Dr. Rueben Abati versus the rest of us

Posted on June 22 2017 , at 03:31 pm
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  • Abati comes from a generation that would rather ridicule and vilify the younger generation than try to understand it.


This is not an attempt to reply Dr. Rueben Abati‘s scathing attack on the Nigerian youth and music. No way. The individuals primarily concerned have done a marvellous job of that.

Abati was petty, fickle and a huge let down because so many of today’s youth actually look up to him. Being a member of the generation he so vehemently spoke about, I will just comment on a few issues.

One, to say Abati’s article was badly misinformed and badly written would be putting in mildly. He threw away the journalistic keystone of being a researcher and objective commentator into the winds.

READ: Reuben Abati’s insights on youth culture: A nation’s identity crisis

His examples were woeful and his analogies were inaccurate, shallow and bordering on the meaningless. Banky W‘s rejoinder was spot on and more intelligent to even a causal observer.

Any individual can adopt any moniker he so desires. Ray Charles was christened Ray Charles Robinson. George Orwell was born Eric Bishop. Professor Pat Utomi has a TV show called Patito’s Gang. Does that fact make him rubbish like Dr Abati claims the new generation has become by choosing nicknames and pseudonyms?

In addition, the first time I personally heard the term ‘Las Gidi’ was in Majek Fashek‘s ‘Majek Fashek in New York’. New Yorkers call their city The Big Apple. Las Vegas is also known as Sin City. The very least Abati could have done was to research his article before publishing it.

Two, Abati comes from a generation that would rather ridicule and vilify the younger generation than try to understand it. Our generation is always abused and termed unserious by the one before us, while we know that their own time had their own issues – at times worse than ours.

No one has flaunted drug addiction and promiscuity as much as the late Fela did. My own mother could not tell me what King Sunny Ade meant by ‘Sweet Banana’. So for anyone of that generation to outrightly ignore the rainforest in their own eyes and try to remove the speck in ours, in highly vitriolic ways, is very sad.

Ours is the generation that had nothing handed to us. We made us. The generation before us has destroyed, to a very large extent, any legacy that they can bequeath to us. No one has any right to condemn us unfairly like Dr. Abati did.

Third and finally, as said on a TV show by former Chocolate City Records C.E.O, Audu Maikori, Dr. Abati is on the board of trustees of The Future Awards, the biggest annual youth event in Nigeria. Isn’t it a paradox that while Abati is part of a system that rewards some of these young people, he would also skewer them in such manner?

It would be honourable for him to resign and withdraw his participation from the Future Awards. That way, he would be able to voice his opinion (no matter how unbalanced they are) without contradicting himself.

ALSO: My response to Reuben Abati’s article in The Guardian Newspapers

Personally, I feel that the said article was a desperate attempt of an ageing pedagogue to hang on to public relevance at all costs. Nobody can claim knowledge of every subject. If you don’t know, ask! If you need to write, you owe it to yourself, more than the audience, to carefully research the topic you want to speak on.

Dr. Abati’s commentary on a contemporary issue that he so obviously knows nothing about greatly undermines his intellect. Most of the people he mentioned have done well for themselves and their families in LEGAL ways – in a society that is most difficult to succeed in. He should learn to take the good along with the bad and not just isolate issues.

It might be too much to ask Dr. Abati for an apology. After all, according to their generation, elders do not apologise to the youth. Nobody will ask him to anyway. We have music to make. We have business to do (Dr Abati seems to have a problem with that). We have money to make. He cannot just sit on his high horse and vent at us. We won’t just sit back and take it. We will talk about it. We will talk about it on radio and TV, Twitter and Facebook.

It’s Naija Forever! Yes Boss!!!

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