Thursday, 20 September 2012



So you start a music video with footages from Nigeria’s civil war history, from there you transport the audience to modern day Nigeria. A Nigeria that is yet to recover from its civil war past; a place where most of her citizens live in pitiful squalor. Butt naked children bathing in dirty water, desperate men and women angry with the government for failing them many years after the war. This is the core message an average American or any other ignorant westerner will digest out of Rick Ross’ - Hold me back Nigeria version.

In fairness to Rick Ross, both official and unofficial statistics do tell us that at least sixty percent of Nigerians live on less than $2 a day. True as this may sound, it’s noteworthy that the bulk of our ‘less than $2 a day’ Nigerians don’t live in Lagos slums-most of them reside in hinterland rural areas. And believe it or not, these rural areas most times (except in Oil producing zones) offer a more comfortable, picturesque and nature friendly habitat. They may not have electricity or pipe borne water but they are ‘getting by’.  Most of them are farmers, and so when you pity them because they live on less than $2 a day which is an equivalent of about 300 Naira, you forget something.

In those Nigerian rural communities, a basket of staple crops, fresh from the farm and enough to feed a family of three could cost about 100 Naira, less than $1. In the deep North of Nigeria, many of those also considered poor by western standards are nomadic herdsmen who own herds of cattle each with a market value of well over $600, true story.
In the final analysis, poverty remains a relative term. To many African cultures, wealth is still determined by the number of wives, children, cattle or farmland at ones disposal. The ability to procure an ipad or access to state welfare services cannot be used as a yardstick to judge the well being of ALL rural Africans.

As the western world continues to dwell on Nigeria’s 60% desperately poor folks, can we at least give a hi-five to the other 40% of Nigerians who have worked hard to overcome extreme poverty against all odds?

From an estimated Nigerian population of 160 million, I’m talking about the 64 million Nigerians that have excelled in business, commerce, entertainment and fashion to name a few. I’m talking about those Nigerians who have successfully built small, medium and large scale enterprises at home and abroad.  I’m making reference to those Nigerians who have emerged as the single most educated immigrant population in Rick Ross’s own country.
These are the Nigerians that are truly angry with Rick Ross’s Hold me back (Nigeria) video.

We accept that Nigerian governments have failed woefully at providing purposeful leadership, fifty two years after independence. However, some of us also believe that Nigeria is OURS to build and not for corrupt politicians alone.  This other 40% of Nigerians are proud, confident, sometimes arrogant or whatever, but they are the ones that invited Rick Ross to Nigeria. They paid his fees, watched his stage performances and took good care of him during his stay in Nigeria.  Courtesy demands that a guest shows appreciation to a benevolent host by commending their etiquette, not by resulting to slander.

A considerable number of African Americans are an ignorant bunch, still thinking that their native African cousins live on trees. A role model like Rick Ross could have at least explained to his people that he DID NOT visit Nigeria on a humanitarian mission but for a commercially successful ‘Summer Jam concert’.

Finally, I did not fancy that part in the video where these 'Maybach peeps' made a little kid run on water towards their speed boat, just to hand him a Dollar (or Naira) note?  

So, Nigerians are that poor and desperate?

I challenge Rick Ross to publicly throw a bunch of crisp Dollar bills onto the banks of New York’s Hudson River and let’s see what happens.

Nobody can hold Naija back!


  1. with all due respect... this is some hypocritical BS. the video was short in naija and showed what is real so why we acting as if he did something out of context? abeg face naija govt. lets make our country something to be proud off!


  3. ..and where did you get the 40% -60% data from.You obviously know little about Nigeria.

    1. I guess you know more than i do and you've personally counted each and every Nigerian, rich and poor? Anyways,there's the World Bank statistics, UN statistics and the Federal offices of statistics...getting data is easier these days thanks to the internet.
      Thanks for commenting!

  4. Well, I am a writer, practically a blogger too. ( To be honest, RR was rather observant and deep. He is not a Hillary, obviously not a polititian who will play politics with the truth. Let me also remind you that he is a rapper unlike the Nigerians who featured him in music. And most hardcore rappers are inteligent and out-spoken. He saw two things I guess, the wealth and the poverty rate. No doubt, he chose to address the one that moved him. Average Nigerians uses America as an example on how things should be. What does that tell? If truth be told, the picture Rosey portrayed was not recorded in SA, but in Naija. Its rather unfortunate that it came when our own artistes are busy singing to girls and money. Reality and society has to be addressed. If Nigerian acts cant because they want commercial acceptance, then a brother in another world have to. He came, he saw, he spoke. So please the jagbajantics are not necessary, the mathematics is solved by Rosey. And the answer is the reason why our own artistes 'll rather portray lies with videos shot in SA, London and Ame. Oops! Rosey was so touched and we have to be moved, as well as doing the right thing.

    Between 10 to 20% of her population are HIV positive.
    Almost 80% of SA's black majority live in poverty.
    ANC government corruption is presently at its peak.
    Crime rate in unbelievable.
    But what do they do? South Africa AGGRESSIVELY markets her good sides to the rest of the world. Tourists and investors troop in...Like u observed, many Naija artistes even shoot beautiful music videos in SA. The South Africans know that money from such investors(like Naija artistes) will go a long way in helping them fight their own battles against poverty. Do u think SA will be where it is today if all they did was to sing and tell the outside world about HIV, Crime,Racism,Corruption and Poverty?
    But in Nigeria,Yes our governments keep failing us but we tend to elevate and glorify our own bad sides to high heavens, some get orgasms from criticizing our government and we expect things to improve? So much so, that a foreigner that was paid huge sums to entertain us,came on board and helped us to belittle ourselves further.
    The few Nigerians who know better are the ones currently making it big in this glorious land filled with many ignorant folks.
    Having said that,I honestly respect your views. I'll check out your blog too,

    1. let me tell you something you don't understand, making or not making a video isn't going to change the views of the world on Nigeria, if you want to vex for someone on that aspect, vex for CNN and news carriers abroad that only show boko haram attacks and all. to better understand how American's see us, just imagine how you see Americas and do research to see how far your thoughts are from the truth

  6. you know, you're an excellent writer, and to take this stance makes you even more daring and brilliant, however, like it or not, you can't hide from 2 things, that video carries the song's message, and also, Nigeria is FAAAARRR from civilization, it might not be a totally accurate representation like you said, but its pretty good and I'll take it, because, its not like he acted it out, those were actual people. Additionally, how many places in Lagos or Nigeria as a whole look as nice as in your picture in direct contrast to the awful places? let's not be deceived, you can make the most logical argument about this, and you might even win a lawsuit with this article but we all know the truth bro, lets not lie to ourselves!!

    1. Never in my article did i deny the existence of poverty in Nigeria and the failure of our past governments. But I do think that one of the surest ways out of poverty is to lift up the spirits of those honest Nigerians who have 'made it', so as to serve as an inspiration to our struggling majority. We must NEVER dwell on our disadvantages, talk-less of allowing a foreigner to do it for us. Besides Lagos,I've visited Uyo,Jos,Owerri,Ibadan and Abuja; they looked pretty nice,though with their own fair share of slums,like any other developing cities worldwide. Nigeria is not 'FAAARRRR' from civilization,we've only been cursed with many bad leaders and some followers who are.
      Thanks for ur honest views though!God bless.


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