Defence of Human Rights


Jan 102017

Every patriotic Nigerians are bound to be concerned about the future of the nation as well as its people; when everything goes well it becomes a thing of joy. When it is otherwise it becomes a thing of worry and concern. Sadly what makes Nigeria respectable in the committee of Nation has been continually threatened and thus call for concern and intervention to wrong the rights.
Few days ago, the Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka had vowed to hold a private funeral on January 20th, the day the United States President Elect, Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of USA.
Donald Trump campaign rhetoric had been very demeaning to blacks, especially Nigerian, whom he severally insulted along with their Head of state.
While many Africans reacted to the demeaning insults of Donald Trump, the Nobel laureate was not excluded. He was vehemently against Donald Trumps emergence, knowing fully well the implications for Africans. His reactions were terse and far reaching. The Nobel laureate threaten to destroy his American Green card following the election of Mr. Trump, vowing that he will have nothing to do with his politics, but would instead be to the death of common sense among Nigeria, considering the controversy and criticism that arose from Soyinka’s threat.
Since that pronouncement, we saw different and regrettably unwarranted attacks on the person and reputation of the Nobel Laureate, which say the least is non warranted.
Most of the Nigerians who attacked him on the social media, still went ahead to urge him not to renege on his pledge to discard his green card.
Before proceeding further, it is pertinent to note here that Prof. Wole Soyinka never asked for a green card in the first place, as it was given to him by President Jimmy Carter, to provide asylum to him during the struggle against the military dictatorship in Nigeria and the fight for the realization of the June 12th mandate that lead to his exile in the 1990s.
The green card was not given as a result of his desire for pleasure or businesses, but as a product of his struggle to snatch the soul of the nation from rapacious military forces that was bent on destroying the nation then.
It is a clear fact that Nigeria Nation has been under the degradation of rampaging military dictatorship in the 1990s and much earlier, forces of division, corruption, ethnicity and nepotism.
Some of these factors have been responsible for the challenges the nation went through in the past and even in the present. One of such was the case of civil war in the past and Boko Haram and corruption in the present.
While these were on, Professor Wole Soyinka was an active change agent to address these myriads of problems that confronted the nation then. The professor has no doubt earned his honour and stripes in the service of the nation. He it was who risked his life at a very young age to prevent the outbreak of the civil war in Nigeria, it will therefore be wrong to continue to attack, degrade the Nobel Laureate for his present stance. The question is, where were these critics when he stood against several cases of injustices in the past? Where were the critics when Soyinka’s struggles contributed to the emergence of the present democratic order and further cry for restructuring and true federalism? Where were them when the Nobel Laureate risked his life and comfort to ensure Nigerians enjoys freedom of Association and expression. His literary impacts to Africa has been tremendous, his solid contributions to national and African pride has been second to none.
Despite his desires to see Nigeria great, the reverse has been the case, retrogression, suffering, under-development; corruption has become the nation’s badge of honour and symbol of identification and loathsomeness all over the world. Insecurity, religious intolerance, Nepotism continue to threaten the nation’s march to progress and greatness, pushing us far behind nations like Dubai, Brazil, Singapore, China; some of the nations we were ahead of before and who looks up to us.
Much as nations partner for development, it is only good that such partnership be positively reciprocal, Nigeria got that bargain with China and many other nation, but can not be said of America.
Any patriotic Nigerians will be concerned about disrespect for Nigeria by any country, no matter how powerful, and each one shows the concern in different ways - including the threat to discard the green card of America.
Even as the Nobel laureate is angry with the voting of Donald Trump, a hater of Africans, he expected solidarity from Nigerians towards his patriotic decision, in expression of his reservation over certain issues.
In the past, he had destroyed his national medal during a protest at the Race Course (also known as Tafawa Balewa Square) in Lagos during a protest he undertook with late Tai Solarin.
The Nobel Laureate reactions was certainly inform by the rhetoric against the integrity of the Nigeria’s abroad and at home, pointing us in a demeaning light.
Any people or nation worth their integrity will certainly not take such an unwarranted insults on Nigeria by Trump lightly. Nigerians certainly does not deserve such an assault, considering many honest and hardworking Nigerians contributing their quota to the development of America. The insult of Donald Trump on Muslims and Islam is equally non deserving and we strongly object to it.
Thus, one can understand the pains and reactions of Soyinka who had vowed to mourn the death of Nigeria Common Sense.
Sadly, there had indeed been a death of common sense in Nigeria; consequently many Nigerians are comfortable with injustices, bad governance, Nepotism of government, without any desire to raise a revolt or protest.
There is certainly a death of common sense in Nigeria as the conscience of the youth of the nations is at peace with materialism and the rat race or get rick quick syndrome in the polity.
If Donald Trump can so insult Nigerians without an atom of protest or response from any sector of the once vibrant civil society organization then the common sense is completely dead in Nigeria.
The common sense here is a sense of responsibility to governance and the governed. The death of common sense is to feign docility in the face of an assault verbal or physical. It is a death that has given Nigerians a bad reputations and source of taunt internationally.
When the majority of the society decides to keep mute in the face of impunity and tyranny, indeed, there is death of common sense.
This must not be allowed to continue endlessly. Corruption in the polity has been the main cause of insecurity, terrorism and Boko Haran phenomenon in the polity. It is also as a result of the debasement of our family and national values-keeping asides what united us together as a people for what divide us apart.
Instead of Nigerians truly celebrating a theater of the absurd by acidic and acerbic criticism of Nobel laureate, we ought to be mourning how far we have derailed as a nation and people.
If an octogenarian can be much concern about the future of Nigeria than the youths ho are the future of tomorrow, it speaks sad volume of how far we as a people have got it wrong and railroad from the desirables.
We must not continue to trivialize everything for sensationalism, there must be a strict response to this level of sloppy waywardness to which the abuse of common sense has been subjected to. When he takes such an action, one expected an avalanche of support from Nigerians not vulgar expressions of frustrations occasion by poverty inflicted by bad leadership.
Common sense is not selling our responsibility, honour and identity for America; it is not sacrificing our core values for assault of an intemperate president Trump.
If we must gain our respectability in the committee of nation, then is time to reawaken our sense of common sense.
By so doing, we would evolve a new and positive reputation and branding that will prompt massive global respectability and investment flow into Nigeria.
By so doing, we will deepen our democracy, strengthen our human right commitment, promote transparency in governance, and sustain free, fair and credible election and national stability.
We must be concern about the absence of common sense in Nigeria and work hard to restore our dignity, unity, sense of future. To refuse to do that is to succumb to second colonization; is to acknowledge the inferiority of the black race to the white and is to indeed say Wole Soyinka may go blazes for daring to make a move that intends to protect our dignity.
I therefore urge you for a collective forum or platform to celebrate the death of “common sense” in Nigeria and to advocate for it reawakening and resurgence-for national interest.
Comrade Bature Johnson.

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