Eleme, Speak Out
Are Eleme People really singing their problems loud and clear enough? Are they actually telling the world their sufferings, deprivations, and other challenges? Speaking out or dramatizing a problem through writings, speeches, acts, etc. is a sure way of bringing same to the forefront. What many term “mere song” has proved to be an effective strategy for dismantling barriers and solving problems.
All over the world organized people have sang their problems into solutions. Repeated song is a powerful weapon. The blacks in former Apartheid South Africa dismantled the bricks of oppression through the instrumentality of “song”. They attracted the attention of the international community by effective songs – music, dance-drama, literature, protest and so on to drag home their demands. They were consistent, focused and determined to be liberated and they attained that lofty goal.
The economic, social, environmental and health situations in Eleme should be of concern to the average Eleme man and woman, boy and girl. The armies of unemployed youths on our streets, lack of infrastructural facilities, the social decay in the land, the environmental challenges, rising health issues, the rapidly decreasing populations are enough to propel us to saturate the mass media (print and electronics), social media and the entire universe with the “Eleme Song” when well-defined and articulated.
People are attracted by what they see and/or hear. Our oppressors want to extinct us by inflicting pains and environmental atrocity on us and hiding our predicaments from the world. Let us expose their evils by speaking out. Help only comes to those who seek it! We cannot fight our oppressors because they have the wherewithal to exterminate us. But, with help of our immediate and remote neighbours and the international community, we can appeal to their conscience and ask for a better deal. Besides, if telling the world our ordeal is song let us sing on. Speaking out is no sin, telling your story is no crime, and narrating your experiences is no hate speech. Fear not, be courageous, and be strong!
In fact, one of the responses to my write up “Facilities of Death” on the wall of Nneka that has attracted my interest and that should be of great concern to the leaders of Eleme is that of Ibim Semenitari who wrote, “Many years ago while in Tell magazine, I did a story on the situation in Eleme and some other impacted communities. The story was borne out of research conducted by my late uncle Prof Difini Datubo Brown. He was a professor of plastic surgery and long before reparative surgeries for cleft upper lips and other congenital malformations became known he had done a lot of these at UPTH and he discovered that most of his patients who came in with congenital malformations were from communities with high levels of pollution. He went ahead and took samples from Eleme, then NAFCON was in full operation and his findings were troubling”.
Are you aware that most of Eleme people today have one congenital challenge or the other? Are you also aware that while the populations of other ethnic nationalities are increasing ours is declining? Let us all sing the “Eleme Song” until things change for better.
Semenitari concluded by calling on “Corporations and agencies in the Niger Delta … to look critically at the environment and issues around the health of our people. Truly Eleme has taken a lot of beating”.
A friend of Eleme singing the “Eleme Song” (if you like) while, Eleme people watch in fear and silence, expecting miracle. It is the repeated song of the Hebrews, cry of the oppressed Israelites, which moved God to raise Moses to lead them out of Egypt, not fear and silence. Moses started fighting for the Hebrews long before God supported him with miracles. Every Eleme person is a child of miracle. Let us take the first step and God will do the rest. Today, the Ibos are singing the Biafra Song, the Yoruba are singing the Oduduwa Song, and the Hausas are singing the Arewa Song. The Ijaws are drumming for Niger Delta Republic? Even the Ogonis are asking for Ogoni Nation. Where is Eleme? What is the Eleme Song? Let us stop being one of the crowds and be what God wants us to be.
The Queen of Great Britain and Ireland Express of India usurped our independence from us on 19th and 20th of April, 1898 with the promise to offer us protection which they never did but rather turned around to fraudulently mortgaged us without our consent to Nigeria that is not only robbing us of our wealth but decimating us. What do we want from Nigeria? Say it, write it, act it! The world is listening to true cries. The universe has ways of responding to true complains.
There are people outside Eleme who are willing to sing the “Eleme Song” more than we do now because we are suffering from overdose of our problems. These friends and well-wishers of Eleme are only waiting for us to start singing and they will join. What are we waiting for? It is time to speak out! What do Eleme want from Nigeria that British married her illegally to?