World Press Freedom Day: Remembering Dele Giwa, Gani Fawehinmi And Some Other Pen Fighters.
Today is a special day set aside for the writers, reporters and pen fighters all over the world, and it has been observed in different perspectives many people remembered some reporters whose writing skills inspired their lifestyle, some just kept giving kudos to all writers globally.
As a content creator, I purposely set aside my time to remember those Nigerian writers whose courage towards their work enlivened my writing career, many of them are gone while some are still alive.
Many that are dead, died on the course of fighting for the right of common man, many also died in the process of protecting and fighting for the right of their people, just to make life easy for their people and make Nigeria a better place for everyone but they ended up paying the price with their souls.
Ken Saro Wiwa
An example of such a prolific writer is “Ken Saro Wiwa” who died while trying to vouch for the right of his people then, Nigeria was on the brink of injustice, lawlessness and military dictatorship. Saro Wiwa had noticed the tyrannies and military gimmicks of the then military ruler “Sani Abacha” towards his Ogoni people whose land was rich in crude oil which was the prominent source of income of the nation but this people suffered marginalization from the Nigerian authority thus Saro Wiwa was indignant towards the oppression, he organised an association of his people which he called Movement For The Survival Of Ogoni People( MOSOP).
He purposely set up this association, to manifest the grievances of his Ogoni people and through it, he was able to stage a nonviolent campaign, during the campaign, he expressed the mind of his people especially on how their environment had been degraded by the oil workers, how the extraction of oil had polluted their water and the land, in the process, he was jailed in 1992 and after some trials he was released.
Ken Saro Wiwa during the struggle
He was later rearrested by “Sani Abacha” who accused him of being responsible for the death of some four Ogoni chiefs as a result of the this, Saro Wiwa was hanged within a little period of the indictment in 1995.
I have only cited little activities of Ken Saro Wiwa here, I don’t want to expatiate his quality in a laudatory manner but I know he left an outstanding legacy just like his counterparts Dele Giwa.
Dele Giwa is also a renowned writer, a pacesetter in the field of Nigeria journalism, he was the publisher of Newswatch, during his time, Dele Giwa was an embodiment of justice, peace and tranquillity, but unfortunately, the journalistic ideology that he set on a platter of a truism, later earned him a sudden death from his opponent who opposed, his style of satire.
Permit me to brief why Dele was murdered, I know most of us knew the story, that he was killed through a mail bomb in his home on 19, October 1986.
It happened that, just because Dele had some secret that is having a kind of relationship to the then minister of defence “Ibrahim Babangida”, and before he leaked the secret to the public since his job as a journalist Is to report whatever that is going on in the society to the people, that’s why they came for him and killed him through the mail Bomb. After his demise, several bodies and organizations protested against his death and a panel was set to investigate the reason why Dele was murdered.
After the investigation stalled, various conspiracy theories arose to explain why Giwa was killed. One of the most popular and still the most enduring has been the Gloria Okon connection. Gloria Okon was a Lady who was arrested in 1985 by the National Security Organization (NSO) at the Aminu Kano International airport on suspicion of drug smuggling. Soon after, the NSO alleged that she had died in custody, the government subsequently constituted a commission of inquiry to investigate the matter.
Conspiracy theorists allege that Gloria Okon was a drug mule working for the wife of General Ibrahim Babangida who was then the Minister of Defence in the regime of General Muhammadu buhari. The theorists allege that during interrogation by the NSO Okon had claimed that she worked for highly placed Nigerians, in particular Babangida’s wife. The theory goes on that Babangida spirited Okon out of detention to the United Kingdom.
It was during this period that Dele Giwa travelled to Uk and came across Gloria Okon, who the entire nation thought as died in detention, this was the secret that led to the assassination of Giwa. There are many freedom fighters who directly or indirectly died in the hand of the Nigerian despotic rulers.
is one is Gani Fawehinmi a renowned writer, an outstanding lawyer, who spends most of his lifetime in activism, no Nigerian is oblivion of the activism of Gani Fawehimmi, he was incarcerated several times on different account of fighting for justice.
I know that If I did not include his name in this list Nigerians will castigate my writings because of he his a great human right fighter just like Wole Soyinka.
Wole Yinka his a Nigerian dramatist and a human right activist who was incarcerated during the Nigeria/Biafra civil war while seeking for peace.
Wole Soyinka had travelled to Biafra land in an attempt to appeal for a cease-fire to the hostilities.
When he returned he was arrested and accused of assisting the Biafrans in the purchase of weapon of war. There was no evidence to corroborate the case, but Wole was imprisoned without bail. During his incarceration, different organizations and associations of writers protested against his arrest but he was not released until very close to the end of the war. What Wole did that earn him enemies in the Nigeria federal government and 22 months Imprisonment was what Omoyele Sowore did that made him face the wrath of Nigeria government had it been that he did it, just like the way Saro Wiwa did his own which earn him International recognition by tagging it “Nonviolent campaign” it could have been better.
Wole Soyinka during his arrest
Nevertheless, I remember you all today, those who have shared in fighting towards the development of Nigeria, wonderful writers, activist, those who really share in our struggle and suffering, Wole Soyinka, Anthony Enahoro, Fela Anikulapo, Gani Fawehinmi, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Ahmodu Bello, Obafemi Awolowo, Femi Falana, Ken Saro Wiwa, Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, Dele Giwa, Omoyele Sowore and the host of others.
I don’t just decide to write about you but to let you that are dead know today that your legacy is still alive and we will always remember you because all you have sought for is what as given us the liberty of speech and freedom in every ramification.
What do you think about this great Nigerian pen fighters
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