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How Nigeria would look like under a President Fela Kuti

January 14, 2019 at 11:00 am | Opinions & Features

Elizabeth Ofosuah Johnson

Elizabeth Ofosuah Johnson | Staff Writer

January 14, 2019 at 11:00 am | Opinions & Features

Fela Kuti. Photo/ ;Rebour

Not only is Seun Anikulapo Kuti a chip off the old block in the music department, but the youngest son of global music legend and father of Afrobeat Fela Anikulapo Kuti is very vocal and bold about his take on politics and other social issues.

In a recent interview on TVC in Nigeria, what started out as a light conversation about perspectives on life and relationship with Seun Kuti took a rather serious turn when the 36-year-old was asked to share his take on politics and his father’s legacy.

With less than 40 days to the Nigerian elections, Seun Kuti revealed that he did not bother registering for a voters card due to his disbelief in the political set up of the country and also because he did not believe in the manifestos of any of the candidates. Asked about what his father would have been like if he was still alive, Seun quickly jumped in to say that his father would have been president of Nigeria.

With this said, we can’t help but imagine Fela Ransome Anikulapo Kuti as President of Nigeria. However, the idea is not as far fetched as it seems.

Kalakuta Museum  formally Kalakuta Republic

In 1979, nine years after declaring his Kalakuta Republic independent of the Nigerian government and Nigeria, Fela, who had by then established himself as a political activist and notorious enemy of the government declared his intentions to run for the presidency. This was exactly 40 years ago and seeing how many years it took several African political leaders to become president, we are pretty sure Fela would have persisted and been president by now if not planning to leave office after serving his country.

So what would have Fela done if he was president?

As a Pan-Africanist socialist and judging from the way he lived, there is no denying that Fela would have created a more communal country doing away with religious barriers and restrictions and making polygamy legal in Nigeria. In the long run, he would have influenced several other countries to also adapt his ways,  judging from the way his music has influenced several generations of African musicians.

The father of Afrobeat turned president would have also also promoted a more African way of  running the country and society as he clearly stated in several interviews that every continent had its own method which worked for it and the problem with Africa was that we easily adopted the foreign way of running our continent instead of looking into ways that worked before the coming of the Europeans after regaining our freedom.

Believing that Africans have nothing to offer because we were taught in English, Fela would have spearheaded a massive education reform in Nigeria making sure that English is no longer the official language and medium of teaching and communication. English would have become a second language under the Fela government and indigenous languages would have been made the first language per state.

Perhaps Nigeria would have been enjoying free health services under president Fela Kuti due to the fact that health services were free for anyone who lived in Kalakuta. 

Fela Kuti and some of his female workers

Lastly, looking back at how he had several women working for him both in his band and in Kalakuta, women would have held more top positions under the government led by Fela Kuti and Nigeria would probably be saying hello to its first female president in 2019 as more women would have been running for the position after immense experience in politics.

Fela Kuti

We can only make assumptions to what we really think Fela would have done as president but what we do know is that the Afrobeat king would have been the first president coming from a musical background and perhaps the first Tony award-winning president as well. Fela would probably have had to go on tour with his music every now and then.

It is also a fact that he would have had a hard time becoming president seeing that Kalakuta was burnt down in 1977 and he was imprisoned under the current president Buhari’s military regime for 18 months in 1984.

Fela would also have had a lot of coup attempts against him and a few possible assassination attempts.

What else do you think Fela Kuti would have done if he were the president of Nigeria?

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