Femi Kuti has reacted to an announcement by the Nigerian government that President Muhammadu Buhari will be heading to the UK for health reasons.
It is the second time in a short period that the Nigerian president will be heading outside of the country for treatment. The news has been met with criticism from several quarters.
Buhari's first trip overseas for a medical break, which lasted seven weeks, brought about rumours of his death to which the government was compelled to respond. The response did little to quell angry reactions from Nigerian citizens.
And now Femi Kuti has spoken, saying Buhari should leave Aso Rock, the Nigerian seat of power. “You see, I think he should just be sincere and hand over to Vice President Osinbajo,” Kuti said in an interview. “You cannot spend so many months going abroad for medical trip. Please, just resign and hand over to the vice president. Or is it by force?.”
Osinbajois is currently in charge of running the affairs of the country as he was during the president’s previous trip to the UK. A dwindling economy seemed to receive a boost at the time, as the country’s currency, the naira, fared better against the US dollar.
Kuti connected his concerns to the conditions of the Nigerian healthcare system. “If one of the biggest legacies the president leaves behind is making General Hospital one of international repute, it would make a lot of sense, but why should we pay for them to have treatment outside the country and then we cannot have the same privilege?"
“So because he is the president, the rest of us should die as a result of bad healthcare? It shows that the government should think of improving our own system to international standards. By banning themselves from travelling, if we must die, let us die in our country.”
Femi Kuti comes from a long line of activists. His grandmother, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, led a famous campaign against the imposition of separate taxes on market women. His father, Fela Kuti who died in 1997, recorded several songs criticising various politicians and figures leading the Nigerian government.