Rants of Treason

Ajayi Tolulope
3 min readNov 13, 2019

“FOR SILENCE WOULD BE TREASON”- Ken Saro Wiwa

I remember these words reverberating through my mind every day while I try to keep my head under the sand. This last election, I could recollect how my mother warned me sternly about talking politics publicly to strangers, but then I was confused, my mind wondering “why can’t I educate people who are bent on sending us back to the military era?” it took me the next couple of months to answer the question. Journalists are been hounded out in the middle of the night, Gestapo style and their whereabouts unknown to their relatives and the general public. The ones who were fortunate enough to be whisked by day had themselves in the constant tussles between the courts and the security agencies the former fighting for their rights to exist. Most times I fear and wonder if I was among those who were taken or if I would be unfortunate enough to go missing because my only crime was simple requesting for a better democratic system of government that works for us all irrespective of our social status. Now I ask myself for how long would I be a coward and keep shut, while others fight my own battles for me, for how long would I hide anonymously on social media and “Trend” hashtags. Then I recollect how my hero the late “Ken Saro Wiwa” the man who had planted the seed of literature and activism in me since I was in Junior secondary school two. I held the poem to heart and read it like an anthem and wondered when we would be free eventually, it is fair to conclude that Nigeria is being ruled by tyrants and people who lack zero empathy for her citizens. All they care about is their right to loot more and live the affluent lifestyle they had cut for themselves through the threads of milking the country dry. Daily poverty is being weaponized, policies geared into destroying the resolutions of the people are being initiated on a scale that simply signifies that these leaders are going in path of plunging us into a state of economic chaos, they found a tag to call those who ask for better leadership “wailers” but then I wonder when it became a crime to wail. Recently the freedom of speech and expression is about to be debated by the legislators, the same people charged to be the defenders of the people. “What scares these leaders so much?” I ask. If you simply feel uneasy about the governed criticizing your government and polices then you’re simply unfit to be called a leader. Nigeria is now a country full of “hope addicts”. We pray excessively while we are supposed to work, the legislators see themselves as below the executive and the judiciary remains a stooge to the executive. Is there a hope left in Nigeria that has not been abused yet? “I don’t think so”, should something or anything be done about it? “Yes”. We the citizens have to understand that it's our duty to request for a good government. The government is simply subject to the governed and the press remains the fourth arm of government. The press must be free and must remain without any prejudices in other to be effective. This witch-hunt on the press and free speech should be stopped and this sudden obsession of political leaders with “hate speech” should be simply considered a myth rather than a reality. We must tell ourselves the truth. Now our dear country is simply facing “rice wars” while the poor starve to death, security situations are at an all-time low, there is a state of emergency in basically every sector and the country seems to be in limbo where nothing ever works. Our policymakers need to simply understand that you can’t simply tax your way to development, we must not be complicit with treasonous behaviours, such as silence, especially when you see injustice being initiated on your fellow citizens, no tyrant outlives their country we must understand. I will be ending these rants by simply writing an excerpt from one of the late Ken Saro Wiwa’s famous poems.

I do not crave for riches

Nor worldly pomp and power

I ask for God’s free air

In the presence of my enemies

Give me three rights

A right to live my thoughts

A right to say my thoughts

And a right to stand erect.

P.S: This article remains a personal opinion. Thank you.

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