Perhaps we could do an essay later on other Nigerian legends we are forgetting, but for now let us turn our attention to the duo Africa China and Eedris Abdulkareem, two of whom I love to categorize as the Revolutionary Sons of Fela because of the thematic preoccupation of most of the songs they are known for.
Fela died in 1997 but it is as if he never really left because in every musical milieu since the time of his death, there has been at least one musician who attempts to toe the same musical line as Fela. At innumerable other points, he has been a reference point both in essays and songs and in political circles.
In music style, Fela’s two biological sons; Femi and Seun almost sound like their father, with the inclusion of Lagbaja who has made it known that Fela was his idol, hence there are remarkable semblances in their songs.
But in theme, two musicians of the last decade who stuck out their necks to keep Fela’s light of conscious music burning were African China and Eedris Abdulkareem and they need not achieve the mythic grandeur of Fela for them to be properly positioned in their rights of place as men whose songs foretold our collective tomorrows even when they were addressing the concurrent issues of their time.
Over a decade ago, Eedris Abdulkareem sang “Jaga Jaga,” detailing our postcolonial woes while African China left the eternal message of good leadership by urging our leaders to “lead us well.” What is imperative here is that these men saw something and they addressed it. No one can accuse them of not saying anything in the face of maladministration. That such issues they addressed have persisted is symbolic of the deafness and the hard-heartedness of the political class and the hypocritical by-standing of the led coupled with overwhelming selective amnesia that makes us choose what to remember and what to forget.
These two great acts went on to do many more conscious music that spoke truths to power and for these we fondly remember them, hoping that they too would soon be ushered into the Hall of Fame by award organizers as they have done for their contemporaries.
Their messages to us are abiding like the man they idolized.
This article was written by Ifesinachi Nwadike