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2011 ELECTIONS: GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH


By: Ugochukwu Anieto
 Published January 10th, 2011

In about four months from now, Nigerians would have yet another golden opportunity at changing the course of events in our nation. This opportunity which comes once every four years is the strongest chance we could ever get to free Nigeria and its suffering people from the leadership of wickedness and oppression, ineptitude, greed, nepotism, hypocrisy, lies and half truths, the list is endless.

We have always voted or at least attempted to vote. I have been an eligible voter since 1999 – Nigeria’s new democracy but then I have never had the chance to vote in any election, not by choice but by circumstance including but not limited to Election Day violence and threats thereof and absolute lack of voting materials as observed in my ward in the last presidential election back in 2007. Guess what? A result was later declared in favour of the late President Umaru Yar’dua for the same ward. I am more than likely to miss out yet again in this golden opportunity to choose who would lead this nation not into the promise land yet but out of slavery and great oppression and setting the pace towards the promise land.

I am not unmindful of the fact that the cabal holding this nation hostage would do everything within their limitless abilities to continue in the demolition of Nigeria. There would be “elections”, the same people gets back into power at all levels and business is same as usual. All promises would still not be kept and another four years would pass us by. A lot of unfortunate Nigerians would die waiting for this reform as career politicians who obviously have run out of ideas continue to plunder our common wealth.

What is the solution to our woes? We cannot ask the colonial masters to come back because we are too toxic at the moment. So far there are trickles of improvements as could be observed in some states notably Lagos state and in other areas including the several gubernatorial election annulments. The war against corruption though very slow has improved remarkably over the last few years with the likes of Nuhu Ribadu in charge of EFCC then and currently Mallam Sanusi Lamido tough stance as the Central Bank governor. Social critics such as Wole Soyinka, Dele Sobowale, Reuben Abati, Okey Ndibe etc have all contributed in one way or the other towards exposing the great injustices in our nation. Their acts of patriotism would not go unnoticed in the history of this great country. We have prayed and prayed for too long without taking any cogent action. I am certain that the almighty God answered our prayers long ago but the God of our generation requires us to put in work towards our own liberation rather than to continue in this endless supplication for freedom. The western nations would not initiate the liberation of Nigeria because we have not proved that we are angry enough at the state of affairs- we shout and cry blue murder and then return back to business as usual. I am refusing to keep participating in any kind of supplication for liberation of this country to the almighty and I urge every right thinking Nigerian to do likewise. I am refusing to listen to empty motivational prosperity speeches by religious leaders who have refused to tell our leaders the simple truth but rather have chosen to hobnob with them for the most part at the expense of our suffering people. I would rather contribute money to a responsible non violent political movement who know the gospel truth and are willing to share it with the rest of the folks than to all these “Do nothing initiative centers”. We need to define what and what we would love to see changed in Nigeria and hold the vision very close to our hearts as we pursue this dream- a reformed Nigeria!

Therefore it is totally unacceptable after so many years of wasteful spending to still have:

  1. Roads which are death traps, so many lives have been lost on these roads and nobody is saying a thing.

  2. No stable electricity supply all over the nation including the fact that our international airports would have to put up with power outages. I refuse to accept that industries that should employ Nigerians are crippled due to epileptic supply of electricity.
  3. Very poor employment rates with majority of higher education graduates rooming the streets of Nigeria in search of a decent living.
  4. Poor health care provision for every single Nigerian. It is unacceptable for people to die because they cannot afford the cost of a decent health care. I refuse to accept the lie that no single Nigerian hospital performs organ transplants at the rate at which it is carried out elsewhere. I refuse to accept the fact that UNTH Enugu where my father was admitted prior to his death does not have functional water supply. I refuse to accept that government would allow negotiations to fail all the time with the management and staff of federal and state hospitals, this would then bring about a strike action and poor people would die!
  5. Extremely weak educational objectives. No nation can be great when it neglects education or try to do it on the cheap. I refuse to accept that all the secondary schools currently do not have enough teachers in relevant subjects. I refuse to accept the fact that teachers are treated like the scum of the earth in Nigeria when every profession actually depends on them- this is the reason why talented people who love the job are refusing to take it up, everybody wants to be sure of what to eat tomorrow. I refuse to accept the fact that teachers from kindergarten to high school earn pittance whereas technically jobless politicians earn more than President Obama for doing less work. I refuse to accept that people would graduate from institutions of higher learning with little or no functional literacy. I refuse to accept that Nigeria’s higher institutions and most recently state universities in the south east would be on strike for more than 5 months running and it is business as usual. I refuse to accept that no meaningful research activity goes on in our higher institutions in the present day reality of academic upheavals around the globe. May we not forget the importance of a solid education towards nation building- “You must study, study, study! Lenin’s exhortation to young communist league members when they asked him how best to contribute to the strengthening of the communist state (1918).
  6. Corrupt ex-leaders and government officials in Nigeria still lurking around the corridors of power wishing to come back to finish up the demolition of Nigeria. I refuse to accept the fact that these people who should be languishing in maximum security prisons are still free, still spending their loots at our collective expense. I refuse to accept that these people, their families and cohorts do not do anything including health care, education, etc in Nigeria when they killed our own system. I refuse to accept that western nations still grant these people privileges to travel outside Nigeria to visit places where things are done right using our stolen money when they should have been banned from doing so; well we have not done enough to stop the west from doing this. I refuse to accept that Nigeria’s money has been used to buy properties all around the globe notably the United Kingdom and stashed away in foreign banks and it is business as usual.
  7. Nigeria cannot boast of any serious source of foreign exchange aside crude oil. What would happen when this oil dries up? What would happen if the biofuel option, solar energy etc finally gets optimized? I refuse to accept that the government could not run a functional refinery after all the turn around maintenance (TAM). I refuse to accept that agriculture which was once the strong hold of our nation’s economy has been relegated to the background. As at now, Nigeria cannot feed itself.
  8. Crime rates, ethnic and religious violence on the increase with kidnappers and armed robbers holding several states hostage for some time now. I refuse to accept that the Nigerian security forces cannot combat this situation but can they do that really? Poor training and by extension poor education is the single most dangerous factor destroying our security network in Nigeria. I refuse to accept that Christians and Muslims cannot live together in peace especially in Jos Nigeria and nobody is doing enough to stop this wasting of innocent lives. I refuse to accept that our leaders do not have a lasting solution to the Jos crisis and nobody has been brought to justice for all the killings. I refuse to accept that terrorists are gradually permeating our society, killing innocent people by detonating bombs in public places and not enough is been done to arrest this ugly situation.
  9. Bank executives convicted of stealing billions of Naira in cash and properties are given a few months in prison. I refuse to believe that these months would still be spent in cozy rooms of nice hospitals instead of many years in maximum security prisons. Bernard Madoff did not get it this easy for running a ponzi scheme. I refuse to believe that shareholders of these banks would not get the worth of their investments in these banks.
  10. National assembly costing the nation what it would cost to run 2 smaller countries like Benin republic and Togo and yet nobody is saying a thing about it. To add insult to injury they had the effrontery to request for an apology from the Governor of the Central Bank- A crying shame!

There are so many other issues not listed above but I am sure we all know the problems in Nigeria and how long we have suffered in this land. Some of us by reason of direct participation or association are beneficiaries of this demolition of Nigeria and are reluctant to join in the struggle, make no mistakes your gains are ephemeral and would burn out whenever there is a change in the same government, I am demanding for equality for all. What do we do to rescue this nation from this mess?

To this end I have modified the writings of Ken Follet a renowned English novelist in one of his novels- The man from St. Petersburg (1982) in which he briefly described the struggles of the suffragettes in the early 20th century- It has become expedient for Nigerians to light the touch of militancy through our trade unions- our most viable hope of rescuing this great nation. We have tried every measure and our years of work and suffering and sacrifice had taught us that the looters in government would not yield to right and justice, but they would yield to expediency. We have to make every facet of Nigerian life responsibly insecure and unsafe not by violence. We have to make the Nigerian law a failure and the courts theatre of farce; we have to discredit the government in the eyes of the world; we have to spoil Nigerian sports, hurt businesses, demoralize the world of society, shame all hypocritical religious centers, upset the whole orderly conduct of life! We have to do as much of this guerilla warfare as the people of Nigeria would tolerate. When they come to the point of saying to our government stop this: ‘stop the stealing, in the only way it can be stopped by giving every Nigerian a right to decent living’, then we shall extinguish the torch.

The great American statesman Patrick Henry summed up the causes that led to the American Revolution like this: we have remonstrated, we have supplicated, we have prostrated ourselves at the foot of the throne, and it has all been in vain. We must fight- I repeat it, sir, we must fight.’ Patrick Henry advocated killing people as the proper means of securing the political freedom of men. We Nigerians of integrity would not do that, in fact, the moving spirit of militancy is a deep and abiding reverence for human life. There is only one-way to put a stop to this call to agitation: there is only one-way to break down this agitation. It is not by shooting us! It is not by locking us up in jail! It is by doing us justice! By justice, every Nigerian must have a right to decent living. Every Nigerian must be cared for; no Nigerian should die in unwarranted poverty. Nigeria belongs to all of us not to our greedy leaders!

The fire of suffering whose flame is upon the lowest of the low Nigerians is upon us also. For we suffer with them, we partake of their affliction and we shall share their victory by-and-by. Make no mistakes; it will not be counted for anyone as righteousness to give alms to the poor especially when the money being given was stolen from the same poor through looting of treasuries. The wealth is for all of us! What counts before God is to shout abomination from the rooftops when one sees corruption and to end corruption at all levels by doing the right thing all the time irrespective of who is looking whether you are a janitor or a company executive. We must not remain silent! This fire will breathe into the ear of many a sleeper the one word “Awake”, and she will arise to slumber no more. It will descend with the gift of tongues upon many who have hitherto been dumb, and they will go forth to preach the news of deliverance. Its light will be seen afar off by many who suffer and are sorrowful and oppressed, and will irradiate lives with a new hope for the spirit which is in us Nigerians of integrity today cannot be quenched; it is stronger than all tyranny, cruelty and oppression; it is stronger-even-than-death-itself!”

Ugochukwu Anieto

Doctoral student

Texas USA




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