If Fela Was President


(20 years after The Prophecy)

They say,
no man is indispensable
but twenty years after,
we wished he was alive
for a replica of him is yet to be found.
Isn’t that the attribute of a god ?
Perhaps, Fela was a god..
but if he was alive,
he wouldn’t want to be called a god,
he would have been President.

what makes a president ?
Is it in doing what is said
or in saying what is done ?
I have blown up my library,
searching for books written
when the father of the poet
was still the son of a father.
The best things of life are hidden
in the vies of life,
the secret of a black man
is hidden in the page of a book
he will never read.
That book
is still in my library.
That book speaks of the truth
that were beclouded from us,
the truth that our eyes were closed
in a dark room where prisoners sag
and our cultures and values were hijacked
to be replaced with the Bible and Koran.
And when a man reads this book,
he becomes an enigma
and in the course to bring the truth to life,
he becomes an outcast
among the black skins he struggled for,
this man was Fela.
But what if he was president ?

Fela was not just a black man,
he was black, itself.
Only bastards trade off their soil
for another’s,
he stopped being Ransome.
He hijacked death in his pouch,
he swam in the ocean of yonder
and became
Does death kill the one
who has death in his pouch ?
The one who has death in his pouch
chooses who to die
and who to spare.
if Fela was president,
the perpetrators of evil would have died
in their heated homes,
for the President was death itself.
If Fela was President,
the Chibok girls would not have been abducted,
perhaps Boko Haram would not have even existed,
perhaps Abiola would not have been maimed,
perhaps recession might have been a word
in the dictionary,
perhaps Dele Giwa would have survived the bomb,
perhaps Bola Ige would have escaped a bullet,
perhaps I would not write this poetry.
he was not President,
he never became one.
And we have summoned Elebuibon
to unravel the mystery
why the black man present flowers to the legend’s grave
even when
they once hurled sarcasms at him
when he was alive.

we have dug to the roots
and found the truth we once stepped on,
the story must be told
for the prophecy is here.
Won ni eni bi ni la n jo,
bi oka ba bimo,
aa bi oro.
What is expected from the offspring
of a woman
who coerced the beaded crown of Egba
to pull off the mark of royalty ?
the streamline of the freedom fighters
would be null
without the footprint of Funmilayo,
and it was indeed in the blood.
The offsprings of Funmi
slugged it out with injustice
was beyond normalcy
and what a child sees,
is what he becomes.
Fela saw a die hard mother,
a woman whose prowess contended
with Efunsetan’s.
Fela became a storm,
Fela was born when the land was zigzag,
he was born
when the black wanted to be white,
he was born when Micheal Jackson
cried nights over nights
because he was black and inferior,
he did become white
but was washed off in the black erosion.
Fela was born
when the blacks wanted liberation,
he witnessed the inception
of a crazy demonstration,
he witnessed the black man
throwing crackers to the air gleefully
even when they were in chains.
He was born
when black was darkness
and white was peace.
But he didn’t stop being black,
so he was an outcast
but he never believed in the
Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He believed in the Kalakuta republic.

It was Calcutta,
that prison cell where Fela lived,
the more he lived in there,
the more his burning rage increased.
And karma is nature,
you can’t escape it.
That man who made sure
Fela sucked daylight in a dungeon
outlived the maestro.
Twenty years after Fela’s demise,
that man is still alive,
he wields the power
can’t fight off the menace
when his pasts still fight him.
The shadows of the past still haunts him,
little wonder
he flees from the termites in his office.
Before you cleanse Ogoni,
cleanse the man in power.
He is the replica of Fela’s prophecy,
V.I.P. –
Vagabond In Power.

You can never define Africa in proper English,
Fela was a proof.
He stepped out
and under a roof,
housed his people
and named it –
He tells of the saga of a black prisoner,
who was incriminated
on a trumped-up foreign currency violation charges.
The four walls of a prison
are the inside world,
the sunshine
behind the prison
now, the outside world.
But craziness can only be played out
in a craze world.
What lest can be insanity
if not
the ruthlessness of a police man
who doesn’t even know his roots,
bloody subjection
by men in khaki –
the zombies,
courtrooms painted with ushers
but not wheel of arms,
magistrates who know not
what is embedded in the constitution
a mirrored judge tendering apologia
to a man he sent to the gallows ?
Is it not the height of craziness
when heartless masses sit back
and learn the art of pulling rifles
from practicals experimented on brains
of innocent future leaders
who slug out their emotions
by posting placards on the offices
of the school management
only for their parents to
chant dirges and present flowers
in their memories ?
The height of a nonsensical nation
is when a leader tags
the people that voted him as
and the same people
still elected the animal in human skin
in the name of change ?
what has changed since the power seat has
witnessed a change
from the change
that was never a change ?
What’s more beastly in a nation ?
What is more to the beasts
that are of no nation ?

This is a new garland of the book,
it retells the episode
of a party that was not
a movement that was not
brought to life.
Movement of the People,
a dream party of Fela
that could have been the
catalyst of change
and the true change
you and I seek for.
If Fela was president,
happiness would not have been
for him only
but for the people.
If Fela was president,
it would have been a government of the poor,
by the poor
and for the poor
but he was not a president.
The slogan is
a government of the rich,
by the poor
and for the rich.
The rich getting richer,
the poor getting poorer.
If Fela was president,
perhaps we would stop suffering and smiling.
we would be wise to know that
he who suffer on earth
will suffer more in heaven.
if Fela was the president,
there would not have been zombies.
of no brake,
no jam,
no sense.
if Fela was president,
we would embrace the air around us
and fight for freedom.
if Fela was president,
we would know to be spiritual
is not by sprawling in mosques
or speaking in tongues.
Spirituality is the understanding
of the universe,
so that it can be better
for you and I.
if Fela was president,
we would learn to have no fears
so that we might live in a fit realm.
if Fela was president,
Aluta would not continua,
the struggle would have ended.
But he was never one,
because of our fears.
And twenty years after,
we wished our fears didn’t becloud our sense of judgement-
fears that
marijuana would have been a national plant,
fears that
he would wrapped igbo
with all the papers in the country,
fears that
he would have married all girls
while they were not
yet in puberty stage.
But even if he did,
the blacks must learn to look
beyond the actions
but the reasons.
Fela married twenty seven women in a day
to prevent them from that system,
that haunts them
and it still does.
And even if these fears came to life,
they are infants
compared to the terrorism
we face now.

If only Fela was president,
we would know he was far
from what he was painted to be.
Fela was not the furious,
he was painted to be.
was an opportune,
genteel President
the black nation would have had.
He was not a musician,
he was a Prophet.

The language of Kalakuta was
and still is,
Twenty years after,
we wished
the Afro beat founder,
the dissident song writer and
the chief priest
whose source of powers
germinates from the women –
we still wished
he was a President.
the prophecy is here
and what has changed ?
The jailed is dead,
the jailer is in power,
yet the change is not here.
The Prophecy.

Author: Gemini Yusuf

Profile: Balogu Yusuf a.k.a Gemini is a novelist, playwright and a poet. In December 2016, he authored a pamphlet ‘Days of Infirmity’. He is also the convener of Ardent Writers and the editor of iTalkCulture. He’s currently working on his upcoming books ‘When a Snake Sheds its Skin and Smiling Carcass



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here