The violent and proscribed secessionist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), alongside some supporters of Mr. Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of Labour Party, have threatened arson against the New Afrika Shrine of the afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti, over the refusal of his first son Femi Kuti to express support for their candidate.
Femi Kuti, also a renowned Grammy-nominated afrobeat singer, confirmed the threat in a video where he alleged that his refusal to identify with the term ‘Obidient’, an appellation used by Obi’s supporters to demonstrate their followership of the candidate, has subjected him to disturbing threats from the group, including the violent IPOB wing known for various acts of domestic terrorism and extrajudicial killings across the Eastern region of the country.
In the video released this weekend, Femi Kuti claimed that they threatened physical harm against his family and vowed to burn down the New Afrika Shrine in Lagos, an open-air entertainment center that plays host to the annual Felebration music festival held to celebrate the legacy of Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
He said: “I woke up today to insults abusing me, my family and my children, threatening that they will burn the shrine because they said I said Peter Obi’s supporters are zombies.”
“Nothing can make me obedient. I’m too angry, too sad, too depressed to be. Stop threatening to burn the shrine, stop threatening my children, stop that rubbish,” he continued.
“Obi went to greet Obasanjo. That makes me skeptical. Obi went to meet Babangida. Who? Me? My family believes these people are a part of the problem in this country. I have my reservations. I do. You cannot tell me not to have reservations.”
The arson threat against a family and location central to the history of activism and musical excellence in the country and the Western region in particular, strengthens the disturbing association with violence and intolerance that the candidature of Peter Obi has long struggled with.
The former Governor of Anambra, who is said to have controversially pursued exclusionary policies that led to the deportation of non-indigenes from the state, has faced allegations of being a ‘sectional candidate’ propelled by a combustible mix of avowed insurrectionists whom he has refused to condemn or dissociate from – and other angry citizens quick to threaten violence and deploy other intimidation tactics to force support from others.
On social media, the ‘Obidients’ have earned infamy for their intolerance, harassment, and aggressive promotional methods, which include incitement of attacks against individuals suspected to be loyal to the two other major candidates in the presidential race.
Acknowledging the problem, candidate Peter Obi has twice cautioned his supporters, urging them to respect the rights of other citizens to their partisan views and refrain from going after other citizens with a different political view.
However, his message had no visible effect, prompting fears that he may have lost control of the ‘mob’. The latest threat to Femi Kuti and his family has been met with strong criticism and condemnation from various thought leaders across the country and the South Western region who maintain their resolve to defend the New Afrika Shrine and the Kuti legacy from ‘any foreign threat or attack’.
This is everything about what I said and exactly what I think. Watch through the videos if you have the time. ✊?? pic.twitter.com/QNO49XfCYG
— Femi Anikulapo-Kuti (@Femiakuti) August 12, 2022