June 12 evokes a not so distant memory of hope raised and hope dashed. Memories of a fight for democracy, a cry to kick out the military regardless of which civilian got the mandate, bitter memories of inhaling tear gas, of being dragged by soldiers to the worst of cells and of scribbling notes from jail. A bitter memory of comrades cut down by the bullets of military junta, limbs lost to protests, comrades lives lost to bad roads on the way to rallies, weeks, sometimes months and years spent in horrible security detention centers and that distant memory of a strong conviction that Nigeria was a country worth dying for.
Hmmm…where did it all go wrong?
1. Was it at that moment when we stupidly did not care who took over from the military dictators as long as we had a civilian government?
2. Was it that moment when comrades started accepting the juicy but with no portfolio position of special Assistants to Governors, Lawmakers or any politician who can pay the bill?
3. Was it when comrades started contesting for political positions under the umbrella of undemocratic political parties they once vehemently spoke against?
4. Was it that moment when you stumbled on an online appeal for legal funds that was launched in your name when you were detained in one of the country’s worst cells as a guest of the military dictator, even though you were never consulted nor knew what happened to the fund raised?
5. Was it when the Nigerian Progressives and pseudo comrades made it obvious that they do not really care about Equality for All? That moment when they made it clear that they only participate in struggles which are popular with the masses? Or that they cannot side with sexual minorities who are persecuted by the government as they are afraid to lose popularity amongst the masses, on whose wings they hope to achieve political relevance, power and a share of the national cake?
6. Was it when you get laughed at by fellow Nigerians who think you are a fool for not joining the looting party when you have access to the corridors of power?
7. Was it that sad moment when you realized that the party goes on, no matter whose blood was shed?
8. Was it that horrible moment when you suddenly realized that comrades now blame comrades for the assassination of a comrade?
9. Was it that moment when you realize that Nigeria is shit, but not because it is Nigeria but because it is a country populated by opportunists who are mostly proudly ignorant?
10. Was it that moment when you finally accept that Nigerians are truly proud to be suffering and smiling and would prefer not to free themselves from oppression if there is a minuscule chance of them assuming the position of the oppressor?
Hmmm… June 12, a day I’d rather not remember but a day that is still very instrumental in channeling my relationship with Nigeria, as I learn more about Nigerians, humans and humanity in general.
JUNE 12…A hope for Democracy, A fight for Justice, A Dream yet to be fulfilled!
Adieu to all comrades lost to the struggle, but hey, the struggle continues!
The Dictators Are Not Only Those…A poem dedicated to a dear friend COMRADE OLAITAN OYERINDE. He was assassinated on May 4, 2012 at about 2am at his residence in the Government Reservation Area, Benin, Nigeria.
The Dictators are not only those
Who terrorized us in military clothes
Banned the ballot boxes, rolled out armored tanks
From their hallowed barracks their records stank
The dictators are not only those
Who unleashed on us bullets doses
Arrests we endured, Teargas we inhaled
Bullets we survived, in victory we exhaled
The dictators are more than men in khakis
Now they strut around with official cardkeys
They dined with the military killers
Frolicking and posing as civilian rulers
The dictators are the beneficiaries of our struggle
The throats of the people they now strangle
Feeding fat on the carcass of the masses
Belching on empty electoral promises
The dictators are the pot bellied old men
Toasting their ‘do or die’ politics with a mien
Drinking the blood of our youth
While our treasury they loot
With our blood we paved the way for elections
With our limbs new mansions are now erected
Assassins they wantonly hire to come and raid
As they willfully gun down our trusted comrades
Arise comrades, for our work is far from done
From the wrinkled, bloodstained hands of the dons
Our country we shall capture and reclaim
Our comrades’ blood shall not be in vain
The dictators are the 1 percent
We the masses are the 99 percent
With unity, might and strength
We shall sniff out their odious scent
The dictators we shall once again oust
Our flag they shall no longer hoist
They shall all be gone
Before we are done.
BY © YEMISI ILESANMI