Last Tuesday, a video had gone viral online showing Ms Chiamaka Udeh displaying a blood-stained Nigerian flag while appearing on stage at the international beauty pageant featuring African damsels in Moscow, Russia. She was representing Nigeria in the event. The Lagos-born model from Anambra state was apparently protesting against the bloody events in her native country and reminding the global audience of the state terrorism which many innocent Nigerians had fallen victim to.
While her action had received applause from certain quarters it had attracted outrage from others. In a nation divided on ethnic, religious and regional lines it is not unexpected that her denunciation of tyranny or brutality of power and its agents in Nigeria through her brazen display of a bloodied green-white-green flag in a show shown to the whole world must have riled a whole lot of Buharists and their apologists who see nothing wrong with the system back home.
The urgent need for a radical solution to the steady slide into anarchy confronting us as a nation ought to be put on the front burner. We have nothing more to hide or be ashamed of. We have reached a point of no return!
Watching the short video clip online one could see the elegant damsel immaculately-dressed clutching the Nigerian flag as she walked onto stage. And suddenly she had stooped down wrapping the bloodied flag around her head as if mourning the dead. One could notice the emotion that must have enveloped her as thoughts about those ‘sacrificed’ in different cities and towns Nigeriana ran through her young mind.
Ms Udeh sent a strong message home and abroad! We cannot continue pretending that Nigeria is working when the opposite is the case. We cannot continue in our hypocritical ways. We need more Chiamakas exposing the executive sins of our oppressors to the outside world.
Defending her action in a chat with the BBC Igbo the beautiful Biafran lady had argued that what she did was from her heart. She said she used that platform to create an awareness of what was happening in Nigeria including the #EndSARS demonstrations and the undeclared Biafran war in the South-East region of the country, her homeland.
Of course, blood flowed in Lekki Toll-gate in Lagos during the #EndSARS protest last year October that saw the swift dissolution of the dreaded and deadly police unit known then as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad. And now blood is still flowing from Maiduguri to Owerri, Ibadan to Katsina, Umuahia to Enugu.
While arguing that it was never her intention to tarnish the image of Nigeria she made it clear that she just wanted to create an awareness that we needed help! Nigeria needs international help indeed as we suffer under Buharism.
Those condemning or attacking Chiamaka must be reminded that what she did was not a crime! It was a legitimate expression of disappointment or disgust at the gory news emanating from the home front. Besides, as an Igbo lady she ought to feel disgusted by the killings, abductions and state terrorism going on in her native land.
Ever since the heinous brutal attack by soldiers on unarmed flag-waving #EndSARS protesters at Lekki toll plaza, Lagos on October 20, 2020, during which some protesters were killed and others wounded the red-stained Nigerian flag had somewhat become a symbol of protest to honour the brave youths that died in that ugly incident.
Again the brutal clampdown also reminded Nigerians of the fight against insecurity and human rights violations yet to be won. While President Buhari still sounds unlike a democratically-elected President that he is state terrorism has assumed an alarming proportion lately with violent agitations for the dismemberment of the country becoming a daily occurrence with grave consequencies.
When the black-American George Floyd was killed by an overzealous white-supremacist police officer, Derek Chauvin, in Minneapolis last year, thousands of Black-Americans poured out on to the streets in many cities chanting ‘Black-lives-matter!’ It was days of fire and fury as blacks protested violently against racism and police brutality targeted at their members.
Chauvin was filmed kneeling on the late Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes during his arrest last year May. Even his shouts of “I can’t breath” never elicited any form of sympathy from the notorious killer-cop. A 12-member Jury had found Derek Chauvin guilty on three charges: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. Chauvin could spend up to 40 years in prison if his appeal fails.
Racism is to America what religion and tribalism is to Nigeria. While America remains a beacon of democracy, land of the free and a prosperous great nation where the rule of law is supreme Nigeria is a den of corruption and leadership diffidence and vacuousness. Justice was served to the murderer of George Floyd but the killer-soldiers that murdered scores of #EndSARS protesters were never arrested nor judged!
Following the George Floyd fatal incident many entertainers, stars, actors, footballers and athletes around the world demonstrated their support for the ‘black-lives-matter’ mantra by placing their knees on the ground during live events as a reminder of injustice to somebody. And remembrance of how George was dispatched to his untimely grave by hate and intolerance.
A whole lot of George Floyd, in different epochs and levels, had happened in Nigeria with impunity. And when folks tried to voice out their disapproval of extra-judicial killings and oppression the federal or states’ governments would send in troops or police to kill and maim. Yet we pretend to be a democracy; a ruinous democracy with a retired General, a brute and bully, at the helm of affairs.
Now with Twitter still banned President Buhari reminds us of his inglorious Jackboot days. Freedom of the press and freedom of expression were emasculated during those years of primitive tyranny under the Daura man. Journalists were imprisoned as Decrees 2 and 4 were obnoxiously enacted to deal with the media and narcotics trade.
We commend Ms Chiamaka Udeh for her concern and solidarity towards the murdered and wounded! It was a strong display of patriotism far away from home. That blood-stained national flag on display in Moscow should rather serve as a rude awakening for us as Nigerians. No one should be happy for what is happening back home.
With Naira recording a resounding historic bashing in the hands of the American Dollar, security of lives and properties of our compatriots no longer the primary responsibility of government, poverty gaining foothold on majority of our people whoever says all is well must be living in another planet where lunatics hold sway.
To pull the nation back from the brink President Buhari and his misruling APC predators must retrace their steps before igniting a war that would consume the nation. It may not start in Biafraland but elsewhere!