Old Boy Band Of Past Nigerian Leaders Release Hopeful Music VIdeo, Earn Praise And Criticism : Goats and Soda The singing group is made up of Nigeria's aging former national leaders and current vice president. Their rendition of an old hymn has evoked tears — and anger.
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Possibly The First Music Video Starring Old Politicians

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Possibly The First Music Video Starring Old Politicians

Possibly The First Music Video Starring Old Politicians

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK. Nigeria has this rich cultural heritage and many fine singers. But one group that burst onto the scene over the new year is grabbing a lot of attention. They sing for peace, and they have been called a boy band. Though, is that technically true, Ofeibea Quist-Arcton?

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "O GOD, OUR HELP IN AGES PAST")

CHOIR: (Singing) O, God, our help in ages past...

OFEIBEA QUIST-ARCTON, BYLINE: Boy band, it certainly is not, maybe an old boy band. All the Nigerian voices you're listening to are senior citizens. They are mostly prominent past political and military leaders from Africa's most populous nation. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, once also a military ruler of Nigeria, has a distinctive voice, which is enthusiastic, but probably better suited to galvanizing the masses.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "O GOD, OUR HELP IN AGES PAST")

OLUSEGUN OBASANJO: (Singing in foreign language).

QUIST-ARCTON: Their debut is a vintage hymn "O God, Our Help In Ages Past," sung in English and a range of local Nigerian languages. It's a slick and colorful video package, which zooms in on the individual singers, the conductor and the pianist, interspersed with patriotic images of Nigeria. Singing alongside Obasanjo is Nigeria's current vice president, Yemi Osinbajo. He's the sort of tremulous tenor.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "O GOD, OUR HELP IN AGES PAST")

YEMI OSINBAJO: (Singing) Before the hills in order stood...

QUIST-ARCTON: The video also features former military leader retired General Yakubu Gowon and two erstwhile military men, baritone Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe and retired General Oladipo Diya. Then there are a couple of civilians, former Vice President Alex Ekueme and gravelly voiced former interim leader Ernest Shonekan.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "O GOD, OUR HELP IN AGES PAST")

ERNEST SHONEKAN: (Singing in foreign language).

QUIST-ARCTON: It's not clear whether these Nigerian singer-leaders have come together to raise money for charity or whether they gathered to wish their compatriots goodwill for 2017. But they certainly grabbed the headlines. Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "O GOD, OUR HELP IN AGES PAST")

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