The Vice President of Nigeria Prof Yemi Osinbajo stated that late 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 disclosed that the late Afrobeat maestro and activist 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 a critic of the Nigerian government. Fela built a commune called Kalakuta Republic, a home for his band, wives, children and entourage. The compound was raided by the military government, his nightclub shut down, he was beaten and jailed hundreds of times. He continued to publish columns and speak out in interviews and performances against colonial hegemony and post-colonial abuse. He championed traditional African religious practices and pan-African socialism.
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 also attacked Buhari’s government when he was Nigeria’s military ruler between 1983 and 1985 in one of his popular tracks, Beast of No Nation.