Akin Oyebode, a professor of International Law and Jurisprudence, has said the late Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti is an indestructible avatar whose memories can never fade away.
Oyebode, who was a guest speaker at a symposium organised in Lagos ahead of the 2019 Felabration, said Fela’s ways and music are indelible, adding that he gave himself the assignment of decolonizing the minds of Nigerians with his music.
The theme for the 2019 edition of the symposium was ‘Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense’, a theme derived off his hit song of the same title.
Felabration is a music festival that celebrates Fela’s life, his enormous influence on Nigerian society and Afrobeat.
Oyebode, who extolled Fela’s virtues, said the ‘Abami Eda’ affected great lives positively all over the world and he will always be remembered for his good deeds.
“It’s about 30 years now that Fela came to the University of Lagos to attend a symposium and he spoke on Teacher don’t teach me nonsense. At this time, he hadn’t released the song. He was an avatar and phenomenon who could not be crushed.” Oyebode said.
While commending the Kuti family for upholding the heritage of their father, Oyebode was of the view that he can’t be replicated, adding that he is one of his kind.
“He was a man that was well celebrated all over the world, so I’m not surprised at the kind of accolades he has continued to receive since his demise. He was a musical genius who, despite all odds, tackled the government. He was also persecuted for saying his mind and his music is indestructible because he was an avatar.”
He went on to say that he was not surprised when the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, visited the Afrika Shrine.
“I was not surprised when the President of France decided to visit the Shrine to celebrate the greatest African hero. He took it upon himself the task on decolonising the Nigerian minds.”
Also speaking at the symposium, Ssentamu Robert Kyagulanyi, an Ugandan musician and activist, better known as Bobi Wine, said the confidence Ugandans have was tapped from Nigerian through Fela and other notable Nigerians who are representing Africa positively.
“Nigerians have always given us confidence. Personally, I would say they are the most confident in Africa.
“I’m thankful to the family of the legendary Fela Kuti for the invitation to attend this year’s Felabration and to celebrate a man who used music to speak truth to power. Even when beaten and thrown in jail over 200 times, Fela never gave up on his rights“
Bobi said as a leader and an activist, Fela’s influence on him has been enormous. “Ten years ago after I became an ardent follower of the late Afrobeat legend, it change my orientation, and immediately I changed my style of music from not just entertaining people, but also educating people around him.”
He further added that, “I never heard Fela’s music on our national radio or see him on TV but Fela’s message made me change my music from entertainment to Edutainment”.