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June 4, 2018

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Virtually there is no good cause one will embark on in the society without people with cynical beliefs reading bad intention to it. On different occasions, people have accused Barrister Natasha Hadiza Akpoti of playing politics when she embarked on philanthropic work; sponsoring 600 pupils she adopted, paying school fee of under graduates and giving support to young entrepreneurs. These same people orchestrated the campaign calling Natasha an opportunist for the the simple crime of fighting for Ajaokuta resuscitation.

As Nelson Mandela of the blessed memory said in one of his speeches after achieving the age-long quest for freedom, “I was called a terrorist yesterday, but when I came out of jail, many people embraced me, including my enemies…”

We are not unaware of the divergent opinions of people; the desperate ones who have made it a point of duty to disparage the genuine efforts of Natasha either as a result of hatred, inferiority complex or to win gullible minds for their inordinate ambitions.

Like the Madiba of Africa rightly averred, the media loathe and its like wouldn’t shift the attention from the genuine cause, every human being that ever deared to tread the path of liberation and setting his country to attain her true meaning has been treated in this manner, history is just repeating itself.
Despite all the blackmail and sponsoring of people to distract prominent activists like Kabir Suman, and Medha Patekar in India from delving into politics and be the ideal change they want, they were never disturbed because they knew altering a status quo that benefits the greedy few is never an easy task. Being an activist was never a barrier to them, they were never seasoned politicians, they ventured into politics because they viewed it as the only way to actualise their vision for the society and they were able to alter the age-long tradition.

This forced Professor Trilochan Sastry of Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, to contends that, “a functioning democracy needs both people from all walks of life joining politics. Activists know their community’s needs and demands. If they are elected to office, their knowledge and background should inform their positions on issues.”

We wouldn’t forget in a hurry how Kevin de León, president pro tempore of the California State Senate who fought for years on behalf of the Latino community, advocating for the rights of immigrants, the working poor and the environmental quality of their neighborhoods was loathed by media and sponsored people when he attempted to delve into politics. Because he knew what he stood for, he was never deterred. Today, The California great activist has become fierce fighter for his communities in elected office, he is one of the key elected officials who has made California one of the most welcoming states for immigrants and was instrumental in passage of the bill allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for driver’s licenses. He is celebrated by his enemies today because he refused to be detracted by the naysayers who think it’s an abomination for activists to delve into politics and be the ideal change they want.

This will be our solace as we anxiously wait for Natasha’s declaration and step into the big shoe knowing that even some of the voiocless people she tries to shout for their voices to be heard will be sponsored to mar the vuvuzela she is using. This wouldn’t slow the pace neither would it derail her from the goal, the pledge mantra is to make no enemy and make people see reasons why societal building should be ahead of our desire, why the best amongst us should be given the opportunity to rule and why greediness, nepotism and favoritism should be shunned and build a country we can be proud of.

– Isah Bala
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