“Las Las We Go Dey Alright”
The beauty of the Nigerian space is its conduciveness—excuse the unfortunate and unintended pun—to throw up eternal “words on marble” everyone can relate to, and on deeper rumination, hold so much truth in their simplicity, awkwardness or even abstractness. These coinages have become everything it means to be Nigerian because of the circumstances that have forced their creations. And we have been blessed with so many in the years before that somehow marinate much more than the messages they are simply meant to convey: “How far,” “Owambe,” “Aba-Made” “Water Don Pass Garri,” “Park One Side,” even the latest social media sensation rendered by the Nollywood artiste, Charles Inojie “Na Dem Dey Rush Us.”
But I must insist, perhaps prematurely to some, that “Las Las We Go Dey Alright” ranks among the greatest—if not the greatest—we have birthed in a crazy space like Nigeria. Whoever created “Las Las We Go Dey Alright” especially during these trying times was surely on to something that would reverberate in eternity. But this time, not as an echo. For buried deep within this phrase is everything about the Nigerian life and living.
I will explain shortly.
“Las Las We Go Dey Alright” depicts the eternal struggle of a nation bound by the whims and caprices of its colonial masters; a nation with its citizens caught between unbridled loyalty to tribe and an unapologetic pander to religion; arguably adverse to nationhood, yet ever ready to defend the Nigerian colours outside her shores.
“Being a Nigerian is abysmally frustrating and unbelievably exciting,” Chinua Achebe once wrote in his book of essays, The Education of the British-Protected Child. What he meant was the repetition of the much-vaunted near-success syndrome; an epic, almost metaphysical inkling ridiculing the effort of a massively gifted nation seemingly lost in a rudderless world with no clear socioeconomic or political ideology.
This caption is thus the cry of millions tagged “graduates” by a shambolic education sector which has no idea what education in a 21st century, technologically-driven dynamic world is. Yet, these citizens are forever finding themselves, adapting, reinventing, hoping that their acquired and inherent gifts can at least find a light, no matter how dim, to brighten a world so gloom that those who ruined the national treasury have reincarnated to still “lead” in this Information Age, unashamedly. “Las Las We Go Dey Alright” serves as a tonic to their individual drives to find relevance in a country nonchalantly eager to be enshrined with the worst findings to human and natural potentials.
It is that force of will with which the Christian sows seeds for miracles; the Muslim observes his pillars of faith with reckless abandon; that audacity to brand oneself a Teacher, Makeover Artiste, Ghost-writer, Instructor, Fashion Designer, Reviewer et cetera.
It is that awkward reality which hits one in the face of multiple failures to finally engage in the debilitating brain-drain syndrome by seeking ways to rather die in the West than become another object of hateful massacre by domestic terrorists crudely termed “Fulani herdsmen,” or to escape via the Mediterranean Sea than be smoked alive under the misguided irreverently lumped words of a banal democratic sham. It is the reassurance of the unprotected civilian in Odi, Aba, Kano; and the helpless passenger along Lagos, Kano, Benin expressways.
“Las Las We Go Dey Alright” is the silent prayer of those who feel trapped in a system never designed to be a democracy or even a caricature of its duplicate. It is also, not to fall victim of selective outrage, the muted creeds of those who have escaped the trouble called Nigeria. Perhaps no longer for themselves but for the family members left behind; for the love of a nation, one can count as being his territorial space of origin, simply on the knowledge of information contained in one’s international passport.
Yet, it is the ultimate understanding that Nigeria—and by extension, Africa—perhaps, in spite of her overwhelming vices, has it within herself to survive manufactured and imported bullets of self-destruction.
I believe that the eternal beauty of “Las Las We Go Dey Alright” lies even in its universality. Therefore, it is not any different from the plight of the Nigerian in Nigeria; or same felt by the Palestinian in Israel; the Hispanic in Trump’s America; the African lost in hope and sold on the desperation of finding redemption but stuck in an “unknown” land in Libya; or presently, those fleeing natural and political disasters in their respective nations to find succour in foreign lands, derogatorily termed “refugees.” This thinking forever reshapes a fundamental feeling of reassurance for the African-American stuck in a land that never was the plan, policies that will never include his humanity or regard his need for self-respect.
It is, in the end, the hope against the most obvious reasons for despair that “Las Las, We Go Dey Alright.”
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