Born 15 years before “the beginning of a slow death” of an exploited land.
His passion for humanity was glistening,evident in the path of numerous fields which he “plowed”,in a single lifetime.
His 51 years of life on earth could be likened to that of the Messaiah. A life spent in sacrificial devotion to human right and environmental causes,in a bid to save his fatherland from degradation due to indiscriminate exploitation of it’s God-given riches.
Born on the 10 of october 1941. Kenule Ken Beeson Saro-Wiwa (better known as Ken Saro-Wiwa),after predicting his own death,in a piece he authored; “Nigeria Kills it’s own Sun”,died in the course of a long-standing activism and outspoken criticism of the then Gen. Sani Abacha led Nigerian Government.
More particularly was the degradation of The Ogoni land by Shell Oil Company (which obviously was a mammoth source of revenue to the government).
Saro-Wiwa was a successful business man,a television producer,a leader of a non-violent campaign,advocating for the rights of the Ogoni people.
His devotion in human rights and environmental causes earned him several awards and international recognition such as the Right Livelihood Award and the Goldman Environmental Prize.
This chosen path of activism wasn’t all rosy,given the thriving environment which journalism was,as at then.
Saro-Wiwa was first arrested in June 1993.
From then,he went from series of arrests by the then Nigerian Government to hurdles of victimization for being outspoken with truth in the spirit of activism and journalism.
He shall forever be given credits for his contributions in Journalism which has (directly or indirectly and though seemingly silent) added strength to the foundation of Journalism in Nigeria,evident in the Freedom Of Information Bill which the press enjoys today.
His death should mean more than just dying. Lessons should be appropriately learned,as we mark the 15th remembrance day of the death of Ken Saro-wiwa.
The Government should play its role,ensuring that the course which Saro-Wiwa died “fighting” for,is judiciously accomplished.
The press and the media in general should consolidate on this foundation built by Saro-Wiwa at the expense of his life.
The virtues of truth should remain forever consolidated. The media should in no way,compromise in truthful information dissemination.
Journalists should follow this path of bravery,as they serve as “watchdogs” over the ills in our dear country.
Worthy of mention are the unsung heroes who died with KEN SARO-WIWA in this course,collectively known as the “OGONI NINE”;Saturday Dobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbooko, Paul Levera, Felix Nuate, Baribor Bera, Barinem Kiobel, and
John Kpuine. May their souls rest in peace.
“They may kill the messenger,but they can’t kill the message”.
May the memories of his life and death live on.
May we draw strength and motivation from the passion which he died for.
God bless Journalism.
God bless Nigeria.