The extraction of value from the land is done in a most wicked, inhuman, evil, and unsustainable manner. The oil industry in Nigeria is found on a scorched earth and with a lasse farez attitude…
Fela had a rather funny quirk, he wouldn’t play a song at a show, once he had released the song in an album. I do not believe myself an authority on Fela’s music, but this oddity of his was something I can attest to, since Shobo took me to my first show at Pepple Street, in the mid 1980s. I never heard Fela play a song that he had recorded. This was a bugbear for me because I longed to watch him play the song he had titled: Look And Laff.
I am fairly certain that the song was partly rendered with tears in Fela’s eyes. I heard a broken heart wailing. The song was written after one of his many brushes with the Nigerian state. The song came after Zombie, it came after Coffin For Head Of State, it came after the several brutal beatings that he endured. It came after he had already shown Obasanjo and the Nigerian state, that he was fine with dying for his beliefs and ideals, and it came after he had come to the knowledge of the complicity of the Nigerian peoples, in their own enslavement and dehumanization. I now know these.
I know because Seun Kuti finally confirmed what I had always suspected. Seun was talking recently about the Nigerian peoples, the state, and Fela. He was recounting a conversation he had with the Abami Eda. Fela told his young son of the raid on Kalakuta republic, he told of the brutal beating he endured, and of the fatal injury that his mother had suffered in the hands of the rampaging soldiers unleashed on the commune by Obasanjo and Yar’Adua.
Seun recounted how Fela defiantly marched to Dodan Barracks with the slain mother’s coffin in the hope that the Nigerian peoples would be roused into action by the example of his own bravery and the refusal to be cowed into silence by his tribulations in the hands of the iniquitous state, its rulers and the governing systems. Seun’s account provides context for the pains I heard in Fela’s haunting rendition of what was in essence the climax of his disillusionment with the Nigerian state, and with the Nigerian peoples. Look and laff had no fellowship with mirth, the laugh to which Fela referred, is a mask for pain, despondency, and hopelessness.
Fela is long gone now. I was in my twenties when Fela died. I was preparing to exit LASU. I am in my fifties now, a father of three young children, and I find absolutely nothing to elicit any form of laughter. The Nigerian state is not a tragicomedy, there is nothing funny about the large scale dehumanization of its citizens. There is nothing to bring smiles in contemplation of the abandonment of any pretenses that the rulers, care about the people, or that the state has any respect for the citizens. There is nothing funny about Nigeria.
Laughter is in certain extreme cases, a human response to trauma. And I can understand how Fela must have believed himself traumatized by the nakedness of the powers unleashed against his person and property by Obasanjo and his junta, but it has become clearer, that he was even more traumatized by the disconnect of the Nigerian peoples, from the battle for their own liberation. The Nigerian state has done a fantastic job of breaking the people into fragments, and the existential lives thrusted on the people, has served to desensitize, and to disconnect them, from their own living tragedies.
There is nothing funny about Nigeria again. The entire northern part of Nigeria has become one huge swathe of lawless badlands. The president’s home state of Katsina, is the kidnap capital of the Northwest. The northeast, home region of the COAS, is the hotbed of Boko Haram. The north central, food basket of the Nigerian state, has become the killing field of the Fulani herdsmen. The uncouth dwarf in Kaduna is only adept at crushing his political opponents and dissidents, he is governing the state of insecurity in the entire southern kaduna.
The entire Niger Delta has become a land where guns reign supreme, and the guns are not necessarily in the hands of agents of the state. Criminality reigns supreme in the Delta, and the biggest criminal of all, is the Nigerian state itself. The extraction of value from the land is done in a most wicked, inhuman, evil, and unsustainable manner. The oil industry in Nigeria is found on a scorched earth and with a lasse farez attitude. Little, if any thought, is had for the welfare of the humanity that calls the Niger Delta home. The Nigerian state’s sole purpose in the delta, would appear to be the extraction of everything valuable in the soil, and the despoliation of the land and people themselves.
The West has been overtaken by forces of reaction, and the people rendered supine and compliant with what they had once opposed, even at the cost of their own lives. The Yoruba have lost their hitherto loud voice in the proclamation of the way forward for the Nigerian state, and have become accomplices in the justification of the evil that has overtaken Nigeria.
The ones that were once the conscience of a sick country, have been rendered bereft of the capacity to tell the difference between good and evil. Sophisticated Morons, we were labeled by Nnana, and then the senior herdsman, said we are primitive. I have no counter argument to offer. What Akintola could not achieve in his lifetime, Tinubu has surpassed. The Yoruba have been made accomplices in the enthronement of the most rapacious, evil, and diabolical hegemony to have ever afflicted the Nigerian state. The Yoruba nation that rightly discerned, and serially rejected their own son, Obasanjo, for being an evil agent of a feudalistic order, were sufficiently stupefied by Tinubu into joining an unholy alliance.
An unfinished piece, which I have NO intention of completing. Started and abandoned on 9th February, 2020.