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Fela’s ex-band manager: Femi banned me from New Afrika Shrine for not working with him

Baba Ani, former band manager of Fela Kuti, the late singer, says Femi, the deceased’s son, allegedly banned him from visiting the New Afrika Shrine over his refusal to work with him.

The saxophonist, whose real name is Lekan Animashaun, spoke in a recent interview with Arise TV to commemorate his 85th birthday.

The New Afrika Shrine, a replacement for the Afrika Shrine, which was demolished by the federal government in 1977, is managed by Femi, Fela’s eldest son.

According to Baba Ani, after the demise of Fela, Femi approached him and asked if he was going to join his music band or that of Seun.

He said being Fela’s eldest son, he initially thought of working with him but later changed his mind and opted for Egypt 80, the late singer’s band, now headed by Seun.

Baba Ani said he felt more comfortable working with Seun’s band because he had started mentoring him before Fela breathed his last.

He said his decision, however, did not sit well with Femi, resulting in his alleged eventual ban from entering the New Afrika Shrine.

“I was banned from entering the shrine by Femi. When Fela died, and Beko, who was then the manager of the band, was in prison. On two occasions, Femi called me privately, asking me if I was going to join him, or his uncle and Seun,” he said.

“So, I told him that ‘you are the most senior son of Fela, and everything Fela left behind is in your hands, so that question shouldn’t have come from you. That was what I told him.’

“As time went by, he saw that I was more with Seun and the Egypt 80 band. This is a young man I know very well. So, I decided to go with Seun. I was mentoring Seun, even before Fela died. I think that was my offense.

“The very first day at the Egypt 80 band, because there was a quarrel and they had to go to court, the judge in charge of the case settled the matter in the chambers, and somewhere along the line, Seun was asked to start coming to play at the shrine.

“On the very first day the band was going to play there, I got to Kalakuta, Fela’s house in Ikeja. I went upstairs to meet Seun and he told me he wouldn’t like me to be present at the show.

“I asked why, he said ‘anytime I’m discussing with my brothers and I mention your name, what they used to say was unprintable. So, please don’t go with the band.’ He, however, assured me that I would be paid regardless.

“When he got to the shrine that night, they went upstairs in his office to greet him, and he was so annoyed. He was looking for his gun. He started to hurl insults at me. Somewhere along with his rant, he told the boys to tell me not to show my face at the shrine anytime. Since that time, I have not been to the Shrine.”

Femi has not reacted to Baba Ani’s claim as of the time of this report.

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