“Nigeria Is Still Jaga Jaga” – Eedris Abdulkareem
If you were born in the before the 2000s or early 2000s, chances are that you have a recollection the lyrics, “Nigeria jaga jaga…Everywhere scatter scatter”.
In case you don’t, at one point or the other of your waking and breathing in Nigeria, you must have heard someone complain about the state of the country.
Veteran Nigerian singer, Eedris Abdulkareem whom we have to thank for the hit song, “Nigeria Jaga Jaga” was a guest on Channels TV’s Rubbing Minds yesterday, January 12th and he spoke about the song.
Talking about the theme of the song which addresses the deplorable state of Nigeria, Abdulkareem says he feels vindicated as the message of the song is still relevant18 years after the song’s release.
Speaking about the song and its depiction of the Nigerian society, Abdulkareem said:
“In 2002 I dropped Nigeria Jaga Jaga, and the ex-president came on the National TV and said that boy wey sing that song, na him papa and him family jaga jaga. I was very happy that my message got to the president. I was very happy that the president talked back at me because that means they were listening and today I’ve been vindicated again because Nigeria is still jaga jaga.”
Upon its release in 2002, the song sparked reactions from the Nigerian populace with the song subsequently banned from radio by the Federal Government under the administration of ex-president, Olusegun Obasanjo although it continued to be played at nightclubs.
The singer also revealed that he would continue to speak his truth through his music because that is the Legacy that would be left behind after he is long gone. He said:
“For me, life is about choices and whatever you choose to stand for, you have people who want to live that life with you.”
Known for his songs that tend to criticise the ills in society, Abdulkareem in 2018 slammed President Muhammadu Buhari as a successful fraudster.
The term ‘Jaga Jaga’ is a Nigerian term which has been used to describe something in a state of chaos or disarray.
Born Eedris Turayo Abdulkareem Ajenifuja, he performed with hip-hop band The Remedies from 1997 until they split in 2002. He continued as a solo artist and released the album P.A.S.S. (“Pains And Stress = Success”) in 2002. Later in the same year, he released an album titled Mr. Lecturer. Its title track thematised students in Nigerian colleges and universities receiving higher grades in exchange for money and sex.
In 2004 Abdulkareem released his third album Jaga Jaga, a Yoruba term for a shambles, declaiming corruption and suffering in Nigeria.