While the Soyinka's might have thought of Babangida as the listening president, Fela Anikulakpo Kuti was never to be deceived by ANY government that did not represent the interests of progress in Nigeria. We must give props where props are due. At a time now when all our ultra-intellectuals are just now realizing how to sift the wheat from the chaff, it is ironic that Fela needs not say anything more. Why should he?

By Gaga Ekeh

"Make you no go anywhere, just wait there make I tell you something."

--Fela you don come again.

"I never come again, I still dey far away, make you wait till I reach where I dey go."

--Where you dey go?

"Make I reach"

--Where you dey go?

"Wait and see"

--Where you dey go?

"Don't ask me"

--Where you dey go?

There are not many heroes in Nigeria. The few who exist have at one time compromised their stances. The truest of these ones, like Tai Solarin and Wole Soyinka, seemed to have allowed themselves to be deceived by the supposed "good intentions" of the leadership of the nation and ended up legitimizing such illegal dictatorship by serving under these governments. The weaker ones simply sold-out their positions for reasons ranging from "the good of my people" to pure greed. But through it all, I can think of one man who hasnever wavered. He's the man who has never had anything to lose from exposing the truth and telling it like it is.

While the Soyinka's might have thought of Babangida as the listening president, Fela Anikulakpo Kuti was never to be deceived by ANY government that did not represent the interests of progress in Nigeria. We must give props where props are due. At a time now when all our ultra-intellectuals are just now realizing how to sift the wheat from the chaff, it is ironic that Fela needs not say anything more. Why should he?

He's said it all.

Listening to his records today, all the way from Sorrow, Tears and Blood, to Zombie, to Army Arrangement, to Why Black Man Dey Suffer, to Suffering and Smiling, to Beast of No Nation, to Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense, to Overtake Don Overtake Overtake, to No Agreement, to Just Like That, and loads more, it is amazing how remarkably accurately he has depicted Nigeria's future path and present predicament. I wonder what happened to all those who've bought his records. Did his warnings go unheeded? Were they just great melodies and funky grooves? We must give props where props are due.

Fela is a Nigerian hero. Like most, he might have his shortcomings, but consistency is not one of them. I will raise my kids with Fela's music, urging them to emulate his ability to reason without buying into what is the popular rhetoric of any given time. True, I might ask them to reconsider before emulating his marrying ways, but if any wishes to marry 27 wives at a go, he'd sure as hell better not come to me for the dowry money.

From some of his songs...Some Felarisms

On wisdom...

"Fool for forty na fool forever"

"Na so the book people dey talk"

"I no go tell my brother like that"

"I go say 'Realize you be fool at twenty' "

During the years when Nigerians were content to enjoy

the trickling benefits of oil money...

"My people think say Nigeria don dey"

"But me as I see am I know say Nigeria go go down"

"How country go dey make money"

"Make people of country no see money"

On speaking out...

"Whether you like or you no like, after you hear this true talk"

"If you like e good. If you no like you hang"

"If you hang you go die, you go die for nothing"

"Dem go carry your body go police station, you die wrongfully"

"Man dey suffer im no fit talk na condition"

"Man dey suffer im fit talk na condition too"

"If your condition still dey make you shake"

"And you still dey no talk the way you feel"

"Make you open your two ears very well"

"To dey hear the true talk wey I dey talk"

"Remember if you no talk your own"

"ONE DAY OF COURSE WE MUST DIE!"

More on speaking out...

"I no go gree, make my brother hungry, make I no talk"

"La la la la la la"

"I no go gree, make my sister homeless, make I no talk"

"La la la la la la"

"My grandpapa talk, my papa talk, my grandmama talk, may mama talk"

"Those wey no talk, now dem dey see"

...

"I go shout-io" --"I go shout plenty-o!"

"I go shout shout-io" --"I go shout plenty-o!"

On government "tribunals"

"This thing wey happen, first time in the whole world"

"If I call the name, you go know am"

"Tell me the name now: GOVERNMENT MAGIC"

"Dem take hat, dem take egg, dem take stick,"

"Dem dey chant, dem dey dance, spirit catch dem"

"Dem turn red into green"

On Nigerian leaders...

"Shey our leaders dem like us or dem like themselves?"

"Shey dem be good leaders or shadow criminals?"

"I get my own answer for you"

"Dem be original criminals"

"All na plan o"

"Dem like themselves"

...

"Na padi-padi government we day, E GBA MI O!

"Na rigi-more government we day o, YE PARIPA O!

"Padi-padi, money-money, arrangee, pasi-pasi"

"Add am together, give me the answer--ARMY ARRANGEMENT"

On Specific leaders...

"Na crace world, no be outside world"

"No be outside Buhari dey?"

"Na crace man be dat. Animal in crace man skin."

"No be outside Idiagbon dey?"

"Na crace man be dat."

"No be outside the police dey?"

"Dem went to Zaria and Ife"

"Dem kill five students..."

...

"The young Africans dem get two ears for head, dem get two eyes too"

"Dem dey see the thing wey dey happen, dem dey hear am too"

"Me Fela I challenge (president) Obasanjo na wayo im dey all di time"

"Make im carry me go any court, I go open book for am"

...

"When Shagari Finish im first election"

"Why dem no tell am say im make mistake"

...

"We go Obalende, we go Dodan barracks"

"Obasanjo dey there, with im big fat stomach"

"Y'aradua dey there, with im neck like ostrich"

"We put the coffin down. Dem no wan take am"

"But dem take am. Who go wan take coffin?"

"But dem take am. Dem must take am"

"But dem take am. For the bad bad bad things"

"But dem take am. Wey dem don do"

During the early Buhari-Idiagbon-Babangida-Abacha alliance...

"Why oyibo dem no tell army sef"

"That for England, army no fit take over

On Reagan, Thatcher, Botha and co.

"Dem go hold meeting, dem go start yab human beings"

"Animal talk don start again"

" 'Dash them human rights' "

"How animal go know say dem no born me as slave?"

"How animal go know say slave trade don pass?"

"But dem wan dash us human rights"

"Animal wan dash us human rights"

"Abeg-io make you hear me well well"

"Abeg-io make you hear me very well"

"Human rights na my property"

"So therefore you can't dash me my property"

On Multinational Corporations and their puppets...

"Certain foreign companies dey Africa"

"Carry all we money go: Say am say am"

"I read about one of them, dem call im name na ITT: Say am say am"

"Dem go get one African man"

"A man of low mentality"

"Dem go give am million-naira job"

On Colonization...

"I waka any village any where in Africa"

"Pastor house na im dey fine pass"

"My people dem dey live for poor surroundings"

"Pastor dress na im dey clean pass"

"But it hard for my people for dem to buy soap"

"It is a known fact that for many thousand years"

"We Africans have had our own traditions"

"These money making organizations"

"They come put we Africans in total confusion"

...

"If goodu tisha teach something, and student make mistake"

"Tisha must talk so, but oyibo no talk so"

"We support dem, dey support us"

"That means to say dem teachings get meaning"

"Different different type of meaning"

"That is why I say, that is the reason of my song"

"This is the conclude, the concluding of my song"

"I SAY I SING I BEG EVERYONE TO JOIN MY SONG!"

On soldiers and the police...

"Shey police wey go protect people dey burn burn things?"

"Shey army wey suppose protect us na dem dey burn burn so?"

"Why dem like to burn the things wey cost money?"

"Government fit sell to people cheap cheap"

"Government fit give to people wey no get money"

"But na the burn-burn, na im dey sweet dem pass"

"Oya o! Burn burn!"

...

"Zombie no go go unless you tell am to go"

"Zombie no go think unless you tell am to think"

"Zombie wey na one way, a joro jara joro"

"Go and kill. Joro jara joro"

"Go and die. Joro jara joro"

"Put am for reverse. Joro jara joro"

On Military leaders and their "Revolutionary/Ruling/e.t.c Councils"

"Dem get different different names"

"For different different countries"

"But the correct name for dem na Soldier-go, Soldier-come"

On his brief absence from the music scene...

"Since long time I never write new thing"

"Long time I never sing new song"

"Many of you go dey wonder why, your man never write new song"

"My people no be say I no wan write make you think and happy"

"Wetin I dey do be say, I dey looku and laughu"

"Wetin I no sing about, in this country"

"Sing sing sing, till dem beat me"

"Beat beat me, till dem think say I don die"

"Dem tie my hands dem tie my legs dem throw me inside police cell"

"I MUST LOOKU AND LAUGHU"


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