SEUN KUTI: A Demystification Of The ‘Area Boy’ -By Tunde Akingbondere

Tunde Akingbondere

I knew there was big trouble ahead on seeing the controversial video of Mr. Seun Kuti’s fisticuffs and violent assault on a man believed to be an officer of the law. I was particularly attracted to the video owing to its theme and antithetical parade of a rabid Seun Kuti and another defenceless fellow – a police officer whose cool and calm nature defies all logic. The gentlemanly stance he brought to bear all through the marathon assault is an obvious deviation from the highfalutin nature and character the Nigeria Police is notorious for.



Mr. Seun Kuti, a scion of the Fela Kuti’s family, is widely acclaimed for his anti-colonialist sermons. He became the replica of the departed afrobeat icon, Fela Kuti. He also catalysed his personality by making him resemble a ventriloquist whose stentorian voice reverberates through a relative medium, even at his departure. Fela continues to talk to us from the world beyond, especially through his _enfant terrible_ , Seun Kuti and maybe Femi Kuti, his modified form and teetotaller.

Without being ashamed, I am a fan of Seun Kuti’s many evangelism against colonialist education. I feel he was right by maintaining that education is nothing but a means to colonial indoctrination. It is true that a special potential had been deposited in every living being since creation. Only that we have not gotten to the point of self-discovery.

As a fan of his education. I have refused to be intellectually bamboozled or bundled into the misguided belief that reducing our law enforcement agents to objects of ridicule or punching bags is the way to revenging their many atrocities and killings. A place without at least, mild enforcement of law and order, should be compared to a zoo.

Socrates, a noble Athenian philosopher was committed to death for what the court termed his blasphemous utterances. He was approached by Critto, a good friend of his on the need to escape the law by stealing out to the neighbouring town. The jailor, who for the fear of being party to the murder of an innocent man, willingly showed interest in aiding his escape. To their chagrin, Socrates never agreed to run away from Athens.

While trying to understand Mr. Seun Kuti’s rebellion and obvious manifestation of radical activism, I knew he must have been under the spell of a belief that a mere uniform should not translate to a ticket to impunity. A barely educated officer of the law is under the delusion of power. He sees his uniform as a confirmation and obvious instrument or insignia of validated impunity. He wants to be willfully wicked, since there is one special section 356 of the Criminal Code which protects him from serious assault.

Seun Kuti might have also been provoked by his prior experience of institutional oppression. Fela Kuti’s ‘Kalakuta Republic’ was razed to ashes in a similar situation. It happened on a particular day that one of his boys, Joseph Umar, ran into the traffic operatives in Lagos. He appeared to have breached the One-way rule by plying that route with his bike. On his bike being seized, there was also an attempt to get him arrested. He escaped and ran back into Kalakuta.

The escaped culprit refused to come out. He was particularly shielded by Fela who instigated the beating of the traffic operatives, including the police officers who came after them. The two happenings were precursors to the eventual bombardment of his shrine by no less than a thousand soldiers who threw the mother from the stairs, broke Fela’s legs and arrested his brother, Dr. Beko Ransome Kuti. Worthy of special mention is the inhuman treatment his bevy of beautiful Queens were subjected to. A popular musician, Fatai Rolling Dollars, lost his then small record store to the wild inferno that erupted from Fela’s compound.

Before our very own eyes, a similar event has taken place. History has repeated itself with Seun Kuti, who without regards for constituted authority, humbled an officer of the law. He will also yield himself voluntarily to the same Police Force for prosecution.

My sympathy for Seun Kuti became intense on foreseeing the palpable victimization that might accompany his prosecution. The law is not being fair with Seun Kuti, especially for subjecting him to his interlocutors. The Nigeria Police Force is currently livid and will make anything out of Seun Kuti.

It is typically embarrassing that Seun Kuti, a non-believer in colonialist regions, especially Christianity and Islam, is now made to bear the burden of the bible, including the humongous responsibility of an emergency GO, whose sudden encounter with Jesus was like that of Saul on his way to Damascus.

Why can’t Nigerian Police try to mask the personality of the stable and assaulted officer who despite the marathon assaults and provocations, maintained his cool. Why is it difficult for us to wait on our law for the service of the true justice? Why the state-sponsored anarchy in detention? Why should a bloody detainee be so powerful to such an extent that he could charge the immediate payment of N25000 as rent in a detention facility that obviously belongs to the State? Why the media parade of the goings-on in detention?

Resistance is an act of rebellion. A person of Malcom X standing had been provoked to indulge in such. It is punished by the law and not a league of bitter police officers who are used to fire intra-detention insurrection. The idea of obtaining his blood or going to his house to look for fresh evidence is desperate and must not be encouraged. The court must deal with assault and not unconnected issues.

I am forced to believe an experiment of demystification has taken place on a specimen called Seun Kuti. He is now the secluded monk and prayer warrior. He has gone through a forceful and dangerous pacification.

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