February 27, 2013

Testimonials from iblog!

 
I had the choice of attending Iyanya’s album launch or iBlog on Saturday, 24th February, 2013. However, I had committed myself to iBlog long before so I decided to stick with it. I ran into Iyanya the day before who turned out to be so cool but yeah, there’ll be many other shows :-)

I attended the first iBlog meeting where I met an extraordinary man who had convictions and would stand by them, a man who is using social media to bring awareness and wake Nigerians up to see the bigger picture. I admire his zeal and the passion with which he drives his message. He has been told enough to discourage him but Japheth Omojuwa is unrelenting to put it mildly.

At this 2nd iBlog meeting, we were made to do some serious soul searching. The convener, Omonaikee stated that any celebrity could have been at the meeting but she chose this person. Her question – “would you prefer glam or real?” Real it was indeed!

We met someone exceptional who invoked all the possible emotions anyone could have. He looked troubled; he was pensive most of the time. From the moment he began to speak, his passion could be felt with every word he said, his passion almost consuming him, like he had the worries of the entire nation on him. I got a rude shocker when he said boldly “I will either be killed or my show will be stopped from airing. I have been detained, beaten and threatened but I believe I am fighting for a good cause. Every show I do, I do it as if it is my last”.

He has been a constant thorn in the flesh to the Nigerian government. He started with a show in Kaduna called ‘Oga Driver’ and eventually moved to Abuja. His aim is service to humanity, reaching out to the common man, educating everyone about their rights as citizens of Nigeria. The humble man I met has generally been called the voice of the voiceless. Inspired by the hardship he faced while growing up, in his words ‘poverty no good oh’, he strives to make life better for anyone he can be of help to.

He was detained two weeks ago, everything has been done to deter him but nay, he moves on. When a taxi driver, a cleaner, a gate man and every possible person tunes in to listen to a show, that certainly indicates its success, it has inspired hope in people. If a person is prevented from speaking freely, is that not a breach of his fundamental human rights? And Nigeria supposedly operates a democratic system. Well, Ahmed Isah the President of Berekete family by being himself and daring to be different has helped so many.

There was a story I listened to on the show of a woman whose daughter-in-law pushed. The woman fell, her leg hurt but she assumed her leg was dislocated. She had it massaged but it only got worse, it was swollen and she finally was taken to the hospital only to discover that her bones were broken and at that point, it had to be amputated. In summary, Berekete family got her an artificial leg and she is learning to walk all over again.

Another woman was in labour and was rushed to the hospital but the hospital staff asked her husband to pay the sum of 3,500 naira for fuel to be bought for the generator as there was no power. He could not afford to make the payment so his wife was left in labour for three whole days. When Berekete family heard this story, the woman was picked up. She had spent this whole time outside the hospital and by now smelt from within and out. Apparently the baby had died inside her. A surgeon had to be contacted who brought out the decaying baby; this woman was beyond pale at this point. Who thought she would survive this? Good Nigerians rushed to her aid and made what they could available for her recovery.

These are only two of the many stories Ahmed and the Berekete family have to listen to daily. People suffer much more than we are aware of. When the government is directly involved and they have to be called to account, it doesn’t always sit very well with them and someone always has to pay for it. Ahmed has no sponsorship for this NGO, he aptly described it as a Non Governmental Individual. Bad people have continued to succeed as good people will not speak out. Where the government is responsible, they are not held accountable. Generations unborn will require us to explain what we did about these things.

The one thing that kept ringing in my head as I left the meeting was the fact that our lives are but fleeting and the essence of our being is to make a difference. Ahmed reminded us all that if you live a life where only you benefit from it, it is nothing but a worthless life.

Nigerians do not know their rights and it is time we came together as one strong voice. Nigeria is backward, it is up to us the youth to take our Nigeria and move it forward. What better time than now when we are the strongest we can ever be? At the end of the day, that is the same message Ahmed and Omojuwa preach. We all are different and we all have a role somewhere, we don’t have to try to be like others but make ourselves relevant where best we fit in.

Want to listen to Berekete family? Tune in every week day from 7:30 am – 8:30am to Crowder Love FM, 104.5 Abuja.

 



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