It is approaching the anniversary of Nigeria’s one time outspoken hero, Late Kenule Saro-Wiwa.
He was executed on November 11th, 1995 for fighting for something to be done for the Ogoni people to be able to return to their life styles, fishing and farming. Since then, the situation in Ogoni land and the rest of the Delta seems ever unchanged. Kidnappings, which are not a novelty in this area has suddenly become “good business” and those not in for a buck are only buckling over and dying like flies.
Investigating for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), actor/writer, Ross Kemp, went looking for some supposed “Pirates”, in the Niger Delta. For those who saw his programme, “In search of Pirates”, it is hard not to notice the futility of his efforts.
Ross Kemp spent maybe a month in Nigeria looking for answers. He sat down in hotel rooms, waiting for phone calls that never came, he felt like a prisoner in some well guarded rooms. He waited in lobbies for hours on end waiting to be admitted to meet with dignitaries with whom he had prior appointments. One could see how staggered he was at the lavish display of Breakfast in a country where poverty is the name of the game. All said though, he was pretty miffed. Surprise surprise!
Righteous anger or crude indignation, Mr Kemp had a feel of what a lot of Nigerians have to go through just to be heard. People in the Niger Delta have been looking for answers since Crude Oil became the craze. And every time they seem to make progress, everything seems to fall apart at the seams. One interesting fact about the Ross Kemp interview with “Pirates” and the “Death Sentence” Governor who finally granted him the interview is obvious. The root cause of the discord over the environment is the discovery of crude which has caused their livelihoods to be threatened. However, no one addressed that problem. Both parties agree on one fundamental issue; the oil pipe lines have ruined them for good. It is not too hard to know why. The installation, maintenance and security leave much to be desired. And the answer?
Well the “Pirates” want the lines taken out. One can understand the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) philosophy at play. If compensation is anything to go by, ten Million is paltry sum for the life of mankind, considering how much the oil magnates are churning out daily.
November Eleven was a response to all unanswered questions about the obvious questions very few are really willing to tackle. This is hoping you enjoy it.
The actual poem will be available for listening on October 1st, 2009.