Nigeria, My Beloved: An 18-Year-Old Writes Her Activist Father, By Torera Fagbenle

Torera Fagbenle with the camera

Re: KickOut Siddon Look 2015:

Thank you Dad, for having the bravery to do something that should have happened long ago.

We look to revolutionaries like Guevara, Tousaaint, Castro, Lutuli, Sékou Touré, Mandela, Sankara, Lumumba, to name a few. Men (who may well have been women, if given the opportunity) who riled up the masses to rage against abuses and usurpations done unto the people. Those who changed the pace of their respective countries, save for Argentine-born Guevara. Then we wonder where those men went, where all the heroes went, even when those same or similar abuses are being done unto the people (and now, even by their own leaders, and not merely the white man!) So it is a breath of fresh air to see a movement like KSL come into play, into the tragic comedy that is Nigerian politics. And of course, since the bad that men do lives after them, the good politicians and well-meaning men/women, or those who start off with a strong set of morals are overshadowed by the corruption and strife. “What a life…”

The name of Nigeria, once a land on which Kings walked, has been smeared by post-colonial kleptocracy and religious preposterousness. And, again, that which is good in Nigeria, that which she can boast about, is drowned out. But perhaps the good should stay low, so long as our country is run by power and money-hungry ‘leaders’. What leaders!!! O judgment! Thou art fled to brutish beasts, and men have lost their reason. Bear with me, says Antony. Bear with us, Nigeria, whilst we gather our wits, our common sense long enough to reverse decades of wrongdoing. Bear with us. But for how long? For too long has she put up with our incompetency. And although I know it has not been we (you, Dad, or me) who have committed the numerous abuses, rather the politicians past, but it is we who have been automatic bystanders, unwilling participants in the systematic diminishing of our beloved country. If for nothing but a sheer love and basic respect for one’s own country, every Nigerian must get behind this movement.

The revolution must be live- it must be on every door step and in the heart of every Nigerian, those at home and those in the diaspora. Forget billboards, forget presidential parades, even forget Nepa for a while – how about universal adequate schooling, solid healthcare and less potholes? We must start with the basics- that which every citizen deserves. Ultimately, we must start by electing a man or woman who has not been tainted by the lure of riches – those riches which arrive at the expense of the people. The people!

Where is our pride and love for our country? We must respect ourselves enough to do the right thing. To be brave enough to dare to do the right thing, even when the right thing is the hardest thing. That is what real revolution is made of – courage to do right. Or shall we look to the white man to fix our problems for us, since it can be argued that he caused them? I say the shackles of our past must be shaken off, and we must look within to dig up the evil seed which has comfortably taken root. Comfortably.

So yes, Daddy, we must engage the youth in a sustainable and catalytic way. But we must not forget the willing women, or the able men. It is a call to arms. And since the power is really with the people, the arms must be taken up by every caring citizen. Our hearts are weapons the size of our fists, and it is with heart that we must go forth into the fray, however daunting it may be. There is only so much those abroad can do, and so when I see “we”, I mostly mean those back home, who actually have to live with the abuses we rage against. Of course, mounting external pressure will serve the movement, but the real revolution will be on home-turf. It will not be on TV, nor on the stage. It will not be found in exported oil or imported cars. In the words of Gil Scot-Heron:

“There will be no highlights on the eleven o’clock news. The theme song will not be written by Jim Webb, Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom Jones, Johnny Cash, Englebert Humperdink, or the Rare Earth. The revolution will not be televised. The revolution will not be right back after a message about a white tornado, white lightning, or white people.The revolution will not go better with Coke. The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath. The revolution will put you in the driver’s seat. The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised, will not be televised, will not be televised. The revolution will be no re-run brothers; the revolution will be live.”

Love,

Torera


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