As past or present players in the Nigerian leadership on matters of national freedom and expression, and the need to erect the freedom of movement, speech, or expression in a young democracy like Nigeria, your immediate and collective voice is needed now to curtail official and tyrannical abuse as reported in the case of our brother, Prof Okey Ndibe.
You will agree that as men who one way or the other want to ensure a free State in Nigeria especially at a time when the country cries for more bold words no matter how bitter or rancorous they appear. As you know in history if Ndibe was truly about writing words of insurrection or rebellion in order to take over the country he will not be home for a family visit. Dear Chiefs, could this whole matter be nothing but a clear sign of institutional stupidity?
With the national dilemma in the country, others like Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, the former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria in a lecture at the Faculty of Social Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, predicted that should the current social and economic woes continue, the people could seek self-help through violence, and bring the needed change that some in leadership have always resisted.
Also, with an air of frustration, a nationally revered Constitutional Law scholar, Prof Ben Nwabueze at a Book launch, in Victoria Island, Lagos, posited that adequate transformational change only taking place through Bloody Revolution.
Like these men, Prof Ndibe, is equally crying out frustration as it relates to the pain and pressure of a nation, and nothing else. No one, among these men is calling for physical violence , and certainly Prof Ndibe as his collective line of words speaks for itself—a call for a progressive society in order to avoid going backwards.
Therefore this form of ugly treatment is bad.
Imagin this, on a man like Prof Ndibe; after almost 14 hours of stressful travel , with heavy luggage on his body, and lack of a functional lift to the SSS office , finds himself under abrupt questioning. Of course is it okay to question him, but it must be done under due process beginning from the time with his fist contact with the nameless SSS officer. How Ironic that all these commotion will happen on Saturday, 8th of January, 2011, shortly before mid-night to a man like Prof Ndibe, a United States based Nigerian academician, writer, and speaker on progressive issues; when the nation is witnessing rampant and lawless killing, maiming , and kidnapping in the current electoral atmosphere.
From the point of psychological and criminal justice education the SSS appears to be hungry for professional development and training to avoid procedural mistakes like this one; and an unscrupulous press for the struggling Jonathan administration, and a bad international load on nation in political and security pain.
As Leaders you will agree that in the pursue of freedom of information and in the chase for a progressive nation that diasporan writers on political issues should be welcomed with open arms and not be treated with intimidation as in the seizures of passports. Let Ndibe go now, and tell the world that this is wrong, and that there is a better way to protect a young democracy like Nigeria. And by the way fix that broken lift leading to the SSS office! A message to the Jonathan administration and the airport management.
John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D , DABPS, FACFE, is a Forensic/Clinical Psychologist and an Assistant Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Science, North Campus, Broward College, Coconut Creek, Florida.