On Sunday, August 23, 2020, I urged Nigerians youths to be inspired by the 25-year-old man who instigated change in Mali after the discredited elections produced a ‘re-elected’ President.
We had had a similar incident in Nigeria last year, and we accepted the illegal removal of a sitting Chief Justice of the Federation, who was replaced by a man who is so dense that he could not explain what a legal technicality is.
That action was the prelude to a rigged election, and the continuation of the corrupt Buhari government, which is plagued by infighting amongst members of a suddenly and stupendously wealthy cabal.
The next day, a young man wrote a scathing piece insulting me and asking me what I did when I was 25 years old. To that young man, be it known that I have no shame; thus, insulting me is a waste of time. Christ took my shame away over 2000 years ago. However, I will now address the issues the young man raised.
As a young man of 23, (not 25), what was I doing? Good question.
At that age, I was fighting General Abacha and was almost killed. I got my hands dirty working to frustrate Abacha’s self succession bid.
I founded a pro-democracy group, Youths For a United Nigerian Generation, to act as a counter to the pro-Abacha Youths Earnestly Ask for Abacha. I would go to Somolu in Lagos, and print anti-Abacha material and drop it in bus stops around Lagos.
Naturally, I could not ask my parents to fund it, so I approached senior friends, like Dan Akpovwa, then the diplomatic editor of ThisDay, and Azuka Enujeke, then a successful businessman in Maryland, and Louis Edafe Toweh, then a major advertising executive (he directed the ‘I feel good’ Malta Guinness ad). These guys are still alive.
I met Beko Kuti, who was our godfather in the pro-democracy movement. I also met with other leading pro-democracy activists. YoUNG’s plan was to inspire a resistance (like what was happening in Malaysia at that time with Anwar Ibrahim), should Abacha succeed in transforming from a military dictator to a civilian President. We were planning a civilian coup to overthrow that government.
I was meeting with Western diplomats who helped our group with logistics. Youths for a United Nigerian Generation held events in Lagos and mobilised youths, and I was prepared to die rather than accept Abacha. For this, I was honoured by the then Dutch ambassador to Nigeria, Bastiaan Korner. I was 24 when this happened in 1998.
Tope Fasua, a Presidential candidate in the last election, and a current big-time editor of a national daily, whom I would not want to name due to his sensitive position, can confirm these.
I am not saying youths should not watch #BBNaija. What I am saying is that it should not consume them to the point where they are tunnel-visioned on it and lost to more critical matters happening around them.
Big Brother, like all such reality shows, does not have as a primary function the entertainment of its viewers. That is a secondary goal. The main goal is the exploitation of their viewers.
Nigerian youths spend tens of billions voting on Big Brother. However, when a young person, like Fela Durotoye, or Kingsley Moghalu, runs for office, they don’t donate money to them. Obama became President out of nowhere because American youths donated to him.
If our youths can spend on Big Brother, they will get better value for money donating for youthful candidates.
I still continue in my pro-democratic activities.
After the February 2019 Presidential elections were postponed, I organised buses, at my own cost, to ferry stranded Nigerians to vote. Please Google this. After General Buhari rigged himself back to power, I took up a full-page advert in ThisDay, at the cost of almost a million Naira, stating that I would not call him President Buhari, but rather, General Buhari. I did this a full nine months before The Punch Newspapers took a similar stance. Please Google it.
I am not asking Nigerian youths to do what I have not done, or what I am not doing, or what I am not doing continuously.
By the way, I schooled in England at the time when Big Brother began there. Yet, I have not watched an episode of the program. I am too focused on developing myself and improving my environment to have time to sit for hours watching toilet romance and slay queen fights. God did not create me and give me the life skills I have to waste my time on that!