Restructure the People’s Poverty level

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…Fela Committed Class Suicide, Anikulapo said

By Segun James

Former Editor of the Guardian on Sunday, Mr. Jahman Anikulapo, has stated that rather than political restructuring the country as advocated in some quarters, what Nigeria needs urgently is to restructure the poverty level of the people which he warned has gotten to dangerous level.

He noted further that this must be looked into urgently if the country is to survive as one entity.

Anikulapo, who disclosed his frustrations to journalists yesterday, said he has decided not to give his life in the service of the country as people like Fela did, saying life is more meaningful outside the shores of Nigeria, hence he may have to emigrate because “Nigeria cannot work, it will not work and it is not destined to work.”

He alleged that Afrobeat music icon, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, committed class suicide when he chose to side with the poor through his music and ways of life, adding that this is why he suffered immensely for all his life.

The former editor stated this at the launching of the book, Fela: ‘Yesterday’s Message as Today’s Reality’ written by civil rights activst and former Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos State council, Mr. Fola Arogundade, at the Kalakuta Republic, home of the music legend.

According to him, “We need to restructure poverty not the country. This is what Fela did all his life. He committed class suicide when he came down from his elitist ‘Ajebota’ level to the street level.”

He stressed further that Fela was not only an enigma, but that he was humble, humane and disciplined; a cultural phenomenon, a culture icon and prophet of socio-consciousness.

Also speaking, the Deputy Managing Director of THISDAY Newspapers, Mr. Kayode Komolafe, lamented that 20 years after the death of Fela, the country is still consumed by identity politics, while agreeing with Anikulapo that the issue before Nigerians is poverty.

Komolafe insisted that restructuring is not the answer to the ills in the society, even as he posited that developing along ethnic line as in the case in the country is retrogressive.

Also speaking at the occasion, a Poet, Dr. Odia Ofeimum, said Fela gave expression to the way people felt about the Nigerian society.

He said: “Fela advocated unity and that he was the quintessential artist for the education of our society. He believes that the poor should not be allowed to wallow in their poverty, but be helped to rise above it.”

Those present at the occasion were Publisher of Encomium Magazine; Mr. Kunle Bakare; Publicity Secretary of Afenifere; Mr. Yinka Odumakin, a poet, Mr. Tony Iyare; Mr. Kunle Ajibade, Fela’s first manager; Mr. Benson Idonije and the Press Secretary to the Lagos State Governor among others.