•Says: He Is Angry With Fed. Govt
One Nigerian that is extremely displeased with the actions and inactions of the federal government at this very critical time of the pandemic situation is the man fondly called His Royal Punkness, Charly Boy. Also known as the Area Fada, this enigmatic musician, television presenter and human rights activist, has for over four decades, consistently stood on the side of the truth and fought against the injustice of any kind, especially as it concerns the downtrodden. For many years, he has shown remarkable courage in the face of oppression and tyranny. Activism runs in his blood. By nature, Charly Boy is one person who naturally detests cheating and injustice. Whether he knows you personally or not, the Area Fada will stand up for you if you are being treated unfairly by anyone or a group of persons. He is never afraid to speak the truth. And that’s exactly what he’s done in this interview with City People’s Senior Editor, WALE LAWAL. The Area Fada is very displeased with the shoddy manner the federal government has handled the pandemic situation, he insists their sincerity of purpose leaves a lot to be desired. Enjoy excerpts of the interview.
What did you first make of the news when you heard that Covid-19 had hit Nigeria?
The thing is that since last year, as a spiritual person, e get as body don dey do me because of some things wey dey happen. I knew that the year 2020 was going to bring extreme poverty and hardship. I knew the wickedness in the land would get to a point that people would begin to choke on it. I knew a lot of terrible things would start to happen in the country because of our inactions and particularly, because of our corrupt mindset. I was telling my people, especially my last boy who has been living here with us in Abuja.
He’s been trying his hands on so many businesses but hasn’t been successful and he’s not a fraudulent person. So, I told him, the treachery here is frustrating, you can’t survive around here, it is better you return abroad. So, he don buy him ticket. It was just a week to his flight, that’s when we had this lockdown. As e happen now, everybody come dey say, ah, you don talk am o, you don dey talk say make we prepare quick make this boy go, is this what you saw? I said, no, I didn’t see anything.
All I know is that this 2020 go dey very difficult for Nigerians. So, as my son don already pack out of him house, don clear everything, he no get any other choice again but to move to my house. Na so I come inherit girlfriend and my son inside my house again. But the good thing is that the lockdown has given us more time to bond because he was not living with me all these years. Now, I have come to understand that my son very well. He has also come to appreciate my wife more because they now get to spend more time together inside the same house, so I guess that’s the good part, so we thank God.
But even before Covid-19, we were dealing with a lot of rubbish. We were dealing with Insecurity, we were dealing with Terrorism, we were dealing with Hunger and I think hunger is the worst one because people recover from Coronavirus. But you see, the way the media globally portrays the virus, not that it’s not killing people, but I honestly don’t know how much of it is propaganda, I don’t know how much of it is transaction because for every pain of a group of people or somebody, some group of people or somebody are making money from it. Because like you rightly pointed out, all the money that has been contributed, where are they?
All the money they claim they are paying into people’s accounts, who don get am? I never see. So, when I hear people grumble and lament, saying why should it be like that? I just dey laugh. This is an evil government that has been in place for a long time. And their job is to impoverish us. People wey fit take away food from poor person mouth, is that not evil? And that’s what they’ve done. If you go to my Instagram, I did a prediction for the rest of 2020 weeks ago. I said heavy famine is on its way because all our farmers, dem don drive dem commot from their farmlands. The herdsmen, Boko Haram, bandits, they have all taken over Nigeria. So, very soon, there will be food shortage. Very soon, your Naira will collapse. It will collapse to a point that you will be carrying pack of Naira notes that can only buy you a loaf of bread. The kind of trouble that is on its way, me sef I dey fear.
A lot of people seem to have their doubts about the figures the NCDC throws up every day and these figures just keep rising, what’s your take on this?
You can’t blame people if they don’t trust what the government is saying. This is a government that has shown that it is not savvy, a government that is insensitive to the plight of its people. How do you think they can manage the Covid-19 situation? How can they have the capability to be on top of the situation? Even the great America with organized system is having their challenges, how much more the sort of government we have here? These are people who have just been fortunate to find themselves in the position of governance who have proven their incompetence to us time and time again, yet all we do watch them do absolutely nothing. How can somebody be perpetrating this kind of injustices and you’re doing nothing, you’re just sitting there doing nothing and waiting to be the next person in the line of the jugular? And then you say you want change. You wake up every morning and you tell me God dey. How God dey when from creation God has given you everything, come give you sense join and you don’t want to use it, instead you sit down there waiting on God for miracle. And that is because of all these useless individuals called pastors who make them believe they can get something out of nothing. What is miracle? There is nothing like miracle. The miracles we have received today are the ones we worked out ourselves by hard work. Me, I’m a miracle unto myself because I said, no, I can’t go down. And I will continue to push myself until the day I can no longer push myself. Nigerians are their own problem o, plus even the masses. The masses are being too ignorant, to take action, so how are things going to get better? When a slave cannot understand that he’s living in slavery, how will they know what is called freedom?
What would you have liked to see the government do in terms of reaching out more to the vulnerable?
Wale, let me tell you, there is nothing this government is capable of doing! If I talk, will they listen? Dey no wan hear. To start afresh can never be with this same government. They don’t want to listen to anybody. They have their own thing that they want to do and that’s what they’re doing. They are not here for you and me, is that not obvious? So why should I suggest what they should do and what they should not do.
If you were to have a minute’s audience with the president and you were to tell him straight up what you think of his government and what you would like to see him change straight away, what would you say to him?
It will never happen. It will never happen because I want to talk people who are on the same page with me. I will only talk to people I know who will appreciate the advice I’m offering them. People who have respect for humanity. If I know somebody will not listen to me, so what am I sitting down and telling him? I won’t go. Nothing concerns darkness with light.
How do you deal with pressure from the man on the street because I’m sure that each time you step out, the downtrodden look up to you? They want to draw strength, hope, from you. What do you tell them at this very difficult time even though you’ve been talking to them for decades but these are very different times now, much more difficult than they ever were decades ago when you started?
I try to point them in the right direction. I tell them that that change you so desperately need will come at a cost. Until people understand that the office of the people is more important than the office of the president then there is nothing that can be said that will enter that head. If they don’t understand that the people in government office, Aso Rock or where ever the seat of power is called, that they are servants and that we should get ourselves together and stop agonizing and start to organize ourselves and tell ourselves that we are the real owners of the land. Until we understand these dynamics, we are going to see worse than we have seen. So, na we own ourselves. We talk up, talk down I say it is our bloody fault. You look at it, there is no room anymore for the best of the people who merit anything because the whole system has been overtaken by frauds and scammers. You come to my state, I don shout, shout, shout, I don leave them because at my age, if things never better now, make I just know as I go arrange my retirement and go rest. No time wey I been think say I be Jesus Christ. No time wey I think say I go change anything. And this is why I have continued to be vocal, hoping that one day, somebody wey go craze pass Charley Boy hundred times go take these words and they will organize themselves and decide what they’re going to do about the situation because this evil will not stop until we challenge it and fight back. It will not stop, if anything, it will keep getting worse and this year, all man eye go open because the kain things wey wan happen this year, Wale, me sef I dey fear.
Each time I listen to you speak about this country, I marvel at the passion with which you speak. The passion and the fire that oozes from your voice every single time is incredible and to think you’ve been showing same degree of passion for years now…
The thing dey vex person now, who e no go vex? E dey annoying because you know something can be better. See, Wale, e just be like as you dey now, God forbid, you born pikin we no dey pull him weight as he supposed to, you no go just siddon dey look am now, will you? The thing go pain you now.
I wonder, how have you kept the fire in you burning after all these years? You’re ageing yet you keep fighting on and saying you won’t go down without a fight, how have you kept the passion and the fire burning for this long?
I believe that God has given each and every human being under the sun a gift, it’s for us to find and bring out that gift. Some people find it early, some find it late, some people never find it all. And it is when you start to live a life of purpose, that is when you are a little bit calmer on the inside. You enjoy some kind of a measure of peace. Activism no be something dem dey learn, no be something dem dey take do guy, no be something that is transactional, like oya, make I do am take collect money, no, it will never last. That is why people like me who are extremely obnoxiously authentic will forever remain this way. A leopard can’t change it’s spot, na the way God take create me. Though sometimes, I think its more like a curse than a blessing. Why should it be? Because if you’re walking on this path, Wale, let me tell you, you walk alone. Apart from the frustrations, you go find out say na only you stand where you stand, nobody gives a hoot about you. Next thing now, they will find one thing and put on your head and accuse you of all sorts. Then, the same people you dey fight for will now turn against and fight you. But if you know who you are, you can’t go back. But I can tell you it’s a lonely place to be, Wale, a really lonely place to be, but you have got to stay strong and continue to fight for that which you believe in.