I received with shock and disbelief the news of the tragic death of Ken Saro Wiwa, Jnr, an Ogoni Patriot, the son of our great icon, nationalist and martyred environmentalist Kenule Beeson Saro Wiwa.
It took hours for me to fully comprehend this tragedy.
This is indeed a great loss not only to the Ogoni people but to Nigeria. People have been calling me to ask why Ken Junior? Why now? Why should a family and a people that have already sacrificed so much for Nigeria and the Niger Delta be required to make yet another sacrifice? I have no answers. In trying to look for answers I end up with more questions.
The death of Ken Saro-Wiwa, Jnr like the death of late Oronto Douglas before him is a deep and painful cut into the intellectual heart of the struggle for a better Nigeria. A nation more just to all its citizens, a country that “though tribe and tongue may differ” no one will be oppressed, and all Nigerians will truly be proud to serve as their sovereign motherland (in the words of our old national anthem) .
In the passing of Ken junior that struggle has suffered another tragic loss. Outside the shadow of his father, Ken junior was a nationalist and an intellectual in his own right. His deep concern for his people, the clarity of his ideas on the way forward for Nigeria, were not just inherited because he was the son of Ken Saro Wiwa, they were also products of his own experiences and understanding of his country. I remember our conversations and arguments and the several unsuccessful attempts I made to convince Ken Junior to join active partisan politics, we disagreed often not just about what we could use politics to achieve in Nigeria, but even about the nature and direction of politics in Nigeria, yet even where we could not agree he was always friendly and accessible, polite and respectful and forever smiling.
The Ogoni people will miss Ken Junior, Nigeria will miss him, but his family will miss him the most and it is to them that I offer my deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences that God almighty will grant them grace to overcome this painful and tragic loss. Goodnight my brother.
May heaven receive you as you reunite with your beloved father and brother.
Magnus Abe is a former senator from Rivers State.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.