Many a time when men of the Gestapo were about to violate the rights of Germans during the third Reich, they would always say to the oppressed Für ihre sicherheit, which means “For your safety“.
Whilst I strongly resisted the urge to go on a tongue-lashing spree over the recent totalitarian atrocities of the Rivers State Governor, my instinct would not permit that I be unspeaking in the face of tyranny and oppression. In the words of Edmund Burke, “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing”. It is in this light that I make this clarion call for Nigerians and the good people of Rivers State to vehemently resist the fascist actions of Wike, who is fastly becoming the Mussolini of our time.
In the space of a fortnight, the Rivers State Governor has impounded and auctioned vehicles of unsuspecting commuters, deported travelers, illegally issued persona non gratae and is now demolishing private properties, shutting down going concerns and amusingly constructing giant metallic gates at the State’s entry ports in the name of fighting a virus! While we at least expect some form of regard for the rule of law from a learned advocate, the governor’s behavior has been perversely counter-intuitive.
Wike might be quick to shout Für ihre sicherheit! Like the Nazis always did; but we must remember that the greatest tyrannies are always perpetrated under the guise of the noblest causes. So when tyrants begin to reveal their true nature and decide to be clever by half by claiming to be acting irrationally for the good of the State, we must be bold enough to tell them the truth in black and white because if liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. As patriots, we must always be ready to defend the State, even against the government.
Those who cheer the Governor’s tomfoolery must understand that people who play with the devil’s toys will be brought by degrees to wield his sword and those who play with the tail of a tiger must be comfortable with sitting in its stomach. As a people, we do not need strong men to lord over us, but strong institutions. We do not want despots or beasts as leaders because we do not live in a jungle or zoo, we want functional systems and respect for the rule of law.
By Cephas Kadiri