VIDEO: “We Do Not Need An Arab Spring In Nigeria” – Femi Kuti

On January 26, 2013, Nigerian musician Femi Kuti gave his New York City fans a mixture of music and politics, asserting that Nigeria cannot afford the kind of public insurrection that began to sweep through several Arab nations two years ago.

It was two hours before the opening of his gig. Dressed in traditional Nigerian garb, Mr. Kuti paced the floor of the Webster Hall club in New York City. Tired and buffeted by cold during his latest US tour, he wore a long sleeve gray and black striped shirt underneath his African clothing with a thick black scarf wrapped around his neck. After a while, the Afrobeat star seemed at ease. During the show, he and the Positive Force band offered a musical-political dosage to an enthusiastic audience of Afrobeat fans. The band jammed to a packed crowd.

Throughout the show, Femi Kuti demonstrated his masterful skills by switching from one musical instrument to another – saxophone, clarinet, trumpet and the keyboard – while directing his band and dancing in a passionate, jerky style.

This US tour promoted Femi’s most recent album, “Africa For Africa,” along with many of his most celebrated songs. The band performed hits like ‘Dem Bobo“, “Beng Beng Beng,” and “You Better Ask Yourself.”

Shortly before the start of the concert, Mr. Kuti spoke to SaharaReporters in an interview that covered contemporary issues in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.

“If Africa were to go the way of the Arab Spring, we are going to get in trouble,” he insisted.

“The minute we understand we must stop corruption and everybody must pay for being corrupt, we will not need a spring like that,” Femi said responding to the question of whether or not other African nations need an Arab-like revolt. Several North African and Middle Eastern countries have witnessed scenes of major civil uprisings. The revolts have led to the collapse of former entrenched regimes in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, with a bloody war now sundering Syria and Egypt in the midst of renewed opposition to its Muslim Brotherhood-backed leader.

A year ago, in early 2012, Femi Kuti participated in Occupy Nigeria, an uprising that protested the removal of fuel subsidy in oil-rich Nigeria. Protesters marched in and outside Nigeria, insisting that the Goodluck Jonathan administration reverse its subsidy policy. The protesters pointed to the fact that the majority of Nigerians live on the equivalent of two dollars per day.

For one week in January of 2012, Nigeria was virtually shut down as citizens took to the streets. The protests ended only after the Nigerian Labor Congress (NLC) and the government struck a deal, albeit one that left many protesters disappointed.

Even if Sub-Saharan Africa does not need an Arab Spring, the continent’s inhabitants are screaming change.

Mr. Kuti acknowledged as much. “Most African youths are angry and want change. How to get that change? They don’t know because they must survive, they must work, they must build their families,” he said.

With corruption still prevalent, decades-long autocratic leadership, rising unemployment rates, theft of natural resources and extreme poverty, he agreed that something has to give. He added that, although a real revolution has not been staged in Sub-Sahara Africa, things are going in the right direction.

“In my father’s time everybody was running away from the struggle. Now in Nigeria, people talk about it. ‘I hate this government. This is bad,’” said Mr. Kuti. “The youths,” he said, “are more open and ready.”

Afrobeat will always recall us to the genius of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Femi’s father. But the younger Kuti has since come into reckoning as a serious musician in his own right. He has managed to carve out his considerable identity in the genre, continuing a legacy that combines scintillating music with a no-nonsense political message.

6 comment(s)
Post a comment

Akpos, what a good time for SS/SE to go. Stop your ranting.

I can't wait to see your clueless, inept but extremely corrupt jona ebele leading you SS & SE in your new struggle to secede. I dey laugh at these two strange bed fellows.That's when SS will start real slavery under Igbo dominion. Nobody is begging you to stay a day longer. Stop the noise about SS/SE. This is your right time to pull out. BYE!!!

Revolution=blood shed

NO revolution without blood shed my brother...ordinary fuel subsidy crisis claimed lives...

Is Femi's statement borne out of peace, patriotism or cowardice?

Femi's statement would have been worth discussing if not that it is most likely borne out of fear & cowrdice akin to the mood in Illorin when that Yoruba city went crumbling under the invading Fulani. Why MUST it be the Yoruba people who shout "Nigeria should remain one", "Nigeria can never break up", "The things that bind us together & more than the things that divide us"? What binds Nigeria apart from my sweet SS&SE oil&gas? Idiots.

From OBJ, to Tinubu, to Adeboye and others...they pray that Nigeria remains one regardless of how many boko haram kill. Why? Is it an act of peaceful disposition or pure cowardice? Theses elements forget no battle any where in the world and even in d spiritual realm, has ever been won by employing a very strong defense. You must attack. 2 resign to prayers, pleas or amnesty for those who kill or embezzle the SS&SE monies why destroying its ecology is simply nonsense.They must be confronted with any weapons in sight.Long live the SS&SE

"We need a bloodless

"We need a bloodless revolution" My brother, there is no revolution without bloodshed!

Arab Spring

Go and sit down. You are just a stupid sycophant. We need more than Arab Spring to change corruption in Nigeria

look at what the socalled

look at what the socalled arab spring sponsored by the west has done to Egypt, tunisia, syria and libya. Rather than have arab spring in nigeria why dont we split quietly-its only a fool that will wish such for nigeria-we already have arab spring in d fulani north via buhari and his boys in boko haram-

Post a comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
Comments are limited to a maximum of 0 characters.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <p> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.