Sunday, January 29, 2017 4:03 pm
By Richard Akinnola
During the Abacha days of horror, then US Ambassador, Walter Carrington gave so much support to pro- June 12 struggles. So, when he was posted out of Nigeria, it was inevitable that the pro-democracy community would give him a befitting farewell. The venue of the send forth was at the Surulere residence of a NADECO leader, Pa Onasanya. But at the appointed time, scores of security men, made up of SSS, mobile police and soldiers had taken over the venue. The pro-democracy leaders, including Chief Ayo Adebanjo and Gani Fawehinmi quickly made a discreet alternative arrangement for the shift of venue to the Aguda House of Chief Adebanjo.
Somehow, the goons were able to find out the new venue. They burst into the sitting room where the leaders had converged, with the soldiers cocking their guns and menacingly, pointing them at the leaders. Gani was livid. Breaking the few seconds of uncertainty where there could be bloodshed, Gani lept forward, his two arms stretched sideways, moving towards the cocked guns and daring them to shoot as he moved towards them -“shoot…l say go ahead and shoot..am ready to die..”. Everyone was scared. Would they pull the trigger? This audacity momentarily demobilised the soldiers who couldn’t pull the trigger. Gani was ready to die for what he believed it.
Juxtapose that with the threat of Apostle Suleman in his controversial video. After the aborted SSS arrest of the pastor at Ado-Ekiti, the pastor had made a somewhat watered down explanation of what he said in the video, seemingly denying his recorded threats as being taken out of context. This write up is not to validate or denounce what the pastor said in the video. But I had expected him to stand by every word he said, without trying to say it was misrepresented. If he had conviction of what he said, there is no need to explain or vary it. Stand by what you said and damn the consequences or apologise if you believe you were wrong in saying what you said. It’s a matter of conviction. Are you ready to die for what you believe in or what you said publicly without attempting to water it down?
That was the difference between Gani Fawehinmi and Apostle Suleman. One was ready to die for what he believed in, while the other was neither here nor there.
Few years ago, during the time of Obasanjo, Pastor Tunde Bakare made some statements which the security people people found subversive. Bakare was in Ghana when he was told that the SSS people were looking for him. He was advised by some concerned associates to stay behind in Ghana or leave for the US or UK. Bakare refused, insisting he would come back and offered to be arrested. He came back, invited to the SSS office for interrogation. That is conviction. Be ready to suffer the consequences of your convictions.