Seun Kuti: When the man bites a dog
Today, I am in the NTA mood! The NTA-mood is the situation in which Nigeria would be on full-time fire but NTA would be showing some videos or documentaries that indicate peace, calmness and normalcy. Thus, in a situation in which Zangon Kataf and Benue/Plateau are under siege by the untouchables and another set of untouchables have set Alaba market on fire and Nigerian Airforce is strafing the Orlu axis to get at some allegedly unknown fellows, NTA will be showing the fishing festival at Argungun or one general’s son marrying a princess or even tales by the moonlight-at noon!. That is the mood I am in today.
I am aware that on 28/5/23, Buhari left Aso Rock where he was supposed to have lived for the past 8 years (you know his was in London hospital or on air for a large chunk of time). I am aware that he was caught by the ‘last minute bug’ and so, he was appointing, awarding, and unveiling (including the newly improved State House Clinic) until 12 midnight of the last day.
I remember that he started his tenure with an ear ailment and ended with a teeth ailment; that he declared that he got what he wanted ( it was all about him) and that he graded himself at a CGPA of 5! You want me to review his tenure? I am not in that spirit today but Olu Fasan, Shehu Sani, Fr Emeka Nwosu and Moses Oludele Idowu have done good immediate-term post-tenure analysis.
I am aware that the BAT himself has taken over, with all the question marks and baggage. He agrees with PMB, IGP & INEC that the 2023 elections were the fairest ever, acknowledged the right of the wailers to go to court and assured that he would govern, dialogue, mend, heal and accommodate those with contrary spirits. The wife has assured us that they are too wealthy to have need of our money.
She says the truth; after all BAT himself had declared that Osun State’s budget was petty cash to him. However, the question of how this wealth came about is still blowing in the wind. He has appointed Dele Alake as his spokesperson; the one who decried the genocide in Rwanda but unrepentantly made some wicked Rwandaish statements just the other day.
How BAT will govern as he said with a divisive-tongued man as his spokesperson is one of the wonders that would unfold. And what if Abuja indigenes ask Alake to go back to Ijebuode? The short giant of Kaduna, whose greatest quality is phariseeism and the wicked Wike, who is only happy when others are sad, are now former governors. I am aware that he has removed the fuel subsidy or he is implementing the de-subsidisation agenda as already announced by the man from Daura and/or Niger Republic. I am aware that fuel prices have run riots across the land but I have not visited any fuel station…not yet. I am aware of all those things but being in an NTA mood and mode, I have decided to write on the newsiness of a man biting the dog as Seun Kuto has just done!
Those whose stock in trade is news, have said ages ago that there is no news in the dog biting a man because that is what dogs are wired to do and that is what they have always done. So when you report that a dog has bitten another fellow, their reaction would be: before nko! ( what do you expect). But whenever a man bites the dog, it becomes news-worthy news because it is unusual and the parson (and the medium) that broke the news receives multiple thumbs-ups.
The tendency of men in uniform to brutalise guilty and even innocent Nigerians was brought to the fore by the ENDSARSers. However, even since then, the malaise continues and if you scan the news as you are reading this, you will see reported evidences. On that day, at 3rd mainland Bridge, the reverse happened; Seun Kuti slapped a policeman in uniform and whose gun was within rich and his head is still on his shoulders.
The Guinness Book of Records, after they have finished documenting the exploits of the cooking Baci and the football juggling wizard, should hurry up to record this Seun-Polce slap incident, especially the fact that he is alive to tell the tale. Sometimes ago at Osumenyi, in Nnewi LGA of Anambra State, a Reverend Father who was always telling the bereaved not to mourn like those without hope( 1 Thes,4:13), lost his mother.
He wept and wept and wept! It was then the turn of the people to advise him not to mourn like people without hope and he replied ‘ that is my mother lying down there’! The policeman tasted a dose of his own medicine and assuredly, it was not funny!
Seun claimed that the police officer wanted to commit a mass-murder of his entire family that day, that the policeman followed him to his house where they talked things over, and he( Seun ) agreed not to place charges and he gave the ‘slapee’ N12000 for vehicle repairs.
When the directive for his arrest was given (I don’t know why policemen should wait to be ordered to do what they should do) he turned himself in, and was put in a cell where he stayed on a cold hard floor (that was after the baptism of fire by the inmates who eventually crowned him the GO, with the Bible as his instrument of office).
The police reported that the policeman who followed him to his house to receive 12k and probably wrote his own statement, was in a coma, sought an extended detention of Kuti, sought his blood and searched his home, all for a slap on third mainland bridge.
Those who are surprised at the turn of events have probably not had anything to do with Nigerian police. About 40 years ago( 1983), the police at Okigwe-Aguata route accosted me for having an ‘irregular’ plate number. I asked him, with all sincerity, to show me what was a regular plate number so that I could remedy the irregularity of mine. We discussed a lot of things including my background, my destination, how schooling at Ibadan was(he saw the UI sticker in my car), and why I took that route instead of the normal Enugu-Awka axis.
After what I thought was a friendly discussion I made to leave but the man conscripted my plate number as an exhibit and asked me to appear at Okigwe police station the following Monday. As a law-abiding Nigerian, I reported at the police station on Monday( all the way from Enugu) but I nearly fainted when I heard the number, diversity and weight of the charges against me- every offence in the book.
I was actually looking behind me to see if there was somebody else they were talking about! If it had been today, they would have charged me with IPOBism! So, as for me, the charges and all efforts to ‘draw blood’ from Seun was not surprising.
Seun said he did not commit any offence,(and the sister Motunrayo agreed with him) that he had been police-slapping before (everyday fir the thief…) because he knew who he was; a free-Seun group emerged, Sowore accused the police of trying to continue with the war with Fela by other means, some youths saw the case as an extension of the end-SARS war and then, he was granted bail
Seun was fully wrong to have slapped the policeman( or any other person for that matter) if the policeman had ‘committed’ against him; he should not resort to self-help. He is still telling the story with his own mouth because he is Seun Kuti. If it had been my son, we would not have retrieved the corpse and the whole family would have been arrested and asked to bail themselves. Our offence? We did not teach him that slapping a policeman was illegal!
There is something I read in Things Fall Apart in 1973: everything is possible but not expedient. I think it was in chapter 21 of the African Writes Series edition. It was just the other day ( 21/5/23) that Martins Oloja reminded me that the statement is also in the Bible: Everything is permissible but not everything does good; not everything builds people up (1 Cor, 10:23) in effect, it is not everything that you can do that you should do. I can move around the streets without a shirt.
But should I do that? Of what benefit? Seun can slap a policeman but should he? I hope he does a cost-benefit analysis of that one-minute madness( including non-monetary elements) and I hope he will not ordinarily slap a policeman or any other person for that matter. They have said that freedom of speech is guaranteed but that freedom after speech may not be guaranteed.
As a corollary, you have the freedom to act but you may not enjoy that freedom after acting! In those days when I was in and of the world, Kenny Rogers, Don Williams, Bob Marley, Lucky Dube( woe betide those who murdered him) and even the good old Fela, were my favourites. As I write this, I remembered Kenny Rogers, ‘Coward of the County and the line that said: you don’t have to fight to be a man( though you may need to fight when you become a man)! Seun did not need to slap that policeman to show that he is a man.
Meanwhile, it appears that our policemen have become endangered species. Just a week before the Seun-Slap incident, a young lady boldly and opendentially assaulted a police officer in the Ogombo area of Ajah, Lagos State. She is not as lucky as Seun because she was remanded at the Kirikiri prison, sorry, correctional facility, until June 6 when the matter will come up for hearing. I know that by now she will be regretting and wondering the type of evil spirit that pushed her into that one-minute madness.
Seun should not have slapped the policeman. But the police, having tested what it looks like, should repent of their brutality against us the people. They also have to redeem their joint and several images. A situation in which a small girl would just tie up a police man in the public is becoming unbecoming.
•Written By IK Muo