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Monday, 25 November 2013

Behold the world’s largest Slave Republic – Nigeria

By Dele Sobowale
“A democratic republic; if you can keep it”,
James Madison, 1751-1836.
James Madison, one of the founding
fathers of the United States, who along
with Thomas Jefferson, 1743-1826, laid out
in the famous book, The Federalist Papers,
the outlines of the American constitution,
which was later adopted on September 7,
1787 gave that reply to a reporter who had
asked him: “What form of government have
you given to the American people”?
Madison knew from historical experience
that freedom and democracy don’t exist
simply because a constitution had been
written. Madison and the founding fathers
of America and their descendants, till
today, knew too well that “eternal vigilance
is the price of freedom”.
By contrast, when Nigeria became a
republic in 1963, neither the Prime Minister,
Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, nor anybody else,
warned Nigerians in the same vein. It was
just assumed that a democratic republic,
once pronounced and a constitution
written would guarantee and perpetuate
liberty. Unfortunately, for our founding
fathers (Ahmadu Bello, Awolowo and
Azikiwe included), they were the first
victims of their collective folly. The
democratic republic they pronounced in
1963 was demolished by a small band of
armed adventurers; who promptly sent
democracy in Nigeria to the dustbin of
history. It has remained there till today.
In fact, what we are practicing today is a of
combination banana and slave republic.
You ask how? Then, let me count some of
the ways we have become the largest slave
colony on earth. And why any National
Conference, Sovereign or not, will fail.
No government, at any level, national,
regional or state, calling itself democratic,
treats its citizens with such disdain as
Nigerians are treated. I am writing this
article on Saturday, November 16, 2013,
while the election for Governor of Anambra
State is underway. It is known world wide
as a bye election – an election taking place
outside the normal cycle of national
elections. It happens all the time in the
United States, whose constitution we
borrowed, without caring to learn the
collective attitudes that would make the
constitution work. I challenge anyone to tell
Nigerians when the President of the United
States, the Federal Bureau of Investigations,
FBI, which is the national law enforcement
agency in America and the Electoral
Commission had closed the borders of any
state holding a bye-election. Yet, the day
before the Anambra election, the Nigeria
Police, hopefully with the consent of the
President of Nigeria, staged a constitutional
coup by taking away one of our
fundamental rights – The Right to Free

Nigerians were told that we could not
travel through Anambra State for two days
for security reasons. I will bet anyone any
amount of money that no Police officer and
no President of the United States can issue
such an order and have it obeyed. The
Americans would just ignore “the nut”, as
he would be called, and those wanting to
go to that state will go anyway. Why?
Because America is the “land of the free
and home of the brave”. Here we are a
nation of slaves and cowards and our
leaders know us. Even the National
Assembly, which should see the coup
against the people, for what it is, kept
silent. David Mark, I can forgive, he never
went to law school. But, the Speaker of the
House of Representatives is a lawyer. Why
their collective silence is pregnant with
danger will be revealed at the end of this
At state level, the same disregard for
citizens is patently manifest as examples,
drawn from two political parties will
illustrate. Let me start with Ogun State,
APC, where massive demolition is
underway. The last time the Southwest
experienced such inhuman demolition was
when Colonel Raji Rasaki (rtd) descended
like a Typhoon on the people of Maroko in
Victoria Island and now Lekki and
mindlessly rendered hundreds of
thousands homeless without
compensations or alternative means of
abode. We shook our heads in disbelief
and shrugged it off. What do you expect of
Mad dogs (as late Chief MKO Abiola had
called the military officers who invaded his
house) anyway. But, this Governor
Bulldozer, and called “progressive”, only in
2011 was begging the people for their
votes. How many would have voted for
him, if they knew that by 2013 they would
be rendered homeless and asked to come
and collect compensations unilaterally
determined by government afterwards? Is
this democracy in practice? And where is
the State House of Assembly in all these?
When the mind turns to Governor Wada of
Kogi State, it immediately thinks Convoy
Terrorism. His convoy’s collision with
Iyayi’s vehicle, killing the Professor and
halting FG-ASUU talks, was the third
involving the Governor since December 28,
2013. So, it has been one crash every four
months and the year is not over yet. I can
testify that Wada’s Convoy Terrorism has
become legendary in Kogi State. In
February this year, on my way from Enugu,
heading for Abuja, I encountered the
menace near the Confluence Hotel in
Lokoja. The road was terrible; but that did
not deter Wada’s convoy from speeding
like demons. Even when vehicles moved off
the road for them, some of the policemen
in the convoy will still kick out or hit with
the butt of their guns, vehicles which failed
to drive into the ditch fast enough so that
Kogi’s Lord and master can move as fast as
the Devil will drive his convoy. Several
deaths have occurred on account of a man
whose first duty is the safety of the citizens.
And, where is the State Assembly? Where
are the people in Kogi saying enough to a
governor who apparently cannot control
his delirium of power?
In my ten years in the US, I found myself
stopped at traffic lights, in Boston, four
times with two Governors of Massachusetts.
None violated the red light stopping every
citizen. But, I forgot. Those governors were
human beings leading other human beings
not the political monsters we have created
to rule over slaves.
Since the Police can order us to stay away
from Anambra for three days “for security
reasons”, what stops the Army from closing
the borders to Abuja for a week or month
for the same reasons if they choose? The
black man is backward because he, alone
among races, cannot think deeply until the
precedents they allow come to haunt them.
These are only examples.
LAST LINE: Despite the coup against the
people, the election will still be disputed.
So what was the use of violating our
constitutional rights?

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