When (in Unknown Soldier), Fela sings, “That my mama wey you kill, she fought for universal adult suffrage”, you are struck by the incomprehensibility of the most important fictions that guide our lives, thirty years later. The soldiers who invaded Kalakuta, did they understand what what voting rights meant? Sometimes, it’s about the absence of basic intellectual tools, what follows this lack cannot stand on nothing–a castle cannot built on nothing. If you do not understand what a vote means, how can there begin the explanation that killing citizens is wrong?
They did not understand, as their children walking the streets of this dystopia today, still do not understand. So those soldiers threw Mrs. Ransome-Kuti down a storey building. If their children do not understand the tenets and neccessity of the fiction of governance–the Rule of Law–does it not figure why harried up to the top storey of the Nigerian building, we are now setting fire to the lower floors? We are the heirs to those soldiers–“elite” and “masses” are heirs alike. We are not the heirs of Mrs. Kuti.
It is unacceptable when bloggers are being arrested and muzzled. It is unacceptable when people are declared wanted without having been summoned. It is unacceptable when the price of rice is set by CBN Russian roulette. It is fire we are setting. And when the lower floors are burned, will it not reach those at the top?
We must develop a language. We must develop it fast. We need to say, these are the fictions we believe because we wish to. And then collaborate within these.