From Kemi Yesufu, Abuja The decision to retain health maintenance organisations (HMOs) as part of the country’s health insurance programme caused a major disagreement between the House of Representatives Committee on Health Services and the executive secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof. Yusuf Usman. Usman, at the just concluded two-day investigative hearing…
By Magnus Eze
Abuja nightlife, which had been on the ebb for a while because of the economic downturn in Nigeria, recently got a boost from the stable of reggae music star, Ras Kimono, and his daughter, Oge, with the introduction of a monthly live show in the nation’s capital.
The show, tagged “Trajectory with Ras Kimono,” which debuted February 26, 2017, at the IBI Centre, Discovery Mall, Wuse 2, also featured Oge Kimono, B.E.N as well as Dunnie & Jojo Entertainment Band.
It was a night to remember for fun-seekers who thronged the place to have a glimpse of the music legend, whose last performance in Abuja was almost 20 years ago.
Kimono held the crowd spellbound with his scintillating stagecraft, spiced with occasional jibes: “The last time I had a show here was over 12 years ago. I was invited for a show, only to find out that it was a rally in support of (Gen. Sani Abacha), otherwise called ‘One Million Man March’.
“That’s why I don’t like Abuja; they have politicians. Most of them are looters. That’s why I say Abuja must be free, Nigeria must be free. And I see dem no like me, me no like dem.”
The audience was treated to evergreen dancehall tunes like “What’s Gwan” and “Under Pressure” dropped almost three decades ago and still captured the situation in the country today with economic hardship everywhere.
Expectedly, Kimono was saddened that many of the ills he and other social crusaders campaigned against under the military junta still persist today.
He said that they had at the period thought that the nation was seriously ill, without knowing that it was going to be worse as time went on: “As a country we are supposed to be growing, but here we always take 10 steps backwards, instead of moving forward. Even when I play it, people love and enjoy it, but I feel so sad that what I sang long ago is still happening.
“By now I am supposed to be singing tales by moonlight; or talking about love and joy or singing about love and tranquillity. But you can’t talk about love with empty stomach, so no time for mutual romance because everybody is under pressure.”
Kimono pointedly said that even President Muhammadu Buhari was also under pressure.
According to the rub-a-dub master, “Buhari is under pressure; if he wasn’t under pressure he won’t run to London. The whole Nigeria is under pressure, Abuja, Lagos, everywhere, everybody. Buhari might want to come back, but circumstances probably didn’t allow him to come back. He’s sick. When you are sick, you are under pressure. And I think the load in the country is weighing him down, too. Nigeria’s load, you can’t carry it alone.”
Future of reggae music
Kimono insisted that reggae music has come to stay; nobody can kill reggae even though most people were no longer playing the music genre.
He said, “Everybody is playing ‘What is happening’. Only people like me are still holding tight to the brand of music and my daughter doing her bit; that’s why it’s like reggae is sleeping but it’s not sleeping because as long as Kimono lives, reggae must continue to live.”
He recalled how one of his songs “Dragon Pit,” which attacked military dictatorship in Africa calling for them to be thrown into the dragon’s pit, where they belonged, was banned under Gen. Ibrahim Babangida and never saw the light of day until he ‘stepped aside.’
Asked whether he sees himself as a prophet, given the relevance of his songs released over 20 years ago to the prevailing situation in the country, Kimono said: “I don’t see myself as a prophet. I am just a messenger of Jehovah and what he created in us and said go and prophesy, that’s what we are doing. But people now say I am a prophet. If I had come out to say this is what is going to happen in the next two years, probably people would have called me false prophet. I don’t want to do that; I just sing what God gives me to sing.”
The singer, however, urged tourism promoters to host big shows in Abuja, where legends like him could perform.
The Trajectory concept
The initiator of Trajectory Sounds & Harmony, Oge, told Daily Sun that she had nursed the idea of staging events where upcoming artistes could showcase their talents by performing live. So, when she attended a seminar sometime ago at the IBI Centre and the owners of the facility tasked her to think of what they could do together, the idea quickly took hold.
She added that another driving force behind it was to bring in music legends and spice the show, saying that it would be an avenue to “encourage, appreciate and celebrate our own legends; we need to celebrate our legends when they are alive, not when they are dead. This platform gives the upcoming acts and legends the opportunity to meet and establish some sort of relationship, maybe a mentorship or collaboration. You never can tell what comes out of this.”