You must act now or you become Democrazy- Fela
NewsReport Nigeria February 13, 2021
In the 70s/90s Samuel Oladipupo Ojomo Obatinuadeyo popularly known as Baba Ojomo was Fela Anikulapo best friends there friendship leads to what make him become Fela’s Manager.
History tells that both attended same school with Obasanjo and Wole Soyinka including late MKO Abiola.
In an interview with late Baba Ojomo he said I and Fela stands on 3 things that we will never do and these things are:
1, We won’t Cheat
2, We won’t go after another man’s wife
3, We won’t steal.
Do you agree with what late Baba Ojomo said, well there friendship is beyond imagination.
During one of their trip to the United State for a show Late Baba Ojomo explain how they escaped plane crash when Fela said he those not mind to lose a flight, but he as to meet a woman that save their lives after the plane they were to board crashed few minutes after take off.
Late Baba Ojomo claimed that while ha had been detained 39/40 times, Fela had been detained on a countless time Fela had suffered dozens of stitches from assaults by agents of the state and the Nigerian military.
Fela’s encounter with the ‘law’ also had a legal dimension aside from our treatment of the concept as normative practice.
The nature of charges preferred against him ranged from abduction, possession of Indian hemp, aiding and abetting criminals, to contravention of national currency law, disturbance of public peace, and illegal assembly.
The last charge was an oblique reference to his more direct public political protest.
He also dragged a couple of institutions to court, such as Decca, a recording label, over issues of censorship, corporate intrigue, and breach of contract. Once, Fela himself appeared in court as a private prosecutor.
All through this process, he hired attorneys who were not only ideologically sympathetic to his cause but practiced a form of legal advocacy that emphasized not only the legalistic but also the political character of cases.
The more notable of these lawyers were Mr. Kanmi Isola Osobu, a left-wing activist at some point in his career; Mr. Tunji Braithwaite, a publicist and presidential candidate of the defunct National Advancement Party (NAP); and Mr. Femi Falana, a labor and human right’s lawyer, and leftist activist from his student days at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University).
Some of his more celebrated cases were the “expensive shit” affair of April 30, 1974, and the undeclared foreign currency charge of September 4, 1984.
But above all, the February 18, 1977 burning of Kalakuta Republic drew, by the sheer magnitude of the loss incurred and the number of persons involved, the widest attention to another site of Afrobeat engagement with the law When Fela was arrested on April 30, 1974 the charge preferred against him was “possession of weeds suspected to be Indian hemp.”
Shortly after being granted bail, the police raided his house, searched for weeds of Indian hemp and, apparently got possession of what they thought was the banned substance.
Fela asked to verify the authenticity of the weed, but once the police handed it to him, he quickly swallowed everything, which then led to a new arrest.
At the police station he was waited upon to produce a stool sample for a laboratory test. This experience would later serve as the basis of the record Expensive Shit.
On his way to a foreign tour on September 4, 1984, Fela was arrested at the Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos, supposedly for failing to declare the 1,600 Sterling in his possession. Subsequently, he was tried and Justice Okoro Idogu sentenced him to five years imprisonment.
He was released seven months later after the trial judge confessed that he was pressured by the Buhari-Idiagbon regime to jail Fela.
All of this does not, however, measure up to the incident of February 18, 1977 unarguably his strongest collision with military power, when Kalakuta was burnt down by soldiers from the Abalti Barracks. Several citizens of his republic were severely assaulted, some of the women were raped, while the sound track of his film The Black President was burnt.
His activist mother was thrown down from a one-storey building, and she would die a year later from the shock experienced during the incident.
This led to the Lagos state government setting up an Administrative Board of Inquiry headed by Justice Kalu Anyah of the Imo State High Court, with Wing Commander Hamza Abdullahi of the Nigerian Air force as member.
There were two major build-ups to the burning of Kalakuta.
Shortly before this event, Fela had confronted the General Olusegun Obasanjo regime about the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC). All through the FESTAC event, Afrika Shrine served as an alternative festival and almost took the shine off the official festival.
Furthermore, Fela had only recendy released his most acerbic satire of the military, Zombie, which the military establishment and government found most embarrassing as it portrayed soldiers as unthinking figures akin to automated marionettes. In the trial, Nuhu Ottabor, the officer in charge of Abalti Barracks, Warrant Officer 2, Boniface Agor, and other soldiers testified to their reception of the Zombie track sung as:
Vocal: Zombie o Zombie}
Chorus: Zombie o Zombie}(2ce)
Vocal: Zombie no go talk unless you tell am to talk
Vocal: Zombie no go go unless you tell am to go
Vocal: Zombie no go come unless you tell am to come
Vocal: Zombie no go think unless you tell am to think
Vocal: Zombie o Zombie—Chorus: Zombie o Zombie}
Vocal: Tell am to go straight—Chorus: Na joro jara joro
Vocal: Tell am to turn right—Chorus: Na joro jara joro
Vocal: Tell am to turn left—Chorus: Na joro jara joro
Vocal: Tell am to go kill—Chorus: Na joro jara joro
Vocal: Joro jara joro o Zombie wey na one way }(2ce)
Joro jara joro… oooh}
Join di line! (Chorus repeats
Fall off! Zombie, after
Fall in! each line)
Stand at ease!
Put am for reverse!
Open your hat!
(Chorus till fade, then—) Dis-mi-ss!!!
The board of inquiry concluded that the song was inspired by “an attempt to bring the military into disrepute and ridicule.
”The board further affirmed the version of the troop’s story that Kalakuta caught fire through an explosion of a generator set kept near the commune, and not sabotage work by the troop from Abalti Barracks.
The panel thus went ahead to castigate “the use of the word ‘Republic’ by Mr. Fela Anikulapo-Kuti or any other individual to describe his domain within the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” and called for its immediate prohibition.
The recommendation continued:
The use of this word is not only misleading but, in the circumstances of the instant case under investigation, leaves the impression of a separate and distinct republic proclaimed within the Federal Republic of Nigeria in defiance of the constitution.
In spite of evidence to the contrary the board concluded that the soldiers involved in the mayhem were “unknown.”
The entire judgment resonated the fact that the government could do no wrong, a maxim that barrister Femi Falana would later describe as belonging to the “imperial maxim of the British imperialist era, a maxim that had been abandoned in 1946, but was applied against a Nigerian family in 1977!’.