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By Steve Orji
Friday, June 08, 2012
Nigeria And Martin Luther king Jnr.
Martin Luther King came out with a stark prophecy for
America, in the famous, “I have a dream” speech. In that
speech, one resounding portion goes thus: “I have a
dream that one day…” That “one day”… one day came
true for America; racism progressively slowed down, white
men could sit down with fellow black nationals and talk,
whether as equals or with concealed sense of superiority
or inferiority, nonetheless, never like the frosty, heady
days of sharp racist divide.
Barrack Obama, the president of America is sitting on the
stool that fell from the power of that utterance, spanning
years, and seasons, times and climes, often forgotten, or
even doubted or laughed off. It got fulfilled in grand,
America needed a prophet at that time of unclear destiny
of its black inhabitants, perhaps a time when it’s very
cohesive destiny was weak. Martin Luther king emerged,
and could with insight foretell America. Today no prophet
is needed anymore to foretell the American Nation for we
all can see in crystal clear visibility the harvest of a
prophecy from its own prophet.
Who foretells Nigeria? Who breaks the chain lock of
accustomed sight, and routine living? Was America more
in number than Nigeria presently is, for the power of sheer
number may spring the emergence of a visionary man-
able to see tomorrow?
Nigeria is in no means in lack of mass. For a nation of
more than one hundred and forty million people could at
least be home for “home-grown prophets”, at least one of
such. We stand the risk of vain logic, if we substitute
responsibility with ubiquity.
Why then are we groping in daylight darkness? No word
for a waiting, haphazard mass of drifting people? Either
our own “prophets” have no insight or what they are
seeing has little or no “prophetic value”.
A prophet has long range imaginative ability that sees
beyond its immediate horizon. He has the power to
envision-superior to the common sight of eyes in a skull.
The people we call Nigeria visionaries are seeing what
you and me, and other ordinary Nigerians could see from
They promise to build bridges, provide shelter, education, hospitals and ensure that we live in peace
as one nation. These words or promises seem somewhat like rehearsed petty utterances that have
short shelf-life, cannot travel beyond the canopy of party spaces, dies at the next phase of political
electioneering rounds, and have no generational power to keep renewing itself even after the bearers
are no more.
Our crude oil reserves dictate the size and pace of our national development. Our politics and
economic dynamics revolve around the “utterance” of oil pricing. Our developmental forecast and our
destiny as a nation ties inextricably to the mandate of oil politics. Our brains have stopped working
and the mouths that should speak the treasures and wisdom to guide a nation tottering to abyss has
no words to speak.
Our professors and those with the “germ” of knowledge are in the banquet dinner with the politicians.
Their eyes have been gouged, and their thinking twisted by the brazenness of money politics- like
they buy up companies, lands, national assets, they have bought them also. They are like the rest of
the politician’s acquired possessions-rusty and dusty, stale and dirty, soon to be forgotten.
Where are the prophets and seers of our time? In the village-shaggy haired, hiding between farm
trees or shanty buildings rocked by wind and storms?
It is at this moment we need a prophet to steer us out of darkness and directionless movements. Let
that man with the sheer courage of Martin Luther king speak with urgency and power. That man must
be willing to die for no man speaks the truth in a society that smack of sycophancy and lives. Nigeria
John the Baptist was beheaded by King Herod for uttering the unheard of. King Herod could not stand
the heat and moral persuasion of Prophet John’s message. He took off his head in disguised accent
to his daughters’ request. John died; his truths and prophecies lived after him.
I believe we have prophets in our land who have words to speak but are afraid to die.
We don’t need Martin Luther King to rise from the dead to speak for us. We need men with his kind of
heart and vision. They must die for Nigeria to live; else we can’t afford them to outlive Nigeria.