Adichie spoke during a conversation with Yemisi Ransome-Kuti at the Fela Debates as part of programs to mark this year’s edition of Felabration festival.
Felabration is an annual festival held in honor of the late musician and activist, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. This year’s theme is ‘From Lagos With Lagos.’
The event, which held yesterday in Ikeja, Lagos, had the theme: Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense.
According to Adichie, the educational curriculum in the country is “nonsense” and needs to be changed.
On the need for a revolution, the popular writer said Nigerians were docile when they should be vocal.
“There is a revolutionary spirit that thrives in southern and eastern Africa that doesn’t thrive in us, a political revolutionary spirit.
“And I worry that it has a lot to do with the way our educational system is,” she said.
Adichie noted that Nigeria does not matter in the global scheme of things.
“We don’t really matter. I think that’s the reality. It is up to us to make that change because if you look at the foreign policy of positive nations, by their actions, you can tell that they don’t think we matter. They think China matters. They think India would matter, not really us. And you can tell by their foreign policy.”
The popular writer said she fell in love with Fela’s music through her elder brother, Chuks, who usually played the Afrobeat legend’s track, called Zombie.
On Fela, she said: “When I was younger, he came to represent a kind of unapologetic courage and authenticity.”
Other speakers at the event included law teacher, Prof. Akin Oyebode, Kingslee James McLean Daley, a British activist popularly called Akala and Ugandan singer and politician Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, who is more popular as Bobbi Wine.
Professor Oyebode spoke about Fela’s contributions to not only music but to political awareness in Nigeria.
“It is to Fela that we owe the heritage of rebelling against society.
“And rebellion, or better still revolution, is not something to be scared of. It is only big men that are afraid of evolution,” he said.
Bobbi Wine, who is seeking to be Uganda’s president despite being hounded by the country’s President, said Fela’s music influenced him to become a better “teacher”.
“I did not learn about Fela Kuti from mainstream media. I never watched any of his videos on national TV and I never heard his music on national radio. It was a friend that told me about Fela Kuti and then I went to search for him and it blew my mind.
“I personally took a decision to change the genre of my music from entertainment to edutainment. I wish we had a Fela or many Felas today.”
Akala said school for him, the school did not fill the void of what he needed for life.
“School did not really equip me for life. And he said a friend of his told him: ‘You know what you need to do to pass the class. You know what you need to do to get a job. You know what you need to do to get by in life and feed your family.”
The panel of discussants was moderated by award-winning author, Sefi Atta.
Dignitaries at the event included Professor Wole Soyinka, Femi Falana (SAN), former presidential candidate Kingsley Moghalu, Professor Femi Osofisan, Rikki Stein, Femi Kuti, Yeni Kuti, and others.
Celebrated globally, Felabration, created by Yeni Kuti, stages a week of the free musical concert at the New Afrika Shrine in Ikeja, Lagos, besides secondary school debates, Artwork competition, Afrobics Dance competition, and other activities.