‘The Fela Debates’, a memorial lecture that celebrates the life and ideals of late afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, is a gathering of the brightest minds in Nigeria and beyond.
The symposium, which is themed “Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense”, a title of one of Fela’s hit songs, is a segment of the annual Felabration designed to intellectualise the ideas and ideals of the late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.
‘The Fela Debates’, which held at the NECA events centre, kick-starts the annual Felabration and was well attended by people from all walks of life. The symposium also had in attendance a robust collection of carefully selected speakers and contributors which includes activists, scholars and great minds across the continent.
Nigerian author and playwright, Sefi Atta, moderated the discussion which brought together Award-winning writer, Chimamanda Adichie; erudite law professor, Akin Oyebode; Ugandan musician-cum-politician,Bobbi Wine; and activist, Akala from the United Kingdom.
This year’s event also had in attendance, Human Rights Lawyer, Femi Falana, ex-Presidential Candidate, Kingsley Moghalu, Kemi Olunloyo and others.
While speaking at the event, Professor of International Law and Jurisprudence, Akin Oyebode, described one of his encounters with the late afrobeat legend as one that calls for introspection.
Oyebode said: “It is about 30 years now that Fela came to the University of Lagos campus at a symposium where he made a statement that teacher should not teach the students nonsense, the song was not out then. I was in the same panel with him and he said what you have been teaching in the University has not helped in the liberation of Nigeria.”
“As a teacher, I felt a little bit embarrassed that I have failed in my occupation, so when I got this invitation, I thought the organisers wanted me to play a mere pullback for teaching my students nonsense,” he added.
Oyebode, however, said he was not surprised at the cosmopolitan gathering to reflect on the life and times of Fela, because his heritage has survived more than twenty years and will continue to live.
‘The Fela Debates’, over the years, has attracted some of the best minds across the continent – Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo; Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; renowned Kenyan scholar, Patrick Lumumba, amongst others.