Some sixteen days ago, I ran into the recently released video of TY Bello's The future online.
The only thing I can't excuse in the recording is the noticeable auto-tune overlay on the vocals but that is minor. Everything else in the release is sterling.
Its camera-work; Those subtle pans in the 240 seconds video recording are as brilliant, as they are exceedingly simple.
In addition, TY Bello's production team deserves a lot of credit for the maturity of storytelling that is central to TY's theme in The Future. The video has some some intelligently composited background shots which fits, the perfectly positive overall intention of the recording.
It seems to me that TY, in The Future, attempts to capture the mood of an emergent generation of people, young people in namespace Nigeria who are trapped in an intriguing political narrative that is pregnant with a lot of hope, and opportunity but riddled with a lot of uncertainties.
Suffice to add that TY's video, forget the lyrics, is a narrative in itself that dares to capture the varying and boundless composition of emotion that is the face of the Nigerian. In places, it can be a wonderful story. In most places, its a disheartening story of a people so abused, The future should no longer be a promise....
I am not going to take away from the clever use of shadows, lighting and engulfing fades by trying to describe them. They all tell their own story in their intelligent & transparent use. Brilliant.
And TY is a beautiful sister too. There are some tasty dance-steps, towards the final fade-out of the whole video that, watching them - no matter what mood you were, is infectious.
You have to be Nigerian, or dance Nigeria to understand.
The flash-it-and-disappear-it technique with which her editing team made those dance-steps, with the finger rolls, and the body-frame twists, ultimately infuses joy.
The radiance that oozes from the different and colourful attires, on display, on the various faces and bodies of the Nigerian, in the Future's shots too are visually arresting.
I have since found myself going back to watch the pictures, every now and then; Most especially when I am in a dire need of inspiration.
TY's The future is here, is one, every parent should have no problems in buying for their young ones, if for nothing, surely for the transcendental way it somehow transports the brain, into a positive zone.
There is artistic excellence, of superior coordinates, coming out from The Future, and TY Bello's team should be proud...
On another breath, the overall sensation one gets from the increasing force and visibility of youthful energy, in Nigeria these days, is that of a people getting done.
A people already done with being taken for a ride for too long, for ever.
And it helps that, in all substance, the era of the stock of the 60s, of which expired emperor Olusegun Obasanjo's (mal)administration was the last-card is over.
Suddenly, the space is wide open and young people of namespace Nigerian are learning to dream. And actually feel their dreams fly. This is the spirit within which, I admire TY Bello's audacious mix up there.
However, now that Nigeria's presidential elections are over, and there is a seeming air of relief in some places that the electioneering process was largely sensible, anyone who is proclaiming a future for the hapless people of namespace Nigeria, should not be stopping at the mere declaration of 'that' future.
It is crucial to ask, what sort of Future ?
Yet again, a lot of ordinary people have been murdered in Northern Nigeria, in senseless post-election killings that expose the hypocrisy of Nigeria's diseased elites, most especially the thieving Northern extraction, as exhibited in the monsterous kill-gang of poor, ignorant and heavily indoctrinated people they have grown brimming in their backyards all these years.
Take the whole concept of Nigeria's NYSC for example, the scheme - to my mind - is one that has outlived its extant usefulness.
The only reason Nigeria's NYSC is still standing, standing in its current form, is because it is a corruption machinery for every single person and clique in the top echelon of the program's administration. In Abuja and in namespace Nigeria.
Perhaps the NYSC was useful in the 70s. Maybe.
But as with all things in namespace Nigeria, the NYSC's format, its appeal, in fact the NYSC's essential character is rooted in the vision, and processes that were envisioned in the 70s.
In the 70s, people used typewriters.
The program, as is, is an insensitive waste of time, energy and youth and it should have been scrapped a lot of years ago.
Asking that the NYSC be scrapped is not so much because the NYSC cannot be evolved, but the people who insist on having NYSC, the scheme's owners, are people who have continually shown they cannot be trusted with the kind of thought-process that will evolve a new NYSC. And speaking of the NYSC and the Future, in light of recent heart-breaking news, my deepest thoughts and sympathies with the families and friends of Ukeoma Aikfavour and many other young Nigerians who lost their future, in the trenches of Northern Nigeria under the force of a pointless and forced serve-your-father program. If, and when we claim TY's future, we will do well not to forget these people - true heroes, slain mercilessly by supposed fellow citizen...
The more I contemplate the future TY Bello does a fine job of espousing in the video here, and superimpose the brimming reality of today on it, I am convinced the most fundamental question that confronts the ongoing Goodluck Jonathan presidency is the unresolved 50 year one-liner: Who is a Nigerian ?
Central Bank Governor Sanusi Lamido has a statement to the effect “So, anybody that is still preaching that the problem of Nigeria is Yoruba or Hausa or Fulani, he does not love Nigeria. The problem with Nigeria is that a group of people from each and every ethnic tribe is very selfish. The poverty that is found in Maiduguri is even worse than any
poverty that you find in any part of the South." floating within the closed gardens of Facebook.
I have serious problems with that assertion; The governor assumes - just as all of Nigeria's federal leaders have done to date - that just because the namespace that is Nigeria pretend to the illusion of acceleration, as they say fumbling and wobbling ahead, while in the real sense moving backwards, currently to an impending crash, as if an embodiment of Michael Jackson's legendary moonwalk, that everything will be fine for as long as there exists an Aso Rock, a Super Eagles and the Oil pumps are rolling down the Delta. This assumption is flawed.
The important posers, to Governor Sanusi are numerous and I proceed with a degree of caution as I am yet to to read his entire context: Is he and by implication, his team in the heart of Abuja aware at all, that Nigeria is merely a namespace, which means different things to him, or to the monster of Ota in expired emperor Olusesgun Obasanjo, or the lunatic of Minna in Ibrahim Babangida or to the inhuman witch of Katsina in Turai Yaradua just as it means different things to Samson Siasia or to that con-artist swede football Coach - Laggerback, just as Nigeria means different things to those Oyinbo people in those foreign embassies in Abuja, or to the British Prime minister, or to the British Monarchy, let alone Obama. Is he aware that Nigeria means different things to people in my grandmother's village compared to the thousands of Nigerian elite children who mill around the streets of London and New York, whatever context you choose to apply meaning ?
You cannot be asked to love that, which you do not see, nor feel nor value. It does not make sense.
Nigeria, as is, is a contraption and I would rather like to know what he did, or has done to try and persuade his presidents - the dead, and the living - on redefining Nigeria.
Time is running out for well connected high officers like governor Sanusi. And they should know it.
The resolution of the question of what it means to be a Nigerian, make no fuzzy mistake about it, is central to any chance of the Future, that TY sings about.
And I am leading TY, in asking all Nigerian public officers - standing, elected and hibernating - that if we are to actually begin our Future, we need to actually define that Nigeria. And the time is now.
On the other hand, just as TY Bello's prophetic artwork is timely, there is even more urgency in the need for young Nigerians, as typified by TY Bello's target audience in The Future, to start demanding their their trip from the tickets they have ordered for the likes of president Goodluck Jonathan whose screaming personal shortcomings notwithstanding, they have somehow found a way to perpetuate in office.
How Nigerians found to dissociate Goodluck Jonahtan from the stockpile and DNA of his travel-mates, or the staggering educational or shall one say linguistic mediocrity of his wife, let alone the murderous gangsterism, and senselessness of his PDP family to 'win' a clandestinely but heavily rigged presidential election process is an intriguing question for political analysis of years to come; Clearly, the mood and texture such analysis will have depends, in fact rests on on what Goodluck Jonathan makes of his Nigeria. And time is ticking, fast.
Personally, having assessed his presidency since Nigeria survived the ridiculous show of idiocy that was the height of Yar'aduanism and Andooakanism, of recent memory, I am not persuaded one bit, that his new presidency will be any different.
The way things are shaping out, President Goodluck Jonathan may well be the last Nigerian president, if the foretelling of his character in the last few months is anything to go by.
Bu there is always immense opportunity in the flow and feel of breathing. Hope is a very good thing. Without hope, there is little or no margin for life to mean anything...
Nearly a year ago, some of the president's men came over to the Nigeriavillagesquare forum to solicit Ideas for president Jonathan. The very clever assemblage of people in that forum came up with a compelling writeup, which holds a cache of some of the most straightforward solutions to unravelling namespace Nigeria's problem.
From where I stand, Goodluck Jonathan should be putting a lot of sleepless nights into implementing these with the desperation and intensity of a flight captain who is in charge of a crashing airplane.
Maybe then, he can be taken seriously. Either way, the cost of failure, or dithering - Abuja is terribly slow with decision making - will be patently more catastrophic than those mind boggling bombs his wife throw around in public.
As for TY Bello's next challenge - and who am I to do this ? - how about a lyrical one that reminds the people of the street of Nigeria that apart from their president, there are those Councillors, and Local Government Chairmen and Governors and University Professors, and Teachers, and Parents who they should be screaming out loud out at, for the trip to This Future ?
Also, It would be a very productive thing, to have some-place to immediately buy MP3 downloads of releases. It can be quite hard to buy Nigerian music if one is not in Lagos and that is not very clever. If The Future is here, we should be able to buy it, or download it even if we are truly awaiting to live it.