Thus, by sacrificing themselves, they would had given other African-Americans, including their own children and grandchildren, the opportunity to be freed from bondage much earlier. Unfortunately, no slave was ready to sacrifice his life for other slaves to live in freedom. He preferred to be alive, but remain a slave till the rest of his life. Every rat wanted to be free of the cat’s slaughter, but none of them was ready to take the risk of belling the cat. At the end of the day, the cat eats them all.
Instead of African-Americans taking up arms against their slave-masters, they were going to church for centuries, praying to Him to set them free. Instead of rebelling against their light coloured ( I really don’t like calling them white. They are actually not white. Or, are they?) oppressors, they were calling on God – for centuries – to appeal to the conscience of their masters. Instead of revolting against their persecutors, they were all waiting for God to send down a messiah to free them from bondage.
Was it a coincidence that it was in the 60’s of the last century that the Civil Rights Bill was eventually passed in the United States? Definitely not. The reason was because, at last, Malcolm X, James Baldwin and others – unlike Martin Luther King, were calling for an arm struggle or a violent solution to their predicament.
The French staged a revolution that ended the reign of the monarch, when he went against them. Even, the so-called conservative British beheaded their King when he became unpopular. The Russians overthrew the Czar when he became power drunk and oppressive. In Ukraine, people went out en masse, camped inside their tents in front of the President’s office for weeks, in freezing temperature, to protest election rigging by the ruling party. This political action is now popularly known as ” The orange revolution.” Even Georgia, a very small country, formerly part of the Soviet Union, was not left out in the revolution wave. A couple of years ago, Shakashvilli, a young Harvard trained Georgian, who was the Presidential candidate of all the opposition parties refused to accept election rigging from the ruling party, despite the fact that candidate of the ruling party was Schervadnadze, a political heavy weight in all terms of the word, the incumbent president, and the former Foreign Affairs Minister of the former Soviet Union. But the political status of Schervadnadze did not deter Shakashvilli from leading a siege at the office of the President for weeks. When the pressure was too much for Schervadnadze to bear, he had to quit. Thus, through his bravery and perseverance, Shakashvilli organised the first Georgian revolution now popularly called “The Rose Revolution.” Another small and impoverished Asian country, Kirgizya, which was also a former Soviet republic wrote its name in the history of world political awareness. Recently, the populace went out en masse and besieged the Presidential office, with the demand to either sign a document that would reduce his executive power or resign totally. When the heat became unbearable, Bakiev had to give in to the will of the people. Another Asian country witnessed a revolution when the citizens took to the streets en masse, and demanded that the ruling Monarch cut down his power, otherwise he would be dethroned. The Monarch was forced to bow to the will of the people if he wanted to remain on the throne. I can continue with the list, but I believe that the examples cited here are more than enough.
In Nigeria, instead of going out en masse to protest election rigging, all we can do is to blow big big grammar, and organising an unofficial big big grammar competition to determine who can blow the biggest grammar that even the Oyinbos – the bonafide owners of the language – have never blown before, can not blow and will never blow. In Nigeria, instead of assasinating our oppressors or organising a revolution that will take power from despots like Obasanjo, ibb, e.t.c., all we can do to show our discontent with tyrants and election riggers is to write big grammar articles.
The notion that lack of political awareness may be responsible for our compromising attitudes with despots and election riggers does not hold neither ground nor water, if the least scrutiny is applied. Imagine somebody trying to use some ficticious document to deprive you of your house. Are you going to put up a fight to claim your property or not? Or imagine a thief speeding away with the keys to your brand new car. Will you give him the chase of your life or not? Most likely, you will – provided that you are healthy and not handicapped.
The bitter truth, which we must sadly admit, is that we are COWARDS. And that includes me – who went on scholarship to study abroad, but decided to stay behind, and watch helplessly from a million miles away, how events unfold in his motherland. Instead of us confronting these African dictators like Obasanjo, we have all decided to take refugee in Oyinbo countries. What we have all forgotten – and definitely need to be reminded of – is that these people that we are running to, fought for the good life, and the democratic system they are presently enjoying. They paid a big price for all they have today. Imagine if these people had also run away, and taken refugee in other places, instead of staying behind to confront their political and economic problems, where would they have been by now, and where would we have run to? Undoubtedly, if they had run away, there would have been no place for us to run. Tyrants like Obasanjo know that we only don’t want to die in the course of fighting for freedom, justice, and free and fair elections, but we are ready to put up with them and their oppressive regimes just to be alive.
They capitalise on our weakness. They suppress us with their thugs in military and police uniforms. By the way, how many of us in diaspora discussed about the election with his parents, relatives, friends, colleagues, and tried to enlighten and influence them as regards to the candidates to vote for in the election? How many of us took a leave from our respective jobs and businesses, in order to spend at least two weeks in Nigeria, and be practically active in the election process? We were all glued to our TVs and computers expecting a miraculous news from Nigeria that PDP has conceeded a land slide defeat in the election. We were waiting for a messiah to come from heaven. We expected other people to do the dirty job for us, and we will afterwards go home to reap the fruits of their labour. Isn’t it?
Nobody is bold enough to help us get rid of these tyrants, even if it means sacrificing his own life for a good cause. You don’t necessary have to organise a coup detat in order to get rid of these military thugs in agbada that call themselves civilians. A snipper or a suicide bomber or a one-man assasin squad equipped with just a pistol or knife will do. Out of fear of the unknown we have allowed a 70 year old former military thug, turned fake civilian overnight, to mess around with us for good?(bad) eight years, without any repercussion.
Three Nigerians will always be accorded a special place in the history of democratic struggle in Nigeria. Undoubtedly, the history of democratic struggle in Nigeria is not only far from complete without mentioning the names of Fela Anikulapokuti, Wole Soyinka and Gani Fawehinmi, but it is as well worth mentioning that the contributions of these eminent Nigerians to democracy is invaluable. These trio have the hearts of a lion. They have never for once allowed themselves to be bugged down by fear in their campaign for a just, civil and democ
ratic society. These trio, right from the onset understood that we have not only despots and mediocres as leaders. But more importantly, they understood that it’s only through confrontation and constant pressure, and not dialogues, that they could be brought to order. Fela and Soyinka, through their music and writings respetively, have exposed the evil regime. These trio went beyond words, writings and music to express their strong dissatisfaction with the establishment. In most cases, they risked their lives in their staunch and uncompromised opposition of opportunists who parade themselves as Presidents. Soyinka alone, has more than half a century democratic struggle to his credit. We are all aware of the heavy price that The Anikulapokutis, most especially, Fela and his mother, paid for standing up to the gestapo regimes that have imposed themselves on us almost from independence. I was moved to tears after watching a multi-parts documentary about Fela on naijatube.com titled “Amazing interview,” The video documentary is highly recommended for viewing. I am convinced, beyond any reasonable doubts that if not for the activities of these trio, the democratic and political climates in the country woold have been much worse.
Imagine 6 million people going out on the streets of Lagos to protest the rigging of the election. Imagine if 4 million people go out on the streets in Ibadan to protest the fraud that was called election. Imagine if 2 million people go out in Enugu to protest the day-light robbery that INEC reffered to as election. Imagine millions of Nigerians taking to the streets from May 26, simultaneously in all major cities not only to show their strong protest for the rigging of the election, but to as well stop the swearing in of Yar’adua and other governors that were rigged in. Imagine these people besieging the venues where the swearing in are supposed to take place, and camping outside until the government agrees to cancel the elections, set up an interim government that will be entrusted with the task of organising new, free and fair elections. Can you imagine the effect? By the way, what is the population of the Nigerian Army and Police? I am convinced, beyond any reasonable doubts that there is no army or police that can stop a united, aggrieved and determined people. They can kill some of the people some of the time, but they can’t kill all the people all the time. It is only when we can do this that a revolution will take place in Nigeria.
Alas, if only wishes were horses, beggars would definitely ride. Unfortunately, the problems in realising this project are the Nigerian mentality, and the insincerity and selfishness of the leaders of the so called opposition parties – most of them are in politics not to serve, but to fend for themselves. It is only selfless, uncorrupt, dedicated leaders that are known to share democratic values unconditionally, are capable of leading the people in mass protests. When I am talking of real, selfless, uncorrupt, democratic and dedicated leaders of the opposition parties, definitely, I don’t me people like Buhari and Atiku. God forbid. This is where the dilemma lies, unfortunately.
In addition. if I want to go out on the street to protest, my parents will most likely tell me: “Bode, pa wa sile, ma pa wa sita.” And, when all parents tell their sons and daughters who are planning to go out to protest: “Pa wa sile, ma pa wa sita,” then, who will go out on the streets to protest and confront these self-imposed tyrants and election riggers? This is the one million dollar question. If all parents tell their sons and daughters “Pawa s’ile, ma pawa s’ita,” who will then go out on the streets to protest and confront these despots and election riggers? And, if very few peole or nobody goes out to protest, obviously, the poor turnout will encourage election riggers to continue with their attrocities unfazed. This situation leaves us in a vicious cycle. The resolution of this dilemma is one of the challenges before us; most especially before the progressives between now and May 29, and between May 29, and the next election. Better late than never. It is only when a real opposition party with dedicated leaders emerge that we can start talking about a revolution in Nigeria. A revolution, undoubtedly is inevitable, simply because things can not continue like this forever.