Date Published: 07/06/10
President Jonathan is wrong on Ken Saro-Wiwa. By Ben Wuloo Ikari.
On May 28, 2010, Pointblanknews.com reported that Pres. Dr. Goodluck Jonathan saluted some Nigerians whose efforts, sacrifice of their lives brought about the nation's so-called democratic experience. Chief M.K.O. Abiola, the acclaimed winner of 1993 (June 12) presidential elections was on of those commended.
Abiola was reportedly killed by the Federal government of Nigeria led by Abdusalami Abubakar, for declaring his mandate that was annulled by rtd. Gen. Ibrahim B. Babangida. Pa Rewane, who was a pro-democracy activist and was killed as a result of his beliefs, was also eulogized by Jonathan. Chief Anthony Enahoro, a living early nationalist, pro-democracy, federalism icon and former member of PRONCO, which fought for the unresolved mandate of June 12, was also commended.
Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the Obafemi Awolowos, Ahmadu Bellos, Margret Ekpos, Herbert Macaulays, who were the early nationalists and contemporaries of Enahoro were remembered with due respect. The military Gen. who turned activist, Shehu Musa Yar’Adua was reportedly commended for his sacrifice. Ironically Ken Saro-Wiwa whose struggle and murder forced Nigeria out of Common Wealth until the face of democracy emerged was deliberately ignored.
On May 31, a report was filed from Newark New Jersey, USA, at the annual Boro Day, by Daniel Alabrah, that Isaac Adaka Boro, who fought against the exploitation and injustices of Niger delta in 1966, was recognized by Jonathan. Boro declared Niger delta Republic from Nigeria and was killed in the 1967-70 Nigerian civil war fronts.
All these commendations, recognitions or praise were in absolute order. These nationalists and fighters deserves honor not only for their ideas, but also for laying down their lives for their people and the nation. Where the president got it wrong was his blunt refusal to mention Ken Saro-Wiwa’s efforts and sacrifice for the 21st century positive change in Nigeria, Africa and beyond.
Saro-Wiwa’s nonviolent and internationally projected struggle for social, economic and environmental justice (resource control, etc.) brought Niger delta the world attention it gets today. Saro-Wiwa also led the Federal troops from Bonny Sea to land during the 1967-70 civil war. He’s therefore instrumental to the victory of Nigeria over Biafra hence the so-called one Nigeria.
No other person but Saro-Wiwa exposed Niger deltans, Nigerians and Africans, even some people and governments of the Western nations to ecological warfare orchestrated by $hell Oil, others and the Federal government of Nigeria. He also drew the nexus between the American government, which is the most beneficiary of Niger delta oil, other Western oil consumers, oil companies and government of Nigeria in respect of their genocidal actions against Ogoni/Niger delta.
It's Saro-Wiwa's struggle that without equivocation brought relevance to the Niger delta and its struggle. Therefore Jonathan's steps near the corridors of power and his subsequent presidency is made possible. The Saro-Wiwa-led struggle brought about the creation of BAYELSA State (as a pacifier), where Jonathan emerged as deputy, then executive governor before the stooge and anti-Niger delta role he took as Vice President under Yar'Adua.
Saro-Wiwa's state and corporate murder was instrumental to the child's play misnamed democracy in Nigeria today. When he's murdered alongside 8 others on Nov. 10, 1995, for exposing $hell Oil and the Federal government’s diabolical plans against Ogoni, Niger delta and other minorities, Nigeria was for the first time suspended from the Common Wealth of Nations.
Several governments of the world, including America (which lobbied against Abiola’s mandate by pressuring him to relinquish his mandate for the sake of “peace”) and Canada imposed "diplomatic sanctions” on Nigeria. These sanctions were however, good at allowing the flow of oil to these nations whereas economic sanctions would have been enough to stop the Ogoni 9 murder. The above didn't happen when Abiola was killed nor did they happen when June 12 presidential elections were annulled. Yet Abiola, etc. played significant roles and sacrificed for democracy.
One of the problems Nigeria has is that politicians (the cabals) and a good proportion of the population are good at pretending they forget history. Yet, history is never past, but has remained in the present. Another problem is ethnic favoritism or say nepotism. The best have been relegated to the background just like thieves are rewarded while the credible ones are jailed unjustly.
Corrupt rulers are praised and rewarded while the incorruptible are stoned to death. Nepotistic shenanigan has thrived to the detriment of the best and chagrin of the nation. The Green Eagles poor performance in the 2010 FIFA world cup in South Africa is sharply due to nepotism and overall lack of adequate planning and poor or mismanagement. The aforementioned also breeds corruption which has crippled the nation despite the huge oil and gas resources gushing from the veins of Niger deltans.
Human resources that abound have also been buried alive for lack of encouragement or motivation-human investments. Where then is the hope when the entire presidency and National Assembly is corrupt to the bones of members; when truth is ruffled under the rug and falsehood glorified?
Could Jonathan’s brazen silence on Saro-Wiwa (as the first Niger delta president of Nigeria) be an act of the National Assembly? This is an institution (predominated by the majority ethnic groups so-called) designed not to respect the so-called minorities and grant them their rights to self-determination and a better life. Or is it sheer ignorance, blunders due to ill advice; is it the old Niger delta hate politics which have set the region back for decades; or what could be responsible for this blunder? Could it be an honest mistake?
Having benefited this much from Saro-Wiwa, the 7th world's environmental (and first in Africa) martyr's efforts and blood sacrifice, instead of Jonathan, a Niger deltan to recognize him as reportedly done others he pretends as though Saro-Wiwa didn’t exist. But can he run away from his shadows? No! He can’t.
Meanwhile, my recommendation for Jonathan and his advisers is that they formerly acknowledge the killing of Saro-Wiwa as an error, apologize to Ogoni/Niger deltans and Nigerians. They thus revisit his unjust military trial of 1995, and a presidential exoneration (not clemency, because he wasn't a criminal nor guilty of any crime) exercised. Alternatively, a complete reopening of the sham Ibrahim Auta’s military tribunal, which predetermined his hanging, should be effected. By this means all arguments and evidence shall be reintroduced in a regular court of competent jurisdiction so that justice will be served.
If Saro-Wiwa et al aren’t removed from all criminal books in Nigeria, Niger deltans and all people of good conscience in the country are wrongfully considered criminals. Yet, Saro-Wiwa’s sacrifice remains self-evident as the reality stands that until justice is done to his name, Nigeria will not see peace.
Until Jonathan or any other president, National Assembly resist being used as the cabal’s puppet against Niger delta, Nigeria shall stay confused and in trouble waters. Until amnesty gives way to resource control and the environment properly protected as envisioned by Saro-Wiwa, Nigeria will continue to expose itself to external influence and ridicule-up to dissolution.
Niger delta will not stop boiling and oil business would return to a standstill for ignoring Saro-Wiwa and his ideas for equity, mutual respect and freedom, socioeconomic and environmental justice, which the world has today recognized with the Gulf experience. They’ve seen why Saro-Wiwa fought the great fight! It’s these ideas that compelled the militants to fight…a fight that is still fresh and hasn’t gone anywhere because amnesty or false talk about development isn’t the answer.
Pres. Jonathan has the option to do the right thing. He should give honor to whom it due. He’d work hard with the National Assembly to cede resource control to Niger delta, the reason Saro-Wiwa died. Or continue to bite the finger that fed him and face history, which is always in the present and never past.