Shakushaku, the youth and the Nigerian codeine.

Three years ago, I chronicled Nigerian dances from those of our fathers through Makossa down to the beast of all dances at the time, Shoki. Ah shoki! Who remembers? Well, who cares? Welcome to the new. #Shakushaku. No jokes, It’s one of the best dances to have graced our continent. An entertaining gift to Nigeria in this time of economic uncertainties and political madness. It is almost unpardonable that Theresa May was denied the privilege of dancing shakushaku while in Nigeria during her recent “dance tour” in Africa!

This guy captures everything

Just as Shoki took the African coast by storm before 2015 elections, Shakushaku has erupted like a volcano and descended upon us before 2019. It is clean, sweet and amusing, yet technical. Good it is not sensual. It is suitable in the holiest places. It is for men, women, young and old, teachers and students including the very distinguished science students! Although it has its roots in the streets, elites like Genevieve did it in a most refined and enviable style. Dont we all want to dance like Genevieve?

Beyonce will watch this with awe

From New York to London there are countless Youtube videos, yet when we look into this viral dance, and in fact others like shakiti bobo and shoki, one man features prominently directly or indirectly. He is one whose story inspires all. An epitome of what we can call unrelenting hustle. From the streets to the continental shelves, he graces platforms of the high and mighty. A youth. Olamide.

Having released his first album under contract, he decided to launch his YBNL label at 22! He has since won many awards and brought other artists up into fame under his company. I will arguably posit that he is the grand-father of the neo-street music revolution where you find even new arts like Slimcase also establishing himself alongside others. Olamide is that young enigma that turns the heads of his mostly youthful fan-base. When he coughs a tune, then you know igboro ti daru (street is agog). He resonates with everything that happens on the street as though he has a special sensor that detects our daily experiences and our innermost craving for something to be happy about in a struggling country as ours.

Olamide science student

Olamide, through his melodious street beats has established himself as a force in contemporary Naija hiphop and indigenous rap music. An ambassador for top brands including Glo, Sterling bank and other social brands. I would imagine that he works so hard night and day. And guess what? He’s only 28. He is not a lazy youth. By far, he exemplifies the hustle of the ordinary Nigerian. How many times have I seen young people on road-shows break-dancing and shakushaku-ing under that unforgiving sub-Sahara sun, some risking their lives in the middle of roads, facing moving cars driven by angry Nigerians. They have to survive. They have the right to live. Those boys and girls running after vehicles on our roads hawking their goods to commuters are not lazy. They are definitely not subhumans. As citizens they deserve the right to life and dignity. Not less someone like rich-kid Paddy Adenuga who freed himself from his affluent paternal shadows to painstakingly chase a name for himself in the European corporate world. Although he was unlucky in the end, his enviable ordeal was a pulsating story of one of many young Nigerian lions.


And world over, it is not Utopia. People struggle to earn a living even the most developed nations. People by happenstance live at the lowest rung of socioeconomic ladder. But the difference is the proportion of such in different countries. We cannot afford to have 70% of our population living below poverty line. In 2018! The prosperity of a nation is a function of decisions and policies of its leaders. China, Philippines, Singapore, Dubai, even nearby Rwanda are contemporary examples. We are not talking about very few individual lights, we are talking about equal opportunities and enabling economy for all. We are not talking about Lagos out of 36 states. We are talking about self-sustenance up-north and down-south. We are talking about quality education for all our children with equal gender enrollment. We are talking about at least minimum standard of healthcare for all. Citizens should not be afraid of falling ill. We should not become victims of political permutations every election year.

Our country is one of the most difficult and stressful places to live on earth. Security is almost at ground zero. Crime and fraud are committed with astonishing impunity. Our problems are not peculiar albeit. We are just not ready to tackle them. We often glorify ourselves in our misery sometimes by saying things like “This is Nigeria, it just can’t work”, “but na naija we dey”, “Nigeria is different, our politicians are different” “We are a special breed”. No we are not! We are not more special than any country.

Our sufferings, the bible says, is similar to what others are experiencing or have experienced. Successful countries have just been bold and serious enough to deal with theirs radically and painstakingly. But we choose to drink our usual opium and gleefully watch our senators dance shakushaku while their maze is brazenly taken away in broad daylight and their summons become like the ignored words of a drunk friend. Our recently unearthed codeine problem is a metaphor of the cause of our delirium. Our stupor. By the way, codeine, an opiate is a problem worldwide. That BBC, through thorough investigative reporting, aired it does not make ours more notorious than it is in the US or UK itself. There are science students everywhere in the world. There are science students in Nigeria. But the art of dealing with our problems decisively is what we need to study. And apply.

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