Coffin For Head of State
Fela Kuti Lyrics


Jump to: Overall Meaning ↴  Line by Line Meaning ↴

Amen, Amen, Amen!

Through Jesus Christ our Lord
By the grace of Almighty Lord
Through Jesus Christ our Lord
By the grace of Almighty Lord
"In Spiritus Christus..."
"Allah Wakubar Mohammed Salamalekum..."


Waka, waka, waka!

So I waka waka waka
I go many places
I see my people
Them dey cry cry cry
Amen, Amen, Amen
Amen, Amen, Amen
Amen, Amen, Amen
Amen, Amen, Amen
I say I waka waka waka...

I waka many village anywhere in Africa
I waka many village anywhere in Africa
Pastor's house na him dey fine pass
My people them dey stay for poor surroundings
Pastor's dress na him dey clean pass
E hard for my people for them to buy soap
Pastor na him them give respect pass
And them do bad bad bad bad bad bad things
Through Jesus Christ our Lord
(Amen, Amen, Amen!)...

Waka, waka, waka!

So I waka waka waka
I go many places
I go business places
I see see see
All the bad bad bad things
Them dey do do do

Call corruption
Them dey call nepotism
Inside the promotions
And inside all business
I say I waka waka waka
I see see see
So I waka waka waka...

I waka many business anywhere in Africa
I waka many business anywhere in Africa
North and South them get them policies
One Christian and the other one Muslim
Anywhere the Muslims them they reign
Na Senior Alhaji na him be Director
Anywhere the Christians them they reign
Na the best friend to Bishop na him be Director
It is a known fact that for many thousand years
We Africans we had our own traditions
These moneymaking organizations
Them come put we Africans in total confusion
Through Jesus Christ our Lord
(Amen, Amen, Amen!)...

Waka, waka, waka!

So I waka waka waka
I go many places
I go government places
I see see see
All the bad bad bad things
Them dey do do do

Look Obasanjo!
Before anything at all, him go dey shout:
"Oh Lord, oh Lord, oh Lord, Almighty Lord!"
"Oh Lord, oh God!"
And them do bad bad bad bad bad bad things

Through Jesus Christ our Lord
(Amen, Amen, Amen!)
By the grace of Almighty Lord
(Amen, Amen, Amen!)

I say, look Yar'Adua!
I say, look Yar'Adua!
Before anything at all, him go dey shout:
"Habba Allah, habba Allah, habba Allah!"
"Habba Allah, habba Allah!"
And them do, yes yes
And them do bad bad bad bad bad bad things
Through Mohammed our Lord
(Amen, Amen, Amen!)
By the grace of Almighty Allah
(Amen, Amen, Amen!)

Waka, waka, waka!

So I waka waka waka
I go many places
I go government places
I see see see
All the bad bad bad things
Them they do do do

Them steal all the money
Them kill many students
Them burn many houses
Them burn my house too
Them kill my mama

So I carry the coffin
I waka waka waka
Movement of the People
Them waka waka waka
Young African Pioneers
Them waka waka waka

We go Obalende
We go Dodan barracks
We reach them gate o
We put the coffin down
Obasanjo dey there
With him big fat stomach
Yar'Adua dey there
With him neck like ostrich
We put the coffin down


But them take am!

Them no want take am
Them no want take am
Who go want take coffin?
Them must take am
Na the bad bad bad things
Wey they don do
Them no want take am
Obasanjo grab am
Yar'Adua carry am
Yes, them no want take am
Obasanjo carry am
Yar'Adua tow am
Them no want take am
Them no want take am

E dey for them office
E dey there now now now now now
E dey there now now now now now
E dey there now now now now now
E dey there now now now now now...






But them take am!

Overall Meaning

The lyrics to Fela Kuti's "Coffin For The Head Of State" speak to the corruption, injustice, and societal decay that occurs in Nigeria and other African countries, expressed through the repeated phrase "bad bad bad things." The song also reveals the tension and complexity in Nigeria regarding religion and politics, as seen through the lyrics mentioning leaders shouting for Allah or God before doing bad things. Fela's emphasis on religion and the role of pastors in society highlights the clergy's complicitness in corruption rather than their leadership in resisting it. The lines "It is a known fact that for many thousand years / We Africans we had our own traditions / These moneymaking organizations / Them come put we Africans in total confusion" speak to the colonization of African society by European ideas, including the introduction of Christianity and capitalist views on governance and economics.


Through Fela Kuti's song, he uses music as an instrument of protest and activism, encouraging Africans to "waka," take action, and resist the social and political decline through movements such as the Movement of the People and the Young African Pioneers. The lyrics urge people to question and resist their leaders' oppressive actions and systems, calling for a revolution against the "bad bad bad things."


Line by Line Meaning

Through Jesus Christ our Lord
By the power of Jesus Christ


By the grace of Almighty Lord
Through the blessing of God


"In Spiritus Christus..."
"In the spirit of Jesus Christ..."


"Allah Wakubar Mohammed Salamalekum..."
"God is great, may peace be upon you..."


So I waka waka waka
I walk and travel around


I go many places
I travel to many locations


I see my people
I observe my fellow countrymen


Them dey cry cry cry
They are often sad and sorrowful


I waka many village anywhere in Africa
I travel through various villages in Africa


Pastor's house na him dey fine pass
The pastor's house is the nicest


My people them dey stay for poor surroundings
My people live in poor environments


Pastor's dress na him dey clean pass
The pastor's clothes are the cleanest


E hard for my people for them to buy soap
It is difficult for my people to afford soap


Pastor na him them give respect pass
The pastor is the most respected


And them do bad bad bad bad bad bad things
And they commit many wrongdoings


Them dey call nepotism
They practice favoritism


Na Senior Alhaji na him be Director
It is a senior Muslim who becomes the director


Na the best friend to Bishop na him be Director
The director is often the best friend of the bishop


We Africans we had our own traditions
We as Africans have our own cultural practices


These moneymaking organizations
These corporations focused solely on profits


Them come put we Africans in total confusion
They have put us Africans in complete confusion


Look Obasanjo!
See Obasanjo!


Before anything at all, him go dey shout:
He starts by shouting


"Oh Lord, oh Lord, oh Lord, Almighty Lord!"
"Oh Lord, oh Lord, oh Lord, Almighty God!"


And them do bad bad bad bad bad bad things
And they commit many wrongdoings


I say, look Yar'Adua!
See Yar'Adua!


"Habba Allah, habba Allah, habba Allah!"
"My God, my God, my God!"


And them do, yes yes
And they commit many wrongdoings


Them steal all the money
They steal all the wealth


Them kill many students
They murder many students


Them burn many houses
They burn down many homes


Them kill my mama
They killed my mother


So I carry the coffin
So I carry the coffin


Movement of the People
A social movement


Young African Pioneers
A youth organization


We go Obalende
We go to Obalende


We go Dodan barracks
We go to Dodan barracks


We reach them gate o
We arrive at their gate


We put the coffin down
We set the coffin down


Obasanjo dey there
Obasanjo is there


With him big fat stomach
With his large belly


Yar'Adua dey there
Yar'Adua is there


With him neck like ostrich
With a long neck like an ostrich


Them no want take am
They don't want to take it


Who go want take coffin?
Who wants to take a coffin?


Them must take am
They must take it


Na the bad bad bad things
It is because of their wrongdoings


Obasanjo grab am
Obasanjo takes it


Yar'Adua carry am
Yar'Adua carries it


E dey for them office
It is in their office


E dey there now now now now now
It is there now


But them take am!
But they take it!




Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT (FRANCE), BMG Rights Management, EMI MUSIC PUBLISHING FRANCE, Peermusic Publishing
Written by: Fela Anikulapo Kuti

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
To comment on or correct specific content, highlight it

Genre not found
Artist not found
Album not found
Song not found
Most interesting comment from YouTube:

@Michael-bj2wd

So many listeners praise the composition but people are not listening to the lyrics, to the story, it is airy, chilling ...

We go Obalende
We go Dodan barracks
We reach them gate o
We put the coffin down
Obasanjo dey there
With him big fat stomach
Yar'Adua dey there
With him neck like ostrich
We put the coffin down


But them take am!

Them no want take am
Them no want take am
Who go want take coffin?
Them must take am
Na the bad bad bad things
Wey they don do
Them no want take am
Obasanjo grab am
Yar'Adua carry am
Yes, them no want take am
Obasanjo carry am
Yar'Adua tow am
Them no want take am
Them no want take am

E dey for them office
E dey there now now now now now
E dey there now now now now now
E dey there now now now now now
E dey there now now now now now...



All comments from YouTube:

@nonyagbo

FELA is the Greatest - If you agree give a like to Fela's Memory - He deserves it.

@eeerabbit5945

Hell yeah re open this thread

@siphorasana8454

The Best of the Best

@samuelendeley8322

This man had big balls!! Insulting a man who just did you bad like that, anyone who disrespects your legacy is a FOOL!!

@IFWE_.

BIGVIB3R ALSO HAS BIG BALLS TOO, TRUST ME THEY'RE QUITE BIG
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjvnVRq227U&ab_channel=Bigvib3r-Topic

@TheWavNG

Who is still here in 2023? 😊 REST on great Visionary.

@IFWE_.

WERE STILL HERE OH
BUT THERE'S SOMEONE WHOS COME TO CARRY ON HIS LEGACY https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjvnVRq227U&ab_channel=Bigvib3r-Topic

@rickexcelarms

"I waka waka, waka , I see MY PEOPLE, dem dey cry, cry. cry" This beautiful song & many others symbolises why Fela will forever be known as the PEOPLE'S CHAMPION.
He was the voice of the voiceless and hope of the hopeless, the true definition of the people's champion.

@gbolagadeolajide8595

On my way to the Island, I see the same suffering everytime. People are living the life animals should be living. It's a terrible life most Lagosians live

@anthonyowolabi

Them no wan take am !

More Comments

More Versions