The Nigerian entertainment industry is undoubtedly one of the most vibrant in Africa. Today, Afrobeats is one of the biggest and most popular music genres in the world. With this proliferation of Nigerian artworks, there has also been an export of different subcultures. Reinforcing the saying “art imitates life”, Saturday Beats takes a look at popular words and phrases that have found their way into pop culture
The last general election was arguably one of the most hotly contested and drawn in the country’s history.
The candidates of the two main political parties—the All Progressives Congress and the People’s Democratic Party—would be frontrunners in their elections. However, there was a third force that allowed these two parties to cash in.
A former vice presidential candidate of the PDP, Peter Obi, months before the election, left the party and found support in the Labor Party. The former Anambra governor soon started gathering an army of fans and admirers.
Although the election has come and gone, one of the incidents that stood out to many was how a particular voter, Stephen Muoka, joined the officials in counting the votes in his polling station.
For every Labor Party vote, Muoka would sing ‘Eluu P’, and the other voters would sing the number of votes. The phrase quickly went viral on social media. Comedians and other content creators made skits as a soundtrack, and some DJs even turned it into a party mix.
in an interview Saturday rhythms, Muoka stated that he didn’t know they were being filmed when the video was made, and he had no idea it would go viral and become popular. He said: “The video was recorded in my constituency on Onu Orei Amechi Road, Topland, Enugu State. Labor Party won that constituency. I was not the one who recorded the video. A friend of mine, Kachi, did it. He put the video TikTok A popular blogger, Tunde Ednut, took it from there. After that, the video went viral. I didn’t even know I was recording my friend. I found out about it after the video went viral.”
Expressing his desire to meet Obi, Muoka said: “One day I want to meet Peter Obi. I hope one hundred percent that one day I will meet him.”
Help me, help me (take me where I don’t know)
“Help me, help me. He took me, I don’t know where to go,” said the words of a policeman, flagging down the car and getting into his car, as he drove away with him to an unknown destination.
Although Saturday Beats could not verify the circumstances under which the incident took place, the video has taken social media by storm and is being circulated by thousands of Nigerians.
The lyrics were also sampled in Asake’s popular song ‘Peace Be Unto You’, as well as other artwork.
Notable DJ YK wasted no time in making a mix either.
Pressure ti wa
At a time of cash crunch caused by the Naira redesign policy, there were many nerves. The situation became so dire that some banks and other places were burned down and workers were manhandled. On several occasions, grown men and women stripped naked in banking halls to ask for their money.
In the midst of the crisis, a television crew interviewed people on the street to talk about their difficulties in acquiring new naira notes. One of the respondents tried to express his thoughts in English, but at some point, he decided to speak Yoruba, a language that was obviously easier to express. In words that have been repeated in different variations, he said: “Ewo…mo gbo oyinbo. Pressure ti wa” (Look, I don’t understand English, there is a lot of pressure”
The way he switched to Yoruba and the passion with which he spoke made the video go viral, with some even offering to meet him and give him some money.
The phrase has since been used in songs and comedy skits.
The slang term “soro soke” meaning “speak up” gained momentum during the 2020 #EndSARS protests.
It became a refrain of sorts for many protesters across the country.
The phrase was reportedly first used by a Nollywood actress, Toyin Afolayan aka Lola Idije in several movies. It is believed that he often said: “Soro soke were (Speak, madman)”.
Meanwhile, British author and journalist Trish Lorenz sparked controversy when she used the phrase as the title of her book. His book was titled “Soro Soke: Young Disruptors of an African Megacity”. He was accused of cultural misappropriation, for trying to take false ownership of the popular phrase.
Many Nigerians were particularly outraged when Lorenz said that the young Nigerians who led the protests were what he called the “soro soke generation”. He said, “This cohort exhibits honesty and a tendency toward creative disruption, which led me to call it the Soro Soke generation.”
About 7,000 Nigerians signed a petition that eventually got the book’s publishers, Cambridge University Press, to retract some of the author’s controversial claims.
Before the war
The word Gerrahere is a bastardization of the phrase “Get out of here” and has been used in various skits and other works of art. In fact, it is the title of a 2015 song by popular rapper and actor Folarin Falana, which featured Koker.
However, the word originated from an actor “Gerrarahere” who spoke of a fake American accent he used in a movie. In the film, he said “War, man, shit”.
Ironically, the film was released about four years before the clip went viral on the Internet.
At the height of his fame, a clip from the film in which Odega used the word was shared on social media by popular American rapper and businessman Curtis Jackson, aka 50 Cent.
Odega also reaped some benefits from the slang’s popularity, appearing in an ad for the telecommunications company Etisalat.
In an interview, Odega stated that the phrase was not in the script, and in fact he improvised it. He said: “Honestly, I didn’t think it would become a global thing. In the script, in that line, ‘Gerrarahere’ was not included. I created it but didn’t know it would blow.
“The film is about three or four years old, but now it started trending and that means God’s hand is involved in it. I feel really full. I feel like a superstar, even though I already am and now I feel elevated because now I’ve taken a step higher.”
They are the ones in a hurry
Comic actor Charles Inojie did not reveal that the catchphrase he used in a movie “Na them dey rush us (They are the ones rushing us)” would later go viral and take his career to the top.
In the movie, the actor was talking to an actress Ruth Kadiri: “So you’re not married? I’m not married either, but I’m not single either. You know, fine guys like us, we don’t look for women like that. Na dem dey rush us (they are the ones who rush us).
The film was shot 10 years before the phrase resurfaced on the internet in 2018.
In an interview, Inojie said, “I can sit and say that God was in action: to pay for all the years of hard work, for all the years that I have worked from two positions to one job, pay me for my diligence and hard work. God gave me a gift and I believe that I have never that he didn’t want that gift unnoticed, so he went back almost 10 years to bring something and he threw it forward and said, ‘Son, take a gift from this and because I gave you that gift. It’s a gift of spontaneity.’ It’s a gift. My director as an actor I have the ability to impress. Once I see the script and my role, I know the final destination of the character. God gave me that gift to be able to immediately harness all those ingredients to quickly accelerate the character to its final destination. That’s how ‘na dem day rush us’ came about.” .
The phrase became so popular that he was invited to events to repeat it to the delight of the audience.
The phrase was also used as a song title. Artists who have used the phrase as song titles include Gbenga, Sparkle, Deribb and ChrizBlingz.
Undoubtedly one of the most popular phrases to hit pop culture, Obafaiye Shem, Lagos State Commander of Nigeria’s Security and Civil Defense Corps said. In an interview on a Channels Television programme, Shem was asked to provide the correct website address of the NSCDC so that Nigerians do not fall prey to fake body websites created by fraudsters. However, Shem was unable to state the correct address and said that he did not want to give the wrong address, which would later contradict his “higher oga (leader)”.
He was asked, “What is the NSCDC website?” And he replied: “I can’t tell you anything categorically now.” He was asked again, “You mean NSCDC has multiple websites?” He replied, “We can’t have multiple websites, but I can’t tell you one now, and my Oga at the top will say it’s another. What we will use will be revealed by my Oga above.’
Not knowing the correct website of the organization he represented made him a joke on the Internet.
The words soon took on a life of their own as they were inscribed on t-shirts and other merchandise. It was also used in songs, films and skits.