Saturday, July 17, 2021


“Táyọ Awotunsin fún Champion;
Krees Imodibie fún Guardian;
Àwọn oníròyìn yi kú s’ogun,
L’ọ̀wọ̀ àwọn ọlọ̀tẹ́ (rebels) ilẹ̀ Liberia. 
Tayo Awotunsin sun re oo
Krees Imodibie orun ree….”

That was an extract from Kolington Ayinla’s song in memory of the two Nigerian journalists, Tayo Awotusi of Champion Newspaper and Krees Imodibe of The Guardian Newspaper, killed in cold blood by the Liberian warlord, Charles Taylor in 1991 while covering the war events in Liberia.  

I grew up to learn most Nigerian histories and her Dramatis personæ via music like this and not only through conservative reading.  The entire Music Scrapbooks of Dr. Sikiru Ayinde Barrister are stacked with currents affairs and political instructions; and I can stand out songs like ‘ Family Planning‘,  ‘Current Affairs’,’ The Truth’ and ‘Precaution’ among many others as classical tops in  this regards.

The days of Ebenezer Obey’s active performance were great. People were not constrained to reading newspaper or be at the mercy of opinion leaders to understand local and national events, government policies and developmental journalism. I confirmed this when I browsed through songs like ‘Omo wa n re Soja’ (a seeming swansong for Army recruits during the Nigerian civil war of 1967-1970); ‘Ogun Pari’, ‘Keep Right’, ‘Naira & Kobo’, ‘Operation Feed the Nation’, Austerity Measure’, ‘Formula 0-1-0’ and ‘Womanhood’ among many others. Almost all musicians of that era towed same path. 

Ajao Yesufu Olatunji in his Volume 18 was clinical in his analysis of the appointment of the then Brigadier Oluwole Rotmi’s appointment as the Military Governor of the old Western Region in 1971 and he also enumerated the high expectations of the Westerners from him. This was awesome. What can we say of Ayinla Omowura’s breakdown of Governor Mobolaji Johnson’s house rent policy in Lagos in the early 70s? Splendid! "Category B, àti Gategory C, tí ńṣe ilé àmọ́, tàbí ilé pákó, five naira lowo wá...." 

There are many more examples of such great musicians and music you can add to my few examples. My point here is ; can we rely on modern day Yoruba music and musicians to preserve and chronicle our national history and heritage for future reference and learning?

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