By Reno Omokri
When Seun Kuti slapped the unnamed policeman in the incident that has now become a cause célèbre, he was not just slapping him as a lone individual. In a mystical way, that would be very hard for me to explain here, he was unleashing an intergenerational slap, and the instrument of the slap was the hand of Seun, but the inspiration for the strike, and the force which powered it, was that of Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Fela Aníkúlápó Kuti, and Beko Ransome-Kuti.
It is just like hitting a rock. A mother kept hitting it, and it would not break. Then she died, and her son kept hitting it. Then he also died. Then his brother kept hitting it. Then he likewise went the way of all humanity. And then their progeny hit it once, and it cracked.
Just like the question the Sadducees asked Yeshua, our Lord and Saviour about the seven brothers who all had one wife after dying one after the other. “At the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?”-Matthew 22:28.
It was not just Seun’s effort that cracked the slap heard across Nigeria. It was much more the effort of those who came before him that cracked it.
In her lifetime, Chief Olufunmilayo Kuti was known as the “Lioness of Lisabi”. She was the first stormy petrel of Nigerian activism, long before Gani Fawehinmi. Mrs Kuti was a contemporary of Herbert Macaulay. She led 10,000 women to stage a coup in Egba land, which led to the abdication of Ladapo Ademola, the then Alake of Egba.
She was also one of those brave Nigerians that put themselves and their families at risk by pressing the British colonial government for Nigeria’s independence.
She died and passed the baton to her children, who continued from where she stopped. And in the cases of the maverick musician, Fela Kuti and the notable activist Dr Beko Kuti, they paid a hefty price for fighting for the oppressed of society. A hefty price indeed!
Fela would be beaten by the police, set up by the government, economically ravaged by imprisonment, and publicly paraded by the Musa Bamaiyi-led National Drug Law Enforcement Agency like his son Seun, who has just been paraded.
His brother. Beko would, amongst many other things, be accused of and convicted of treason for exposing the sham trial of General Olusegun Obasanjo, the same man under whose regime he had lost his mother due to police and military brutality.
These are the people who could (and here you have to forgive my literary licence) be said to have telepathically guided Seun’s hand. Maradona made history with the hand of god, while Seun made mystery with the hand of his ancestors.
What we now beg the authorities to do is consider the extreme and intergenerational trauma Seun has been subjected to, and cut him some slack. It could even be an act of clemency by Buhari to bid farewell to Nigeria.
What Seun did was wrong. And I condemn it. But Seun, as I have detailed above, has a history with the police and the military that has scarred him for life.
They beat his Septuagenarian grandmother and threw her from the first floor to the ground. She died from the injuries sustained. His father carried her coffin to Dodan barracks in tears! Till today, NOBODY was punished for the crime against Olufunmilayo Kuti. They beat his father to an inch of his life. Multiple times. They burnt down their residence, with multiple cars and other property. They were never paid compensation. The police raided the shrine episodically, right from when Seun was a baby to his adulthood.
And even in this incident involving the slap, there was provocation from the policeman. I am not saying that the provocation justified the slap. My motive is just to put things in context.
What he did was condemnable. It is unacceptable. But when you look at his personal history, there are mitigating circumstances. And I beg the Inspector General of Police to take Seun’s Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder into account. Because even Buhari’s wife, Aisha, admitted that her husband also suffers from PTSD due to his experience with the Nigerian state apparatus.
The police is institutionally to blame for what happened to that policeman as Seun. They are the ones who drew first blood. They initiated the casus belli. Let us do equity here and not just justice.
When people are under pressure or suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, they lash out in unusual ways. I will give an example. On Saturday, November 6, 2022, Peter Obi angrily lashed out at Dino Melaye on live TV during a Presidential debate. He was so annoyed he pointed at Dino and shouted, “I have taken enough from you!” He was so visibly angry that he almost got off the stage.
In the same vein, Seun and his family have taken enough injustice from the Nigerian police, and the Nigerian state’s wilful failure to punish those responsible for their PTSD has made them paranoid. You would be too, if you and your family had been a victim of the type of institutional injustices they have had to endure. Sometimes, to death.
The slapping incident was VERY wrong. At the risk of repeating myself, I condemn it. However, What Seun Kuti needs now is counselling, not prison. And certainly not a continuation of the war the Nigerian state has been fighting with that illustrious family that cost the lives of their grandmother, their father, and their uncle and my friend, the late Beko Kuti, inter alia.
I therefore call on President Muhammadu Buhari, as a fellow sufferer of PTSD, to intervene and use his prerogative of mercy to pardon Seun Kuti.
And for those who are celebrating Seun’s downfall, they should remember that at any point in time, half of the world’s surface is covered in darkness, while the other half is blanketed with light. Think of that before you celebrate anyone’s downfall. Light will still touch them, and darkness may also cover you. Seun Kuti is down now. But give him time. He will rise above his traducers.
“Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.”-Psalm 30:5.
Fela Kuti went to prison and came out to release his best-selling album, Beast of No Nation. Johnny Cash recorded his two highest-selling albums right in prison. Lil Wayne released a Billboard Number One album from prison. Mark Morrison returned from jail to meet Return of the Mack as a global Number One. The same thing happened to Tupac and TI. You can laugh now. But Seun may be the one laughing all the way to the bank after he exits prison.
And now to other matters.
As a Human, You Are Now Hackable!
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments worked with telecommunications companies to know where you had been using your smartphone, so they could determine if you crossed paths with an infected person. If you did, you got an automatic alert on your phone to self-isolate.
They still have that technology. But now, they use it to target you with advertising. If, for example, you enter a Gucci store, even though you don’t buy anything, you get targeted with Gucci ads. They are using the same technology that allows your phone to pinpoint the exact location at which you took any photo.
Look through your phone. Go to any photo. Your phone has the precise geolocation of the snapshot. When you are typing on your phone, it actually suggests the very words in your mind before you type it. Not even your twin brother knows you as telepathically as Artificial Intelligence does.
That is why you need to strengthen your willpower. Because Artificial Intelligence is so advanced that it can influence what you buy, who you date and marry, where you travel to, etc. You see these targeted ads, and you think it is a coincidence. It is not. Your phone is stalking you and reporting your ins and outs to advertisers, who then use that information to bypass your will and manipulate your judgment.
Very soon, politicians will use it. That is, if they are not already doing so. If your phone records you going to synagogue, church, mosque or other religious services regularly, then the AI will guess you are a Conservative, and you can be labelled and discriminated against. Because big tech leans to the left. If you frequent gyms and health food stores, the AI takes the hint that you are a Liberal. And they enhance your social media, and you get many followers you can influence with the liberal agenda.
Once that happens, the one world Oceania Big Brother scenario George Orwell wrote about in his book 1984 will be a clear and present reality. If your willpower is weak, your attention span is short, and you are incapable of deep independent thinking, with critical analytical abilities, you may become a zombie in this modern age!