When Will Our Shackles Be Broken? By Femi Fani-Kayode

Femi Fani-Kayode

On April 20, 1653 Oliver Cromwell, who was the Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland and the greatest statesman and revolutionary that England ever knew, stormed the English ”Rump Parliament” at Westminster and courageously pronounced the following words after which he sacked Parliament and boldly took power.

He said: ”It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money. Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter’d your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Republic? Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil’d this sacred place, and turn’d the democracy temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress’d, are yourselves gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors. In the name of God, go!” -OLIVER CROMWELL (1599-1658).

Cromwell was undoubtedly one of the greatest and most courageous men that ever lived and he is certainly one of my heroes. Not only was he moved by a compelling and irresistable zeal and thirst for righteousness in high places and by the power of the Holy Spirit but he, like the biblical Jehu, was ready to pay the supreme price and sacrifice his life in order to effect it and bring lasting change toEngland. He abhorred corruption and injustice and his puritan roots and christian fundamentalist background and upbringing caused him to oppose the excesses of the Catholic church in his day and the awesome power and influence of the Catholic Bishops and their Pope. Quite apart from saving her her from the excesses of catholicism and the sheer brutality of the Jesuit Order and the Spanish Inquisition, Cromwell literally and single-handedly also saved England from the tyranny of absolutist monarchs and the evil of corrupt Parliamentarians. He was indeed the father of modern-dayparliamentry and participatory democracy in Great Britain and it was he alone that shattered the myth and demonic philosophy of the ”divine right of kings” to rule with ”absolute power”.

Let us carefully consider the words that he spoke and read them once again. Let us imbibe their spirit and feel their power and passion. These are sacred and divinely-inspired words that were spoken 360 years ago to a sitting all-powerful Parliament that had just triumphed in a civil war against the King of England and had chopped off his head. Cromwell, who was a Member of Parliament himself, had led the armies of that Parliament into the field of battle on numerous ocassions. He was indeed the Commander of it’s army and the main inspiration and motivator for the revoltion and rebellion against the King. Not only did he defeat the Royal Army of King Charles 1st in various battles and win the civil war but he also apprehended the King, arrested him, brought him to justice before the courts of law and had him executed. This was the first time that a King was brought to justice before a Court of Law and executed in the history of England.

All seemed well and the House of Commons ruled until Cromwell noticed how the new-found power of this new Parliament had utterly corrupted it’s members. They were drunk with power and they wielded it with impugnity and no sense of decency and restraint. Worse still they were hopelessly corrupt. In time he knew that they would have to go as well. He knew that a new order, which truly imbibed the spirit of justice, accountability, good governance, decency, christian sobriety, restraint and democracy, had to be put in place. He knew that only he could effect that change and that is precisely what he did by furiously storming Parliament, courageously confronting it’s members, speaking those chilling yet insightful words and forcefully taking power from them 361 years ago. He risked everything, including life, liberty and limb. Yet, without hesitation, he did it all for his beloved England. He was moved and driven by his deeply religious convictions and his puritanical faith. Nothing could stop him and, for him, failure was not an option because He knew that God was with him. He not only succeeeded beyond his wildest imagination but he also laid a glorious foundation for the future of England and he was probably the greatest reformer that ever ruled that great and sturdy island nation.

I look at Nigeria today and the behaviour of our collective overlords reminds me very much of the behaviour of the pre-Cromwellian ”Rump Parliament” in England. Can anyone be in any doubt that it istime for us to speak those same words that Oliver Cromwell spoke to the English Pariament on April 20th, 1653 to our own our leaders here in Nigeria. Are those words not more appropiate for our leaders today than at any other time in our history? Yet who will utter them? Who will go forth courageously and speak truth to tyranny in the power of the Lord.

When will our God raise our own deliverer? Where is our own Oliver Cromwell or our own biblical Jehu? Where is our Elijah? When will the Jezebels that rule our land be thrown down from the balcony and when will the dogs eat their flesh and drink their blood? When will our Ahab be slaughtered in battle? When will the Nigerian people say ”enough is enough” and demand the change that they so desperately crave and yearn? When will they wake up from their accursed slumber and wipe away the faecel mess with which they have been stained, smothered, blinded, deafened and silenced? When will the luciferian spell that has been placed upon them be finally broken? When will they be free of this unwholesome bondage and be rid of their godless fears? When will their shackles be finally broken and when will they see, feel, hear and live again? When, O when, will our people be free and when will they become the pride of Africa that they were destined to be?

Why has fate been so cruel to us and why has our star dimmed and refused to shine brightly? Why do we always take ten steps forward and twenty steps backwards? Why is our case and example one of constant failure, ineptitude, defeat, shame, lack and incompetence? What is wrong with the Federal Republic of Nigeria and what plagues and afflicts the Nigerian people?

Since 1960 every single one of our potential deliverers have failed. They have not been allowed to emerge and even when they do emerge they have not been allowed to succceed. They have either been killed, jailed, villified, belittled or destroyed by the system and the neo-colonial conservative forces that have sworn to resist change. Worse still the sheer naivety, nauseating timidity and simple lack of insight and foresight of the ordinary people, who seem to have cultivated an extraordinary capacity to tolerate injustice, incompetence, wickedness and evil in their land, does not help. As a matter of fact it is that attitude and that cowardly and weak mindset that has sustained the disasterous sytem that has held Nigeria captive since 1960.

The average Nigerian will rather go to the church or to the mosque to bear his or her mind to the priest or imam and pray about his or her numerous challenges rather than march in the streets and demand a change for the better from their Government and President. Yet it is only in our country that men and women suffer from such a lack of firm resolve and such a sorry and tepid affliction. Karl Marx’s view that ”religion is the opium of the masses” has no greater meaning or significance anywhere in the world than in Nigeria where we all, in a most cowardly manner, hide behind the cleric and imam’s ornate robes and refuse to insist on our God-given rights from the government and the state. What a tragedy we have become. We deserve nothing but pity.

Other nations have been blessed with many Oliver Cromwell’s over the centuries and years yet sadly it is not so with us. Ill-fortune is our portion and we are cursed because we enjoy killing and villifying all of our heroes and deliverers whilst others recognise and reverre theirs and grant them the right and opportunity to do that which they were born to do- that is to take their respective nations by the scruff of the neck, to take them from strength to strength and to lead them to glory.

These were great and noble men and women who made their mark and created a great legacy for their respective nations and peoples even though some of them were murdered, jailed and cut short whilst doing so. Yet in the end each and every one of them triumphed because they made a difference to their generation and to those that came after them from generation to generation.

In the Nigerian context the question is this- when will our great stars emerge and when will Nigeria’s time to shine on the world stage come? When will the words of Oliver Cromwell find relevance in our space and when will the Lord answer our prayer and deliver us from the evil that plagues our land. May God bless and redeeme our beloved homeland. May He have mercy upon her, may He defend her, may He deliver her and may He cause His face to shine brightly upon her. One day our time will come. One day Nigeria shall shine.


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  • Teddy

    Here I say a very BIG AMEN for our own delieverer to come, as I share in the view and aspirations of our ever eloquent FFK. May the Lord bless you, Femi Fani-Kayode. God bless Nigeria.

  • IskaCountryman

    what happened to that eboe gal that had ffk tattooed on her breast…ehm…chest?…

  • Emperor

    The write up is very inspiring. Fani Kayode must be speaking from experience, because he was once in the government. May be he was not allowed to effect the changes he wanted as the minister of Federal Republic in which he (Fani Kayode) was one of our problems then. Now that he’s no more, we need a messiah. Well, I join him to ask the question, but with prayer that God shall not sleep over Nigeria. He will arise and scatter all the enemies of our great country Nigeria. Our shackles shall be broken in Jesus Name.

  • Chief Efe Iyonu

    Fani Kayode, I applaud ur intelligence as displayed in ur very articulate articles but pls let me remind u dat ur motives are suspicious bcos from 1960 till date, ur father of blessed memory & ur noble self have been in Govt one time or d other. Let me ask u: why didn’t u put on dis garb of puritanical righteousness when u were in Govt with Chief Matthew Aremu Okikiolakan Obasanjo? Were u not part of his corrupt regime? Why didn’t u cry wolf then? Why now under Jonathan’s watch are u calling for war, war & war? I see in all of this, a hidden Yoruba agenda u & ur new pay masters: Tinubu & his Co APC travellers are fermenting. Let me warn & admonish u distinguished & erudite Chief not to forget as a student & disciple of history dat: revolution like war always consumes d progenitors. Be warned!!! CHIEF EFE IYONU.

    • Ireti Fatomilola

      Chief Efe Iyonu, perhaps it would have been better to dispute what Femi Fanikayode wrote than to impute tribal motives. I will understand you if you say the content of the write up is factually incorrect. But I do not understand you when you read tribalism into the essay. Now if we need to divide Nigeria and each nation goes its own way, we Yorubas are ready. For some of us Yoruba nationalists and Yoruba middle class we prefer that the South South take its oil away and we peacefully end Nigeria. We can then face our challenges. We actually are not in support of what Femi Fanikayode and other Yorubas are doing presently propping up Nigeria to survive. We who are quiet Yoruba nationalists and middle class actually want a break up. So please note that the best thing for all of us is to find a way to peacefully break up the country so that each nation sets up its country. For us in Yoruba land, our boundaries are CLEAR. And Chief we do not need the South South Oil. We know what we can do with our brains and minds to manage a healthy economy and make it a power house. So attack Femi Fanikayode’s essay factaully if you can, but please do not carry it to attacking the Yorubas. When you do that you rouse the nationalism in some of us and we will give it back with equal dosage, and perhaps more.
      Thanks and I hope this helps you.

      • grey hanale

        I am always amazed when most Nigerians think that Nigeria’s problems will cease by mere balkanization of the nation. I must aver that such reasoning is so flawed and erroneous. Let say here that, incase of such balkanization, every fragment will inherit its own fair share of these problems in proportion to number of disgruntled elements in those fragments: unless such people are rounded off.

        • Ireti Fatomilola

          Please read my post CLEARLY. I responded to one Chief Efe Iyonu who read ethnicity to Femi Fanikayode’s essay. I asked Iyonu to separate his bashing of Fanikayode from his saying there is a Yoruba agenda behind FFK’s essay. The people from the South South and South East are used to talking about the need for a break up-okay? And they often say other nations are the problem. And I responded by saying that Iyonu is free to critique Fani but that Iyonu should NOT bring the Yoruba Nation into his disagreement with whatever Fani wrote. Neither Obasanjo nor Fani represent any Yoruba agenda. But if as the South South and South east people argue that other nations are the problems with Nigeria, I then said-okay-we Yorubas are very confident about our own country. We are not interested in the South East neither are we interested in the oil of the South South. And that Iyonu should not carry his attack of Femi Fanikayode (which Iyonu has a right to) to attacking the Yoruba Nation(which he does not have a right to). If he does that we will respond with equal or more measure, it will be devastating. We have sacrificed for the unity of the country, but if that is not appreciated we Yorubas are ready to leave. And mark you this is NOT a chit chat online talk talk. If Nigeria is not working , please let us end it, so that we do not continue to insult one another and distract one another from serious nation building work and task. That is the message in that post. And I hope this helped you.

          • William Norris

            The Yoruba always claim they want their own country but never do anything to actualize it. The truth is the Yoruba don’t want to be cut off from petro-dollars. That’s why they are now allied with the Fulani to take back control of the Fed Govt.

            And the Fulani too I suppose don’t care about oil too. smh

          • Ireti Fatomilola

            For your information, I have told you, Iyonu or whatever the name is called that this is not your regular yahoo yahoo online talk talk . Okay. Go and read your history properly. In the history of Nigeria, Yorubas had alwas fought for and defended the Unity of Nigeria. The contemporary period-which is less than four years -is when the Yorubas started demanding for their own country. Please go and read your history very well. Second, you now want us to come to pages of newspaper and tell you how we will do it? You must be kidding. We do not do gra gra gra. At the right time, that paw paw called Nigerian will fall. And is it not falling now gradually? And who do you think is making that to happen? THINK. Our methods are different. This over ripe paw paw will fall. And every nation will go its different ways. We Yorubas do not need your oil, neither do we need any region. Just wait and think.

    • Lanre

      @Chief Efe Iyonu. There is no Yoruba Agenda being pursued by Obasanjo and/or Femi Fani-Kayode. How would you feel if I told you your post was an Edo Agenda. Or that this government (under Jonathan) is pursuing an Ijaw and Igbo Agenda. Unfortunately for us Yorubas we are currently being misrepresented and I don’t know where you got the impression that Fani-Kayode or Obasanjo is or are representing Yorubas. They are not our leaders. Not even Tinubu who cannot command the votes necessary to win in Ondo State (a Yoruba stronghold). The last undisputed leader we had was Chief Obafemi Awolowo and he commanded Yorubaland like a colossus between the years 1949-1987. Go and read your history.You people need to be careful when you write things. If and when the conflict starts (like is happening in South Sudan, DR Congo, CAR) many of you will be unraveled.

  • Lanre

    Chief Femi Fani-Kayode. I find your article quite interesting. But I believe you should be asking Obasanjo these questions. What has the ordinary man on the streets got to do with this? You ask them to vote, they vote. You ask them to pay taxes, they pay. Do you want them to take to the streets and become riotous so that people like Obasanjo can benefit again like he did after June 12, 1993? Nigeria needs to be restructured into a confederation. QED.

  • grey hanale

    FFK is one of the dumbest Nigerians to have risen to be a minister. His writing shows he lacks the abilities for critical reasoning. He falls into the same helplessness and ducility he accuses the masses of by the prayer at the closing of his article. Does FFK mean that he lacks the “balls” to lead Nigeria in this all important “leadership cleansing”?

  • Wale

    Mr Femi Fani Kayode should be the last person to be dishing us this epistle, because when he had the chance he was one of those who fouled the political space with his repugnant records, less than stellar performance, deplorable antecedents and lasciviousness, He was bad news and your worse Nightmare in one tight combo!, More than six years after his departure from the Ministry of Aviation, the pollution this man caused is yet to be cleaned. FFK bastardized the sector by bringing in and appointing all manners of people from pimps, prostitutes, political jobbers and loafers as General Managers and Assistant General Managers in NAMA, FAAN, NCAA, parastatals under his ministry. Isnt it laughable and preposterous that this chap is sermonizing about Cromwell and when he had his chance he was worse than those people cromwell was talking to?, Workers in the aviation industry dont take him serious because of the numerous cases of corruption he perpetuated while in office, empowering all manners of ladies of questionable characters and attracting cases from EFCC which is still dangling over his head , infact his exit was seen in its proper perspective GOOD RIDDANCE TO ODIOUS AND CONTEMPTIBLE RUBBISH ! My candid advise to him is that he should first of all return all money he stole, apologize for his gross misbehaviour and performance in office and then face his corruption charges. There is no basis or locus standi for this piece from such an opprobrious person

  • Bhadmos Taiwo

    The poor masses chose to pray to God who Has Ears to hear and Mind to answer than satanic politicians who are not only deaf and callous but deceitful and unsympathetic to their cause, who only see the light after they have left the office and are desperately looking for an avenue to use the same poor masses to get back to power.