The youngest son of Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti says his father would have been President of Nigeria if he were alive.
Making a submission on TVC, Seun Kuti stated that Fela would not have thrown his weight behind any politician because he does not think “anybody in the Nigerian political scene today is a pan Africanist socialist.”
“If my father were alive, he would be President of Nigeria.”
Seun has been very critical of people calling themselves ‘the new Fela’ and has on countless occasions warned these persons to keep away from his father’s legacy, stressing that whatever the musical revolutionary and political activist left behind is strictly for his family who suffered with him.
He mentioned on the show that those doing so are disrespecting his father because they cannot walk a mile in his shoes.
“I will not let people bastardize his legacy,” Seun said. “Everybody want to chase plenty girls so for those reasons, you are Fela… No”
Fela combined funk, jazz, highlife, Calypso and traditional Nigerian Yoruba music, popularised it and termed it ‘Afrobeat’. The genre was associated with making political, social and cultural statements about greed and socio-economic inequality. One of his popular songs, “Zombie,” was a sharp criticism against the Nigerian military, mocking them for blindly obeying orders from corrupt authorities.
Born on 15 October, 1938, Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti as the musician was known in real life, called himself ‘Abami Edo’ (The strange One, The Weird One). On a number of occasions, he criticised the corruption and mistreatment of Nigerian citizens by the government.
History has it that Fela was arrested 200 times. He endured numerous beatings in attempts by successive military governments to silence him.
One attempt of note was the government sanctioned 1000-soldier attack on the Kalakuta Republic which Fela declared was an independent state. He suffered a fractured skull, arm and leg in the onslaught. His 82-year old mother was thrown from an upstairs window.
Fela died of HIV/AIDS on August 2, 1997, aged 59.