During my upbringing, I was instructed that men who physically harm their wives, their male offspring would assume that it is acceptable to mistreat women. Moreover, I was taught that when a man passes away owing a debt, his children must pay it.
I am not using this information to excuse any inappropriate actions or conduct. Absolutely not. However, through time, we have discovered that some individuals who pursue a cause may not do so of their own volition, but rather as a result of what they learned from history. For example, the Nigerian/Biafran civil war, with it, positive and negative elements, is still deeply ingrained in people’s minds, and they react to their impulses in various ways.
Let us not forget that on February 18, 1977, Chief Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti’s, MON, residence was invaded, and she was present when nearly 1,000 armed soldiers surrounded and stormed the property. As soon as the soldiers gained entry, they began destroying property and assaulting the occupants.
Fela and Bekolari were brutally beaten and wounded. Their mother was thrown from a second-story window. Following the assault, she was hospitalized and eventually fell into a coma. She died on April 13, 1978, as a result of her injuries.
Today, those who invaded their home are referred to as “Unknown Soldiers.” We also recall that De Great Fela (Seun’s father) was mistreated by Nigerian authorities, moving from one jail to another and being beaten on numerous occasions.
While many criticize Seun Anikulapo Kuti for what is referred to as blatant abuse of power on a police officer recently, we should remember that in our local histories, we have not forgiven those who perhaps humiliated our ancestors in their time. We still hold grudges when we see the offspring of those individuals.
Some may seek to retaliate for what was done to their forefathers, while others may let it go. It is surprising that to this day, the federal government has not issued a formal apology to Fela’s family for their role in the invasion of their home. While the police hierarchy is seeking ways to prosecute Seun for brushing shoulders with a police officer, it is recommended that they first examine Seun’s mental state given what the Nigerian authorities have subjected his family to from the beginning.
By doing so, instead of fanning the flames against him, it would be more effective to quell all the tension surrounding the uproar.