Do you ever wonder if there will be a revolution in Nigeria?
If we would go the Egyptian or French way, both countries had a unique way of fighting for what they believe in. Seen as one of the most successful revolution, French revolution began when the oppressed citizens decided it was time to put an end to system aimed at getting the rich richer while the voices of the poor fell on deaf ears. They fought for liberty, equality, amongst other things. Till date, there are still debates on whether or not the French revolution was a success- I will say the voice of the commoners was heard – the tax system was abolished, the declaration of the right of man, the abolishment of Feudalism and most importantly the revolution paved way for other revolutions which led to democracy or the attainment of republican status for some European countries.
“Asake, you need to read French revolution, your intention of a positive revolution might not change anything, sometimes violent revolution is the only way for change and progress” Ms. Amy
Although protest lasted for 18days, the Egyptian revolution began over 3years ago when thousands of protesters took to Tahrir square to protest against the Hosni Mubarak government, the government was alleged to have created several economic, legal and political issues whilst with creating hostile country where freedom of speech and fair election was not in practice. Even though he stepped down years ago, Egypt is still recovering; they had the first democratically elected president in 2012 who was overthrown by Military and a fresh election. Will the new government fix the chronic woes? Only time will tell.
“Asake, before you go ahead leading a revolution, remember the current situation of things in Egypt” Emeka said
During my senior year in college, one of my coursework was a presentation on Youth, Education and Politics. In most of my courses when relevant, I had the habit of introducing Nigeria as a case study as I wanted people to see beyond the “Nigeria is very corrupt story”. I proudly ended my presentation shedding light on the Enough is Enough (EiE) protest that was going on that fateful day as Nigeria youths matched to the National Assembly with an outlined 4 point agenda addressed to the Senate. The demands were: urgent overhauling of the security and intelligent apparatus using Jos as a case study; practical plan to improve the electric power supply in Nigeria; the whereabouts of President Yar’Adua and implementation of the proposed electoral reform in the Uwais report. Although acting powers was given to Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ) before the protest, after the protest, he dissolved the Yar’Adua and only became the President after Yar’Adua passed away. It is easy to review the demand by Nigerian Youth and conclude the EiE protest was not a success but personally, the fact that Nigerian youth were not afraid to protest was enough victory for me.
Fastforward 2012, the next protest tagged Occupy Nigeria was against fuel hike as a result of partial removal of oil subsidy by GEJ’s administration. In tears, I wrote
the cost of Fresh air and Shoes. Our people lost their lives during the Occupy Nigeria protest, I wonder if the DPO that killed the young man playing soccer was ever prosecuted. In my own opinion, that fuel subsidy protest was a sell-out because the basis of the protest was to return to status quo however Nigeria Labour Congress and Nigerian Trade Union after a closed door meeting agreed to a certain hike in fuel. I felt betrayed on behalf of my brother and other patriotic Nigerians who participated in the Occupy Nigeria protest.
Here I am again, looking at the situation of my dear country Nigeria and wondering if anyone will be willing to lay down his life and lead the revolution for a better Nigeria. Sad enough, many people have unwillingly laid down their lives and I am positive a large percentage of them are turning in their graves because Nigeria is not getting better non-economically (Yes, the GDP grew and we are part of the new buzz word MINT) but people are still dying (bomb, road accident, plane crash, bad healthcare system, privation), corruption is a growing business and our daughters are still missing. I remember the Lagos –Ibadan accident that happened just before the plane crash, we all heard about bombs that went off in North East before the Abuja blast. We act like some deaths are more important than others- I don’t mean to judge us, I just want us to be just in our dealing-sometimes it sounds like it is ok for bombs to go off in the North Eastern part of Nigeria than in FCT. People born in North East and not the capital city also need to be protected, they need us to make noise about their situation and join them in crying. Maybe together our voices will be heard. “Asake, we are powerless individually but our power lies in the collective strength of our voices” I. Duggan
I went to a boarding secondary school- a Federal Government College to be precise and I loved to sleep deeply at night. When I heard about the attack on Federal Government College (FGC) Buni- Yadi Yobe where 59 students were killed, I could help but think I would have been killed in my sleep if I was in that FGC. 4months before the FGC attack, an Agricultural College in Yobe was attacked where 40students were also killed. Our main focus right now is bringing back the 270(we don’t even know the exact number) girls that were kidnapped in Chibok. With the International Community also counting the days with us, I know the Presidency will be doing everything to find the girls however we need to demand more. We need to demand more from ourselves – Yes ourselves – If I were president of Nigerian Union of Teacher (NUT) – I would have called for a strike action since September, 2013 when 40students were killed. “Asake, please tell them, union is not constituted for salary increase only. They should be concerned about their students as well. Where’s NMA, NLC, TUC, PENGASSAN, and NUPENG (maybe they are not parents)?” Dr. Olufisayo O.
When I discussed this with my friend, she felt I was supporting my Muslim brothers aka Boko Haram in eliminating education. I tried to explain to her about the first revelation Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) received – which was Read but I noticed she was too hurt to listen to the fact that Islam supports education.
To be honest, safety should come before education, if children must go to school, why can’t military men guard their schools?
Why can’t the number of opened schools be limited to secure areas?
Why are we playing politics by not declaring real state of emergency in all the affected state and allow military to take full control.
We have started a journey by being vocal virtually–we tweet, sign petition, update Facebook and BB status however it is time to move beyond being vocal virtually, it is time to act in our own little space. We can start by protecting our whistle blowers- where is Stella Oduah’s whistle blower? Where is Delta State University bursary fraud whistle blower? Where is the whistle blower for the missing ＄20b? We do have a constitution, whether it works or not, let’s put it to test again. It is time to re-call our non-working lower house representatives, ensure our senator table a motion to impeach non-performing leaders. A great percentage of Nigerian work in organization where yearly appraisal is done- what happens to the non-performers? Remember, you pay your tax to state and your company pays tax to Federal government. Don’t allow anyone waste your vote, your tax and your company tax which is your sweat and right.
To a lot of us, this sounds like a tall order however it is time to join those who have moved beyond twitter activism - Occupy Nigeria, stolen dream and #BringBackOurGirls activists. It is time to join or create the movement that will change Nigeria.
Till next time – Don’t wait for the usual Nigerian activists and international community to participate or show interest before join the conversation. It is time for us to lead a made in Nigeria cause, a cause which we might or might not reap the benefit immediately but one which change Nigeria for the better. We owe it to ourselves and our unborn children to have a better and safe Nigeria
Thanks to Ireti aka “Ms Amy the editor' for forcing me to read French revolution, Aderonke of Bella Naija for challenging my initial write up and to my writing mentor - Dr. Olufisayo O- the one who inspires me to read, read and read and did not get tired of the back and forth- and also ensured I published this post.. Thank you