"Sadly, our spirituality happens to be the greatest casualty of the colonial assault on Africa. We lost the very key to our soul as we have been eternally programmed to seek our humanity within context and moulds of our slave masters."--Duke Imevbore Aigboje
This day, nineteen years ago, the man who had death in his pouch died.
The day might begin and end without a whimper--not because he was an ordinary Nigerian deserving no mention, but due to the rigged system we operate as a nation.
A country where politicians who steal from us rank high on the role model chart will never appreciate the contributions of the politician who sang and fought big men and thick madams whose fat pockets were tied to neither a business empire nor inheritance of any significance.
Fela was a prophet who deployed a combination of wind and percussion instruments to teach us civics and Black pride.
It was Black Pride that instigated Yellow Fever, an epic song that took skin bleachers to the cleaner for the abominable act perpetuated by Blacks whom, shackled in the web of colour complex, salivate on the sight of a man skin.
Decades later, Africans still struggle to break loose from the shackles of colour complex, with the cosmetic industry flooded with toning creams of varying degrees and sizes. Even the toddler is not spared. A recent report in The Nation newspaper has it that mothers use bleaching creams on their children!
As a deep thinker with a clear-cut economic vision, Fela took ample time in persuading his people to patronise local products in response to the declining economic fortunes of the country. In Buy Africa, he asked who would help buy our produce and consume our products other than US. He asked how we expect to make the continent of Africa rich if we fail to Buy Africa.
Again, the people's allure for foreign products and services which accorded perfectly to our despise at consuming anything local is responsible for the dearth of Brand Nigeria and lately, the Forex mess we are at present enmeshed in.
The combative nature of Fela's songs made him a victim of anger from the country's leadership whose major hold on the country would not have been possible had the nationals been populated by conscious souls.
Unfortunately, all Nigerians in their robe and cap remember is the weed, the mass marriage and the pant of the Abami Eda. The struggle for the preservation of the honour of the African, nay Black man, the clamour to Buy Africa, the fight for freedom and justice mean nothing to us, the army of righteous, holier than thou dwellers of the Abrahamic faith.
Let's get to heaven. Life expectancy is a mere 54.5 years!
Dear Nigerian, we will all die soon. Or have you forgotten that the guy who shares the same birthday with you somewhere else will live for about three decades after your departure?
Your pastor was among those who queued to collect Abacha's abominable money in the late 90s. Same as your Imam, he left your village to go get his share at Abuja.
They knew too well what the largesse was meant for: to keep the pulpit silent in the face of large-scale resource pilfering and unprecedented castration of democratic principles.
And you're here putting him above a traditionalist whose struggle made the nation less hell than it would have been.
Those pot-hole ridden roads you manage, that glorified mushroom you call school, the little freedom you enjoy, you think these tyrants you hail as leaders would ordinarily have put them in place in the first place?
What a shuffering and shmiling lot!
It's 54 years brother. You're over 24 already. Hopefully, Buhari won't bring the number down.
And to the grey-headed man. I'm sure you know its extra time--unless of course, you're not resident here.
54 is the magic number. You can play that today.
Rest well Olufela Oludotun Anikulapo-kuti, an enigma of unquantifiable proportion.
Modiu Olaguro writes from Badagry.