Responding to Oppression: Speaking Up or Keeping Shut?

Image Credit: SocialistWorkers.org


Taking Nigeria as a case study, it is noteworthy that different institutions are getting comfortable with the initial instability caused by the introduction of online learning. The University of Ibadan was not an exception until Twitter ignited with the news of one supposed Dehinde, who insulted a lecturer, using another student’s name and matric number. Dehinde’s grudge with the lecturer was that students were made to undergo the rigours of preparing for a test which they didn’t sit, eventually.

Although Dehinde’s method isn’t the stamped way of approaching matters, the way the supposed lecturer took the case with threats to other students’ grades leaves us in a dilemma. Should the average student confront perceived oppression in a cultured Dehinde style or accept their fates? This incident, amidst several others in our society, is splitting people’s minds on how best to handle oppression. Is it right to voice one’s opinions or leave them stuck in the vocal cords?

An outsider to any case of marginalisation will outrightly pick speaking out against oppression. An outsider will argue that a closed mouth is a closed destiny. Still, a large percentage of the people who voiced their opinions and got caught will advise that the game of speaking out is costly in this part of the world.

Even any outsider who closely watches Game of Thrones played by the powers will undoubtedly never want to play that game with them.

However, on a vast scale, staying quiet won’t solve this problem.

Several people have genuine fears: of SDC (as in the case of the former SU president who led a protest in 2019, unlawful detention (Omoyele Sowore comes to mind), the famous Mr Marcaroni, and the death of many victims during notably the 29 October, 2020 Lekki Massacre. Cases like these are preventing many people from voicing their opinions. Those that do speak up do so hiding behind concealed usernames on the streets of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and all other social media platforms.

The painful part is that the labour of these heroes is not yielding fruits. Unlike the martyrs who had something to show for their sacrifices on the gospel, these souls’ plights have not been sufficiently addressed as expected in a sane society.

However, daily occurrence indicates that people’s unfavourable actions and decisions, especially those that affect the population, be looked into, corrected, and refuted.

There have been cases of insecurity in virtually every state of the country, with unstopped and sometimes unaddressed events like kidnapping, herdsmen attacks on farmers, ritualism, assassination, and many others. We have been plunged deeper into the oceans of the poor economy, inflammation, and economic recession. Academics are no longer a priority. It’s of no argument that something is wrong in the nation, and that thing needs to be addressed if we will achieve our dream country. However, who will go for us, and is it worth being a Messiah in this country? I mean, the people one is fighting for may sell one for something as simple as electoral promises or tokens of negligible benefits.

The need for personal safety will make one subscribe to the sensible and safe position of “every man for himself” by keeping shut and hoping for a change that might come.

However, many others might follow the Aluta solidarity chant. The change we want might not come if somebody, some people, or even all of us don’t stand up to pull down what we don’t want. Some of these people have virtually lost all in the bid not to “close” their mouths.

The importance of speaking out is that it is the only guaranteed way of making a country developed, with only lingering thoughts of when the desired change will happen. 

We want a future that might only be actualised by the sweat, tears, and blood of many. The unfortunate thing is that every action we take towards fulfilling that future is moving miles backward instead of forwards. This future’s uncertainty divides our opinions. Should we lend our voices to the struggle, with probabilities of losing our peace or keep quiet, being momentarily safe at the wheels of castle-on-air-like future? 

Our heroes spoke up; they died without seeing what they fought for. What they fought for still has not come to the surface, leaving us in a dilemma of whether to speak up and die like them or keep shut and still die, eventually. 

In conclusion, nobody can be blamed for whatever side they choose. Both sides look like they have a definite end of death without the desired results of a better future for ourselves and generations to come.

Leave a Comment