Afrobeat musician Femi Kuti attracted the ire of online trolls when he claimed that in Nigeria, being submissive was akin to being a zombie. Many “Obidients,” or Peter Obi‘s fans, who are the Labour Party’s presidential nominee, interpreted his remarks as a criticism of them.
Obi later issued a warning to his fans and followers to stop jeering and obstructing Kuti. Later that week, he went to see Kuti.
Although Kuti would like not to reveal the specifics of his conversation with Obi because it was a private one, he acknowledged that they spoke about politics and the state of the country in an interview with Saturday Beats.
He said, “I really don’t want to talk about what I discussed with Peter Obi. The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, also visited me and I did not reveal what we discussed. Some people even said Osinbajo gave me money. And, I told him to tell the world if he indeed he gave me money, and he said he did not. Even at that, some people chose not to believe us. That shows that some people already have their minds made up regardless of the facts on the ground.
“If I tell you about my discussion with Obi, I feel that will not be right. But, if he comes out to say something different from what actually transpired, I would then have to talk, at least to set the records straight. However, I can give you the periphery of our discussion. We talked about how bad Nigeria is, and I gave him some ideas on what I felt needed to be done to put the country on the right path of development.
“He also mentioned that campaigns should not involve threats, and he said that was why he came to apologise to me for the actions of some of his followers who threatened and abused me on social media.”
However, Kuti insisted that the criticism he received for his statement did not affect him. He said, “I cannot be forced to support anyone. A candidate can even caution their fans against doing certain things, but not all of them will listen. If I want to campaign for a certain person, I will give my reasons for doing that.
“I have spoken against many politicians in the past, including Bola Tinubu (presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress) and Atiku Abubakar (the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party).”
Additionally, the Grammy Award nominee insisted that he did not refer to Obi’s followers as zombies. He said, “A particular journalist came to the New Afrikan Shrine, and I expressed my views, only for people to start attacking me because the media said I called Obi’s supporters zombies, which I did not do. When I got home, I saw the post, and I quickly corrected it that I didn’t call them zombies. But, they kept on attacking me. Some people even threatened to burn down the Shrine. I had to do a video explaining in clear words what I meant.”