Monday, October 27, 2008
Nigeria: This Nation Under GOD
' .... and that this nation under GOD, shall have a new birth of freedom that the government of the people,
by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.'
- President Abraham Lincoln,
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; November 19, 1863
All life is relationships.
Everything in life relates with another or owes its existence in relation to another. More importantly is that we all owe our existence to the fact of our relationships with other people.
Umuntu, Ngumuntu, Ngabantu - A person is a person because of other people. This, I believe, is a Zulu saying and it forms the basis of collective intelligence in any community/society. It precludes any one person from having a monopoly of knowledge (or of existence) in any form. It forms the basis of a commonwealth of peoples engaged in a common endeavor be it in a school, a town, city or even on the Internet.
But can there be anything like 'over relating'?
The recent arrest - invitation - of Citizen Jonathan Elendu a foremost online journalist and publisher of Elendu Reports is an unfortunate pass in itself but the reactions of some Nigerian bloggers to the whole issue makes it such a tragedy. Some are misinforming. Some are just ridiculous!
Let me state here that I am not in support of any effort that denies any persons - Nigerian or not - their freedom for any reasons at all particularly where such efforts are outside the dictates of the law. Article 19 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
I am not that old - don't laugh- but I have lived long enough to now that when issues come up, nothing is black and white. There are a lot of grays everywhere in-between and I tend to look at those grays to find a meaning within the event and understand it better, if necessary.
I do not believe that Jonathan Elendu was arrested for blogging.
Let us establish that first. Apart from his activities on Elendu Reports, most of us know little or nothing about him. And as I stated in one of my comments on Nigerian Curiosity, if his recent reports are anything to go by, then I suspect that he actually had his fingers in a number of projects that had to do with Nigerian politics. Especially his PR job for Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State.
Amaechi is perhaps the only person in the world who became governor of a state on the orders of a court without taking part in an election. If you understand that politics is essentially about relevance, then you will know why some people will not be happy. This is the Rivers state where Candidate Peter Odili captured 98% of total votes cast in an election that had 13 other candidates and which had 100% voters turnout. Nobody died, traveled or relocated between the period of registration and the election date. And of course nobody was sick on that day.
I don't think anybody can eat with pigs and not get his clothes stained. Particularly the Nigerian pigs. I think Jonathan Elendu is just a pawn in this game of the powerful.
Does all I these justify the continued detention of a Nigerian citizen? No. My purpose is not justification. Even an armed robber still has his right to Habeas Corpus so why not a journalist?