Wanted: The Martin Luther King Jr. Of Nigeria By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo

Martin Luther King Jnr.
Columnist: 
By Rudolph Okonkwo

“Everybody wants to go up to heaven I say
But none of them wants to die-
(Like Jesus, like Jesus...)
And you know what
There won’t be no peace
Till man gets equal rights
Equal rights and justice...”
- Peter Tosh

Equal Rights
 
Gideon Akaluka was a young zealous Christian preacher.
One day, he had a call, “Who shall I send? Who shall go for us?”
He answered, “Here I am. Send me.”
 
And he was sent.
 
In Kano, he began to preach the gospel. He was a like a sales man trying to market a product in an area where it wasn’t the most patronized. He tried to compare products. He tried to do road tests to show the superiority of his product. He was of the opinion that Nigeria was a free market where each producer was free to pitch his product to consumers anywhere. He tried to demonstrate the weakness of the predominant product of the Kano market but never lived to tell the different.
 
Akaluka was seized. He was accused of blasphemy. The authorities kept him in prison cell pending trial. Then, the fundamentalists stormed the prison, picked Akaluka up and beheaded him. Thereafter, they paraded his severed head through the streets on a spike.
 
That was in December of 1994.
 
That incident alone called for the emergence of a Martin Luther King Jr. But nobody answered the call. The injustices deepened. And today, we are talking about Bariya Ibrahim Magazu, a 17 year old teenage girl awaiting 180 strokes of cane for having pre-marital sex. And Nigerians wonder why there is no peace when they cannot guarantee equal rights and justice.
 
The Niger Delta is crying out for a Martin Luther King Jr. The Zango-Kataf people are crying out for a Martin Luther King Jr. The suppressed Igbo people are crying out for a Martin Luther King Jr. The Christians in the North are crying out for a Martin Luther King Jr. The battered minorities in the military, the poor masses in the north, etc all crying out for a leader.
 
If you ask Martin Luther King Jr. to describe what is happening to Nigeria, he would say that Nigeria is approaching a spiritual death. Analysts have found out one problem with Nigeria- poverty. It is poverty of the mind, poverty of material and poverty of men. What most analysts have left out is injustice. It is injustice in Nigeria that killed patriotism. It is injustice in Nigeria that fuels all the social and political ills of that country. Nigeria needs to wage a war against injustice. Martin Luther King Jr. called himself “a drum major for justice”. Nigeria needs one of them. A drum major who would fight for economic justice. Someone who believes in Nigeria’s potential to end poverty. A drum major who knows how to use the power of organized mass action.
 
King described his mission as one aimed at “disturbing the comfortable and comforting the disturbed”. The Nigerian masses are so disturbed. They need to see the comfortable disturbed. It is the first sign that the journey toward justice for all has begun.
 
In his Nobel Prize Acceptance speech, King said that he “refused to accept the view that the bright day of peace and prosperity can never become a reality.” Nigeria needs men and women who would uphold and demonstrate such a belief. Men and women who know how to resurrect the spirit of a fallen country. The comfortable and the privileged who constitute the bulk of the establishment must be made to understand the inevitability of a change in the status quo. The whole structure of the Nigerian society must be radically altered in a way that the aspiration for freedom and human dignity for the generality of the Nigerian masses could be attained.
 
In his Letter from Birmingham Jail, Dr. King Jr. articulated the bases of his philosophy. He wrote that “Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and ... when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.” In the Nigerian context of today, there really is nothing like law and order. By extension then, there really is no justice. King lamented that “Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.” He complained that “one who condones evils is just as guilty as the one who perpetrates it.” Nigeria has continued to be led by men of such disrepute.
 
In his short life, Martin Luther King Jr. did the equivalent of exposing racism in its ugliness for the world to see. Nigeria is in need of someone who will expose its injustices for the world to see. Someone who will awaken and instigate the Nigerian people into fierce anger. Nigeria needs someone who will embarrass her. Someone who will embarrass her with the truth. The kind of truth that will frighten her and force her to do the right thing or risk final annihilation. The kind of truth that will free her from the trap of her history. Nigeria needs her own Martin Luther King Jr.
 
On Dec. 1, 1955, when Rosa Parks refused to give up a seat on a public bus, Martin Luther King Jr. was a 26 year old preacher. When the Montgomery Improvement Association chose the young preacher to lead the hours-old bus boycott, little did he know that it would change his life and the destiny of his people forever. Later on, King wrote that the unanticipated leadership happened so quickly that he did not have time to think it through. “It is probable that if I had, I would have declined the nomination”, he later wrote.
 
In the course of the struggle, King did put his life on the line. He used the power of good to fight the power of evil and hatred. He believed in the victory of good over evil. He had vision and that vision he made real to all. He made it possible for people to feel it, touch it, and taste it, and own it. Nigeria needs men like King who are ready to put their lives on line until equal rights and justice are granted to all Nigerians.
 
No doubt, Nigerians are disgruntled and discontented. They are alienated from the promises of their own fatherland. They yearn for somebody to provide them with a voice. Somebody to express their innermost feelings for them. The lack of this visionary is the reason why the ideological uncertainty that followed the granting of independence led to the current political uncertainty of today. The Nigerian will continue to procrastinate, will continue to manage, to suffer, and to understand until someone comes up to wipe up the sense of rebellion in them.
 
Nigerians need to know that prayers are not enough. They need to know that reading the holy books can never be substituted for taking action. It may help guard them against insanity, but their ultimate destiny is in their hands to make or to mar. Nigerians need to be reminded of this. They need a man or woman of integrity to lead in this struggle. The Nigerian masses are ready to move. They just need a leader to show them the way. They can no longer wait. If a leader fails to emerge, they are going to take to the road by themselves. And anarchy would be the order of the day.
 
Martin Luther King Jr. signified the search for justice, reconciliation and redemption. The only alternative to that is revenge and retaliation. It is more exciting, and more satisfying in the emotional sense. But also more damaging to the collective dream of a people. But in the absence of a King, it shall come to pass.
 
Those in doubt should look up and see the Malcolm Xs creeping out of the trenches.
******************************************************************
This piece was first published on January 13, 2001.

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SEE RAWLINGS AMONG HIS PEOPLE

you want Rawlings,? see him driving himself in accra

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nLopc_KwPc

which of your lousy nigerian leaders can do this?

bamatsala or whatever your

bamatsala or whatever your name is if you believe that Gideon is not from kano and as such should not be preaching there, then why do you hausa-fulani insist on nigeria being one and at the same time every body should only stay in their area. it is because of your greed for oil money and laziness. why remain one. why not we all go our seperate way so you muslims can worhip the devil called allah and his child molestor follower mohammed.

And benjani why then do

And benjani why then do people of nigerdelta still agitate and carry out bombings today, if according to you the ibos are their oppressors not hausa-fulani. so if so why then do they agitate still today that they are supposedly free from ibo oppressions. My people fail for lack of knowledge and you have proven that bible verse to be true. ASS WIPE

Malcom X it was who urged his

Malcom X it was who urged his African American brothers to use (any means necessary) to get to the promised land-He also asked a question (can we get along?) Can we get along with each other in the 6 zones of the federation? The answer is a big NO! So attempt by some misguided writers to engineer social unrest via the watery article they pen for us will never work! How many 9jas protested against d murder of Gideon Akaluka by Islamic fundamentalist in the Fulani North? The story was that the mob which killed Akaluka was sponsored by Prince malam Fulani Sanusi. Where is Sanusi now? Is he not the governor of CBN in 9ja? What about Buhari who now thinks he has already won d 2015 elections tru tinubu. We have had own share of Martin Luther Kings-as we saw in late Chief Gani-who was jailed 32 times-instead of voting 4 him we went 4 OBJ and despots like Buhari who does not even know why he is in politics except d desire by him to lynch his perceived foes in public

several civilizations have

several civilizations have seen the rise and fall of human's faith. Therefore, the major faiths we have today will also wither away and go into extinction. it is just a matter of time for human beings to realize the fallacies and foibles behind their philosophies. As to the issue of galvanizing the Nigeria's proletarian to take action against their oppressors is a weighty matter. Every oppressed Nigerian aspiration is to become or rise to be an oppressor.So, the status quo is always maintained by the appalling and based mind-set.
How come Gani, Tai Solarin, Ken Saro Wiwa, Aminu Kano and others call for justice were never answered?

OKONKWO, MAKE YOURSELF AN EXAMPLE.

Okonkwo, are you not a man? Instead of writing rubbish, why don't you make yourself Nigeria's Martin Luther King Jr.
Go ask the Efiks, Ibibios, Ijaws and Ogojas who their oppressors were, they would say Igbos before they even mention Hausas. The creation of states saved them from the crushes of Okonkwos/Igbos.

REPENT RUDOLF

I hav read ur article, Mr. Rudolf, pls repent of ur sins and God would forgive u. U speak against God d way u like. Pls Hell is Real. Rem when u were in FUTA, Rem al God did 4 u. PLS repent of ur Sins, so dt God wil forgive u. Please I beg u to repent. HELL is REAL......

Africans

I sincerely hope that one day, we (AFRICANS) will begin to address real issues and sentiments, we will stop hunting pimples when leprosy is feasting on our fragile brains.
The piece is capable of fueling an intellectual revolution as Gandi recommends. AGELESS AND TIMELESS.

vote

Just has martin luther king jr was nominated, I hereby on behalf of SR readers nominate Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo to be our voice against injustice i̶̲̥̅̊n̶̲̥̅̊ Nigeria.

we are not listening

pasor tunde bakare is screaming ,shouting and ready but we are not listening or we are not ready for that change we talk about.
do we need god to come down to point at a particular person? i guess we are still finding food to eat so we are coping

Reader's comments suggest our

Reader's comments suggest our leader's success at mis-educating us: we lack objectivity. I think it is an aim, not accidental, by the leadership. The poverty in us has so much redefined us that we do not make sense out of MESSAGES but crucify the MESSENGERS. Until we realized how much the leadership had succeeded in pitching us against one another could we find the way to PEACE!

@Okwuchukwu, Chukwu gozie gi

Okwuchukwu's piece is a great way to sanitize Rudolph's article that is awash in inconsistencies. Rudolph, your writing career peters out due to your obsession for fame. The shit storm caused by your erstwhile article on Bible and Christianity has yet to blow over. You can become a star and/or a Martin Luther King Jr of journalism by writing a piece that ridicles Islam, koran and The Prophet, just the way u did Christianity lately. If u do, you'll gain global reknown in hours, ultimately write your name in gold on the sand of time and a huge chance to die as a martyr. Don't just be an identifier of where and when a Martin Luther King jr is due. Be 'crazy enough', lead the way and we'll follow you.

God gave us late Gani-we said No-& went 4 OBJ-now Buhari

Malcom X it was who urged his African American brothers to use (any means necessary) to get to the promised land-He also asked a question (can we get along?) Can we get along with each other in the 6 zones of the federation? The answer is a big NO! So attempt by some misguided writers to engineer social unrest via the watery article they pen for us will never work! How many 9jas protested against d murder of Gideon Akaluka by Islamic fundamentalist in the Fulani North? The story was that the mob which killed Akaluka was sponsored by Prince malam Fulani Sanusi. Where is Sanusi now? Is he not the governor of CBN in 9ja? What about Buhari who now thinks he has already won d 2015 elections tru tinubu. The nation state of 9ja have had her own share of d Martin Luther Kings in the late Chief Gani-who went to 32 times-instead of voting 4 him we went 4 OBJ and despots like Buhari who does not even know why he is in politics except d desire by him to lynch his perceived foe in public

Our Luther King was late Gani-Solarin & Kensarowiwa

Malcom X it was who urged his African American brothers to use (any means necessary) to get to the promised land-He also asked a question (can we get along?) Can we get along with each other in the 6 zones of the federation? The answer is a big NO! So attempt by some misguided writers to engineer social unrest via the watery article they pen for us will never work! How many 9jas protested against d murder of Gideon Akaluka by Islamic fundamentalist in the Fulani North? The story was that the mob which killed Akaluka was sponsored by Prince malam Fulani Sanusi. Where is Sanusi now? Is he not the governor of CBN in 9ja? What about Buhari who now thinks he has already won d 2015 elections tru tinubu. The nation state of 9ja have had her own share of d Martin Luther Kings in the late Chief Gani-who went to 32 times-instead of voting 4 him we went 4 OBJ and despots like Buhari who does not even know why he is in politics except d desire by him to lynch his perceived foe in public

I disagree

What we need in Nigeria is Jerry Rawlings not ML King.

Nigerian Martin Luther King jr.

Mr man ! With due respect to Islam as religion any quotation by non Muslim is consider blasphemy and the famous fatwa declared. Muslims every where do quote the Bible any how without knowledge of its context and christains make no fuse about it. This maturity shows the Holy Bible is a instructional material for spiritual intellect. Just an article about consciousness, awakening, self development and unmasking the beast undevelopment is now problem to you, because the gentleman mentioned Muslim. Come on wake up. Can you fight for God. No no and no. He is your maker. Let th Bible and the Koran defend their teachings not you. If they are truly from God we shall know. Let face the problems of Nigeria not religion pleaseeeeeeeeeeee!

Nigerian Martin Luther King jr.

Mr man ! With due respect to Islam as religion any quotation by non Muslim is consider blasphemy and the famous fatwa declared. Muslims every where do quote the Bible any how without knowledge of its context and christains make no fuse about it. This maturity shows the Holy Bible is a instructional material for spiritual intellect. Just an article about consciousness, awakening, self development and unmasking the beast undevelopment is now problem to you, because the gentleman mentioned Muslim. Come on wake up. Can you fight for God. No no and no. He is your maker. Let th Bible and the Koran defend their teachings not you. If they are truly from God we shall know. Let face the problems of Nigeria not religion pleaseeeeeeeeeeee!

I less agree

Mr Anonymous, I less agree with your opinion of lets forget the content. We have to have a common base for us to succeed.

This is one of our major problems 3

You begin your article by saying: “Everybody wants to go up to heaven I say
But none of them wants to die-
(Like Jesus, like Jesus...)" and does every Christian talk like Jesus?
You begin your article by saying: “Everybody wants to go up to heaven I say
But none of them wants to die-
(Like Jesus, like Jesus...)" and does every Christian talk like Jesus? Answer.

You also said: "And you know what
There won’t be no peace
Till man gets equal rights
Equal rights and justice...” i want to assure you this right and justice covers even some misguided write ups.

As a journalist when writing please investigate, if not you might end up doing exact opposite of your intentions.

This is one of our major problems 2

You're talking about. And whenever somebody try to be that HERO, its people like you that will start writing against him unless he is from your people and Kataf or Birom or Onitsha Ibos or Kano youths or Shagamu Yorubas will kill him unless he is there brother.
You also made mention of Bariya issue and you claimed that she was sentenced to 180 strocks whereas it was 100 and you said it was in Kano whereas it was in Zamfara. This is an insult to the Muslim ummah, just because we are trying to follow the tenants of our religion. Why can't every body follow the laws of his religion? In your religion what will have happened to Bariya?

This is one of our major problems.

Rudolf this is one of the major problems we are facing in this country, this problem is sentiment. Although this article was first published in 2001 as you said, the article is sentimental and one sided, it mentioned what happened in Kano in 1994 to a Christian preacher alakula but left out the way and manner he went they to preach, he wasn't an indigene of the place and didn't grew up there, so this man virtually knew nothing about the place he was going to preach had it being he was a preacher, alas he was a trader. Even at that whenever God is sending an apostle or a prophet He sends him from amongst the people ie (their kin). And what happened to over 200,000 Muslims living in Zangon Kataf in 1992; you intentionally left it out instead your article just says Zangon Kataf people are crying, crying for what? Who where you even referring to as the people crying? Is it the Hausas or who? Until we can call a spade a spade, we will never have that Martin Luther King Jr.

Let someone stand up we will follow him

Pls do not read this like others u've bin readin pause a while and reflect on the contents of this article and let us see where we can start from.stand up nigerians,d time has come 4 us tell d goverment 2 build refinery and nepa at all cost.we dont want roads,we dont want subsidy,we dont want poverty aliviation,we want electricity and our owm refinery.

Ugoo - You Can Start the Revolution, Ke?

Mr. "Correct Me If I'm Right", what are you waiting for? You can become Nigeria's version of Dr. King. I suggest you begin with your own "I Have A Dream" speech somewhere in Maiduguri. We the masses can join you!

why Now? 2

Also you mentioned here that the Christians in the North are crying for Martin Luther King Jr. What about the Muslims in Jos, shouldnt they be crying for the same cause. Or because you have all rated Muslims as non-human. One thing with Christians and Mr Okonkwo are like, is that they dont know that if freedom is too for a Nation it would be hard to save. They cleared out the Old Testement Bible because is too strick for them while disobeying the law it portends and because they want to see every girls on bikini. What a wonderful developments, but little did they know that thats how the Devil gains ground.
After 2001 I wonder what SR stands to gain cant they forget this "Piece" in there Achives instead?.
What Nigerians really need is prayer and that is what is keeping us intact at least. But the cultists PDP and co are planning otherwise.
May God deliever us.

Why Now? 1

I wonder what is going through some of these educated people's minds. Anyway as you have mentioned it here "no doubt Nigerians are disgruntled and disconected", thats includes you. I mean if not how would you only emphasized that the North are the oppressors, due to the fact they are doing the Noble rights of Sharia Law as it stand to Muslims believe, we are not wishing people like you to understand nor will we make a reason with you and your cohorts of a myopic syndrom due to incessant querulous attitude.

Rudolf, why so many inaccuracies?!

You would have updated and corrected the inaccuracies in this 2001 piece before posting it. Akaluka was not a preacher or Christian zealot. He was merely a subsistent trader at the Kano Main Market. His wife was accused by a neighbour of tearing the Koran for use as toilet paper by her daughter. However, though she had used an Arabic text, it was no part of the Koran. But the mass illiteracy that pervades the North till date will not let the people distinguish between the Koran and any text in Arabic.

Akaluka was still at home as the crowd gathered when the Almajiris around raised their voice and wanted to lynch him and family. They ran in different directions, he to a police station. He was not held in prison cell or custody. But the crowd stormed the station and beheaded him. That was in December 1996 and not in 1994.

By the way, Rudolf, are you opting to be the Martin Luther King Jr of Nigeria? From New York, USA?!

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