Rhythm for peace
That Nigeria needs peace is an understatement. That a youth group realised this and approached it from an artistic perspective is laudable.
CHYDAN is not your everyday artiste, dreaming to make hits and top the charts. It may also not be crazy about building an impressive fan base as far as music is concerned. Far from being on a melodious mission, it is primarily concerned with patriotism, which is unique in every sense of the word.
CHYDAN is short for Champions Youths Development Association of Nigeria. It is a group of Nigerian youths, who have taken it upon themselves to sing about one virtue that is needed in the country at the moment, peace. They have done this in a new song they recorded titled, Campaign for Peace. As a musical piece, this work stands out in that it has a message everyone is preaching.
Far from waiting for the political elites to employ a strategy for stemming the tide of violence rocking the entire country, this group has identified the pivotal role of the youth in this whole problem and has in this work directed their attention to them. From the first verse of the song, written in both English and Pidgin English, the song used several instances to remind the youths of Nigeria that they should not allow anyone to use them as tools for violence.
Particularly truthful about the lyrics is the portion that reminds the youths of the need for education, while admonishing those, especially the elites who have been teaching that western education is taboo. The message is clear that the elites who are preaching against education are great beneficiaries of the system and are simply on a mission to put the youths down perpetually. Interesting is the idea that while they are all training their children in schools aboard they are busy maryouths with the ‘no school’ idea.
Of course, hearing the song instantly reminds one of the problems afflicting the northern part of the country and this group with this song clearly avoided calling the name of the group often blamed for the violence. This is every inch a wise decision. Someone cannot be on a restoration move and still fuel crisis. CHYDAN must be commended for this, because doing otherwise may leave them either vulnerable or evoke more crisis.
The song in one of its lines also cautioned the youths about revolution. According to the song ‘revolution is not the solution but unity of purpose’. But this is quite debatable. The group should have explained further with words, how positive revolution can bring positive changes. For instance, it is clear that the nation can make do with youths with broad-mined faculty of how things should run. Getting them to think in this direction means revolution. In other words, the song simply failed to identify when revolution is positive or negative.
Another aspect of this production that would impress the audience is the language of choice in delivering this message. CHYDAN used English and Pidgin, the most commonly spoken languages in the country. While one would wonder why they did not bother to use the three big languages-Hausa, Ibo and Yoruba- the truth inherent in this is that Nigeria should move beyond the three big tribes and recognise that the country has over 250 ethnic groups, who are all important in the project called Nigeria. May be it is high time we began to recognise what our lingua franca should be. But this also leaves a question about getting the audience being targeted to get the message. The truth is that bulk of those used to ferment these troubles, especially in northern Nigeria, hardly understand English. But CHYDAN may have succeeded in addressing their sponsors all the same.
Another aspect of Campaign for Peace that would leave some sour taste is the fact that it left something fundamental about the spate of violence in the country. While researches have blamed the violence on the imbalance in terms of opportunities and incomes, the song left the root of the problem to talk about the symptoms.