A Smile for Ken Saro-Wiwa by Fegalo Nsuke
Ken Saro-Wiwa was an extraordinary who stopped at nothing to demonstrate his love for his people and for the Nigerian Nation. Unfortunately, the dominantly brutish character of the state came against him, ignoring his contributions and good intentions. Ken Saro-Wiwa and 8 others were eventually murdered by the Nigerian government in Port Harcourt on November 10, 1995.
They were innocent men asking for fair treatment for the Ogoni people in their own country. In response, their own government backed by Shell Petroleum Company, SPDC, got them killed.
Ken Saro-Wiwa wanted the best for Ogoni and had invested his resources, his intellect, and gave his life to the cause of justice for the Ogoni people.
His struggles were however not in vain. He exposed the unjust and irresponsible business practices of Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, Nigeria’s subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell Plc which completely destroyed the Ogoni environment. His struggles further revealed the injustices behind the greatness of African’s most populous country.
Nigeria has been exploiting Ogoni’s resources since 1958, taking away over US$200billion, building large cities and a new federal capital from scratch, while the Ogoni country from where the resources are generated got no attention but left to die grappling with the consequences of natural resources exploitation.
Ken Saro-Wiwa exposed Nigeria’s discriminatory system, a system that relies on false positives to misinform the world about the torture and repression being prosecuted by Shell and the security forces against the Ogoni people.
I commend the Ogoni people who remain committed to the ideals of a free society where opportunities will abound, where competition will drive economic life and the values of a free society will attract the world to it, making it home for all, where all of Nigeria will learn and appreciate the true meaning of freedom. That is the Ogoni of our dream, an Ogoni whose story will revolutionize Nigeria and liberate her from petty ethnic sentiments that have limited and confined her to the prisons of Boko Haram, MEND and all that.
I commend the Ogoni people who have chosen to defeat the slave culture and opted to peacefully confront their tormentors. In you, your determination and commitment lies the freedom and liberation our country truly desires and deserves.
Let the struggle continue until Ogoni is liberated from the shackles of Nigeria’s discrimination. Let the struggle continue until our country becomes a home for all, respecting the rights of the small, the big, the rich and the poor. Let the struggle continue until Ogoni’s environment is restored and competition returns to her economic life. Let the struggle continue until our young people will be able to find a future in an industrialized environment offering them opportunities for growth and development and attractive to the world to invest. Let the struggle continue until every Ogoni is able to go about their businesses at 2am without any fear of molestation, until Ogoni’s can live in homes and not self-constructed prisons.
God bless Ken Saro-Wiwa. Indeed, like he predicted, in our determination to be free, we have seen tomorrow. Our struggles are justifiable and must be won. We will win as there is no alternative available to our oppressors than to respect our legitimate rights to Self Determination.
Thanks to Ken Saro-Wiwa, I see freedom for the Ogoni people and with love, I leave a smile for Ken Saro-Wiwa.
Fegalo Nsuke is president of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, MOSOP. He wrote from Lagos, Nigeria.