Revolution, Is Impossible In Nigeria? Some Say NEVER! Says Who?
Written by Paul I. Adujie
Since the political and constitutional upheaval in Tunisia, then followed by Egypt and now Libya, Jordan, Bahrain, Yemen and so on, some Nigerians have publicly commented that Nigerians can only dream of Egyptian and Tunisian style revolutions and political uprising. Some Nigerians have even gone to the unreasonable extent of actually saying such will not, and could NEVER happen in Nigeria! And we must ask, REALLY?
Dimeji Bankole, Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives drove the last nail into this revolution-is-impossible-in-Nigeria argument several days ago, through his address to parliamentarians from Germany who were visiting Nigeria. Speaker Bankole, whose only claim to fame, infamy, are series of scandalous dealings and revelations against him thinks Nigerians have no reasons to revolt?
One wonders what exactly gives Mr. Bankole these sorts of supreme confidence Mr. Bankole is a man, a Nigerian politician who is not known for driving a particular policy, law or ideology. He actually had the audacity and temerity to publicly proclaim that a revolution is impossible in Nigeria! Are Nigerians content and happy?
Who and what gave Dimeji Bankole such overconfidence or unmitigated arrogance? How can he and the House of Representatives and by extension the current crop of Nigerian political class which he represents, be so cocksure that Nigerians have nothing to complain about and we have no need to engage in any revolt, uprising and indeed, a revolution similar to and better than the world have seen recently in Tunisia, Egypt, Wisconsin and Belgium?
Dimeji Bankole and Nigeria’s current crop of political operators must not be allowed to take Nigerians, long suffering Nigerians for granted. He and his ilk must not be allowed to demonstrate their utter contempt and insensitivity to the plights and predicaments of millions of Nigerians.
What Nigerians Want? The Same Things, Simple Things which citizens of Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan wants!
Why are Nigerian politicians or political class denying Nigerians what Nigerians richly deserve?
What the average Nigerian want and needs are a tad simple, rather too simple! Nigerians are thirty in the middle the oceans of abundance and bountiful opportunities in Nigeria. Our political class have misallocated, mismanaged, and squandered our national resources at every opportunity after missed opportunities!
Instead of becoming tools in the hands of inept politicians who are liable to fan embers of ethnic, religious and regional violence, Nigerians across the spectrum should realize that we have abject poverty in common, we have unemployment in common, we have concerns for safety and security in common. All Nigerians in our daily lives confront a comatose economy, absence of public transportation. Nigerians continue to bear the burden of abandoned, decadent, neglected public infrastructure. Nigerians have understaffed, ill-equipped and decrepit hospital and healthcare system in common, while public officials and politicians junket to medical treatments overseas. 150 million Nigerians contend with our neglected education sector, while politicians send their children to Europe and America to be educated with public wealth stolen from Nigerians.
This is our time to engage in an uprising, a revolt and a revolution. The average Nigerian is poor and desperate regardless of ethnicity, region or religion. The economic conditions throughout Nigeria are identical and similar and it more about ineptitude, poverty of ideas within the leadership structure of Nigeria. Our number one national challenge is bankruptcy of ideas within the political and economic class in both private and public sectors. Nigerians have abject poverty and squalid conditions in common which defies fleeting and fluid differences based on ethnicity, religion, state and region of birth. We should not allow our poor selves to be manipulated for the benefits of the political class. The political class is identical nationwide, they have neglected the poor and what ought to be the Nigerian middleclass.
All Nigerians should confront our political and economic leaders instead of what we have now, in which poor, suffering, desperate people attack other poor, suffering, desperate people, attacking fellow Nigerians based on such Nigerians’ ethnic group, language group or religious affiliation or region and state of origins. Nigerians can, in this regard, learn from the Egyptians who, despite the differences, such as between Coptic Christians and the various sects of Islam and the mixes of Nubian and Arab races, the Egyptian revolution was peaceful and unified in their diversity.
The Egyptians revolution was bells and whistles, flags and nationalism well done! The Egyptians were organized and efficient, from medical treatments to picking up garbage or trash to the parade of flags! Nigerians should emulate this example, instead of being apathetic. We should not allow hunger and desperation to turn us into thugs for hire for the political class which intent on exploit our minor differences based on our ethnic, religious, state and regional diversity. We reap the benefits of our unity in diversity. We should cease and desist from letting our diversity become negative common denominators of which our inept politicians use to their own advantage and at the expense of our national purpose, cohesion and interests
It is clearly the case, that, Nigerians politicians, the fulcrum of more than sixty two registered political parties, are currently displaying constipated complacency over the abject poverty and the dire economic conditions in Nigeria which is now exemplified and symptomatic high crime rates and rising antisocial behaviors with consequent negative impact on the safety and security of lives and properties nationwide. Nigeria is now replete with increased spate of agitations, and clamor for separation between ethno, religious and cultural groups. There are even talks of secessions which could lead to increased violence, anarchy and even disintegration of Nigeria. And yet, Speaker Bankole does not see a problem or cause for revolt, uprising and revolution? Really, is this really the case?
It is true that Nigeria is not Egypt or Tunisia or Libya. It is a fact that Nigerians have not have to endure one man despot and despotic, dictatorial and tyrannical domination continuously for 30 years as was Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and over 20 years as was Ben Ali in Tunisia. But, apart from those differences, there are some other differences, some glaring, while others are subtle. Nigerians would not tolerate a one man dictatorship or despot for 30 years! Nigerians do not have such patience or tolerance!
However, even so, it is simply the case that a majority of Nigerians have live in abject and squalid economic, social and political condition for over 30 years! A prime example is value of our national currency the Naira, which was dramatically devalued in September 1986 without benefit to Nigerians and Nigeria. The Naira has remained in downward spiral with increased spate of volatility for almost 30 years!
Nigerians and Nigeria have had a messy, imperfect democracy since 1999 inauguration of the so-called new democratic dispensation and our democracy have remains nascent with baby steps in the most literal sense, even after these 11 plus years!
Nigeria is in the throes of an all important general elections after 50 years of flag independence and still, Nigerians across the spectrum and across the nation, lack basic essentials of human life, food and shelter etc Not to mention, steady electricity supply, or basic amenities such as clean water supply etc. Nigeria’s agricultural and food production sectors remain comatose. Nigeria’s health and education sectors have become decrepit as a consequence of years of abandonments and thorough neglects by our political leadership, who are bereft of creative political solutions, those who are bankrupt of ideas and yet, they are quick to announce that political upheavals, uprisings and revolutions will NEVER occur in Nigeria?
Who indeed gave such assurances, surety and guarantees to Speaker Dimeji Bankole?
Elections are upon us in Nigeria in a matter of months, and yet, issues Driven electioneering campaign steady electricity, clean water, full employment, safety and security of lives and properties and better life for all Nigerians... more opportunities to create greater wealth, health and happiness in Nigeria.
But instead, Nigerians at home and abroad continue to read and hear the self interested, self absorbed, self serving and selfish chatters and confrontations between and amongst the political class about more power and hence more life of wealth and opulence for themselves, without ever sparing a thought for the majority of Nigerians who continue to live in biting abject poverty, extreme suffering, hardship and desperation! Everyday stories and news spread of how various Nigerians politicians are turning their sons, wives, daughters and friends into selected club of political leadership as if Nigeria is now a monarchy in which public office follows familial hereditary devolutions.
Several Nigerians journalists, public intellectuals and commentators have recently stated that Nigerians can only dream of Egypt or Tunisia type uprising or revolution and I completely disagree. Nigerians have in the past revolted and engaged in revolutions which such to the compelled, sudden and premature departures of military governments and brutal dictators and Nigerians successfully did these decades before Egyptians and Tunisian could.
Nigerians accomplished these revolutions without Facebook, Twitter or other Social and Independent Media or Independent Journalism of the new Digital Revolution of this new era. Nigerians succeeded then without this new Digital Age with which to facilitate, coordinate and choreograph these Nigerian efforts at political revolutions! A Nigerian revolution compelled military dictator General Ibrahim Babangida to yield power!
It is in fact the case that a revolution in Nigeria is even more possible in the absence brutal military governments which Nigerians had to confront in the past. A revolution is more possible with the new digital age and a more open and interconnectedness in our new world made smaller in a global village made even smaller by internet!
The pronouncements by Speaker Dimeji Bankole seem to be saying of Nigerians to the world, “Let them eat cake” He comes across as blissfully ignorant of the abject human conditions with which Nigerians contend on a daily basis! We are left to wonder whether his comments arose from pure arrogance and overconfidence on his part. Does this mean that the Nigerian political class does believe that the Nigerian public is satisfied? Or is it that they are taken for granted?
What does Mr. Dimeji Bankole statements say about Nigerians? That we are docile, complicit and complacent in our own suffering, misery and dire situation? Are these facts or fictions about our situation? Are his assertions true? Are these true or false about us? Or are his statements symptomatic of constipated complacency on the part of political leadership? Speaker Bankole and Nigerian political class are apparently ignorant of the hardships in Nigeria. 150 million Nigerians should not let this slide. We should confront Speaker Bankole, the National Assembly of Nigeria and our government at all levels
The general elections are very close. The elections are in fact in couple of months. There are Nigerians who insist that our singular focus should be the fight against corruption, avarice and greediness. But we certainly can do both. Yes, we can do both! We can walk and talk, we can chew gum and cross the road... we should have multiple pronged approach... we should make our political leadership and private sector operator more accountable and transparent... there is too much suffering in the land... there is too much desperation in our homeland, it is time, yes, it is time, it is time to make our political leadership listen to the Nigerian public and the electorate... it is time for them to articulate their position on public issues and our national challenges! We should let our leaders feel the urgency of now!
The forthcoming general elections portray identical approach by politicians and their political parties. They show complete disregard and extreme contempt for fellow Nigerians. The politicians and their parties are not debating each other and focused on relevant substantial and significant national issues or challenges. Nigerians should loudly demand Issues Driven electioneering campaigns...such as steady electricity, clean water, full employment, safety and security of lives and properties and better life for all Nigerians... more opportunities to create greater wealth, health and happiness in Nigeria. Nigerians should loudly demand manifestos from the candidates and their political parties!
It is time for our Egypt MOMENT!
It is time to stop our political leadership from taking all of us for granted... It is time to stop them from talking over our heads and it is time for us to hold them to account... they constantly exhibit utter contempt for our people and we now have a new opportunity to make our feelings known!
Why should we, 150 million Nigerians allow our political leadership to be deaf and impervious to our reasonable expectations, hopes, desires and aspirations? The political class is currently absent from the negotiating table. They are not canvassing for our votes through campaigns or public debates of our national issues and challenges. The politicians are not driven by any particular ideology. They have neglected to stake their position on myriad public policies. They have neglected and refused to announce their stances on what concerns Nigerians, the electorate and generality of our public
Why are they not addressing or debating the plight of our national currency?
This is a general elections season in Nigeria, and yet, the politicians are only interested in and are focused on whom amongst themselves will be selected for various offices in our nation.... they are splendidly uninterested in our concerns... the daily existential concerns for food and shelter of our citizens
Why are they not addressing our national challenges, our national issues, our national of funk?
Nigerians are 150 million STRONG.... When are we going to say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH?
Why should we, 150 million Nigerians allow our political leadership to be deaf and impervious to our reasonable expectations, hopes, desires and aspirations? What assurances do we, Nigerians have that it would not be business as usual after the forthcoming elections?
There are currently no indications whatsoever that anything will change or that the human condition of Nigerians will change... as it is, it is the case that the politicians are not even debating how they may improve our conditions! It is the case that Nigerians have had cause to engage in uprising an political revolutions in the past. It is the case that peaceful demonstrations and protests which began in Tunisia in North Africa has since spread far and wide, including to such unlikely places as Belgium in Europe, as well as the state of Wisconsin, here in the United States where the citizens are in an uprising, revolt and revolution against Governor Walker for attempting to stifle unionism and collective bargaining.
Nigerians knew and practiced peoples’ power, uprising, revolts and revolutions, well before the recent spates of demands for democracy, freedoms and the rule of law in Tunisia, then the extraordinarily peaceful and diverse protests for 18 days in Egypt, which have be followed and emulated in Jordan, Bahrain, Jordan, Yemen, etc.
Nigerians have been through this way before the Nigerian Labor Congress, NLC, the Nigerian Bar Association or NBA, the Nigerian Medical Association or NMA, then PRONACO, NADECO and Nigerians of diverse background have unified in the past, across economic, education, religious, social-cultural class etc united to oppose Ibrahim Babangida and Sani Abacha.
Nigerians in unity and in diversity should unify again to oppose politicians who neglect our desires and aspirations. Nigerians rebelled against extreme draconian, repressive and brutal military dictatorships in the past; we surely can revolt against civilian administrations!
It is time for our Egypt MOMENT!