By abiodun KOMOLAFE
Wait a minute, how many of the original NADECO members are still alive and what’s their current attitudinal disposition and worldview to the democracy that we claim to be enjoying? We need to interrogate this premise so that we can appropriately gauge if what we have in place is worth what they have put into the struggle. Otherwise, we will only be deluding ourselves with the notion that NADECO lives, whereas it is long gone and lives only in the abstract. For example, Nigerians remember the name, NADECO, and what it stood for, but in concrete terms, does it remain the same as of today, September 23, 2023? The tragic truth is that we have pushed crass euphemism to its most extreme bound and allowed unholy accommodation to its bottomless pit.
In any case, this is what can raise the Coalition from its moribund posture – to make the people begin to think, because those who actually did not even understand democracy, and did not work for it have now come to eat where they have not sown; and they are everywhere. The nauseating thing about this struggle is that they are now the ones who have a voice. The real soldiers have been relegated to the margins. Some of those who never knew the meaning of the struggle, let alone partake of it now call the shots. But who will hear the grievances of the original labourers in the vineyard? In Nigeria’s democratic setting, the powerful ones get by only for the ordinary folks to wonder their fate. And, to whom do they appeal? Yet, we talk about democracy. At best, that’s doctored democracy, that is, democracy as defined. It is remodelled to accommodate or exclude some irritants. You are lucky if your aims and objectives are included but you will forever keep complaining if yours are thrown out.
Right now, the challenge is not to reawaken NADECO for the sake of NADECO. What do I mean? Sometimes, people create slogans without knowing how to deliver the lyrics. They shout a slogan so that it can be everywhere in the air. But to address what? To some people, the word, NADECO, is no longer necessary, because the military has gone back to the barracks, and we are running a democracy. End of story! However, how democratic is our democracy when the police arm of the government is not democratically responsible to the governor of a state? Is a situation where a Governor Ademola Adeleke decides not to pay government’s authentic workers their salaries and emoluments as Osun State has done and everybody keeps pretending as if the fall of a yellow leaf is no longer a warning to the green ones the democracy NADECO fought for?
Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Akin Aduwo, Abubakar Umar, Anya O. Anya, Ade Ojo, Sola Soile, Niyi Akintola and Vincent Nwizugbo, Nigerians remember your immeasurable contributions to the institutionalization of democracy in Nigeria. But will this be the end? If not, how will you mentor others and build capacity for the future? Why can’t you move in to assist our president now that doing so has honour?
Jumoke Ogunkeyede (JMK), Frank Ovie-Kokori, Femi Falana, Ayo Opadokun, Empire Kanu, Nick Dazzang, Siraj Hamza, Alex Ayatolla and Uma Eleazu! Those who may be thinking that they are already in their comfort zones should have a rethink so that their labour won’t be in vain. Therefore, this is not the time to behave like Donald Trump. It is not the time to lament our losses or betray the deepest values of democracy.
To Wole Soyinka, Matthew Kukah, George Ehusani, Olisa Agbakoba, Peter Akinola and other allies of NADECO, we plead: ‘eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.’
MKO Abiola, Kudirat Abiola, Suliat Adedeji, Babatunde Elegbede, Bagauda Kaltho, Chris Abachi, Shola Omoshola, Abdul-Ganiyu Fawehinmi, Alao Aka-Basorun, Beko Ransome-Kuti, Tunji Braithwaite, C. C. Onoh, Moses Adasu, Wahab Dosumu, Chima Ubani, Olaniwun Ajayi, Olabiyi Durojaye, Ayo Fasanmi, Yinka Odumakin and Sunday Mbang! These and many others have fought a good fight of faith and have gone to meet their Maker. So, how do we want them to be remembered? Is this the vision that made them stake their lives to save the country? Isn’t this the right time for the implementation of the fine ideals that the Coalition has over the years been preaching? NADECO, where are you? Where is your university, where those ideals can be taught? It is pathetic that some of your chieftains have held offices in the past but left the people worse than they met them. Immediately they had power, they stopped picking calls.
Last of all, that Tinubu is said to be doing well shows that the ‘Jagaban of Borgu Kingdom’ believes in the NADECO cause. But it mustn’t end there. A watchdog is needed, whether it is NADECO or not, because social institutions are never to be trusted. They must be constantly under watch.
May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace in Nigeria!
*KOMOLAFE wrote in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria (email@example.com; 08098614418 – SMS only)