Two Stories and a Political Lesson

'Tosin Adeoti
3 min readMar 2


In 2020, a country representative of one of the top international development agencies spoke with me about joining his team in the North East. We had crossed paths years earlier on a project in the South South. His only requirement was for me to tone down my acerbic criticism of the government. “Tosin, I do not just love your managerial skills, I adore your writings. I see them everywhere, and I am super proud. But you cannot be working in xxx and attacking the government. By nature, we are peace builders, and because we are often courting the government to do right by their people, we cannot openly antagonize them.”

In the end, it didn’t work out, but what he said struck me. Salem is one of the most progressive people I know. He fights for the rights of out-of-school kids and works to empower people with disabilities. Yet, he understands the role of diplomacy in his line of work. While most of his friends rooted and voted for Buhari in 2015, he was always adamant that his antecedents would make him a worse president than Goodluck Jonathan. At a point, he said he was booted out of their Whatsapp group for ‘anti-people’ beliefs. In the run-up to the 2019 elections, he voted for Atiku. In 2023, he voted for Peter Obi. In his circles, he won everyone over with his logic. But you will never see him openly antagonize the government. Why? Because he is able to do more good that way.

In 1944, Oskar Schindler, a German industrialist in Poland, heard of the Nazis’ plans to close all factories not directly involved in the war effort. His enamelware facility was at the risk of closure. That would be a problem. His plant was used as a front for over 1,000 Jewish workers. Closing down the facility would expose their identities and cause them to be ferried off to Auschwitz and Gross-Rosen concentration camp, which guarantees certain death in the gas chambers. He decided to outwardly identify with the Nazi regime and request that his production be switched from cookware to anti-tank grenades. This way, he was able to save over 1,200 Jews, 1,000 of his workers, and 200 inmates from a textiles factory.

When officials from the Armaments Ministry questioned the new factory’s low output, Schindler bought finished goods on the black market and resold them as his own. Schindler also arranged for the transfer of as many as 3,000 Jewish women out of Auschwitz to small textiles plants in an effort to increase their chances of surviving the war. All these he did while outwardly identifying as a Nazi. Through this influence, he brought funding provided by the Jewish Agency for Israel and turned it over to the Jewish underground. On May 7, 1945, he and his workers gathered on the factory floor to listen to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill announce over the radio that Germany had surrendered and that the war in Europe was over.

I decided to bring forth these stories because I have seen a lot of attacks on people perceived to be unsympathetic to the OBIdient cause because they decided not to speak and identify with the movement. Their silence and supposed neutrality were seen as an endorsement of the ruling party.

Context is everything. Not all neutrality is created equally. I know a person who, as a result of the position he holds in a publicly listed company, is prevented from making political comments. Yet he voted against the ruling party. Another did not tacitly identify with the movement but was instrumental in convincing his older siblings and parents to vote for Peter Obi.

“For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears”, which is why we must strive to respect and tolerate differing opinions, engage in respectful dialogue, and protect the rights of individuals to express their beliefs freely.

We do not always have the true picture and that knowledge should restrain us when our blood start to boil.