Ken Saro-Wiwa on how it was, how it remains & how it could be
KSW reminds us of a struggle Nigerians have largely ignored or at best dismissed. The Nigerian media [pre social media] has to take major responsibility for the lack of information and analysis no doubt bullied as usual by military and pseudo military governments including Goodluck Jonathan’s. He reminds us of our right to stand up to oppressive leaders. He reminds of the misery oil has brought to people’s lives and how this has been ignored by multinationals and western governments. He reminds us of the existence of a ‘political cabal’ and an ‘oil cabal’. He reminds of our right to the fruits of our land and our resources and that we as people are part of an ecology system not outside of it.
We know that nothing has changed since this interview in 1995 except today we the people have the media in our hands. We can, if we choose and are prepared to make the effort and the sacrifice, do things differently so people do not have to feel they have no stake in this geospace called Nigeria and therefore have to chip a bit off and create their own space. The Niger Delta IS an Occupy Nigeria issue so far as it is part of Nigeria and so far as it is the source of all Nigeria’s income for the past 55 years. Oil is and has always been central to the Nigerian political economy and one cannot act and speak as if the source of that oil is not central to the oil equation.
There is no such thing as a “Niger Delta” issue that is not a Nigerian issue – to say so is to imply that the region is not part of the country and the people are not Nigerians. To do so is to disconnect the misery oil production has brought to millions of Nigerians from those who have benefited at their expense; from the benefit of free flowing oil including fuel subsidies; from political corruption, government waste, the terrible poverty in the north, south east and west and all the other social and economic ills we have faced as a nation.
This could be an opportunity for Nigerians to finally stand up and support the struggle of all Nigerians not just their own little corner and this works all ways. I hope people will have the imagination and vision to really move beyond the status quo. Because if petrol returns to N65 and political salaries are halved, fraudulent oil marketers are prosecuted but gas flaring and oil spills continue to destroy peoples lives, then we havent moved very far!