THE UNTOLD STORIES OF BARRISTER SMOOTH AND THE NIGER DELTA STRUGGLE A review of the music Meinbutu By Amb. Binebai Yerin Princewill Chi
THE UNTOLD STORIES OF BARRISTER SMOOTH AND THE NIGER DELTA STRUGGLE
A review of the music Meinbutu
By Amb. Binebai Yerin Princewill
Chief Barrister S. Smooth, popularly called the paddle of Niger Delta, is a leading Ijaw musician whose musical talent has given so much positive direction to the Niger Delta struggle.
Søren Aabye Kierkegaard was a prolific 19th century Danish philosopher and theologian, while writing about the ambivalence of life, he had posited as follows:
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
Soren’s quotation perfectly fit into the subject matter above. Indeed this article will take a deep reflection on the contribution of Chief Barrister Smooth and the Niger Delta struggle, since life can only be understood backwards and must be lived forward.
Chief Barrister, the paddle of Niger Delta is truly one that has done his part in the quest for negotiating a better deal for Niger Deltans.
Today, the man Barrister Smooth mean different thing to different people in the Níger Delta, he had been misunderstood by many and his genuine intentions misconstrued as well either deliberately or unintentionally.
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At some point, Chief Soja Smooth is seen as a foremost Niger Delta freedom fighter, at other instances he is likened as a musical prophet, a man who sees the today and tomorrow of Ijaw nation, at other realm he appears as a politician, a philanthropist, a true patriot of Ijaw and what have you.
Barrister Smooth is an embodiment of so many positive things in Ijaw nation, he is such an angelic being that is born as an Ijaw man whose musical agitation has brought progress to his people.
Chief Smooth, obviously born in a politically, culturally and socially abused and defoliated environment, could not endure it as he continue to question the level of things in Ijaw land and Niger Delta at large.
This he does through his well composed songs, there was a time where his superlative songs gives direction to the struggle, the songs are so inspirational such that they had over the years given so much hope to the Ijaws and Niger Delta at large.
It would be recalled that, there can’t be any complete literature on the Niger Delta struggle without the contribution of Chief Barrister S. Smooth, in essence the struggle is incomplete without the mention of the paddle.
At the moment, the ways of Smooth is alien to the mercantilists, he is a gentle and perfect being in the Niger Delta. Because of the Ijaw struggle, he has been humiliated, threatened, abused but still, he is still committed to see a better Niger Delta and Ijaw nation.
One unique thing about Barrister Smooth and his powerful songs is that, it seems there are special forces accompanying them, it was as if the gods of Ijaw and the ancestors are directly in contact with him.
The songs are so distinctive, rare and so appealing that they provides new direction to the struggle, at some point he predicts the future of the Ijaws, what will be, what we need to do and what should not be done.
However, Barrister Smooth’s musical agitation in the Niger Delta has visibly brought so much benefit to the region and her people but yet there is still yet more rivers to be crossed. Till date he is tormented daily on what can be done for the betterment of Ijaw nation.
A moment with Smooth will reveal the true intention he has for the Ijaws and Niger Delta at large, he believes in an egalitarian society.
Solomon Dersso wrote:
“The fact cannot be contested that there are sections of society in almost all African states who have suffered and continue to suffer various disadvantages, including discrimination and marginalization. These are groups of people who have so far remained without any voice of their own, and whose rights and interests rarely received any attention of various levels within the states they now live in”.
It is no longer a news that the Ijaws has for a long time fallen under this heavy blanket of dictatorial homogeny, packed down and dispossessed by local imperialism but are surviving with hurt and torture. Sometimes with enduring genocide, persecutions and unbroken sociopolitical repression.
The music, Meinbutu
Menibutu is one of the earliest arm organ of the Ijaw struggle for progress and self identity in the Nigerian state, especially within the late 90s with membership drawn from several Kingdoms in Ijaw.
The music was composed to extol the contribution of Meinbutu towards the growth and development of the Niger Delta region.
Meinbutu had through high Chief Barrister Smooth, sent a very powerful message to those that cares within Ijaw, Niger Delta, Nigeria and the world at large towards the comatose state of things that have bedeviled the Ijaw nation.
According to the song, Barrister Smooth had challenged the LORD ALMIGHTY to defend his name by rescuing the Ijaws from the acute negligence and relegation, stressing that the level of injustice meted out on Ijaws has to stop,
this according to him must be done in unity.
Meinbutu had however, calls for more unity in Ijaw nation, noting that the entire Ijaw nation, no matter which state they have been pressed and squeezed into, are all one, noting that in unity, much will be achieved.
Soja Smooth, had frowned that Nigeria is a multi ethnic country, just as almost all the ethnic groups are progressing, the story of Ijaws, blessed with both human and natural resources remains a sorry, shameful and sorrowful one.
Apparently seeing no hope from humans in Nigeria to make things better for the Ijaws in the Nigerian state, Smooth had cried to God for help, regretting that the level of suffering in Ijaw land was so pervasive and the need to plead with God on a rescue mission.
Meinbutu had through the music charged all Ijaws to put in their bests in whatever they do, stressing that Ijaws are bounded by same bond.
The music had further stated that it has come to the point where Ijaws must do what is right. According to the song, Ijaw students must study and work hard, Ijaw businessmen should also be more industrious, the music had tasked Ijaw sons and daughters to put the interest of Ijaw first in whatever thing they does.
I guest this is where most Niger Deltans sees Barrister Smooth as a prophetic musician, after releasing this hit song many years ago which is still relevant till date where he even dares to challenge God to defend his name for the emancipation of the Ijaws in the Nigerian state.
Much later, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, an Ijaw man from Bayelsa state emerges president of the federation, either by providence or whatever means. Ijaw music pundits believes God has actually defended himself by making it possible for an Ijaw man to become president of the country.
The music finally ended by acknowledging members of Meinbutu and some other Ijaw sons for their patriotic and meritorious activities in the service of Ijaw nation over the years.
Some of these personalities that have made so much impact as indicated in the song Meinbutu include:
Ebis Money, Orlando Commander, Richard Debakeme, John Pa-ebi, Amb. Dibi Yinkore, Sunny Clark, Laurence Akpeti, Andabofa Nana , Chief Boro Opudu, Chief (Dr) Mike Loyibo, Michael Torunana-otu, Isokofeni Agagha, Joseph Seigha, Believe.
Others include Alaowei Chief Brodrick Bozimor, Bale Bond, Collins, Julius Okoro, Sharley Mopina, Sinkumor Perekeme, Tony Brown, Maxwel Wareyaibo, Chief Barry, Chief Friday Igbegbe, Godwin Akasa, Feibokirifagha – Ogbo, Laurence Idioko, Russia Meriyan with the host of others.
It would be recalled that, till date, Meinbutu still actively exist with so much transformation and refining in its modus operandi. It has embraced the intellectual approach of the Ijaw liberation struggle but still very daring when they are provoked by external bodies.