In circulation all over Nigeria was a very moving quote by Howard Zinn, an American historian, playwright, and socialist thinker: “Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience…Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves… (and) the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.”
For a reason not far-fetched, Nigerians have been sharing this poignant comment by Howard Zinn on popular social media platforms, especially the WhatsApp. In summation, a tired, dejected and battered people have come to accept the obvious that the people have been captured by the ravenous ruling elites. Unfortunately, everything is being done to put a curb on free speech and gag the people from challenging, speaking and protesting against the burden of oppression.
The civic space is fast shrinking, and sadly there was no Kakaaki Social to highlight their frustrations and lift their souls. Fundamental human rights in Nigeria are under attack in various ways.
It is not debatable that the responses of Nigerians to #RevolutionNow protests, the quote by Howard Zinn and several other issues agitating the polity would have been significantly captured and highlighted on Kakaaki Social on the morning of 7 August 2019, being the one-year anniversary of this popular breakfast show that took the nation by storm.
In less than six months, the fear of the 20 minutes program which birthed and aired on Nigeria’s premier private television, Africa Independent Television, and formed the social media segment of the most popular breakfast show in Nigeria– Kakaaki, and highlighting trending conversations on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, became the beginning of wisdom for the government of the day.
Kakaaki social became that 20-minute prime show that was daily bridging the gap between the traditional media and new media, and which no one wanted to miss. Although reviled by a few, especially the state and its highly corrosive agents, but it was highly embraced by the overwhelming majority. It changed Nigeria’s media landscape and brought to the home and office everyone with a television set that can tune to AIT and a phone that can stream, the unabridged truth daily expressed by Nigerians on the social media.
And to give everyone the opportunity to keep up with it, a recorded version was daily uploaded on the internet for the viewership of those who missed out on the live version. It was a complete multimedia show that tasked and revealed the ingenuity of Mr. Ohimai Godwin Amaize, the man behind this exceptional innovation.
The latest and extended crackdown on free speech has now revealed to me that indeed the Kakaaki Social show was an emerging revolution of a sort in Nigeria that the regime cannot keep up with. They saw it as a program that was challenging the status quo and gradually encouraging and empowering the people to speak out against injustice and reveal hard truths.
Tyrants anywhere cannot stand the test of public scrutiny. But before they struck, they had to no avail, recruited mercenaries to destroy the image of the program and the man behind it, also known as Mr. Fix Nigeria. Option B was activated through the broadcast regulatory agency, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), alleging treason and incitement, to stop the program. As that appeared to be failing, option C was activated – to arrest, detain and persecute Amaize under some weird and trumped-up allegations.
Aided by information, Mr. Fix Nigeria was advised to flee a country that he had come to cherish so much, despite its failings. And sadly, another truth departed Nigeria, giving the people another reason to take their destinies in their own hands. This is not the end of Kakaaki Social and certainly not the end of Amaize’s intervention in project Nigeria. He is not detached from Nigeria or cocooned to become disinterested, in his foreign abode, but I can tell Nigerians that this young man of substance is deftly planning, but not plotting, to still fix many things about our country.
You cannot tame a man whose idea has come.
Gen. Muhammadu Buhari spoke about the “revolution of the ballot box,” Asiwaju Bola Tinubu mooted the “revolution of the common sense,” but I will like to warn the ravenous ruling elites ahead that the “revolution of the oppressed” is coming. It is coming, it will be forced by a shrinking civil space. It will not be coordinated by anyone since the state has decided to clampdown on activists who have been helping the country to deflate tension in our localities and in the fringes.
While the killings and alarming level of insecurity and poverty are gradually consuming the land and the state is unable to protect the people, we should not expect the people to remain inactive forever.
When the civil society reacts to issues and when activists go out to protest, they are in every sense assuaging the aggrieved not take the law into their hands. They are advertently giving them a sense of justice and belonging. But when there is no room to ventilate these feelings and concerns through Kakaaki Social and other media they cherish, and when contentious forces have no sense of airing their grievances, there will be a practical demonstration of these feelings which could put the country on the edge and result into the unthinkable.
Only justice, truth, and good governance can heal the land.
As I congratulate the Kakaaki Social team for giving Nigerians a sense of hope, until the state struck, I will like to urge them to give us another ingenious way of sustaining the program. Kakaaki Social is an idea whose time has come. I also wish to assure Mr. Ohimai Godwin Amaize, that he is not alone in this struggle. We are with him. May God bless you and your family. Congratulations to Kakaaki Social @One.
Let me also use this opportunity to still remind the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to wake from its slumber and rise to its responsibility of defending Nigeria’s civic spaces and the constitutionally guaranteed rights of her citizen.” Nigerians are already held captive by the corrupt revolution of the corrupt ruling elites who have since captured the country to serve their greed and water the tree of corruption. But it will not last forever. Revolution is coming.
Ariyo-Dare Atoye is a civil rights activist and the Convener, Coalition in Defence of Nigeria’s Democracy and Constitution