Fela’s Humanism and the Crisis of Governance in Nigeria

  • Edema A. Philip, Ph.D
  • Abam E. Michael, Ph.D


It is an indisputable fact that the myriad of problems in Nigeria today in the areas of politics, religion, security and economy are a reflection of dearth of good governance. There have been conceited efforts by pundits on means that could bring about a viable polity yet to no avail. The liberals have called for restructuring while the radicals believe it is outright dissolution of the Union that can ameliorate the pauperisation, exploitation and crass dehumanisation of the citizenry. However, these suggestions have not addressed the trajectory of the problem, thereby, making them limited in addressing the issues. This paper, therefore, examines the contributions of the famous Nigerian Afrobeat music maestro, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, especially as it concerns the dehumanisation of the proletariat class by the elites in Nigeria. The song, Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense among others in Fela’s musical repertoire, was purposefully selected to interrogate the problematic. More so, the research adopted the hermeneutic, analytic, critical and reconstructive methods of philosophy in achieving its aim. While the method of hermeneutics helped in decoding and applying the deeply embedded messages in Fela’s music, the analytic method aided in clarifying concepts like humanism, governance, exploitation, dehumanisation, and oppression. The critical method was employed to examine hitherto attempts on same issue and finally the method of reconstruction helped to situate Fela’s relevance and efforts in addressing the issue of dearth of good governance in Nigeria. The work concluded that it is only when the political leadership responds to Fela’s call for class deconstruction would Nigeria witness the kind of governance that would transform the quality of lives of the citizenry.