Date Published: 11/12/09
Nov. 10: Ogoni/Niger Delta Needs Global Ethnics By Ben Wuloo Ikari
As we celebrate and restrategize this Nov. 10 to mark the brutal and unjust murder of our heroes, we must remember that Ogoni/Niger Delta and Nigerians needs a type of morality that fits into global ethics. That which suggests or is consistent with a feel and need; the awareness to do right and do it by others even those you don't know and sometimes at discomforts. It needs a morality to fight unjust laws because we've the moral obligation to do so.
An unjust law is no law and shouldn't be. Injustices (and wrongdoings against the people must be exposed not minding who is involved) of all kinds as commanded by natural and human-made laws must not be tolerated. Ken Saro-Wiwa and his death alongside 8 others on Nov. 10, 1995 also strengthens this fight and it must be fought as Ogonis and Niger Deltans. It shouldn't be about power, but grace, respect, responsibility, accountability, honesty and unity of purpose.
We need unity that doesn't jettison the truth and justice or fair dealings. Yes, that which was prevalent in 1947 under the late Timothy Naakuu Paul Birabi, other Niger Deltans; in the early 1990s under Saro-Wiwa, and brought about the hanging success that is Ogoni and the oil-rich region. I wish, on this day, Nov. 10, Saro-Wiwa was here to rekindle the global ethical behavior he exhibited to wake us up again! He's no more though here with us, in spirit. Why can't we emulate him? We could, yes, we can!
We need vision, visionary leaders who are thinkers, initiators, good planners and derives power from the people, and confides in them on matters of crucial importance cum interest. Niger Delta needs leaders who are communicators. That person or persons who will apply effective and strategic communications especially being communicatively ritualistic. A ritualistic communicator uses positive words and slogans that people, especially followers can relate to. The types that companies uses nowadays to relate to consumers and they believe these companies aren't just exploiters or moneymonsters but also shares the same values with them to the point that they're today in partnership with their communities on a social responsibility mission.
"Believe in something better" by U.S. Cellular and "Like a good neighbor state Farm is here," are examples of ritual communication that makes relationship easy and successful. Saro-Wiwa already understood these rituals and so was believed by Ogonis, Niger Deltans, other open and morally stable Nigerians and the international community. Ogoni and Niger Delta needs serious, determined, adaptive-to-change and thrust worthy leaders such as Saro-Wiwa and not the greedy brutes we've today. Leaders who are ready to win, yes, winners and not losers who place themselves and families above the community like those roaming about today is a prerequisite!
It needs leaders who plans for the rainy day, bearing in mind possible risk and the need for contingency provisions-leaders who will fulfill as promise. Unfulfilled promises kills trust and lack of trust lead to the lose of followership. It breaks organizations or leadership, management or government, hence anarchy. Saro-Wiwa made himself thrust worthy by being committed and he's trusted, respected and valued that the world remembers him and others today, will always and forever do. I wish he were here to say it loud the importance of self respect, fulfilling promises and earning trust to lead the masses.
Ogoni/Niger Delta needs to maintain the rules or the people can collectively change existing rules having given the themselves many choices that will allow debates without coercion. We need good rules predicated on good ideas and partnership:internal or external. We must remember that the world is systematically becoming a single village due to technology and humanity that makes global communication possible. People all over the world are concerned about what happens in Ogoni, Ijaw, Yoruba, Pakistan, India or the United States, etc. Whatever we do don't affect us alone but those around and far away from us are also affected.
Today's world encourages openness and that people should call out wrongdoers for correction; a better world and not to hide them. Praising good deeds and ideas is as well encouraged. Saro-Wiwa imbibed this philosophy, spoke against wrongdoers and exposed the oppressors with the power of his pen and the forces inherent in mass movement. We need to change our rules to meet the reality of the time and not cling to dogmatism that turns oppressive. These rules changers includes accountability, the rule of law, proper democracy (good governance), open/free and fair elections as was developed by Saro-Wiwa and few others but couldn't be maintained once he's brutally taken off the stage.
I wish he's here to reecho what we're missing each time we fail to democratize; and each time we fail a simple test of conducting simple elections and being the people's leaders. Hear him: "My lord, we all stand before history. I am a man of peace, of ideas, appalled by the denigrating poverty of my people who live on a richly endowed land, distressed by their political marginalization, and economic strangulation, angered by the devastation of the land, their ultimate heritage, anxious to preserve their right to life and a decent living, and determine to usher to this country as a whole a fair and just democratic system, which protects everyone and every ethnic group and gives us all a valid claim to human civilization."
Ogoni/Niger Delta and Nigeria needs another Saro-Wiwa, or Saro-Wiwas, yet we've some in our midst. It needs Saro-Wiwas with self-respect, kindness or generosity and are selfless, determined, committed, honest and caring. Saro-Wiwas that are bold, incorruptible, embracing, down-to-earth and loving-people and not self first leaders. Respect is reciprocal, and it's earned by self conduct, being responsible and giving back as a trait and culture. When we earn it and strive to be consistent in all endeavors and thrust worthy, strength is built, therefore understanding that nourishes existing relationship to endure.
The above takes adaptation, which I call the key to a successful relationship: relationship with self, neighbors, co-workers, business partners, platonic or romantic. It's a process of constant adjustment knowing that the other person (s) are different; of empathy, patience, collaboration and support among others. It's especially an adjustment with and in honesty, yes, the truth as a bedrock. Therefore, Ogoni/Niger Delta needs to turn a new leave by developing ethics of global standard the way Saro-Wiwa did and it became placed on the world map. On this Nov. 10, the day marking 14 years the Ogoni, Niger Delta and world's minority lion was stately and corporately murdered for being honest to his people and challenging the status quo.
Let the life that was in him and 8 others be in us, that we may behold wondrous things, do right by our people and human kind. There is no magic or miracle to achieving what the Ogoni Nine died for, but all the above and other positive efforts aimed at human development and the maintenance of same for a better society. The message of Saro-Wiwa lingers; it's spreading to all corners of the world, but it doesn't look like the Ogonis/Niger Deltans are getting it correctly. We should, and it takes time I know, but why not grab the basic after 16 years (from '93) and put what's learned into practice? I expect Ogonis/Niger Deltans will rise to the occasion and uphold the tenets, ideals that Nigeria, $hell and their global conspirators attempted to obliterate on Nov. 10, 1995, when our heroes were unjustly murdered for our oil and gas to flow unhindered and without indigenous control.
The lesson remains that, "you can kill the messenger but can not kill the message." And this message will sink into most of us and the oppressors of Nigeria and the world when we open up and embrace sound behaviors that are in tandem with internationally acceptable characters, which are morally ethical. The message will sink in when we're prepared to champion boldly and without respect for self interest-and to the so-called godfathers-a cause for social, economic, political justice, and to work with the rest of the world to save the planet from climate changes and global warming, which Saro-Wiwa and 8 others fought and died.