Today, the 15th of October 2012 marks the beginning of Felabration, the yearly event (now in its 15th year) organized to celebrate the life and influence of the Nigerian music legend and global musical icon Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
Although his mannerism may not have been accepted by all (especially the religious establishment and the goons in power at the time),his talent and the veracity message cannot be contested. Unlike the typical Nigeria politician that tends to come close to the people only during electioneering campaigns, Fela was very much in touch with the ailing of the people.
In’ Trouble Sleep Yanga Wake Am’,Fela describes the many predicament and challenges the common man faces:a tenant just lost his job ut he is confronted by an unsympathetic landlord for immediate payment.
In ‘Sorrow, Tears, and Blood,‘ he gives what I believe is the most plausible reason why an ‘arab spring’ style event is most unlikely in Nigeria despite the level of decadence in our political leadership.
According to Fela:
We fear for the air around us
We fear to fight for freedom
We fear to fight for liberty
We fear to fight for justice
We fear to fight for happiness
We always get reason to fear.
Fela’s tool for bringing about social change was music, but he desired change not only in society but also in government and in how religious leaders relate with their followers:Shuffering and Shmiling is a clear announcement to religious folks that their leaders are mere men and should not be followed blindly.
Teach don’t teach me nonsense, I.T.T (international thief thief), V.I.P (vagabonds in power) are just are few of Fela’s many attempts to speak truth to power.
Fela was never given a national award, but he is more respected than nearly all of our previous leaders.Unlike these past leaders whose fame and fortune die with them, Fela’s is apparently growing in his absence.
Fela’s songs, prophetic in many respects should give political office holders and leaders everywhere something to think about.
If you are in government and the welfare of the people is not your concern, then you will be a burden that will be offloaded and forgotten very quickly.
One of the saddest things to befall this country was when generals in the Nigerian army seized power .The worst them was the one that declared himself president whilst in the army (how can you be a military president? illiteracy extravaganza).
Imagine the mediocrity,desperation and sheer backwardness of this fellow.I have often wondered how such individuals got into the army,who was the recruiting officer that gave him the all clear?; it is unfortunate that he squandered the training and exposure granted him by the army.
Nigeria ,Africa and the entire world needs leaders.Men and women of positive influence;men and women that admit their weaknesses but are also very willing take correction.