Dr. Mike Muroe has said “when the purpose of a thing is not known, its abuse becomes inevitable”. This great man of philosophy perhaps did not have the Nigerian situation in mind to make such beautiful prophecy. But unfolding events have proved him not just right but equally super right.
I have written before now that in Nigeria people make noise to make money, but few people felt I was not right. But each time things happen to prove me right few of them call me on phone to say, you were right. What are we not saying? Nay, what are we saying? That many people call themselves activists as a way of looking for relevance, political relevance in this country. Some wear the toga of activitism as a means of self-employment or family emancipation from poverty. Thus it is right to refer to their ALUTA as the ALUTA OF THEIR STOMACH and not Aluta of the people.
They will wear the articulate white of activism and look immaculate that you will think they are Godsent for the masses but they are only self serving in philosophy looking for their own National Cake to grasp at the expense of the people.
The likes of late Ken Saro-Wiwa was a special specie of human being donated by God, like God donated Jesus to mankind. Ken who started the movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) had a vision. He had a dream like Marthin Luther King Jnr who dreamt of the emancipation of the Black Americans and not only dreamt but fought for their emancipation and laid down his precious life for that movement. Ken Saro-Wiwa did the same for the people of Ogoni and by extension the Niger Delta and by and large, the Minority people of the world. Ken Saro-Wiwa was selfless in his struggle. He was not sectional in his resilience for the struggle. And indeed, Ken did not start this struggle in 1993 when MOSOP was born.
I had course to read the works of the late Sage, Kenule Saro-Wiwa. From the “letter to Ogoni Youths”, “the Pamphlet he wrote while in Ibadan”, “Genocide in Nigeria”, “Prisoners of Jebbs”, “The transistor Radio”, “Basi & Company”, “Forest of flowers”, “A month and a day”, “Adaku”, “Tambari”, “Tambari in Dukana”, “If I live to tell the tale”, Soza Boy”, etc, Ken’s penchant for the redemption of his people is revealed. He was a born activist and the saviour of his people. There is thus a world of difference between a born activist and a made or persuaded or self styled activist. A born activist is a man predestined to lead or to emancipate his people. A born activist is always selfless and focused on his vision. He is not deterred by intimidation, threat of death or imprisonment. A born activist signs his death warrant as he starts his campaign for the emancipation of his people. He is not destracted by promises of appointment, money, wealth or other material things at the expense of his people or the masses or even the struggle. A born activist is not given to fear of the unknown. He is masses driven and people oriented. He speaks the truth and does not have a secret. The people have unwaivered confidence in him and they worship him as their god. A born activist usually has disciples around him. He grows them to take over from him in case of an eventuality and does not dream of perishing with power. He is not power driven nor is he power drunk. A born activist is not a tyrant, nor a traitor neither is he a position monger. He does not cross the red Sea or Jordan leaving his people behind telling them, “You shall cross at your time”. He does not play the politics of “this is my chance” nor “the politics of villagism”. He does not play family or village politics but he struggles for his people.
A born activist is a gift from God to humanity but God forbids that he lays down his life for the struggle and then leaves selfish and position monger disciples behind, then they would sell the struggle for portage like Esau. These disciples who hitherto put on the mask of activitism would now unmask for their various intentions. Their selfish motives, their self serving and family or village aluta will then be displayed. They are the GAHAZIS; that greedy disciple of Elisha, they are the Judas that betrayed his Lord, Jesus, they are the Akintolas that joined the enemies to betray Awolowo, the Biafrains that betrayed Ojukwu. This is because they were persuaded hitherto by greed, wealth, avarice, relevance, family or village persuasions and not the suffering of the people. They are marauders and hydra-headed hypocrites and wolves in sheep’s clothings.
Nelson Mandela was a legend and a born activist. There was nothing he was not offered and their was no threat he did not receive to stop him and frustrate his people but great Mandela was resilient and suffered the highest imprisonment term and humiliation for the truth to finally stand. He is a gem, icon and colossus of international standard. Muhatma Ghandi of India was another born activist whose name is written on marble. He suffered tribulations and rejected mundane offers to give his people victory over evil.
Coming back to Ken and the MOSOP struggle, may I recount that I was a little boy in Junior Secondary School in 1993 when the mystified Ken was preaching the Sermon of the emancipation of the Ogoni. I tried my best to attend most of the rallies of MOSOP on my father’s bicycle. If you listened to Ken Saro-Wiwa you would know that he was ordained to lead. I came to know that in 1987 Ken Saro-Wiwa was appointed as the pioneer Executive Director of the MAMSER but he did not waste time resigning the appointment for the pre-ordained leadership of MOSOP. Since then, Ken never accepted any appointment from government or any of its agencies. He did not influence the appointment of any of his family members while his people suffer in penury, ecological degradation and inestimable genocide, deprivation, abuse and violation of their fundamental rights.
Finally, he sacrificed his life as an atonement for the struggle he believed in. So he came, he saw and he conquered.
Today, what are we seen, people are now trading the struggle with government appointments and that of the members of their families. Taking to political relevance and political upliftments, rising their profiles and credentials, using the platform of the struggle to curry government appointments and political offices etc. The struggle is now for sale. Even those who were in a surrogate style appointed or selected to lead when others decided to step aside like the Maradona (IBB) are now being appointed and sworn-in in government Departments at the expense of the struggle for which the martyrs laid down their lives and spilled their innocent blood. The struggle is now like a secondhand vehicle placed along Eleme/Bori Road with an empty ten (10) littres Jerican carrying an inscription “FOR SALE” The vehicle is now, empty and grounded, with the engine already sold and some component parts disposed for sale in Aba. Only the exterior and skeleton is now left and auctioned for sale. The struggle is now advertised for sale. So sad.
Everybody has taken a flight to Abuja to be sworn-in into one Board or the other or lobbying to be an NDDC, MD, Minister, Adviser or for a juicy contract and sleeping in choice hotels. The struggle is now incapacitated, lamed, crippled or hiplotized and left to the old women, old men and children facing emasculation by imminent danger of environmental degradation dovetailing into the riskiest sickness which threatens their existence. So sad again.
The Bill and principle of Animalism under snowball the pioneer and real activist and leader was that “animals shall not sleep on Bed”, but Napoleon came to amend the principle and behold some animals can now sleep on bed. The principle before now was that “all animals are equal”, Today the rule has changed “Some animals are more equal than others”. Before now, the rule was that “no animal shall drink alcohol. Today, some animals are drinking alcohol to stupor unabated. The struggle is now being hijacked by Mr. Jones that the animals chased out of their kingdom, Mr. Jones has come back to give appointments to Napoleon and his allies at the expense of the animal struggle. The enemy that was also chased away is now tactically steaming its vehicle to site with the tacit or implied support of those who now represent the people. Everybody has gone to Abuja for a National Cake to share, and when they go they go with their brothers and sisters, allies, surrogates and sycophants
The gods of the struggle, the spirit of the land is not happy with them, the blood of the departed and martyrs is speaking and everywhere flows with blood. In all the kingdoms of the nationality violence is being displayed. Youths are fighting, communities are warring, children are dying, women are crying, the vegetations and ecosystem are gone with the challenges of a novel trade and the leaders look the other way, flying to Abuja for their swearing-in ceremonies. It is now “ALUTA of their families and cronies”. The struggle can now wait until after their tenures of offices in Abuja.
Who are they representing in Abuja? The people? Let me ask you, my people, supposing the martyrs were to be alive will they sell the struggle for positions at this injury time? If the slain did not succumb to promises, offers of parcels, jobs, positions, appointments, green envelops or threats from the bullets when the chips were down, should it have been now? Next question: Do you think the martyrs are happy with this appointment bizarre and jamboree? I pity my people. I pity myself too who now writes this article which will not augur well with the culprits. But I have decided to write, to braze the trail. I have the courage, temerity, audacity and grace to walk on this narrow way where some angels tiptoe. Eventually, I have been bedeviled with saying the truth even though I stand alone. I can’t shiver nor fear else my conscience condemns me. The truth is that twenty (20) years after the judicial slaughter of Ken Saro-Wiwa and others the struggle is now for sale. Does it sound funny? Your guess is as good as mine. But I salute the uncommon courage of the governor of Rivers State, Chief (Barr.) Nyesom Ezebunwo Wike for renaming the Rivers State Polytechnic, Bori to Ken Saro-wiwa Polytechnic, Bori, Rivers State. I pray that this struggle never dies since it is obvious that it is possible to kill the messenger but not the message.###
Barr. Gideon Kpoobari Girigiri