CHILE AND EKITI : TRIUMPH ACROSS SHORES
There are two things, right now, that blow my mind and enliven my spirit—for my land, Nigeria and for our world at large. For, come to think of it, any stop we make, we must think personal, but that personal thought must be in due cognizance of the fact that we are individuals also because we are a part of a community—local, groupal, national and universal.
So, if we think personal, we must remember that those nations that grow do so because certain individuals have been able to think for them, brew that thought and make it fester, positively, for the society to reap and for the world to benefit and replenish itself from those individuals' mental and physical sacrifice. That, in a sense, is how heroes are built. That is how martyrs and saints are made. That is how great minds change the world, remake the world and advance our perception of ourselves and our world.
Before I get carried away on a fantasy island where dreams inhabit, I am talking of Chile and its sudden elevation into world reckoning on account of its response, beyond our world's imagination, of its capabilities. I am speaking of the rescue of the 33 miners, buried in the bowels of the earth, half a mile below and for sixty-nine days, by a government motivated by passion, humane zest, passionate search for the technology it does not possess and avid political will.
I am also reveling Ekiti State of Nigeria, our nation's fountain of knowledge, long deprived of all the benefits and reward of greatness—economic, infrastructure, manufacturing, and so on. Above all, a state whose citizens have been deprived of their rights to reap the fruit of their sovereignty and an equitable return of their electoral input; a state renowned for its undisputed commitment to principles, vigorous claimancy of its entitlements—since Action Group time to Omoboriowo's NPN's robbery and its pa-yabayaba deployment of all esoteric and magical resources, to deal with those that deny her of her political rights and welfare returns.
It is for this dual purpose of hilary and excitement that offer this column to Chile and Ekiti. Sometime, somehow, we shall find a due synonymity of experience and reality between these two topographies, morphologies and landscapes. This veritable connect will be found, partly in the mind and fathomable history. First, Ekiti State and the undying ecstasy and euphoria renting the Nigerian air. I shall call that Fayemi and the Regained Mandate. Then the raging but important madness of the moment; the Chilean Rescue phenomenon
Fayemi and the Regained Mandate.
On Saturday last week, Dr.Kayode Fayemi regained his paradise—to borrow the title of John Melton's book. Three and a half years of a people's right's denial, deprivation, humiliation, brutal repression and therefore a lapse into stoic resignation, Ekiti, home of knowledge, regained its right to one-man-one-vote. She found her hope, dreams, aspirations and expectation, stride, in tandem, with that of the judiciary. That same judiciary that has for nearly four years hauled her rights on some vagabond political bandwagon, and away from its weak political vanguard, now has eaten its own vomit, literally.
I don't know about the depth of hurt that the people of Ekiti have been sunk. All I know is that a fresh and lush turn of air has spread upon the national landscape. This is by conveyor Justice Ayo Salami. What did he say;? That Kayode Fayemi scored 'majority of lawful votes in the election of July 14, 2007. And that, having satisfied the constitutional requirements, Kayode is hereby declared as the duly elected Governor of Ekiti State, Fayemi is hereby declared as the duly elected Governor and should be sworn in immediately.'
Justice Ayo Salami, President of the Court of Appeal in Ilorin, Kwara State, on the election case between AC candidate, Dr. Kayode Fayemi and the PDP candidate, Mr. Segun Oni reversed three-and- a- half years of illegal rule in Ekiti State. It commenced the legality of Fayemi's victory to govern , according to the sovereign wish of Ekiti people. So now, Ekiti, fountain of knowledge is free from capricious hands of power hijackers. It is sweet and savourable victory for democracy and a new dawn for the resilient and persevering people of Ekiti. Let other keepers of un-won victories in other states of the federation not go to slumber. For, if our judiciary follows its own precedent, democracy shall survive and the judiciary will tall as the last bastion of the ordinary people.
The Chilean miners rescue
On the 5th of August 2010, the world woke up to the terrible news that 33 miners were trapped more than 700 meters (2,300ft) underground, in the San Jose copper-gold mine, located about 40 kilometers north of Copiapo, Chile. By the next day, the Chilean government, through the National Emergencies Office of Chile (ONEMI), released a list of the trapped miners, the list included Franklin Lobos Ramirez, a retired footballer for the Chilean national team
The youngest miner was 19 years old while the oldest was 63. Several unsuccessful attempts were made by the authorities to reach the miners but none was successful until August 22nd. The Economist, Chile is the world's top producer of copper. 40 percent of the nation's earnings come from mining. The San Jose mine is owned by the San Esteban Mining Company.
The rescue itself, through a combination of visionary and committed leadership of the Chilean government, innovative technology, and the heroic resilience of the human spirit of the victims, surpassed the initial government projections in virtually every step of the way. At first, officials had estimated that it would take about four months to complete the rescue, however it took 69 days and 8 hours!.
There is also the fact of the legendary sense of communal empathy and spontaneous show of love and compassion by the entire Chilean citizenry. For instance, in nearby Copiapo, about 3,000 people gathered in the town square, where a huge, live broadcast footage was mounted to watch the rescue. The exuberant crowd waved Chilean flags of all sizes and blew on red vuvuzelas as cars drove around the plaza honking their horns, their drivers yelling, 'Long live Chile!' One by one throughout the day, the men had emerged to the cheers of exuberant Chileans and before the eyes of a transfixed globe. While the operation picked up speed as the day went on, each miner was greeted with the same boisterous applause from rescuers. Indeed the importance of the rescue operation was obvious to all. The Chilean president Sebastian Pinera was at the site himself to personally welcome and receive all the miners back to the surface
'Welcome to life,' Pinera told Victor Segovia, the 15th miner out. On a day of superlatives, it cannot pass as an overstatement.
Buoyed by the collective spirit of the entire nation, and to a large extent the empathy of the universe, the miners emerged looking healthier than many had expected and even clean-shaven. Several thrust their fists upward like prizefighters. They felt heroic and the world was at their triumphant feet. The crux of the matter for me is this - what lessons can and will the Nigerian Government and people learn from this experience? The government of Chile has shown to the entire world, its willingness to protect and safe guard its citizens at all and any cost.
Clearly, despite the scale, intensity and difficulty of the situation the Chilean government handled the situation well. More than $22 million had been spent on the rescue operation, the government had insisted repeatedly that the money spent was inconsequential when weighed against the life of the miners. In his own words, the Chilean president Pinera was quoted saying in a press conference after the completion of the rescue operation saying ''This rescue operation has been so marvelous, so clean, so emotional that there was no reason not to allow the eyes of the world - which have been watching this operation so closely - to see it.''
The people of Chile have shown also, their courage and commitment to one another, and collectively through selflessness, courage, proper planning and leadership, the Chilean people have collectively turned tragedy to triumph, hopelessness to hope and disaster into a defining moment in their nation's history. Religious differences, ethnicity, and political affiliations were put aside and the entire nation was united as one to achieve this daunting task. The impact of this singular act has been felt all across the world as the international press broadcast the highly emotionally charged pictures around the world.
My summation of the effect of the operation can be found in the words of President Barrack Obama when he said, the rescue has ''inspired the world''. Chile is not a first world nation but it has demonstrated that it could be and the world acknowledges that potential. Just see the political mess and absurdity that our nation has shown from the incident of the Abuja bomb blast!