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Political Activism In The Face Of Tyranny

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As a dogged political and social activist, the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti utilized the instrumentality of his music to awaken the consciousness of the people to the evils of bad leadership prevalent during his time. He was indeed a "prophet" so to speak because many of the things he sang about in his music are still very much prevalent in Nigeria up till this moment. He attacked several governments with his music and was as a result clamped into detention on countless occasions for daring to challenge the government or to reveal certain things through his music. The price to pay for political activism is so high that not many can embark on such precarious venture especially in a military junta or semi military dictatorship clad in a civilian attire.

Many other activists like Mr Femi Falana (SAN), Professor Wole Soyinka and many others have at one time or the other been clamped into detention and suffered humiliation at one time or the other in the hey days of military dictatorship for challenging the military junta and the powers that be. Some have even paid the supreme price with their own lives. Do you remember the late Ken Saro-Wiwa, a dogged Niger Delta activist who had to pay the supreme price when the Abacha junta clandestinely set him up and killed him alongside 9 or so other Ogoni activists? When tyrants reign, political activists become endangered species.

But as they say, a leopard does not change its spots. During the Abacha military regime when Abacha was planning to transform himself into a civilian President, I remember someone telling me then that even if Abacha succeeded in doing so, he would never change because once a dictator, always a dictator. Tyrants would always suppress dissenting voices in order to perpetuate themselves in power. That is the situation with Nigeria.

Where is Deji Adeyanju? For the past two months, Deji, a dogged political activist has been clamped into detention without trial for a purported criminal offence for which he had allegedly been discharged and acquitted by a court in Nigeria several years ago. But those who are in the know of how he was acquitted over the said matter have now kept mum because they now wine and dine in the corridors of power and therefore they have decided to be part of an obnoxious conspiracy against the truth and against Deji and by extension against the people of Nigeria. If the Buhari government thinks he has committed an offense, then take him to court and try him in record time. So why procure an order that is more or less ad infinitum from the court just to keep him perpetually behind bars in order to silence him before the elections? But Nigerians now know better because they're now wiser than all these gimmicks. It's been alleged too that Festus Keyamo (SAN) was Deji's Lawyer while he was a student activist when he was alleged to have committed the said crime and that even Keyamo had said Deji had been acquitted over the matter. So if a court acquits a person over an offence, is it proper to try that person again over such crime or to open up the books again in order to try to find fresh evidence against such person or to conduct fresh investigations over the matter after a court had decided on it? The plot against Deji and his detention is nothing but political persecution by the Buhari government.

The Buhari government must not allow anything happen to Deji Adeyanju irrespective of whatever offence he is alleged to have committed. Holding him endlessly in detention over spurious and trumped up charges cannot stop him from doing what he knows how to do best - which is to fight for the people. He is a hero for democracy and one million police men cannot stop him because he is fighting for the truth. When a tyrant reigns, the police that is ordinarily supposed to be impartial and protect the masses would be compromised and would rather turn against the masses and become a branch of the ruling party in order to oppress, suppress, intimidate and harass the opposition and dissenting voices.

Now we know that former President Goodluck Jonathan was indeed a hero. Now we know he was a true statesman who not only loved Nigerians dearly, but allowed dissenting voices to thrive even to the extent that countless verbal missiles were constantly thrown at him, yet he tolerated all of them as a true leader. He was the most vilified President in the history of Nigeria, yet he gave a loud silence to these countless missiles thrown at him and tolerated so much for the sake of peace, so that Nigeria can be one. That is the true leader that Nigerians rejected. But what do we have today?

When a tyrant reigns, only few activists would dare to challenge the political conundrum for fear of the unknown. Suddenly in the last few years in Nigeria, prominent activists who should have lent their voices to national issues have suddenly lost their voices and went underground or have been silenced or intimidated to keep mum in the face of bad and clueless governance and a complete deterioration of the quality of life of the Nigerian masses. But we must never be silenced because we can never be silenced no matter how hard they try. We must trudge on because tyranny lasts only but for a moment. We must all join hands to build Nigeria even in the face of intimidation and oppression because we have no other country except Nigeria.

We must say no to politicians who would continue to take us for a ride and continually impoverish our people with its clueless leadership. We must say no to deceptive politicians who have no clear cut agenda for the masses and who continue to hoodwink us into believing that they have the interest of the masses at heart. We must take our destiny into our own hands and reject politicians who fail to change Nigeria for the better and who instead divided and polarized Nigerians the more. We must vehemently reject politicians who deceived us with questionable manifestos, promises and propaganda to get into power but would deny ever making such promises when they get into office. If we don't reject these types of marauders in our polity, Nigeria would never know any meaningful development.

All Nigerians must speak up against injustice. We must speak up against impunity. We must all rise up against the blatant disregard for our laws by the government and disregard of our constitution. We must speak up and say no to this conspiracy against the people of Nigeria. Today it's the turn of Deji Adeyanju, tomorrow it can be your own turn or the turn of your own children to be illegally clamped into detention if you fail to speak up now or if you are afraid to talk and looking like "donkeeey" after having been wiped with the horsewhip by the "soldiers" as Fela would put it! Nigerians want Deji Adeyanju released now. We say enough is enough to tyranny. We say no to military dictatorship in a civilian attire. Free Deji now!

Tayo Demola is Human Rights Activist in Lagos, Nigeria - Twitter: @TayoDemola - Email: [email protected]

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