South Africa and Nigeria have some things in common: the system is corrupt; they are the most unequal societies in the world; there is violence on the streets as exemplified by kidnapping, armed robbery, assassinations and state-sponsored terror; there are mediocre governments in the centre. Between the two giant countries it is a classical case of 'guns and roses' -- apology to the murdered reggae 'prophet' Lucky Dube. It is a kind of dangerous combination of bullet and love, of HIV/AIDS and cupidity! In Nigeria much like South Africa the rich is getting richer while the poor is steadily getting poorer! While the white South Africans could be labelled the economic 'oppressors' the PDP politicians in Nigeria represent the Nigerian version of oppressors in politico-economic power.
Like Nigeria South Africa is a complex country whose past is steeped in blood and oppression. It presents a stunning contrast of fortunes and represents the dark mind of blacks and neo-colonial imperial bravado of the whites. Like Nigeria South Africa's econo-social (and even political) progress is always held back or stagnated by the horrors of the past to wit: apartheid in SA and Biafra genocide in 'Naija'. Whilst apartheid, with all its abhorent qualities, was not 'punished' -- thanks to the Madiba great spirit of reconciliation -- via the Truth and Reconciliation Commission headed by the venerable Archbishop Desmond Tutu Biafra was wished away or at best denied by the Nigerian state. Today the ghosts of both Apartheid and Biafra are still haunting these two countries with the blood of the victims seeking justice of both man and God!
A curious visit to Lagos or Johannesbourg would most probably reveal certain drive towards national 'transformation' but you have this pervading condition of unstructured unpredictable forces, some even outside the state, competing for the domination of the people. After decades of supine submission to these forces beyond their control peoples are coming to recognise that they are not 'whole' as human beings -- their humanity having been stolen as it were by combined forces of coercion, corruption and economics.
Everywhere you go you see these bottled-up emotions, these old grievances in society being expressed and sometimes violently released by 'victims'; needless to admit here that this situation arising from prejudices, marginalisation, dehumanization and injustice is throwing uncontrollable spanners into the administrative and individual works of societies -- making it more difficult to realise certain developmental needs of the same societies. And in Nigeria terrorrism now rules the land as Boko Haram intensifies their campaign of blood and bombs especially in the north. When you throw kidnapping, violent armed robbery, human trafficking and mindless corruption into the mix then a nation is at war with itself!
South Africa is boiling lately, there is a gold and mine crisis tearing the country apart as President Zuma's government manifests its mediocrity in the face of generalized anger by black miners who should be described here as 'monkeys' working hard while the 'baboons' (the mine owners) smile to the banks! For thousands of the majority black workforce their salaries are 'peanuts' which consolidate poverty and increase the bulging bank accounts of majority white executives running the mines. In their chanty towns nay ghettos they could look out and see splendour of the white modern slave-owners living it big in their well-protected homes and luxury cars. So strike upon strike for higher wages has been called and clashes erupted as emotions ran all high.
In one of the deadly interventions by the police in August 34 of them armed with sticks and bows and arrows were crudely executed with live bullets (with some receiving as much as five bullets in their chest or forehead!). As I watched the massacre of these hungry and angry people by the police on an international cable TV I was enveloped by horror. How could this happen in the 21st century in Nelson Mandela's country? Where were the democratic values learnt the hard way especially during the apartheid gory years? Whatever happened to civilised enforcement of law and order or quelling of riots or demonstrations with minimum application of force if need be? Where were the rubber bullets and tear-gas cannisters? Or President Jacob Zuma never bought them for his police force?
But as I regained my composure from the emotional shock I remembered we had seen such brutal killings in my homeland (Nigeria) before. So the Marikana massacre could not be said to be an African exception. Brutality is the language of power in most African countries, 'democracy' or no 'democracy'! It was the late General Sani Abacha who gave orders to his Hausa/Fulani-speaking troops to shoot at sight as opposition to his usurpation of the late President MKO Abiola's June 12 mandate mounted. Scores of people were mown down in cold-blood on the streets of Lagos as pro-democracy activists confronted the demented dictator!
And before 'Khalifa' Gen. Ibrahim Babangida equally ordered his brothers from the north (speaking only the languages spoken there) to shoot and kill anyone who voiced out any disagreement over the crafty way and manner he criminally annulled a free and fair presidential poll the guileful dictator himself had organised (after exhausting every trick in the book!) which was convincingly won by the late President Moshood Abiola. Still in Benin city in 1993/94 doing my higher education I was among those (even against my late sister's advice and warning) that trooped out enmasse onto the streets in the Edo state capital to demonstrate against the "cancellation" of June 12.
As we marched and turned the city upside down in big lorry convoys we had congregated on Sakponba Road end of Ring Road chanting anti-military songs (IBB-Must-Go et al) and extolling the virtues of late MKO Abiola and democracy. Standing next to a student friend of mine our youthful exuberance and spontaneity could not be doubted. And suddenly the military 'kill-and-go' elements pulled the trigger on us, the unarmed demonstrators, with one of the bullets hitting my friend! He collapsed instantly with blood gushing out! We ran for dear lives as the military zombies marched towards us. I learnt later that the young man in his early 20's gave up the ghost in the hospital he was transferred to!
When I got home and told my late elder sister (Stella Aguneme Okenwa) about the brutal incident she was shocked beyond words having known in person the victim (since we both wined and dined in her restaurant in town). And consequently she gave me a 'dirty' slap asking furiously: "What if it was you that was hit? Eh Sunny! You are joking with these animals sent from the north to kill? What would I have told our mother in the village, you this stupid stubborn boy?" I quietly mourned my good friend as life went on but one would never forget!
While the 'war' in the minefields and goldmines continue in South Africa it reminds one, again, of the minimum wage 'war' in Nigeria and the fact that even today some states are not yet paying the wage to their workers! Those in executive power do not know the meaning of salary or wage; before the month runs its course a 'deal' or two must have been struck that would make their annual emolument pale into insignificance! When it comes to workers asking for more pay then there is always problem but no problem when the government budgets billions of Naira for feeding and other matters bordering on profligacy.
However the ever-shrinking socio-economic trajectory in Nigeria bears little or no resemblance to South Africa. While the public and private sectors yonder are more organized and making some progress Nigeria is bogged down sector by sector by paralytic power supply, administrative bottlenecks and ubiquitous corruption. Political prostitutes and economic criminals daily seek out ways to undo the system -- exploiting whatever loophole found within. In the end month after month year after year the national condition looks very much like the labour of a lonely long distance runner without any destination and without the energy to challenge the vicissitudes of the time.
Between President Zuma and 'opposition-rebel' Malema the Marikana tragedy presents a 'goldmine' of contrasting 'opportunities' which could lead to either political fortune or misfortune as the case may be; and this outcome could translate into political eclipse or resuscitation. For Zuma the ghosts of Marikana can lead to his political eclipse, something that could mean more than marrying multiple wives, dancing professionally to Zulu war songs or fighting his exposed scrotums and libido in the cartoons! His fate is hanging in the balance and it shall be decided in December when the ANC meets to decide the political way forward.
And for Malema Marikana is definitively more than his alleged hypocritical fraternization with the bourgeoisies and panjandrums he is up against or his alleged stupendous wealth 'cornered' the corrupt way; it may well catapult him to political relevance he has all along been seeking vengefully within the ANC ruling party -- rescucitating his hitherto moribund political career. Whatever the case Malema stands to gain from the tragedy of Marikana more than President Zuma whom he has accused publicly albeit invidiously of "knowing nothing and doing nothing in power".
Julius "Juju" Malema, 31, the former leader of the youth wing of the governing African National Congress, who was grudgingly expelled from the party, and is now under investigation for alleged fraud and corruption has again risen to national limelight with his inflammatory statements. A dangerous rabble-rouser whose psuedo-communist rhetoric is tailored towards political rehabilitation in December at the ANC's national elective conference Malema is still bitter that the ANC executives led by Zuma could send him packing earlier this year. But like him or loathe him Malema the maverick speaks truth to power and displays dazzling oratorical gifts only radicals and revolutionaries possess.
South Africa, the rainbow nation, the land of Tutus, Bikos and Madibas deserves much more than this bleak era of Zuma-inspired nonsense after the sense of the recent glorious past. Something better must give come December!
Rate this article
18 May Posted May 18, 2013 by newsbytesnow in Sports. Tagged: FA, Football, League, sports, Transfers. Leave a Comment AC Milan are expecting Robinho to remain at the club despite ...
Leader of the Boko Haram sect, Abubakar Shekau Nothing has changed for the better since June last year when the first emergency rule in some parts ...
Mislead, Mistrust, Misinform, Misunderstanding -Why Most Nigerians Do Not Trust President Jonathan And His Administration By Charles Omole
As the Cuban missile crisis raged in October 1962; the US president sat in the White House and called the leaders of the key nations ...
N58.9 Trillion Oil Deal: HEDA Urges Human Rights Commission to Investigate Petroleum Minister Alison-Madueke and Shell Petroleum
caption: Diezani Allison-Madueke ...
By SaharaReporters, New York The transition committee chairman of Ughelli ...
By SaharaReporters, New York There are conflicting reports emanating from ...
The recent declaration of state of emergency by the President Goodluck-led government on Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states as far as I am concerned is ...
caption: Former Police IGP Mike Okiro ...
That church ministries in Nigeria is a serious business is not in doubt. It’s amazingly shocking to know that men of God have now channeled ...
Founder and General Overseer of the Synagogue Church, Prophet T.B. Joshua says in an unusual manner, God did not reveal the death of Ghana’s President, ... Full story