Opinion: My short stint at the SSS and the hypocrisy of activism

by Jonah Ayodele Obajeun

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Some of the DSS officers tagged one of us as a terrorist when he refused to reveal his passwords. This was Chinasa Ikelu, who was obviously angry that the daughter of the former governor denied being part of the protest just few minutes after she finished filming where she said she was leading the group before her phone was taken away from her. 

Welcome to the arid absurdity called Nigeria, our national theatre of hypocrisy. With an unrivaled pace, we are fast moving to the tarmac of departure where the soul of our nation might Rest In Peace. I pray not. But history has a way of reoccurring when you don’t learn from it. In our own nation-state, history keeps serving us, but we are not always ready to eat. We have walked barefooted with history. We never learnt, we never moved. So Yusuf Onimisi aka @Ciaxon, was arrested/docked for 13 days by the SSS for sharing photos. He has been released. I will save you the known details.

Whatever the ideological temperament of Nigerian leaders is, they are all united in their denigration of our collective amassed intellectual wealth to rubbles. The project of modern Nigeria, being a national project transcends individual ideological proclivity, does not brook intellectual dissention. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The discursive formation behind the cluster of modern Nigerian hegemony suffers from its own tyranny of intellectual dwarfism on human capital waste. Prisoners escaped, a PHCN worker was arrested. Unfortunately, this is the irony that has defined us. So we were all brought up in our warren of hypocrisy.

So I joined the protest in Ibadan having gathered about 15 protesters via twitter, not just to protest the arrest of the PHCN Engineer, but tell the world that those whose voices have been arrested have million voices to speak on their behalf, impunity is a sheer waste of existence.

The movement gathered storms at Mokola Round-About in Ibadan, and we moved to the DSS office at Alesinloye, having been trailed by some men of the SSS. We knew and we were expecting them. Just before we left Mokola, one woman, not known by me joined us. She obviously had a loud voice. I have never met her, seen her before, but I have read some gossips about her. “I am Kemi Olunloyo, daughter of a former governor of Oyo state. I am an activist.” She announced in high pitch. She introduced herself to the people on the streets, how she spent 37 years in Canada doing activism.

The entire country appeared to have been placed on a permanent war footing with periodic bulletins and adjustment of alerts. Yet everything appeared calm and unruffled on the surface, until you begin to probe the inner recesses of the society. The double-speak nature of people remains discrete and unobtrusive. An ill-judged joke could induce a nerve attack and send you in the wrong direction.

Before we are finally reduced to the status of a willing cast in a Travelling Theatre of torrid absurdities, or a National Theatre of screaming and forgetting while on the path to political Golgotha, the need to know why our handshake went beyond the elbow becomes very vital. Yet, as I have discovered, paradise cannot be surrounded by hell.

Unfortunately, Nigerians have opted for internal self-exile, the self-deportation to the autonomous zone of self-consumption where they get used to anything and move on with life. We don’t like troubles, we like where we are even if it is semi-comfortable. We have developed a thick skin that does insulate us from feeling the touches of pains. We are so used to discomfort that we are even comfortable with the fumes of blood decolourizing our landscape.

At the DSS office, we were stopped, surrounded by vans and armed men. “Who is the leader of this group?” One senior DSS officer screamed at us. We were all speaking with our protesting energy, with Kemi Olunloye filming with her phone and saying she was leading the group until the discussion got to another level. “You are members of Boko Haram, just tell us who you are.” The DSS Senior Officer screamed again while dragging our placards with us until I signaled to the other guys to peacefully release their placards.

“I am not a part of the protest; they just invited me to cover the protest as a journalist. I am Kemi Olunloyo, daughter of a former governor and a close friend of the former head of SSS in Abuja.” We were denied at the most crucial time. My camera was forcefully removed from my neck by another officer, my sun shade broke in the process and we were marched down to the inner receiving room, having been dispossessed of our gadgets. Kemi Olunloyo and one Sagay Agbalaya went into another room on the invitation of the head of the DSS Office, Mr Ndubisi. We were called one after the other to open up our phones, write down our emails and passwords including our twitter handles and passwords. After about 4hours, we were told to go on the directive of Mr Ndubisi.

Some of the DSS officers tagged one of us as a terrorist when he refused to reveal his passwords. This was Chinasa Ikelu, who was obviously angry that the daughter of the former governor denied being part of the protest just few minutes after she finished filming where she said she was leading the group before her phone was taken away from her. I kept cooling his frayed nerves all through. But truly, something is wrong here, the denial. Chinasa Ikelu went on to tweet about the denial and Madam Kemi Olunloyo took it as a validation of the terrorist trait in Chinasa Ikelu as posted on her blog.

I need to be convinced with logic that the denial was proper at that moment. I am not an activist, but seeing what transpired yesterday made me reasoned beyond the cocoon, I will keep advocating for what is right, but never to become an activist, a deceptive one at that.

We need to move fast to recover Nigeria from rogues, diehard leaders of crude armed men and women who are speaking from the two sides of their mouth to rubbish our intellectual fundamentals. We need to rid the seat of power of shallow thinkers who are hellbent to send our continued existence to its immature grave. We need to rebuild our trust arsenal and make life difficult for hypocrisy to thrive at the corridors of leadership.

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This article was posted with permission from Omojuwa.com

 

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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