Fela Deserves National Honour – Yemi Osinbajo
The Vice President of Nigeria Yemi Osinbajo stated that Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti deserves national honour.
Osinbajo made this statement at a town hall meeting in Edo State on Friday while responding to one of the people present at the meeting who had suggested that the National Theatre Lagos be named after the late music legend.
The Vice President said the late Afrobeat maestro deserves such national honour from the government even after his death both as a Nigerian and father of Nigerian modern music. However, he noted that the decision to bestow national honour on Fela was not his to make.
Fela was very vocal in his criticism of the Nigerian government. With over 200 arrests, government raids became common in Kalakuta. After the release of Zombie, a song describing Nigerian soldiers, the government struck, beating him, throwing his mother from the window and burning down the Kalakuta Republic.
He was known to drop names of leaders he perceived to be corrupt in his songs, including Moshood Abiola, General Olusegun Obasanjo and General Muhammadu Buhari, who is currently the Nigerian president.
Fela pointedly attacked Buhari’s human rights record when he was Nigeria’s military ruler between 1983 and 1985 on one of his popular tracks, Beast of No Nation.
Fela extended his activism to political columns he ran in national newspapers under the title “Chief Priest Say”. In 1979, he contested for president under his party, Movement of the People (MOP).
In 1993, he was arrested for murder under Sani Abacha’s regime. During this time, he was plagued by a sickness he refused to treat. On the 2nd of August, 1997, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti died of AIDS.