too many unanswered questions. Which way 9ja? Which way for the youth? Everywhere I comment there is a Yahoo Boy ready to accuse me of not being understanding while trying to knock me off my “high horse”. So instead let me hail and show appreciation to all the people who believe in making an honest living. Shout out to the people who know that there is dignity in labour. A special shout out to all the parents slaving earnestly and honestly to ensure that their children are educated and are therefore given a better chance at life. Shout out to all the people who understand that sometimes you need to create your own opportunities and are therefore setting up small businesses whether it is to sell peppeh in the market, fashion retail or a graphics design studio. Shout out to all the people with humble hearts that are big enough to take on any type of legal employment as long as they can put food on their table and pay rent. Shout out to all the people who have made it their duty to help those who are less fortunate than themselves so they do not have to resort to crime. I salute all of you. It is you who give me hope because until all hands are on deck and Nigerians with one voice unite to accept that corruption is endemic and needs to be eradicated, from corrupt police on the streets with point of sale systems to process bribe collection to cyber crime all the way up to the corrupt leaders in government offices, we will continue to destroy our future.

VIDEO | 9ICE RESPONDS: “I AM NOT PROMOTING FRAUD”

Welcome to SagaCity. A social commentary column by @wurathepenwarrior, for 9jaBreed. May you receive sense. Or better yet, sound off below with your thoughts.

sa|ga¦city
NOUN
the quality of being sagacious.
synonyms: wisdom · insight · intelligence · understanding · sense · sharpness · depth · erudition · learning · deep knowledge
antonyms: stupidity

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