Nigerian singer and activist, Charles Oputa, aka Charly Boy, is not a stranger to controversies. During the last election cycle, he was accused by some of his former partners of compromising and collecting bribes from politicians.
However, in a recent interview, the Area Fada, as he is popularly called, denied the allegations and spoke about some of the lessons he learnt during that saga. He said, “It’s not anything beyond the lessons I have learnt about life. It is ripe fruits that people throw stones at and try to get off the tree. When you are fighting people’s wars, the people you are fighting for can sometimes turn against you. As an activist, you pick up all kinds of people, including those who you don’t know their pedigree because certain things have to be done and you need numbers. You may have to work with strange bedfellows who may not necessarily share your ideas and vision. And in Nigeria, there are a lot of fake people. I have been called several names including a homosexual and cultist; but those things don’t move me. My middle name is ‘controversy’ and when people do certain things thinking it would hurt me, I use those things as stepping stones to rise higher. If I didn’t collect money from any politician in years past, is it now in my old age that I would start doing that? Anybody who offers me a bribe must be a fool because I don’t trust my mouth to keep quiet. It is only idiots that would believe and spread such stories. I have nine children and my first son (who is 49) is an associate professor. I also have 16 grandchildren.
“I have learnt that Nigerians are not really ready for a change. We have a government that is insensitive to the needs of the people, and that is why a lot of young people are committing suicide these days because they cannot see hope anymore. And that is a tragedy.”
The former president of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria also stated that all artistes were at liberty to decide whether they wanted to be part of social causes or not. “To each, his own. I wouldn’t say because an entertainer didn’t join protests, he or she is a bad person. I have always been involved in activism and nobody sent me. Meanwhile, if you don’t have that type of orientation, you would just be faking it and trying to be who you are not. I will not criticise entertainers who don’t join social causes, but it would have been nice for them to lend their voices (to important issues) because they have many followers. However, some pass messages in their songs,” he said.
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