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Who will save the Zazu Zeh generation?

Who will save the Zazu Zeh generation?

Some critics call them the denizens of the street, ragamuffins, social misfits and a bunch of lazy goons. In fact, this set of Nigerians are quick to blame the youth for the ever-escalating wave of crimes such as armed robbery, kidnapping for ransom, rape, cyber-crime and terrorism without asking ourselves if we, as the elders have been there for them, or playing our parts, as at and when due.

To their traducers therefore, one would ask if the perpetrators of the heinous crimes appear from Planet Mars or Jupiter? Don’t they have parents, teachers, pastors or Imams that should be the moral compass to guide them right? What about the various arms of government such as the executive, legislature and the judiciary? What about the local, state and federal governments? Have they acted as the father-figure to provide for their welfare and protect them against social and food insecurity as enshrined in Section 14,Sub section 2(b) of the 1999 Constitution,(as amended)? The answers are obvious.

These troubling questions recently came to mind with the sudden rise from grass-to-grace of controversial singer and dancer, Habeeb Okikiola, aka Portable. More like a bold bolt hitting us out of the blues his hit song titled, Zazu Zeh, with input from award-winning and popular singer and rapper, Olamide Adedeji ruled the airwaves from the Christmas festive period and is yet to die down.
So popular has he become that his followership on Instagram has also rapidly increased from 20,000 to over 500,000 admirers! In fact, Zazu Zeh had 1.7 million plays in 2 days on Audiomack. The video director said it will be the “biggest dance video ever”. He has also performed at some recent crowd-pulling music concerts with top music artistes such as Wizkid, Tiwa Savage and Small Doctor.

As expected, his overnight fame has attracted some measure of sneezes and scandals. For instance, he accused Poco Lee of taking $2400 out of the $3000 that Wizkid ‘sprayed’ on him. That was during their performance at the Livespot concert in Lagos. Portable also stated that Poco Lee was trying to claim the rights to Zazu Zeh as reflected in a recent video that went viral.

On his part, Portable’s promoter, Kogbagidi accused Poco Lee of ripping off the youngster and described him as an ungrateful person. On a good note however, several celebrities, including rapper, Olamide and actor, Ijebu have sued for peace. Also, the lady who not long ago accused him of impregnating her and neglecting her with her baby has made a U-turn, describing it all as a joke!
But jokes apart, even as some entertainment analysts including BBNaija Nina insist that Portable’s Zazu Zeh is overhyped; predicting that he will soon go into musical oblivion his emergence on the effervescent and volatile music scene throws up some questions concerning Nigerian youth that the leaders have to provide answers to, and urgently too.

“We can get the better Nigeria we desire, if truly we can abandon ethnicity, religiosity, dishonesty and greed. We can build a better nation if we start doing now the things we said we are fighting for.”
― Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha

How many Portables are out there on the streets with brilliant and beautiful ideas but lack the Olamides to believe in them, encourage them and go further to provide them the enabling environment to be the best they could ever be? How many of those ideas have been buried with the frustrated talents, some of who committed suicide? How many people out there would identify the roses in the midst of thorns and make meaning out of what others would consider as sheer gibberish with Pepe Sneh, ZehMany Many Werey wanle, Zeh Ah, repete, Zeh? Whatever it stands for, it is currently making the unexpected millions for the young talent.

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After all, was Chinua Achebe’s ground-breaking novel, ‘Things Fall Apart’ not severally rejected by some publishers in Britain back in 1957 and nearly got lost? Has it not eventually gained global attention as the most widely read book by an African author and sold over 20 million copies as well as translated into 60 languages? That is apart from being converted into a blockbuster movie.

Similarly, was Michael Jackson’s first effort at making the epoch-making ‘Thriller’ album not rejected by Quincy Jones, the producer and had to be reworked all over? But has it not gone ahead to sell some 70 million copies worldwide breaking several records?
Let us for a moment consider the mind-boggling and humungous sums of public funds serially siphoned to feather the nests of members of the political class ever since Nigeria’s political independence in 1960.Couldn’t that have maximally facilitated in providing quality education, sustainable food security, sound healthcare delivery and the enabling infrastructural environment to provide mass employment for the Nigerian youth?

But what have our set of political leaders-past and present-left for them? Decrepit infrastructure, epileptic power supply, lack of quality education and healthcare delivery; lack of jobs, lack of single-digit interest loans to kick-start their ideas and a huge debt profile of N35.465trillion as at June 2021. Yet, the federal government has kept borrowing ever since. So, who will pay these debts?

Definitely, the Zazu Zeh generation will have to battle with increase in electricity tariff, pump price of fuel, a volatile political climate, joblessness and the attendant hunger and anger on the streets. If you are not as worried as yours truly, consider this economic scenario.

According to Nairametrics in July 2021, the Federal Government spent N1.8 trillion on debt servicing in the first five months of the year, representing about 98 per cent of the total revenue generated in the same period. A total of N4.86 trillion was spent by the Federal Government between January and May 2021, from which N206.89 billion was spent as statutory transfers.

Indeed, one’s increasing fear about the nature and texture of the future the current crop of Nigeria’s political leaders is bequeathing to our embattled youth is the Fear Factor, through the flexing of military muscle in a pseudo-democratic dispensation that has become the rule of the leadership thumb.
What moral lessons are we teaching our children, who have to grow up daily in a thorny, political jungle peopled by power-poaching hyenas and jackals; where political might is right and where winning elections is the be all and end all to the life of the average Nigerian politician? The time to change the paradigm is now.

As some analysts believe, we should begin to see in our restless youth nothing but pure, priceless gold, diamonds and pearls, even if in their raw stage. All they need is to be identified, honed and polished to bring out the best in them. To achieve that, our political leaders should devolve the enormous resources at their disposal to identify the millions of potential Portables and create the enabling environment for them to excel.