Open Letter to Youths of Nigeria: Like Pawns




Like Pawns


Dear Nigerian Youth, I hear you have been frustrated and getting depressed a lot lately. Some of you have resorted to suicide to end the feeling of being unfulfilled and like pawns, you have been caught in a web of selfish game players in form of law makers and policy makers. You daily watch them with their overweighed bellies like a pregnant woman overdue for the birth of sextuplets, dozing off in their executive seats while crucial policies are being decided. If the bellies were of children, what joy that would be! But no, they are bellies refusing to birth the development that this nation craves. When they are not drooling, they are throwing chairs, turning policy-making assemblies to comedy hubs.

Yes the government has failed you over and over again. Like a heart broken time and time again by the same person, and with everyone advising you to leave the relationship but you can’t. You want to give it one last try. One last time, you say. From the Nursery rhyme chimed in your hearts and minds promising you of being leaders of tomorrow as you chanted gleefully in your cute uniforms after almost every school assembly. Almost 30 years later and you still wonder when the tomorrow will come. In some years, the tomorrow that never came would become past. All gone. Nothing left but regret.

Like pawns, I hope you don’t wait while the chess players move you about on their boards. I hope you don’t wait and watch while history repeats itself. For over 50 years, the frailty in our unity has evoked debates upon debates, agitations upon agitations, discourse upon discourse. From the forced christening in 1914 by Lord Lugard which people have referred to as more of a curse than a blessing, to May 30th 1967 after the declaration of the Republic of Biafra by Odumegwu Ojukwu to July 6th same year when the civil war started and claimed the lives of over a million Nigerians in a space of 3 years to right now in 2017 with secessionist leader Nnamdi Kanu recruiting Biafra Secret Service members, to the quit notice sent from a coalition of Northern sects to Easterners in the North. All too familiar lines and instances. Hate messages being populated and made easy with the internet, all daily programming your minds consciously or unconsciously by the game masters. Articles upon articles, fuelling, enunciating and stressing all the emphatic sounds in the words ‘divided’, ‘different’, ‘secession’.

The state of the country a daily reminder of how things are about to fall apart with corruption on a rise per diem, tribalism, regionalism, religious bigotry, ethnicity being used as a vice rather than a vehicle for growth. The chess masters know about the nexus that exists among poor leadership, religious bigotry, ethnic divide, corruption and agitation. Agitation that would build up to clamours for secession and eventually – War.

Déjà- vu. It is the 1960s all over again.

Dear Nigerian Youth, I hope you don’t be the pawn that the lords of the games send forth to war to get killed while they sit in their mansions watching the news of your obituary and sending some lagniappe to your loved ones to bear the loss. Chess players know the capacity and strength of the pawns. In François-André DanicanPhilidor (1749)’s words:

“The pawn is the soul of chess. … The Pawns. They are the very Life of the Game. They alone form the Attack and the Defense; on their good or bad Situation depends the Gain or Loss of the Party.” –

They also know that despite their strength, they are the weakest links/ pieces on the board and can be tossed around and sent to battle because they lack power. The power hoarders see your vigour and dynamism. They see your zeal and entrepreneurial skill set. They see how much more progress Nigeria will experience if you had some of the power they amassed. They don’t want to see that.

Dear Nigerian Youth, I hope you remember what some grand chess masters (European colonialists) did with some of their pawns in 1994. The pawns being Rwandans. Even if you do not know much about Rwanda, a movie “Sometime in April” comes to mind which summarised the genocide period in Rwanda. Where the game players in form of colonialists tagged this particular game “divide and rule”. This game was so peculiar that even in this age, it is still being used as reference point. They made a people that shared the same language, tribe, culture, behaviour turn against each other. Brother massacred Brother. The gamers saw the strength the pawns (Rwandans) displayed in their number and unity. The game plan was simple- divide them. Give one group preferential treatments and all the elite roles and privileges in the community (the Tutsis), make the other see being alive as merely a privilege, let them survive based on the fittest or most resilient, make social amenities become a luxury for them (the Hutus). Just like the case of two siblings where the parent treats one with so much love and the other with disdain thereby creating enmity and rift that was not designed to exist.

The Rwandan genocide was so gory that about a million lives were lost in a space of 100 days. Publications described the rate of killing as “four times greater than the height of the Nazi Holocaust”. These were people that had lived in peace for over a thousand year. Suddenly they had tags and ‘races’ and other nuances that fuelled the time bomb of hate. It was too late to defuse the bomb. 00:01… 00:00 …bleep…

Checkmate. The Grand Chess Masters won.

Dear Nigerian Youth, I hope you remember the fundamentals of your faith if you have. First, bigotry and faith should not be used to complement each other, if anything they should be juxtaposed. To you dear Nigerian Christian Youth, are you not of the same bloodline with Christ? Does not your faith say in Him there is no ethnicity, colour, culture, behavioural trait, or any other differences? And that the same blood that flows in Him flows through you? Dear Nigerian Muslim Youth, does not the Quran say to hold fast the ties and not severe it? And for those who divide their religion and break into sects, have no part in them?

Someone once said, we do not get to decide whether or not to be a pawn in someone’s game or what role we want to be on someone else’s chessboard. However, dear Nigerian Youth, it is time you took matters into your hands without the filtered gibberish those with power fill your ear drums with.

I hope you find the courage to still the voice of depression, of hate, of everything that leads to chaos within and without. I hope you don’t reduce your strength and vigour to being a mere tool for riots in the hands of the seemingly powerful Chess masters.

I hope you see love where no one sees it, be the voice that sees the good in what seems hopeless like the state of the country. I hope you have the courage to turn the peculiarities and differences in culture, tribe, religion into elements of development, growth, strength to make Nigeria such grandeur! I hope you be the one that leads today, for tomorrow is here.

Unlike Pawns.




(I wrote this piece late last year (2017), never published. It’s however surreal how it feels like something written yesterday.. The game is still the same, the players are still the same, and the pawns..?)


  1. Avatar

    Reblogged this on laracrown and commented:
    I found this beautiful piece written by a younger colleague and friend of mine. I think every Nigerian youth should get to read this, have a rethink, and decide what the future holds and what role they have to play for desired future to become a reality in Nigeria.

    Courtesy: Oyinloluwa Akeredolu

    1. Avatar

      WOW! I am honoured! Thank you for reading, commenting and REBLOGGING! I appreciate very much.

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    Ugonna Clarion

    This post is simply mind actually rounds up what is in all our hearts. Educative also. Good job Oyin.Excellent write up

  3. Avatar

    So apt and timely! This is an inspiration to the Nigerian youth. Great one dear!

    1. Avatar

      Thank you for taking your time to read through. I appreciate

  4. Avatar

    Thoroughly enjoyed reading.
    Nice one!

    1. Avatar

      Thank you for reading. I appreciate

  5. Avatar

    Thanks, how I wish we youths are ready and prepared, it will be fine. But we have ears but can’t hear. I pray that God will use this your massage to wake us up. So encouraging thanks.

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      hmm it is well. Thank you so much for reading and commenting

  6. Avatar

    This is very inspiring and quite timely as we look ahead to the coming elections. Everyone should see this and decide what they really want. Funny how in 2018 in a state as ‘civilised’ as Lagos, a single man can control the minds of so many and they move according to his whims and caprices. Thanks for sharing dear.

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      You know.. 2018 already mirrors what is most likely going to happen in 2019, we are yet to learn. Thank you so much for your comment.

  7. Avatar

    This is a wake up piece for a Nigerian youth like me . Thank you

    1. Avatar

      Thank you for reading this piece! yes it really is.

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