Opinion: Natasha Akpoti and Rosa Park

Rosa Parks was an African-American Civil Rights activist who became famous when she stood up for what she believed – by sitting down. On the evening of December 1, 1955, Parks was sat on a bus in Alabama, heading home after a long day of work. During her journey she was asked by a conductor to give up her seat to a white passenger, but she refused, and she was arrested for disobeying an Alabama law requiring black people to relinquish seats to white people when the bus was full.
Her arrest sparked a 381-day boycott of the Montgomery bus system. It also led to a 1956 Supreme Court decision banning segregation on public transportation.

Natasha, like Rosa Park, stands firmly for what she believes in. Despite all the challenges that she is going through, she has refused to give up. She realises how germane and important the Ajaokuta Steel project is to the economy of her father land in particular and Nigeria in general and this explains her passion and tenacity in ensuring that it works in her life time. There is just one Rosa Park in Nigeria and that Rosa Park is Natasha Akpoti.

“We understand it still that there is no easy road to freedom…none of us acting alone can achieve success. We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world.” Nelson Mandela. It is high time we came together to support Natasha Akpoti in any way we can to make her dreams come through, the litany of what we all stand to benefit from a revived and functional Ajaokuta Steel Company is more than the Hindu Monks could ever recite. History remembers Mohandas Gandhi’s Salt March as one of the great episodes of resistance in the past century and as a campaign which struck a decisive blow against British imperialism. In the early morning of March 12, 1930, Gandhi and a trained cadre of 78 followers from his ashram began a march of more than 200 miles to the sea. Three and a half weeks later, on April 5, surrounded by a crowd of thousands, Gandhi waded into the edge of the ocean, approached an area on the mud flats where evaporating water left a thick layer of sediment, and scooped up a handful of salt.

Gandhi’s act defied a law of the British Raj mandating that Indians buy salt from the government and prohibiting them from collecting their own. His disobedience set off a mass campaign of non-compliance that swept the country, leading to as many as 100,000 arrests. We can make this kind of transformative impact if we all join and support Natasha Akpoti in her effort to ensure that the Ajaokuta Steel Company is awarded to the original builder to make it work. Together we can bring this dream to life and by the grace of God we shall.

Mukaila Adeiza Maikasuwa is the Managing Director, Pareto optimal Investments.