Apart from Moses who led the Israelites through their forty years sojourn in the wilderness, history does not record any person as the celebrated leader of any of the modern day marches to freedom.
From the French through the American to the most recent Tunisian revolutions, no one can be credited with the honour of staging an epoch-making people’s protest. At least, as far as I know.
Mohammed Bouazizi’s self-immolation might have triggered the Tunisian revolution, but even he did not envisage that Zine Ben Ali will flee as a result. He didn’t live to lead the people to the city centres and government buildings. His face and name may be permanently etched on the revolution poster but downtrodden Tunisians took their individual destiny into their hands. They mortgaged their present sad, uneventful lives in return for a truly democratic Tunisia that is to come.
The strength of mass movement lies in its composition: faceless, disenchanted, disenfranchised men, women, boys and girls determined to reclaim their lost glory. Take a look at the un-abating Tunisian public revolt and you will see the face of every unemployed Mohammed, poor Aziz and jobless Fatimah. That’s the faceless make up of Tunisia.
Nigerians want someone to lead this inevitable revolution. But there is no contented person- even if successful by dint of hard work- that will arouse the people to fight for their rights.
No, there’s none. Our Gani Fawehinmi is long gone.
Let’s stop waiting for a leader to lead us to the local government chairmen, councillors, commissioners, state governors, ministers, corrupt members of the clergy and members of the judiciary, thieving lawmakers and past or present presidents in our midst.
We, individually, wear the worn out shoe and know where it pinches.
Let each one of suffering Nigerians lead himself by walking the mile to his oppressors. When one is determined to claim money owed him, he does not storm the debtor’s home on the footstep of a leader.
It’s a matter of us, the creditors, versus them, the debtors.
We can’t canvass a jobless graduate to jump into the Lagoon or leap from the third Mainland bridge to orchestrate a mass revolt. Self-immolation is unknown to our culture. So too is cowardice. Let each confront his oppressors.
Listening to and reading online comments by Nigerians leaves one with the impression that all what is required is to set aside a date for this mass revolt. One does not know of an opportune time than the coming April general elections.
We must resolve to storm the streets should the declared results of the voting in any of the polling booths not match the wishes of the people. We mustn’t wait till a popular presidential candidate is cheated out of the race.
Elections are won or lost at each polling booth. No matter how hinterland the location, rigging starts from the minute voting is declared open. The coming elections provide a perfect motivation to take the fight to the oppressors should they be rigged.
The beautiful tomorrow of our dreams is at hand if we match corrupt politicians and their foot soldiers blow for blow and pound for pound.
Between now and then, the people must be sensitized on the urgency of this matter.
Some Nigerians, in their characteristic nature, readily dismiss the call for mass revolt as opportunistic, self-serving exercise. Others cite the country’s diverse ethnic make up, the people’s religiosity, and the bread and butter politics of the leaders as some of the challenges to staging a revolt in Nigeria.
But we know that ‘do-nothings’ will always find a ground to discourage others from taking action.
The trio of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, Algeria’s Abdelaziz Bouteflika and Yemen’s Ali Abdallah Saleh has zero tolerance to mass protests. In the past weeks, all three countries haven’t known peace. Egyptian online activists have just declared a ‘day of revolt, which, as I write, is in full fledge. A rarity in that country.
How provocative need a commentary be for it to rev up Nigerians to action?
Whereas Nigerians walk about with groaning that words can not express, their leaders live in revelry that legitimately earned wealth can not provide.
Let us not, again, be sold a lie that the leaders will get it right in 2011. If truly morning shows the day, we can already tell how the coming elections will end. ACN will rig out PDP in the southwest; PDP will ‘claim’ the north, south-south and southeast for itself, leaving only Anambra to honour Odumegwu Ojukwu. The signs for the latter are ominous: Jonathan has just appointed Bianca, ailing Ojukwu’s wife, as special assistant for Diaspora affairs, from APGA.
Those who promise free and fair elections are snatching and taking DDC machines to their living rooms, evil forests and empty warehouses to mass register their followers and non-Nigerians. Shouldn’t Delta State gubernatorial re-run warn us of this impeding charade of an election?
Come to think of it: are we saying the support line behind Jonathan Goodluck portends anything good? Have ageless Anthony Anenih, shameless Olusegun Obasanjo, highest bidder Jerry Gana, gullible Edwin Clark and moronic Dalhatu Tafida changed their nature?
Or do you suppose that a Tinubu and Bisi Akande-backed Ribadu presidency will bring about uhuru? What new unity sermon will Buhari preach that would present him as the anointed founder of a new Nigeria?
Our freedom from oppression must not be reduced to the conduction of free and fair elections. No matter who emerges as president or governors in April, drinkable water will still not flow, bad roads will not be mended, jobless graduates will continue to roam the streets and illicit capital flight will still be the order of the day!
This quest for a better tomorrow isn’t down to north versus south or the Yoruba against the Hausa/Fulani. The Igbos are not up against South southerners. Our oppressors do not distinguish between us when enslaving us.
The political class has failed us all- including the northern almajiris, southern loafers, south-south militants, southeast kidnappers etc.
Let me paint for you how shameless this political class is: Okwesilieze Nwodo started with the PDP in 1999, left sometime later to join the AC, then left AC (once the going was tough) back to PDP to become its chairman! Atiku was in PDP, left for AC but now back to PDP. Buhari was with ANPP and has now formed his own party, CPC. Ribadu hunted Tinubu whom he accused of corruption but is now kow towing to him in order to win the presidency. Nigeria’s stolen wealth is being used to fund ‘incorrigible’ Ribadu. I hear Audu Ogbeh, former chairman of PDP and member of Adamu Ciroma led wise men that chose Atiku as the north’s PDP presidential candidate, has now pitched tent with Ribadu’s campaign team!
One can go on and on.
Now that Nwodo has been expelled from PDP, ACN will welcome him simply because of his election rigging potential. The last word hasn’t been heard from irrepressible Atiku. Ship abandonment is one of his specialties. Jonathan has secured Babangida’s support. A compromise must have been struck.
Aren’t these the people we entrust our future to? To them, there is nothing like national interest. It’s the self before the collective.
This revolution is not against the PDP, ACN, Labour Party, CPC, CNPP or any of the political parties in Nigeria. Our anger isn’t directed at the person of Goodluck Jonathan and his band of ‘it’s our turn’ spokespersons; neither are we up against Adamu Ciroma and his ‘turn-by-turn’ politics.
This movement is against unwarranted death through hunger in the land of plenty. We shall march against mass unemployment in the knowledge of our stolen, un-invested billions of dollars. Let our cry be against preventable deaths on our roads, insecurity in our neighbourhoods and mortuaries called hospitals.
This revolution shall not be about Nuhu Ribadu’s candidacy, Babangida’s theft, Atiku’s inordinate ambition, Obasanjo’s senile utterances or Tinubu’s thuggery.
It’s about the demand for basic amenities like flowing pipe borne water, constant, and not epileptic, electricity supply. Why should we be selling electricity to neighbouring countries when, on the average, Nigerians don’t have it for more than an hour? When will charity begin in our homes?
Our agitation shall be about reforming the country along the lines of equality, accountability, merit and value-based public service and impeccable service delivery.
We shall revolt against corruption.
Let us confront nepotism. Nigeria is not the family property of the Sarakis, the Tinubus, the Obasanjos, the Segun Osobas and the Lam Adesinas of this world.
Should any of the aforementioned political parties or personalities stand in our way to freedom, their case shall be like that of a train wreck.
Like India’s Hindus traditional practice of dharna, let us exact justice for the atrocious years of want inflicted on us by those mean leaders by sitting and fasting at the doorsteps of our oppressors until our demands are granted.
As we dilly dally, opportunists are strategizing to occupy positions that will enable them sabotage our efforts. It’s in man’s nature to foil commendable plans. We too have the means to stop them in their tracks.
If we miss this opportunity, we have ourselves to blame. Certainly, our children will seek to know our part in the struggle to reclaim Nigeria.