‘The man dies in him who keeps silent in the face of tyranny’
THOSE immortal words of Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka were produced by his experience in the gulag for his opposition to the senseless war Nigeria fought against Biafra from 1967 to 70. Today Nigeria has been thrown into contradictions worse than the ones that led to the war that made Soyinka to opt for a THIRD FORCE.
Though he spoke in elevated diction, the warning Soyinka gave Nigeria on Ruga days back in Lagos was a rude awakening of the déjà vu consequences if the inimical actions of government that create situations that make war inevitable are not put to a halt.
One of the disappointments of the terrible season Nigeria lives in is that many leaders who should stand in the gap between Nigeria and anarchy have out of fear or protection of interests embraced what Soyinka said kills a man even when he may still be breathing: SILENCE.
Silence is a terrible thing which means to cause to be prohibited or prevented from speaking. Its synonym is quiet.
I have for days now been trying to look at my EGL notes in Ife since the General Overseer of Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor E. A. Adeboye responded to protesters to the church headquarters last week, that being quiet does not mean you are silent. The group was worried that the Pastor with a VOICE and huge following has been silent over unpleasant happenings in the country.
They reminded me of Bakayoko in God’s Bits of Wood who told the Priest and Imam the government employed to pacify striking workers these biting words: “Do the Priest and Imam know that those who are hungry are likely to forget the ways to the Church and Mosque?”
They equally mentioned his silence over Leah Sharibu who is in Boko Haram’s captivity because she refused to renounce her Christian faith. Maybe it didn’t occur to them that when a RCCG evangelist was hacked to death in Abuja while preaching the gospel, Daddy G.O visited the family ‘Nichodemosly’ without saying a word. Professor Yemi Osinbajo who was Acting President at the time also remained quiet and could not invoke law and order.
I was sharing with a friend days back that it appears the heaven has been quiet (not silent?) over Nigeria in the last four years as “Thus sayeth the Lord” has become a distant echo in our clime. Except the Prophets are hearing things but censoring the spirit!
It is against this backdrop that the July 4 meeting between Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi (Eni Ogun) and Professor Wole Soyinka (Eniogun) should be appreciated in the context of the culture of silence that has eaten up many voices that should ordinarily be heard in a season like this.
After over four hours engagement by the two greats, iron sharpened iron and their communique would be a historical reference point for leaders who stood up when it mattered. Every word and punctuation mark in that document came out of minds fully aware of what distinguishes a leader from a dealer. I reproduce some of the choice words:
“In this regard, the recent ultimatum delivered by a sectarian order to the president of this nation to set up the so-called RUGA cattle settlements across the entire nation within a stipulated time, despite national outcry, should be acknowledged as entitlement under the bounty of freedom of expression. In return, we exercise ours, and call upon Nigerian nationals across state demarcations to defend the sanctity of their ancestral lands. This birthright has never been annulled, not even under colonial occupation.
“We call on the Nigerian people to recognise that the internal colonisation project is ever recurrent, that there are backward, primitive, undeveloped minds that have failed, and continue to fail to overcome delusions in this antiquated belief in sectarian domination as the key to social existence, a belief that despises peaceful cohabitation that is based on mutual respect, a spirit of egalitarian apportionment, and recognition of the dignified existence of others, including their antecedent modes of material production of the means of existence.
“We pledge our commitment and the commitment of institutions to which we belong and with which we identify, to the protection and advance of our own enduring faith in a common humanity, a respect for the rights of others, but also declare an uncompromising embrace of responsibility for the defence and protection of the rights and egalitarian entitlements of our indigenous communities.”
The Nobel Laureate in his departing years has sustained what made him the quintessential Soyinka from his youthful age, while the Ooni has re-enacted the mystique of Oba Adesoji Aderemi who saw the ancient throne in Ife as a pedestal for progress and standing firm on the side of the people. Thank you Eni Ogun and Eniogun.
…And they murdered Funke Olakunrin (Nee Fasoranti)
I have just scribbled a few lines of this piece when I received a shocking message from the one we fondly called Idowubobo in far away America which just read: “Herdsmen have killed Funke, Papa Fasoranti’s daughter.
Tears rolled freely down my cheeks. The 58-year -old daughter of our Leader and her husband are close friends of mine.
I was praying the news would not be true in the end. I placed a call to Taiwo Fasoranti, immediate younger brother of Mrs Funke Olakunrin if only he would tell me she was shot but recovering in some hospital. He told me she was already in the morgue.
All accounts we gathered made it clear that Fulani herdsmen emerged from the bush as her vehicle was about to enter the expressway at Ore and shot her dead and inflicted wounds on her staff in the car.
How would the 93-year-old father who lost his first daughter when he was put in gaol for no offence by the Buhari junta in 1984 receive this devastating news of herdsmen killing the daughter that bade her farewell in Akure a few hours earlier under the same Buhari government? In what state would we find him on our planned visit the following day?
Suddenly my phone rang and it was Pa Reuben Fasoranti on the line who had summoned courage like his Leader, Chief Obafemi Awolowo did after the news of his son, Segun Awolowo was broken to him in prison. These men teach us lessons of life!
He spoke with me, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Pastor Tunde Bakare and Basorun Akin Osuntokun in unbroken voice. Silence enveloped the sitting room of Chief Adebanjo where we converged after hearing the news after speaking with the old man.
Sleep well, Funke. You didn’t die in vain. Your death will achieve something. Your blood will water the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom. Goodnite!
Re: Osun verdict: Technicality defeats justice
THE five justices have spoken the minds of men but you have plucked up courage to state the mind of God. The selfsame Justice Oputa that you cited equally stated in another celebrated case that there are two judgements: judgement of men and that of God.
The lead judgement delivered on Osun governorship election was a charade and a half boiled rice. The five justices have succeeded in giving the verdict of men but the Supreme Judge (God) will deliver His own verdict whether we like it or not.
Those who joined hands together to recoin black as white will equally appear before the divine throne of judgement one day where their cohort will not be able to defend their man-made verdict. We shall all render our accounts before the Supreme Being. The lead judgement has no regard for God. This is a judgement that abused justice and equity. God will judge everyone of us according to our deeds. It’s our deeds that will stand before us on the day of judgement. –
—Ralph Akintan, Esq.
I never expected the Supreme Court to be on the side of justice. Someone actually tweeted on the same judgment that Nigerian leaders are not gifted in delivering expected expectations but I replied that I don’t even ever entertain any expectation from Nigerian leadership. So, the Supreme Court judgment is no exception. Preserve your wellbeing, don’t expect anything positive from this current leadership including the Judiciary. Thanks to President Muhammadu Buhari for his latest appointments: the leopard can never change its spots. —Ademola Adeniyi
Your write-up on the above subject well noted. Opponent will capitalise on your error to defeat you. Did you ever find out why Justice Obiara was absent that day? Mere irresponsibility? Costly. I am a Professor and it is like telling me that a student who fails to show up for my examination should pass. I think Supreme Court decision was appropriate.
Your voice of courage in Sunday Tribune of 7/7/2019 was good and instructive. Grateful to God for blessing our Yoruba nation with people like you. God bless you.