Seun Kuti: ‘Why I revived my father’s political party’
Seun Kuti is a formidable force to contend with in the Nigerian music industry just like his trailblazing father, Fela Kuti was. Seun Kuti in his own right too, is making sure he represents the people of Nigeria through not only in music but through politics.
The recent #ENDSARS movement saw Nigerians protest against the country’s government and its failed policies. From a movement that started out as protests against police brutality, it quickly grew to something greater demonstrating that Nigerians are fed up with how people at the top have been running the country for decades.
To oppose the failed government, Seun Kuti has relaunched his father’s political party; the Movement of the People (MOP) political party and around 1,000 people are members according to Seun Kuti.
“We feel at the moment, to capture the energy of the Nigerian people politically, all the protests we’ve been having and all the cries against the policies of the Nigerian government and the elite of this country. It has to be captured politically and articulated politically as well. And that’s why we decided to form a coalition of all the left organisations in Nigeria to start this movement to see if we could create a platform to begin to articulate wishes politically.”
Seun Kuti says reviving his father’s party gives the Nigerian people an opportunity to reclaim their citizenship that the country’s government has denied them of. He says people were protesting not for their dignity and not just against police brutality.
“#ENDSARS was just a small slogan for a people who were demanding dignity in their existence. For a people that were finally reclaiming their citizenship and taking their future into their own hands because this goes way beyond the emotions and the anger against the police.”
The MOP is a coalition of several left-wing organisations in the West African nation, with great track records, according to Seun Kuti.
However, it’s not been smooth sailing since the authorities heard about a launch event dedicated to the MOP. Now, the party’s meetings are held online and Seun is concerned.
“They’ve been able to chase everybody online and in a way holding meetings online diminishes and excludes a lot of the poor people of Nigeria who can’t afford to be online with us. Many people do not know this but Nigeria has some of the most expensive data costs in the whole world per capita.
So when we hold meetings online and we exclude the majority of Nigerian people who are actually poor. [Access to the internet] is a bit elitist.”
For Seun Kuti, being elitist is not an option because it goes against the agenda of the political party.
“One of the major tasks on MOP’s agenda list is to erase the elitist way politics has been done in Nigeria where the rich gather somewhere and expect the people to come to them, no, MOP will go to the people.”
“Going forward from that we also have plans where we would have to engage with people.”