How Femi Kuti And I Fell Apart, By Baba Ani, Fela’s Longest-Serving Band Member

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I have no grudge against Femi Anikulapo-Kuti, or any of Fela’s children. Rather, Femi and his croonies are the ones trying to turn history upside-down.

First, there was never a time Femi attempted to play his music to open Concerts for Fela, not to talk of my kicking against such move.

Secondly, I was never involved in teaching Seun Anikulapo-Kuti the theory and practice of music, and I did not teach him how to play the Saxophone. However , when the opportunity to mentor him & keep the Egypt 80 band alive came up, I gladly took up the challenge because I believe the youths are the future & to keep the flag flying. Having put in over 30 years of service to the band and Fela, it was my choice to stay on in a familiar turf, in the firm believe that Olodumare will grant us success. I am happy that today Seun and the band are doing very well. That is enough compensation for me.

Regarding the recording of Fela’s unrecorded songs, I was not a party to the decision to record those songs. It was the decision of Seun and Mr. Tee Mac. My only part was to rehearse the songs with the Egypt 80 Band and supervise the recordings. The songs are not my own, and I do not loose anything by the decision of the Court on the matter. I am not a covetous person & I am satisfied with whatever God Almighty has given me.

Again, there was never a time when Femi brought up the idea of his Band-The Positive Force- playing alongside the Egypt 80 Band at Fela’s Shrine, talkless of my refusal. Soon after Fela’s death however, Femi was featuring with the Egypt 80 Band at Fela’s Shrine, but he abruptly stopped doing so. It was after that action that Femi carted away all the Fela’s Sound Equipments the Egypt 80 Band was using at Fela’s Shrine and locked them up in his house. Late Alh. Rasheed Gbadamosi got to know about the matter, and he called a meeting where he, Femi, and myself discussed the matter. When asked why he did that, Femi’s response was that he took such action so that the Equipments would not be vandalised, Tell me, who would go to Fela’s Shrine to vandalize his sound Equipments? Femi eventually agreed that I should come and pick the Equipments. I asked him what do I do if the Equipments were rejected by the Egypt 80 Band? Femi told me to drop them in his father’s house. And that was what I did when late Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti, who was managing the affairs of the Band before and after Fela’s death, as well as the Band rejected the Equipments. We started renting Sound Equipments to perform at the Shrine and other engagements. Prior to all the above. Femi called a meeting, one on one, where he asked if I was on his side or on the side of his uncle, Late Dr. Beko and Seun. I told him that there was no reason for such question, because everything Fela left behind-including the Band was in his hands as the first son of his Father. He started antagonising me when he noticed that I was on the side of Seun. I have no reason whatever to be asking Fela’s children to include me or any member of the Egypt 80 Band in the sharing of Fela’s Estate. Why, am I a member of Fela’s family ?
On the trump up claim that I do not like Femi because he is not African enough, abeg what’s my business with the colour of anybody’s skin? I am an open minded person who believes in the innate good of everyone & that has always been my basis of dealing with people. Ask those who know me.

Before I keep quiet, as Oquwochime demanded, let me emphasise the fact that I hold no malice against Femi,Yeni, Seun , or any of Fela’s children. My response to the interview was the truth. Pure and Simple.

– Lekan Animasahun (a.k.a. Baba- Ani.)

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