Fire on the Mountain – A Mind of Your Own

by Adewale Ajani

The advent of this enigmatic young lady musician gave hope to many of us that have been worried about the trend Nigeria-brewed music is taking. In the last few years, what we’ve had is a lot of hype, hoopla and high-sounding rhythmic beats with an assortment of sweet nonsense called lyrics. Every new musician on the block caught up with the fad offering the up and downtown Nigerian some ballyhoo to wriggle their bodies to but absolutely nothing to cerebrally agitate on.

The tomboy artiste has carved a musical niche for herself in the Nigerian music hall of fame alongside with Lagbaja, Beautiful Nubia, Age Beeka, etc. This is not about preferring a type of music to another but whatever the type, music should be of good quality while it physically and mentally engages the listener with its scintillating beats and provoking meaty lyrics. These individuals have consistently shown what good music ought to be. They’ve demonstrated that the message of love, social reform, public conduct, patriotism, family and community life, hope for the future, relationships, morals and what have you can all be interwoven into one good blend of entertaining music.

Enter Asa, the Tracy Chapman of Nigerian music. It will be dim-witted not to appreciate the works of Asa who landed on the Nigeria music shores a couple of years ago. Listening to the France-based Nigerian performer sing can’t but captivate an individual. It’s only a poor fish that will listen to “Asa [asha]” (her first album) that will not treasure this coalescence of good music. This is not a eulogy about this inspiring lady (although she deserves it) but to focus on one of the tracks in her maiden album – Fire on the Mountain. The lyrics of this track read thus:

There’s fire on the mountain
And nobody seems to be on the run
Oh! there’s fire on the mountain top
And no one is a’running

I wake up in the morning
‘Tell you what I see on my TV screen
I see the blood of an innocent child
And everbody’s watching

Now I’m looking out’my window
And what do I see?
I see an army of a soldier men march
Across the street

Hey! Mr. Soldier man
Tomorrow is the day you go to war
But you’re fightin’ for another man’s cause
And you don’t even know him

Uuh! What did he say to make you so blind?
To your conscience and reason
Could it be love for your country
Or for the gun you use in killin’?



Hey! Mr. Lover Man
Can I getta chance to talk to you?
‘Cause you’re foolin’ with a dead man’s corpse
And you don’t know what you do

Et cetera

I will like to cull out a part of the lyrics which is the spotlight of this article:

Hey! Mr. Soldier man
Tomorrow is the day you go to war
But you’re fightin’ for another man’s cause
And you don’t even know him

The foregoing lines capsulate for a lot of individuals what their lives have turned out to be. A lot of people do things without recourse to their minds or conscience. In a nutshell, you can count individuals who really have a mind of their own. People have been enslaved by other people’s cause, belief, religion, ideology, etc. While it’s not erroneous to advocate (or even probably die for) the cause of another man, it behoves the individual to ask himself if he “knows” and “believes in” the cause he is ready to die and kill for. He should ask himself “What’s my opinion on the issue at hand?”

To reiterate, a lot of us live by what other people (family, friends, colleagues and society) expect of us. We have been so wont to mainstream persuasion that our minds are no longer active to personal and active reasoning. What makes it worse is that we are not even convinced of these “ideals” the society or other people want us to live by.

This is not to ferment rebellion or unintelligent antagonism against generally-accepted and well-proven ideals, social conduct and authority, however it will be noteworthy to mention that people that have made meaningful impacts with their lives have always gone against mainstream opinions and persuasions with a good deal of intelligence, reasoning and most importantly personal conviction. These are people that could be said, they do have a mind of their own.

No invention (great or little, past or present) or social/national rejuvenation ever originates from one who has no personal conviction which most times will contradict conventional belief.

What shall I say of Galileo Galilei, Ahmadu Bello, the Wright brothers, Martin Luther King Jr., Nnamdi Azikwe, Mahatma Gandhi, Tai Solarin, Mother Theresa, Thomas Edison, Nelson Mandela, Alex Harley, Sir William Wallace, Lieutenant Andrew Summers Rowan, Obafemi Awolowo, etc? These great individuals did not become icons just by what they did but by what convinced them – the personal ideologies that fed their passion to stand for what they “knew” and “believed in”. On the other hand, it was what they knew that personally persuaded them to become trail blazers.

I tried to summarise in the following punch list, questions that might guide us daily as individuals to live with personal beliefs and convictions:

a. When was the last time you said ‘No’?
b. Do you always agree with every other person’s point of view?
c. When was the last time you came up with your own idea on an issue?
d. How often do you partake in a constructive argument?
e. How often do you participate in discussions at work?
f. Do you look on in every discussion?
g. When was the last time you were convinced about an issue?
h. Have you always been able to stand your ground (with facts) even against constituted authority?

I hope these guideline questions will spur us to living more purposefully, against all odds.

Dare to be different. Have a mind of your own – at least for once!

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