Each generation must out of relative obscurity discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it – Frantz Fanon
Despotism has thrived for so long in this country because it has not been adequately resisted; because we have been passive and quiescent. Fear has been its key operating principle. Once we conquer that fear, despotism will crumble like a sand castle without a firm base, for in the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “even the most despotic government cannot stand except for the consent of the governed whose consent is often forcibly procured by the despot. Immediately the subject ceases to fear the despotic force, his power is gone”. That is the stance we must all assume if we must take Nigeria back from her kidnappers. We must develop a culture of resistance and fight to overcome our fear of this Dinosaur of a state, for the much trumpeted power of life and death at its disposal is total hogwash; absolute bunkum; a façade of monumental proportions. As Henry Highland Garner would say, “let your motto be resistance”. We can take on this club of chimps and win.
This horde of funny characters performing on our national stage can be driven off it. We can return fire for fire. We can stand our ground and defy these juggling brutes. Our rulers don’t expect any forceful kind of response from us, for they see us as an insignificant, inert pack of idiots, incapable of constructive action. This is their greatest undoing – one we must capitalize on to shock them back into the reality that the previous era of fear is over. We must make them realize that we are now born again; that old things have truly passed away.
To effectively effect the kind of change we crave, we must develop faith in our country; the kind of faith that cannot be shaken by any form of intimidation. This faith must metamorphose into a religion, a credo that spurs us into action anytime our liberties are threatened or infringed on. This country belongs to all of us. It is the land of our birth. We have no other. So, we must rise up and demand for, defend and protect our rights as bona fide sons and daughters of the soil, as demanded by current circumstances. We must win back this country from the guerillas in power; the insubordinate irregulars without any mandate whatsoever, and be prepared to be martyred doing it, if need be. Freedom is our primary human right – others rights are mere appendages to this first one.
We must not give up the struggle for freedom in order to obtain pecuniary benefits; for according to Benjamin Franklin, “they that give up essential liberty to obtain temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety”. I call on all ethnic and tribal nationalities, the intelligentsia, religious groups, civil society groups, organized labour, the legion of dissatisfied workers, mechanics, motorcycle riders, carpenters, bricklayers, electricians and other artisans, the army of jobless youths, the hungry, the angry, all downtrodden Nigerians, to arise and unite under the banner of liberty to overthrow this landlord system; this violent apotheosis of evil. We must ignore all politically created differences among us and come together for our greater, common good, for never in the history of this country has so much been owed by so many to so many. Yes, we owe ourselves our future, which has always been in our hands, without our knowing it! We have been talking the talk for so many years. It is now time to walk the walk. It is time to move to the frontlines and confront, to defeat, this order of feral dragons once and for all.
This rule by force of arms (?) must stop. This regime of naked force must end. This reign of demons must be countered by the stronger countervailing force at our disposal: people power. We must annihilate this aberration with our greater collective will. We were not born as slaves; not born to be pushed around; not born to bow to mortal gods; we must strive to begin to breathe after our own fashion. That is the only alternative that should be acceptable to us. Nothing else matters.
Comrades, is it not absurd for the dregs of this society of ours to continually lord it over us without our consent? Does it not break your hearts when you see fellow human beings pushing you around for the fun of it? Does it not constitute punches on our jugulars for nitwits to continually force doses of hemlock down our throats? What are we doing in a country where we are treated worse than animals? What are we doing in a country where our very own are passionately committed to keeping us down? What are we doing in a country that has disappointed us totally? Without a full recognition of our rights – both natural and civil – by this injurious state, should we continue kowtowing to its whims and caprices? Did we agree to become members of this country in order to lose those salient things that make us human? Were we born Nigerians in order to lose the liberties we received at creation from the benevolence of the Almighty God to other equally created beings like ourselves?
The Nigerian State since its beginning has stolen our rights, for by first stealing the rights of our ancestors, whose consent where not sought before this order of Serfdom was constituted, it stole those of succeeding generations – ours inclusive. But our eyes are now open, and since we can now see the light, we should no longer follow in the blind footsteps of our ancestors who tolerated the improprieties of this evil cult and passed their subservience to us. What are we without the ability to freely express the sparks of divinity in us? What are we without the ability to make choices? Are we better off than animals? Of course not, for even animals express their free will to survive by fighting off all threats – human and otherwise – to their continued existence. Then, if we are not better off than animals, what are we? Don’t bother hazarding any guess!
Our struggle is the struggle for a new deal; a new arrangement that will guarantee us access to the good life. It is directed at completely revamping this system of relationships that is constructed on deception, coercion, and the inhuman domination of the many by the few. We are simply asking that all stumbling blocks to our enjoyment of the full dividends of Nigerian citizenship be removed; for a comprehensive reformation of this epileptic system where the most novel ideas fail. The modern drivers of the Nigerian State, must immediately, as a matter of urgency, commence the process of freeing Nigerians from the manacles they have been entangled in since all these years by activating the processes that will lead to a total overhaul of all facets of governance in this country. This call has been ignored for quite some time and could be said to be largely responsible for the several crisis heating up the polity.
The truth remains that a legitimate Federal Republic of Nigeria can only be founded on the authority of Nigerians themselves – the only basis on which any government whatsoever can exist in any sane society – not on the shaky, unstable sand-base the current skewered structure rests upon. The popular will, which should naturally be geared towards providing for the common good, must be the driving force behind any attempts at restructuring this polity and establishing a new Nigeria; and the foundation on which a “proper Constitution and Bill of Rights” should be produced. Nigerians of all climes must be carried along the whole process of transforming this country. The current show of shame is no longer acceptable. Now that we know our problems, we are better suited to finding solutions to them.
We must get rid of the defeatist mindset that has turned you into Tele-guided zombies; for it is only you transform yourselves that you can transform your environment. We must convince ourselves that the steps we are taking are the right ones. That is the only way we can survive this long march to freedom; an endurance trek that is not for the faint-hearted. Like the legendary Sisyphus, we must stay committed to the onerous task before us, no matter how daunting it seems. We must ignore all distractions to the contrary and trudge on towards our goal. Just like what happened when the people of the United States of America took it upon themselves to establish their country on the foundations of democracy and self-government, posterity beckons on us to take those decisive strides that will ride this country of the wrongs of the past decades of general decadence and propel her into that new era of peace and prosperity that have, until now, remained a fantasy. This is the stuff of which practical revolutions are made.
When Benjamin Franklin left Independence Hall, just after the II Drafting, he was approached by a woman on the streets, who demanded to know the manner of government the political class had bequeathed the people of the United States. He answered: “A Republic, if you can keep it”. The responsibility for securing the future of a country and its people is not in the hands of a privileged few. We are as strong as we are free if each and every one of us recognizes his or her duty as a citizen of this country and accordingly performs them as and when due. It is our duty as it is our right to save this country.
God save Nigeria!
IMAGE: Geraint Rowland