Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Speech

February 27, 2014

I recently started watching Adeola Fayehun’s program Keeping It Real on YouTube. It is an indeed hilarious show dealing with very serious issues. It has been running possibly close to two years in its 111th episode last week and it is very popular on the internet. In my view, Adeola draws attention to the utter failure of leadership in Africa and she tries to highlight the unfolding events that show us that most African leaders have little or no intention of delivering transparent and accountable leadership. The most prominent example of this disaster is the mammoth called Nigeria. The intoxicating nature of political power in Nigeria and Africa generally baffles me and it should baffle any sane human being still living on earth. Sound academics with apparently enviable track records suddenly drown in corruption only a few years after tasting ministerial appointments, senatorial seats or the thrones at those almost visionless government parastatals.

A few voices are crying out and it is good. Like someone said, mediocrity cannot last forever (though it has lasted far too long in Africa). Voices are crying out in pressure groups, responsible media agencies and a few respected leaders outside the mainstream. There is hope I believe. One this Keeping It Real has shown me is that one weapon we do have left in the 21st century is expression. We can speak out, we can blog, we can report to the media when the police will not listen or take action, we can produce and upload videos which local media houses are unwilling to broadcast for fear of intimidation by the  government, we can protest publicly.

The sky seems darkened by so much: Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, Ethnic clashes, collapsed educational systems, rulers stuck to power for aeons, failed utilities, failed healthcare systems and so on. Things which seem so simple in other nations are a luxury in Africa so much so that South Africa seems so un-african! Incidentally I have also been reading the book What is Wrong With Being Black by Matthew Ashimilowo. A lot of issues raised in the book about the black race can sadden even the most emotionally stable. I must say that if there is any light at the end if this dark tunnel, we had better start creating that light now because no-one else will do so for us. Our leaders must be woken up from the drunken sleep induced by power and money or else pushed out of those comfortable seats. If every possible weapon is taken away from us, our voices cannot be taken away.

If you think you are comfortable where you are, you may be very much in denial of the realities of your environment. We as humans were not created to live in isolation. What you ignore now will likely catch up with you someday somewhere. If there is something you can do for the generation coming after you, you better start doing it now. We cannot afford another rotten generation. Do not stop speaking out.

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