hen we are the victims of dictatorship, we despise it; nevertheless, when we wear the jackboots and issue orders, censures, single out, attack, and destroy others, we rationalize our acts. Most of the time, we label our oppressions as “activism”, a term that has become ambiguous and a catch-all for highwaymen waving the banner of civil advocacy.
In every Nigerian, there is a tyrant. We want to be heard, but not by other people. Even when we listen, it is to gather ammunition for a combative reaction, not to understand.
The falcon is oblivious to the falconer’s presence. We have become so regulated in our thinking that any point of view that does not conform to a “popular single narrative” is blitzed, and the messenger is mercilessly attacked.
It has to be either our way or the road to hell. All other viewpoints are silenced as a straitjacket opinion rules the landscape. You will be dismissed, mocked, condemned, and slandered if you dare think or speak something different. Everyone in our environment is expected to join the solitary story bandwagon. Is it not this tyranny of the majority? Is it not true that we are all tyrants?
I have become a go-to target for nefarious internet trolls. These imps are irritated by my unwavering position on national matters. It is rare of someone from the south-west to defend Nigeria or take a position contrary to the prevalent socio-political doctrine, according to them. Their standard argument is that because I am Yoruba, I am obligated to support the Yoruba, whether for good or for bad. However, I am unable to fit into that provincial receptacle. It is not because of me. My mission is to serve humanity, regardless of ethnicity, religion, or political affiliation.
I will proudly take a just stand for any group, whether Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, Ibibio, Igala, or Ijaw. What afflicts one affects us all.
Mentation in the native language; this is our challenge: to think just in tribal silos and not beyond the group. We must progress past this flaw. Nigerian armies from all parts of the country must unite to defend Nigeria and Nigerians. We should not constantly withdraw into ethnic shells and see national issues through the lens of sectarianism. We must occupy the lovely medium, separating nonsenses.
My involvement in activism broadened my understanding of civil rights issues – and its nefarious underbelly. Clouds do not always appear white, and robins do not always sing. Ego, rapaciousness, and sleaze have contaminated and soiled the Nigerian civil society sector. I have previously participated in advocacies with a mind bursting with love for Nigeria and a fist raised for change in my homeland. I was gullible. My zealous devotion to a cause and conviction led me down the primrose path of falsehood. In my youth, I assumed that everyone who raised his/her fists and chanted slogans had good intentions.
When I understood that some of these causes are well-oiled campaigns supported by shady persons, it was terrible for me. The majority of civil rights organizations do not emerge from the ground up. Behind the curtains, the marionettes are always being pulled by a powerful hand.
In the activism sector, there is also an all-knowing complex. “Activists” appear to have both the appropriate prescriptions for Nigeria’s issues and the Midas touch to turn things around. All by rote, they make appealing noises, shout the loudest in the room, deliver wry but faultless one-liners, and close each oration with powerful quotes from renowned people. They know exactly what to say in each circumstance. However, many of these activists from Nigeria’s “activism community” found themselves in government and became the very things they were fighting against in the trenches — instead of bringing change, they led government to deteriorate with a Sadim touch.
As soon as he became State Governor and later national chairman of a major political party, a once-vibrant activist with a tongue full of heated words revealed his true colors and betrayed his hypocrisy. Many people in the activist community are like that, waiting for their chance to speak up. And while they wait, they must continue to scream until they are fed.
While the so-called ‘’activist community” purports to be against tyranny, it does not tolerate criticism. Members who make a 180-degree turn or change their minds are referred to as “de-comraded” or “compromised.” In the activism community, there is a dictatorship of ideas. “Attack, tear down, criticize, and pull down” must be the order of the day. You are reduced to a quisling if you dare to call out the system’s glimmers of promise.
This does not negate the importance of true campaigners, who are dedicated to making Nigeria a better place. We still have the unsoiled eggs in a crate of bad eggs.
In every Nigerian, there is a tyrant. We hold government officials accountable for purported acts of tyranny while dismissing our own participation. We need to be able to communicate with one another. How are you different from Idi Amin if you believe that only your method is correct? Dictatorship provokes opposition. People will naturally resist when you approach them from a position of tyranny. This is a perfectly natural human response. Nobody wants to be told what to do, pushed around, or treated as if they were enslaved. We need to be able to communicate with one another.