Mark my words, Nigeria and Africa shall be free

by Michael Oluwagbemi II

What will it take to free Nigeria? Can one man do it? Can we do it together? Should the will of the majority be held perpetually in bondage by the tyranny of a thieving minority? Can the next generation do what legends like Awo, Zik and his generation of nationalists and true patriots failed to do? Can you achieve the unthinkable and pull Nigeria out of doldrums? After all, many have failed before you- can you make a difference? All social critics, pretenders or contenders to a future in politics, social activism or societal engineering in Nigeria must be struggling with these questions. Even you my reader, like myself, might be questioning the use of reading or writing about this all over again. Countless debates, thousands of writing, rooms full of clarion calls and ear full of interviews have failed to erase the shame of our country.

But we cannot lose hope. We cannot give up trying. Our methods might require refinement, our strategies might need to change but our goal must be unison. It took France hundreds of years to shake off the feudal imposition of the nobles and royals; it took South Africans long painful years to blot the festering sore of oppression imposed by foreigners turned natives. It might take us longer to get there- but it is not how quick that matters, it is how well.

What will it take to raise an alternative to the shenanigans we incorrectly refer to as government, political system or leadership? What is the way forward for true and sincere opposition politics in Nigeria that offer hope and future to the masses? It most definitely will take hard work: serious strategizing. Forget those wonderland dreams, wrestling Nigeria from the hands of Ibori, Adedibu and Uba will take more than vain posturing for elections at the federal level. It will take more than big grammar, long articles or vehement investigations. Those will be needed too, but they will not be enough. Turning Nigeria around will require men of conscience on the ground; men who have refused to pushed around by their fellow men called rulers; men who can stand up and defend their women, children and their manhood; men who can truly be men.

The era of running to the bush to fight guerilla warfare is also over – that will not work either. History teaches us that the destruction and civil wars peradventure of these conflicts in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, and CAR blew no one any good. The population and economy is decimated often and the trails of blood, sorrow and tears these conflicts often leave is greater than the pain and suffering of oppression it seeks to erase. Most of these conflicts only threw up far worse personalities than we are currently burdened with like Charles Taylor, Kabbah and Obote. The era of freedom fighters had been a terrible one; more so when the power drunkenness that often motivates these adventures are synonymous to the exact cancer it seeks to remove.

Often times, arguments for saintly coups offer hope to Africans. Ghana is held up as an example of a country that was saved from itself by coupists in the person of Lt. Jerry Rawlings & Co. But alas, this also is a big gamble. For one, in a continent ravaged by Anti Rawlings, men who hold the community hostage to arms and force of evil, coups can hardly be a solution to Africa or Nigeria’s problems. Jerry Rawlings was a fluke, perhaps his near sainthood (which many Ghanaians will argue was misplaced youthful vigor and senility as opposed to his oft repeated glorification in the Nigerian press) is due to his non-African ancestry; at least so one of my colleagues argued in the past. Without getting into the merits of this point of view, I am yet to see a black African dictator that used stolen mandate properly, more so a Nigerian General. Coups are not the solution, and Nigeria has thirty seven years of misery to prove it.

What then is the way forward? How can Nigeria, and in the same vain the rest of Africa be freed from the grip of poverty, disease, and shame of being the sick child of the planet? The answer lies in surrendering. We must surrender as a people to a reality; a reality that we are oppressed by ourselves; a reality that we have been less men than we make our women to believe. A reality that we have a failed our motherland, a reality that in our silence, lack of action or lack of courage transferred down through generations of Africans we have destroyed the best thing God created on the planet: the most beautiful continent, country and biosphere he put on earth.

We must surrender and through the eyes of our surrendering we must be creative. Our acceptance of our timidity will force us back to the drawing board to be creative- to design feasible solutions to our problems. We will realize that it will take knocking down every door, going into every hamlet, talking to every Nigerian man, woman and child about a new hope-the hope of a future free from poverty, disease and want. This future cannot be without the inception of a political movement: a movement I have chosen to describe as the alternative. The alternative cannot be mushroom political parties that sustain themselves on hand downs, or groups that only bluff but do not participate. We must go one after the other to our villages, work hard for every single vote and build from the ground up.

A new reinvigorated opposition movement will be slow to build but firm in the soil. It will be driven by practical needs not just ideology. We can learn from an experiment in the failed state of Palestine called Hamas. Such party in Nigeria like Hamas must have a charitable arm. From our pockets, while out of government, we shall build roads, construct schools and offer services to the poorest of the poor. Such party also however must not lack in the ability to bite. It will, like the feudal state called Nigeria, have its own intelligence agency and militia which can be called upon to defend the poor when the establishment hit the panic mode. Force shall be use sparingly, with thought and precisely. It shall be in defense not offense- a God given right to the rich and poor alike.

Sustained naming and shaming which I once advocated should include boycotting elected officers when they visit the US will be discarded for proactive activities. Instead, we should go to their raves and parties, with pastas and eggs in hand. Arm your children born in Diaspora with eggs, teach them how the pelt the idiot that drove their parents to a strange land and caused them the misery and sorrows of being reduced to second class citizens. We shall attend their parties and make life miserable for them: engagement, which is the only way we can obtain our freedom from our oppressors.

Last but not the least, I know you colluders, abettors or would be colluders are in the wings. Never mind, this freedom I speak of is not for you. You are slaves to the mammon of money; your conscience reeks of the most putrid smell of the dingiest jails; yours is a shallow existence that disappears to a black hole of guilt and eternal damnation. The freed Nigeria will be free of snitches, cankerworms and hyenas of past years- yours is misery in gestation. Mark my words, Nigeria and Africa shall be free.

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1 comment

Christiana Odetola November 19, 2007 - 9:24 pm

I believe in the Nigeria of tomorrow, because the Nigeria of today is influenced strongly by the ugliness of its yesterday.That is why i have been trying to pioneer a movement tagged generation next, to focus on the next generation of Nigerian, which is the youths (high school level downwards). To give them a new orientation while purging them of old corrupt values. This is not going to be easy, the fact is it has not been a soft sell, but i believe it is achievaible. I am also a Nigerian in the diaspora and my desire is to give a voice and a sense of actualisatio to my children and their peers and also to be proud of a country they can call home and not remain a second class citizen.


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