My Nigerian Catfish Pepper Soup, Social Media, Music, and Religion

January 9, 2018 Nigeria , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

Reuters photo



Prince Charles Dickson



The bar was full, and let me quickly say it was not your conventional bar, it had something Nigerian about it, trust me we might be everything not exactly nice, but we are creative…especially when it comes to the good life. The place was called Ikpu…It is a Rukuba name for food generally; the Rukubas are from Bassa part of Plateau State.


The ‘Ikpu Bar’, is a local joint that boasts everything from Amala, to Isiewu, Masa to Nkwobi, Ediki kang…you name it. It had everything, it was a miniature Nigerian kitchen, and rest assured it had the sweet Nigerian jollof as part of her menu.


The catfish pepper soup I ordered had been delivered, and as I was about to devour, when my attention was taken by the table in front of me…four wonderful young Nigerians, at least from their conversation, they seemed so.


The music box boomed in the background and the music was typical…


Baby girl follow me manyewu, baby girl follow me

Oya pick all my money put am for your head o, for your head ohoh oh mama mo

Oya pick all my money put am for your waist oh, for you waist ohoh oh


And the next song followed it was a rotation I was sure.


I like you, girl, in particular. You in particular. Said I like your waist in particular, ah ha, eh. I like you, girl, in particular, yeah. You in particular. Said I like your waist in particular, ah ha, eh.


Abdul: Habiba, can you imagine the lyrics of this song, the current generation of Nigerians are lost, Oya pick all my money put am for your head o. Would we ever have the likes of Sunny Ade, Ebenezer and Fela, Mamman Shata again. Imagine the prophetic lines of Fela, or the beats and rhythm that followed the Cardinal Rex Lawson or Victor Olaiya and Uwaifo lyrics.


Jerry: Yeah, I remember how my mom would sing…Men I’ve been trying hard, Mighty hard to find true love. But as yet, ain’ had much luck. But I’ll keep trying till I find. You know the Bible said: If you seek, you will find. Ain’t no doubt, the Bible must be right. Well I’ll keep right on with my search. What’s that his name?


Amadi: Bongos Ikwue


Habibah: My dear Abdul, you know that the music of a particular generation is a reflection of the values, the morals, and the education they have acquired or the lack of it. While it is not just only a Nigerian thing, it is sad that we are even outdoing the so-called Westerners, our music only reflects fast cars, fast cash and nudity. The part I cannot wrap my head on is the man sings clothed and the female dancers are all but naked and don’t get me wrong.


Amadi: Do you need to apologize, certainly not, it is the social media culture, a copy cat and false life syndrome, a collective that dwell on the least important, like debates on which jollof is sweeter or who wore a certain shirt best and how many baby mamas a young non-sense singing act has. We spend time on a certain Brobosky and how much tithe and who gets it?


Abdul: For the sake of me, I cannot imagine just having kids with women from every local government in Nigeria without a formal commitment.


Jerry: Where did we get it wrong, I am thinking in those days, I was told that you could not be mistaken to be associated with a person of questionable character, now our music praises them. And our clergy, and cleric of all faiths celebrate them with knight and dayhoods in cathedrals and masjid.


Habibah: Yes, so sad, we have lost it; I remember the local Facebook in my village, and WhatsApp. One was in the religious setting; the other was in the social, political and economic setting. We had the village head and elders as admin. People followed the rules and it was for our collective benefit. The communication channel was known, well respected and common, we traced every rumor, dealt with all friends, there were no strange non-talking mutual uncles.


Amadi: We were told tales by moonlight, and we had lessons attached to them, it wasn’t this era of a young damsel posting her pictures in various hotel rooms and lobbies when she was supposed to be productive to society.


Abdul: It was the good days of yore, then in Nigeria we watched out for each other, that fear of ‘zations was almost non-existent. The herdsmen, simply herded and the farmers farmed peacefully. There were no gory pictures to paste anywhere.


Habibah: Men of god were not god of men, they were pious and that did not mean poor. Many Muslims went to those affordable mission schools without fear. Then decline set in, government took over schools they were ill equipped to manage.


Amadi: We just lost it and we were made legitimate playthings of leaders that were pepper soup-ing with our collective patrimony.


Abdul: That is why I support the idea of “not-too-young-to-run”…


Habibah: Forgive me for cutting in, do we think that leadership is a thing of right, are the youths ready and equipped for it, or do you think the conversation on social media, on religious fronts and with the lines of the music we have been listening the current crop won’t go Bugatti-ing with our head.


While the conversation was going on, I reflected on happenings in Benue state, killings in the New Year, the President’s speech stating we are impatient and general politicking towards 2019, we are seeing tension grow, hate speech on the rise, and what role is the Nigerian young mind on social media playing. Is 2018 for Nigeria one with hope, or are we in for a continuous retrogressive, are we in line to change the change or will the change really change?—Only time tell.






Prince Charles Dickson

Currently Prince Charles, is based out of Jos, Plateau State, and conducts field research and investigations in the Middle Belt Region of Nigeria with an extensive reach out to the entire North and other parts. Prince Charles worked on projects for UN Women, Search for Common Ground, and International Crisis Group, among others. He is an alumnus of the University of Jos and the prestigious Humanitarian Academy at Harvard and Knight Center For Journalism, University of Texas at Austin. A doctoral candidate of Georgetown University

Born in Lagos State (South West Nigeria), Prince Charles is proud of his Nigerian roots. He is a Henry Luce Fellow, Ford Foundation grantee and is proficient in English, French, Yoruba Ibo and Hausa. Married with two boys, and a few dogs and birds.

Editor review


No Comments Yet!

You can be first to comment this post!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.