Dear President Jonathan,
All internet protocols duly observed. But I will not want to subsume you into the category of ‘ordinary’ Nigerians here on the internet and on the streets; as a result, I will like to specially recognize you as an illustrious son of Otuoke, the one who carries the burden of Nigeria all around the world. Your Highness, permit me to deliver this speech with a democratic candour, with no threat of your military foot soldiers.
However sir, I am not shoe-less, I will be on the run in case your soldiers aren’t patient enough. As an angry young man, this is the cause I have committed my life to, to listen and listen very well, and to speak out when truth is being murdered. Call it ‘treason’. I refuse to be silenced by your presidential brigandage, for I am writing with 16 hands, of those murdered by your commandos during the #OccupyNigeria Movement, including baby Oluwatomisin who died due to lack of medical services when doctors were on the streets protesting, becoming the youngest victim of the struggle.
Until justice is done, until injustice is buried, the blood of these martyrs will continue to haunt you. Listen to me again; I refuse to be silenced by your presidential brigandage, for I am writing with 16 hands!
I have been quiet for long not because you sent me packing from Freedom Park at gunpoint. Not because you paraded the best of your Ak47 in your arsenal to fight an ‘ordinary’ me. Not because you garrulously displayed your presidential feathers at the expense of pressing issues. Not because you are tipsy of the presidential clauses in your poked constitution, particularly when you called my ‘rants’ treasons. I have been quiet because I have been taking stock.
So today, I will deliver this speech like an angry young man tipsy of wisdom. Your Excellency sir, I will distill wisdom to you in syntax and paragraphs. I will pour out my intellectual venom. I will dazzle you with the logic of trade off in decision making and I will spit fire. In all, I refuse to be silenced by your presidential brigandage, for I am writing with 16 hands!
Once again your Highness, I have decided to tell you what your aides won’t tell you. Forget the fact that we don’t always agree on logic, forget the fact that I campaigned against you in the last election, forget the fact that I told people about the chronic underbelly of your pretentious humility; this friendly war is about the Nigeria project, we are both stakeholders. But one thing I will not do is to disrespect you by calling you names. As I write this philippic sir, I write not as a Northerner from Ihima, not as a Christian living in the West, but as a pan Nigerian who has closed his eyes to entreaties to leave the soil of Nigeria for a greener pasture.
I said this because of the fear of being ethicized by Your Excellency. I know you will read this with the armour of a Niger Deltan, ready for the ethnic trigger at the slightest cerebral provocation. Hear me again; I refuse to be silenced by your presidential brigandage, for I am writing with 16 hands!
We fought you during #OccupyNigeria using the truth as our weapon of democratic construction. We fought with vigour, we fought with conviction, we fought with logic of numbers and we fought with the power constitutionally vested in us. We won. We won because for the first time, we conquered our intellectual and physical docility, suddenly becoming economists, analysts, with a handful of us metamorphosing from being naturally satisfied with anything that comes to becoming ‘emergency’ activists. We have shown to you that we have the power to make and break. For 15 days, we became friends with the scorching sun. We became thirsty for honesty, marching on the streets in search of the truth. At a point, we could no longer bear it. We were drinking our anger to pacify ourselves.
But the more we were carrying out statistical surgery on your budget, the thirstier we were becoming. Our anger grew wings, we were spitting fire, then we down-tooled. From the far north to the western axes, we were united to chase our common enemy to the wall. For 15 days, you could not answer our many questions despite helping you to silence Boko Haram, your nightmare. For 15 days, we spoke with one voice. For 15 days, we didn’t wear any religious face. For 15 days, we didn’t group into ethnic groups. For 15 days, we challenged your logic. For 15 days, we stood by the rationality behind our anger.
For some of us, we have decided not to keep quiet until ours can be called good governance. Listen to me again; I refuse to be silenced by your presidential brigandage, for I am writing with 16 hands!
Rather than fighting us with equally discerning logic, you took to force. Patriotism took flight from your trigger happy foot soldiers. We were armed with the truth, with no ammunition, with no intention to cause anarchy, singing the song for good leadership; but you fought us with tear gas and guns. We were dispersed, teargas, arrested, shot and maimed. You cut short the future of young people who were asking you questions bordering around their continued existence.
We won’t forget that you fought us with soldiers, that you even teargas elders when they also sought the withdrawal of soldiers from Lagos. Unfortunately, the elders weren’t lucky like Tai Solarin who took a short walk to protest with Wole Soyinka during one of the June 12 struggles. Theirs was a short walk to teargas. You hunted us from the streets with your presidential brigandage. We will pass this memory from one generation to another. For men who live like this, history does not respect them; they are footnoted, not chaptered. Hear my echo; I refuse to be silenced by your presidential brigandage, for I am writing with 16 hands!
Unlike us, your ‘enemies’, you are armed with falsehood. You have used falsehood to murder your SURE programme. It was a failure on arrival because it was not founded on an iota of truth. The first promise flowing from your SURE idea was the ‘palliative’ buses. 1500 buses promised, only 1100 fictitious buses were commissioned. Civil servants salaries were not paid by 20th of January 2012 as promised. It was all deceits. I have seen the end of SURE from the beginning. I am not surprised; For some of us who could see beyond our noses, who could make senses out of criticisms, who could demean the posture of ethnic colourisation, who could pull and push within the extremes of intellectualism, who could notice the pitch of the music of pain soaking the voice of the angry, SURE was not sure to live, it was aborted before it was conceived. I predicted its death, adieu SURE!
At least if your government can’t feed us with food, your media goons are now busy feeding us with lies about SURE. At first you sentenced SURE to death by your Otuoke slips, and then your media gun carriers helped you to eat your vomit by partly resurrecting SURE on your behalf. For what did we do to warrant your game of deceit? But get it; we will pay you back in your own coin! The movement has started, it started from the social media, then to the streets, now back to our mind with social media adding the navigation dimension to our minds. Some of us have aggregated our voice. We now have a single voice filled with the venom of mental revolution! Let it sink into your sensory system; I refuse to be silenced by your presidential brigandage, for I am writing with 16 hands!
Nigeria has a grave enemy and that mighty enemy is you, Your Excellency. We were forced to have a relationship in 1914 and today, the romance has blossomed into what is now known as the most populous black nation. However, your body language, your poked tact, your verbal outpourings have all shown that your mantra of one Nigeria is far more like a political rhetoric than a commitment to the spirit of oneness that has kept us for 100 years. You seek every chance to add ethnic definition to any push from your fellow Nigerians. When stakeholders to the national project are giving inputs, you are always on the defensive, armed with the sensitivity of your ethnic jingoism. To you, the only people who have the legitimacy to take to the streets in a bid to give inputs, to romance you in a war of reasoning, to engage you in a battle of logic with witty democratic candour, are your people.
Unfortunately, they were in the comfort of their rooms when your ‘enemies’ were rooting on the streets for you to enjoy the legitimacy you deserved. Whenever we are confronted with the irony of existence full of wanton lies, your life comes in handy as a case study. With your flouting hardihood, you have succeeded in segregating a people who united to give you ‘shoes’ to wear. You have played God with our psychological oneness. You have punctured our heart to pardon your common mistakes of verbal slips. You have hardened our resolve to keep throwing intellectual stones at you. Let me sound it louder again, I refuse to be silenced by your presidential brigandage, for I am writing with 16 hands!
From now till 2015, I won’t keep quiet. Be prepared to confront me in 2015 because I know you will run. I won’t be a flag-bearer of a party, but I will be an independent candidate of reasoning on a mission to slim fit your chances, paving ways for a better figure to turn you shoeless again. My anger will be fueled by the memory of the teargas you fed me with. My mission will be guided by your deceits that took toll on me. I will contest against you with the power of ONE, just only me can make the difference! I will march the streets to cut down your wings. I will run, jump, jog and if possible fly, all in a bid to define a new path for Nigeria. I have gotten this voice and it is this same voice that I will use to hunt the ‘unlucky’ setbacks of Nigeria. I have fallen in love with Nigeria and not anyone, not you, can make the love go sour! Let the rats in the house tell the ones in the bush, that the armoured voice is on course until ours can be called GOOD GOVERNANCE. For the avoidance of doubt I echo it again; I refuse to be silenced by your presidential brigandage, for I have written with 16 hands!
NB: This article was first published immediately after the #OccupyNigeria movement in March 2012. Blog title and few lines edited.
Jonah Ayodele Obajeun is a professional. He blogs @www.obajeun.com. Catch him on twitter via: @Obajeun
Views expressed are solely the author’s