‘Motherland’, referring to Nigeria in his song, at the time of its release, was so timely and its messages even till the present day is rich and timeless as it could be passed off as an Immigrant travel guide.
The early part of the song had reminded us about how Chinedu had borrowed some money to fund his trip to Chicago. It further adds: how Nnamdi had also sold off his car to facilitate the trip of a beloved to America. In the middle of it all is also the emotionally drained lover or spouse left behind, whose wellbeing and fragile mind is left hanging in the balance, sadly in some instance, some partner never returns.
The song perhaps appears to have critically observed the obsession of many immigrants whose inordinate or misplaced quest for survival believes that immigrating to the West or other European countries is a critical means by which survival is sought, hence Sound Sultan’s ‘Motherland’ came in handy: offering some counsel, suggesting that sometimes, a sojourner may have to beat a retreat by returning to his ancestral home, Motherland, given the fact that sometimes, in a bid to survive in a foreign land, the unpredictability of such adventures may unavoidably require one to do so.
As often the case with many immigrants from Nigeria and by extension many others from African countries, who had at one time or the other undertaken such adventurous trips in search of greener pasture abroad, even the period leading to their departure also comes at a great cost and sacrifices as some families sell off assets and other prized possessions to fund such trips, unsure whether the risk would eventually pay off or not.
While the craze in search of the golden fleece rage on, some Africans in their desperation may have also thrown caution in the air, leading to situations where thousands have reportedly died in the wake of risky voyages across Mediterranean or Sahara wastelands, as hundreds have also fallen prey to wild beasts, transnational armed syndicate and human traffickers who deal in drugs and sex slaves, having promised many unsuspecting victims an elusive eldorado life, waiting for them in Europe. Many African households have believed some of these false narratives built into their psyche for many years and it has become so difficult to undo.
The Late singer was never opposed to the idea of people seeking better opportunities or greener pastures outside the country, but rather also reminds them about home and the need for them to apply cautious optimism where applicable, in their quest to traveling overseas.
Notwithstanding, the home would still be home regardless of the prevailing circumstance which may have forcibly led to one’s uneventful return.
This writer believes, Late Olarewaju Fasasi fondly called Sound Sultan, as a social crusader, an iconic singer using his musical crafts as a vehicle to remind us about the need to be introspective, also feels compelled to note that ‘Motherland,’ mirroring the life of most Immigrants and some of the challenges often associated with it, brings to the fore also a social problem and the need for concerned International Organizations like UN and its relevant agencies to do more in terms of advocacy and policies in reversing the tales of woes of many migrants.
Though UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes for the first time the contribution of migration to its sustainable development, thus, 11 out of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) contain targets and indicators relevant to migration or mobility for which parts of its Agenda’s core principle is to “leave no one behind,” not even migrants.
The SDGs’ central reference to migration is made in some of its major targets, which is to facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies. Other targets directly related to migration mention trafficking, remittances, international student mobility, and more. Moreover, migration is indirectly relevant to many more cross-cutting targets.
UN, more recently, through International Organization on Migration, a leading partner on the inter-governmental organisation in the field of migration works to ensure the orderly and humane management of migration, to promote international cooperation on migration issues, to assist in the search for practical solutions to migration problems and to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in need, including refugees and internally displaced people.
In 2016, IOM entered into an agreement with the United Nations, becoming one of its specialized agencies.
However, the above plans and efforts of UN appear commendable but today’s realities in some part of Europe and other Asian countries, judging by their immigration policies at present largely remains a far cry from the much advertised SDG’s policies.
While many Africans battle so hard to grapple with harsh realities and hostilities of their host countries ranging from racism, prejudice, little or too rigid legal documentation processes for immigrants, and biting chances of economic survival, many have also become susceptible to illegal drug dealings which in most cases often result in cruel fate or even avoidable deaths.
The sad news on the passing of Sound Sultan, one of Nigeria’s notable songwriter, artist, producer, and comedian, who few days ago was reported to have lost the battle to a cancerous related aliment around the throat, brings with it feelings of pain, grief, and national loss. By national loss, Nigeria just lost a voice and a social crusader reputed for his numerous campaigns against bad governance, injustice, corruption, and bad leadership a major clog in the wheel of Nigeria’s progress. He will fondly be remembered for his many statesmanly roles towards mobilizing the citizens through his several songs on how to constructively hold them accountable to their constitutional functions.
To the memory of the Late Singer, President Muhammadu Buhari also pen a glowing tribute to him for his contribution to basketball development in Nigeria. He was even reported to have co-owned a basketball team. D’ Tigers, Nigerian Men Basketball National team would also honor the late singer by wearing T-shirts bearing the late singer’s name and image on it, for his roles in promoting the sports. Coincidentally, his death would also leave a lasting memory following D’Tiger’s phenomenal triumph over the US Men Basketball National team, a feat no African team had ever done, the same day he was said to have died.
The Motherland crooner died at age 44 in the US and his remains have since been buried in the US, same day, according to Islamic rites, leaving behind his three kids and his beloved wife.
By Segun Adesokan.