HOW AFRICANS UNDER DEVELOP AFRICA by Wakdok Samuel Stephen

“HOW AFRICANS UNDER DEVELOP AFRICA ”

 

CredoWriters: Wakdok, Samuel Stephen.

 

 

Recalling our undergraduate days in the University of Jos , many of us in the department of Economics like others in Sociology, History, Political Science, Law etc were captivated by Walter Rodney’s book “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa”. The title was as inviting to those with Marxist philosophy/leanings as much as the content of the book. Dr. Rodney’s book is a clarion call for us to regret colonialism and chat down neo-colonialism. Of course the West has exploited and still exploits Africa ; her land, resources and people, but have they always done this alone? Has the West whether as explorers or colonialists, as investors or neo-colonialists, as Aid providers or Creditors succeeded in exploiting Africa without the active collaboration of Africans?

 

Without confining Walter Rodney’s book or title of his book to the recess of history, rather in trying to juxtapose his work on the reality that has revealed itself over time we must seek to elucidate “How Africans under develop Africa”. It is inundating and heart breaking to x-ray why Africa is underdeveloped and how Africans are still under developing Africa .

 

In pre-colonial Africa , it was Africans who raided villages and towns especially on the west coast, captured fellow Africans and sold them as slaves to the white slave drivers. Lagos thrived on this and king Kosoko was very comfortable with slave trade in his domain. No sooner had Spain pulled out of Western Sahara in 1976 than Morocco invaded and annexed the territory. In spite of all the international outcry and pressure, atrocities are still committed against the people of Western Sahara .

 

The capitalists assisted Mobuto Sese Seko to kill Patrice Lumumba in Congo renamed Zaire and now DR Congo. His remains was burnt to ashes, put in a plane and scattered over the country to prevent even his ghost from resurrecting. Mobuto went on to become one of the worst despots of all times and was richer than his country until the rebel forces of Laurent Kabila pushed him out in May 1997. Today after nearly two decades of wars and conflicts, DR Congo is among the most dangerous countries in the word. Despites having the largest contingent of UN Peace keepers in the world; it has been dubbed the rape capital of the world because of the mass velocity of rapes especially in its eastern region by both government and rebel forces.

When Idi Amin Dada took over power in Uganda in 1971 he taught the world a hybrid of what illiteracy, cruelty and power drunkenness can do. He did not spare any one be it his wife, Central Bank Governor, Archbishop or judges. Before he was ousted by Tanzania forces (and Milton Obote guerellas) in 1979 he had turned Uganda ’s currency into toilet money and littered the streets of Uganda with blood of 300,000 Ugandans and Asians. Yoweri Museveni came to office in 1986 as a soldier and shouted to the world that the problem of Africa were despotic leaders. He just won another presidential term to rule Uganda despite opposition’s claims of rigging the elections. Joseph Koni’s the lord resistance Army rebel forces have been fighting a war in northern Uganda with atrocities like rape and limb cutting spreading into South Sudan, Central African Republic .

 

Robert Gabriel Mugabe became the white man’s nemesis in the then Southern Rhodesia after he successfully fought both the British colonialists and Ian Smith who had declared unilateral independence from Britain . A charismatic leader took Zimbabwe to independence in 1980 and it became one of the best economies in Africa . Today Mugabe is gunning for another term in 2012, and has helped the West to wreck Zimbabwe ’s economy with sanctions. Zimbabwe had the sole privilege of achieving what was called “run-away inflation” hitting millions in percent of inflation at the height of its economies and printing single currency of billion Zimbabwean dollars. One third of Zimbabweans live in exile or are seeking economic/political asylum.

 

The United States and Apartheid South African backed rebel forces UNITA led by Jonas Savimbi fought one of the bitterest civil wars Africa had ever seen in Angola against the Marxist regime of Dos Santos. It took the killing of Savimbi in February 2002 for the war to end. Today Angola is trying to rebuild but decades of war and Jose’ Eduardo Dos Santos 36 years in power have not improved the lot of average Angolans.

 

Master Sergeant Samuel Doe who shot himself into power in 1981 took Liberia to the brink until the civil war led by Charles Taylor broke out in 1989. The war destabilised the region of West Africa with many lives lost both citizens and peace keepers; and scattered Liberian refugees across West Africa for about 20 years. The war also spread to Sierra Leone because of the urge to control its diamond as a financing tool. Many citizens were brutally murdered and many others who survived were left limbless. Ivory Coast which was the model of political and economic stability and it once housed the headquarters of the African Development Bank had its serenity shattered after the 1999 coup of General Guei. The world’s number one producer of Cocoa experienced a bitter civil war between 2000 and 2003. The last presidential election stand off between Laurent Gbagbo and Allasan Quattara almost took Ivory Coast back to the precipice.

 

Togo, Gabon and Guinea all had despots who ruled for over 30 years with Togo and Gabon having the sons succeeding their fathers. Equatorial Guinea with its oil wealth has less than a million people. Yet the oil wealth has not improved the lot of the populace but only the family and cronies of President Teodore Obiang Nguema Mbasago who has spent over thirty years in power. He is also a past chairman of the African Union which boasts of a good number of sit tight leaders. Little wonder the African Peer Review Mechanism cannot add much value to Africa

 

The wars between North and South Sudan which ended with the Comprehensive Pease Agreement of 2005 led to the independence of the South in July 2011 after more than a million deaths in one of Africa ’s longest wars. Western Sudan has also seen enough carnage since 2002 where the government back janjaweed have been attacking the people of Darfur creating the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Omar El Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of Genocide. Sudan was the first international headquarters of al qaeda which has seen the distribution of terrorism around Africa and the word.

 

Somalia ’s case is seemingly hopeless, that country is the number one failed state in the world. After years of misrule by former leaders they have gone for twenty years without a functional government with tribal war lords, pirates and lately the Islamic extremist al shabash making the country lawless. About a million Somalis are now at the risk of death because of famine in the horn of Africa . Chad and Niger house the poorest regions of the world. The 2008 post election violence in Kenya left over a thousand people dead, closely replicated by the 2011 post election violence in Nigeria which killed over two hundred people.

 

The story of Nigeria is a pathetic one. Once baptised the giant of Africa , a country with rich human and natural resources has been brought to the brink due to years of bad leadership. The mother of all carnages took place in Rwanda as the 1994 Rwandan genocide left an estimated one million people dead in 100 days. Sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch in the landlocked Swaziland only parades virgins on a yearly basis to choose a new wife from annually. He is mostly abroad and spends little or no time in his country.

The northern part of Africa which seemed to be better off economically was in the firm grip of despots. Revolutions in that part have left thousands dead, scattered the economies and disrupted tourism which was their mainstay. Libya ’s Gaddafi has given the west an excuse to seek to re-colonise that country

From North to South, East to West except for a few countries and leaders, the story of Africa is the same. Economic woes, insecurity, civil wars, internal strives and conflicts, ethnic and religious cleansing, looting of public wealth, capital flight, lack of infrastructure and capacity development have become the hallmarks of Africa’s underdevelopment. With the vast presence of arable lands, ironically Africa is heavily dependent on food imports and food aids. With cheap and abundant labour, Africa cannot generate employment to transform her economy and empower her people.

The elasticity of corruption in Africa is like an unchained spirit. Trillions of dollars meant for the development of the continent have been stolen and stashed in foreign lands by African leaders both dead and living, past and present. The penchant for misuse of public goods and massive show of shamelessness are so high.

Everything the developed West have ever done is first to secure the future of their citizens, but the reverse is the case in Africa . The military dictatorships in Latin America and Indonesia laid solid foundations for those regions economic success stories of today, where as the military juntas in Africa regrettably were the very ones who institutionalised corruption. The Greeks gave the world democracy, The Romans gave the world the Senate, the British gave the world a Parliament, and the United States gave the world the Presidency. In all these we see a commitment by both the leaders and the led to develop a system which will drive the transformation of their polity, economy and people. Democratic regimes have not done much to expedite the cause of Africa’s transformation; rather countries like Nigeria operate the most expensive yet wasteful democracies in the world. Africans have the highest impudence at breaking laws and over the years the rule of law does not hold any significance in the lives of the people especially those who have access to the tools of power. No African country is likely to the Millennium Development Goals by the target year of 2015, as basic as these goals are like poverty reduction, water and sanitation, reduction in infant and maternal mortality among the others. While people and leaders in other parts of the world are making progress to improve their nations and people, Africans are deliberately making efforts to under develop Africa . Africa has been underdeveloped with the blood of Africans on the streets of Africa more by fellow Africans than anyone else. Shame!

Occupy Nigeria! A Protest or A REVOLUTION or Both

This is a note i posted jan last year (2012) about The Occupy Nigeria nationwide protestsagainst the unjustifike hiking of fuel prices on Jan 1,2012 by the Jonathan govt.Now i want to repost it as a remider of the sacrifices and resistance of nigerians against that unjust govt policy and how it forced the govt to quickly review the price downwards and a trigger of events in the country’s parliament and how it nearly led to an Arab Spring style revolution in Nigeria.I have also used part of this note in my series Revolution in Nigeria :A Dream or possibility part 4. Enjoy reading this review of my previous note with same headline.

 

The nationwide protests that followed the removal of fuel subsidy and the increase in fuel price, no doubt, crippled the country and made the government jittery.Lets examine the protests which have been likened to the uprisings in the Arab world

 

Starting with the signing of a protest register at the Eagle Square, Abuja, which was organised by a group led by a former member of the House of Representatives, Dino Melaye, the protests against the removal of fuel subsidy announced on January 1, grew into a significant mass action across Nigeria and other parts of the world.

The protest, which was named ‘Occupy Nigeria,’ combined with the industrial strike by the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress, not only drew out thousands of people at different locations, it also grounded the country for about a week and dominated both mass and social media.

United protest

 

At a period when southerners are leaving the North in droves due to the attacks on Christians by the Boko Haram sect; and northerners, mostly Muslims, are returning home from the South, the protest achieved the feat of uniting both Christians and Muslims.

 

A prominent feature in the Kano rallies, which was second largest after Ojota, Lagos rallies, was a banner that read, ‘Muslims and Christians are united against the removal of fuel subsidy.’ There were also reports that Christians guarded Muslims during their prayers to forestall possible attacks and vice versa.

Protests also held in different forms in all the six geopolitical zones of the country. However, the South-East and the South-South were the weakest links.

To buttress the unity of Nigerians in the protest, the leader of the Save Nigeria Group, Pastor Tunde Bakare said, “Our unity and peaceful co-existence is never in doubt here. No matter what any individual or group may have done to create friction among us, we remain united and determined to unite as one.”

 

Foreign protests

 

The wide condemnation of the sudden removal of fuel subsidy went beyond the borders of the country, igniting protests by Nigerians in the Diaspora. Starting in London it spread to the parts of the US and other countries, including South Africa, Ghana, Canada, Australia and Finland.

These protests were similar to the ones that held in the country, featuring placards, chanting and dancing, and intermittent speeches that held in front of Nigerian embassies in these countries as well as at the International Monetary Fund office in Washington and the UN headquarters in New York.

Foreigners were not left out of the demonstrations as they also joined the protests to register their sympathy.

The role of opposition parties

Despite Federal Government’s claims that the protest was hijacked and was being sponsored by politicians, analysts have observed that major opposition parties failed to use the protest as an opportunity to score points on popularity.

The two biggest opposition parties – the Action Congress of Nigeria and the Congress for Progressive Change – had no clear representation at the rallies and their positions as political parties were not clearly communicated, even though some of the principals made notable contributions.

 

For example, Bakare, who was the running mate to Muhammadu Buhari, CPC’s presidential candidate at the April 2011 election, was one of the leaders of the protest, but he was leading the Save Nigeria Group and swayed no visible advantage to the CPC.

A professor of political economy and management expert, Pat Utomi, said it would be wrong for anyone to say that the protest was hijacked by politicians.

He said, “Anybody saying that the protest was hijacked by politicians does not understand democracy. Politicians should hijack the protest. I think opposition political parties did very well in the protest.”

 

The National Assembly stood with the people

 

The House of Representatives made, perhaps, the most people-focused resolution in its history, when it demanded that the executive revert to N65 per litre for petrol, in its emergency session on the night before the strike began.

On January 8, after an exhaustive debate on the issue of the removal of fuel subsidy, the House of Representatives passed a resolution urging the executive arm of government to suspend the decision while at the same time urging the organised labour to call off its planned strike and submit to further dialogue on the matter.

Notably, the House also went ahead to empanel an Ad-Hoc Committee to enhance mediation and conciliation while offering hope to aggrieved Nigerians.

 

Though without a resolution, the leadership of the Senate also advised the President to revert to the old fuel price and continue consultation on how to fully deregulate the petroleum downstream sector.

While describing the Jonathan’s refusal to budge as dictatorial, Utomi said the president rebuffed the voice of the people which was expressed formally through the resolution of the House of Representatives, and informally through the street protests.

 

Protest leaders

 

Although the protests were largely spontaneous, with people finding different ways to express their dissatisfaction over the removal of the fuel subsidy and the timing, some persons provided leadership for the angry crowds.

At the Lagos rallies which mainly held at the Gani Fawehinmi Park, which has been dubbed ‘Freedom Square,’ hundreds of people took the stage to cheer on the protesters that grew daily to an estimated figure of over one million last Friday, the fifth day of the nationwide strike. This was replicated in many other towns and cities in the country.

Prominent among the leaders were human rights lawyer, Femi Falana; Yinka and Joe Odumakin, Tunde Bakare, Pat Utomi, Shehu Sani, Dino Melaye, NLC president, Abdulwaheed Omar, TUC President, Peter Esele.

Also not left out were families of the late activists such as Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and human right lawyer, Gani Fawehinmi, who was popularly known as the ‘Senior Advocate of the Masses’.

Kuti’s sons – Femi and Seun — as well as some of his daughters represented their father well, speaking brashly against the government as he did even military regimes.

 

Similarly, Gani’s family led by his son, Mohammed, and wife, Ganiat, reacted very much the same way the late activist would have reacted.

In one of his several speeches, Bakare said, “The new found spirit, the general strike and citizens action which followed the January 1, 2012 117 per cent increase in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit has proved a defining moment in the history of our country and one from which the correct lessons must be learnt and matters arising squarely dealt with in order to deepen our democracy and ensure that our country is never run again in the old way.”

On his own part, Falana said, “It is unfortunate that Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, who rode to power on the basis of the series of protests held in Lagos and Abuja by civil society organisations, can deploy armed troops to attack the same forces. As the militarisation of Lagos cannot be justified under the law, I assure President Goodluck Jonathan that I shall challenge the brazen violation of my fundamental rights to freedom of movement, expression and association guaranteed by the Constitution and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights at the Federal High Court.”

 

Results of protest

 

Despite the fact that the labour unions called off the strike after government reduced the fuel price to N97 per litre, many believed the protest has yet to end.

However, a list of the gains of the protest so far, will include the education of the masses, who are now more acquainted with details of the budget, government spending and the happenings in the oil and gas industry; reduction of the fuel price; the probe of the petroleum subsidy administration by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

 

According to former Sports Minister, Chief Alex Akinyele, the end of the strike marked the beginning of another struggle, spurred by the revelation of the depth of corruption in government.

“We thank God that it ended the way it did. It is the beginning of another struggle because the suspension of the strike has not ended the whole issue. The crisis made us to know the depth of corruption going on in that sector. Even if we escaped the calamity of this crisis, another bigger calamity is awaiting us as a nation, because a lot of revelations were made, which I believe have generated a lot of questions on how some people feed fat on the nation,” he said.

In the same vein, Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola, said the protest was, “a most welcome transformation of our democracy in the sense that it provokes a discussion of economic policies and this inevitably may result in political debate.”

 

Deployment of soldiers and democracy

 

Although the deployment of soldiers in the streets and protest venues in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and some other parts of the country, seemed to have ended the protests, civil right groups had vowed to continue.

However, the resumed protest would go beyond the fuel subsidy removal and the demand for accountability in governance, especially in the petroleum industry, it would include calls for the impeachment of the president for breaching democratic processes and using the military to repress public opinion.

Despite Fashola’s plea, the Federal Government has refused to withdraw the soldiers, resulting in new protests by several groups notably, the National Action Coalition of Democratic Forces led by Prof. Ben Nwabueze, Balarabe Musa, Tunji Braithwaite, Utomi, and many other prominent Nigerians.

 

The Director, Muslim Rights Concern, Dr. Ishaq Akintola, said, “The presence of soldiers on the streets is an attempt to frustrate protesters from attending anti-subsidy removal rallies. Drafting armed soldiers to confront civilians who are merely expressing their displeasure is, to say the least, symptomatic of a dictatorial regime.”

Similarly, Prof. Wole Soyinka said it was, “a gross violation of the right of citizens to congregate and give expression to whatever grievances bedeviling their existence. The occupation of Lagos does not credit this regime and must be reversed. The kindest that can be said of it is that it is an aberration.”

Personality insult on the president

 

Protesters in different parts of the country carried placards with inscriptions abusing the president, while some carried coffins portraying Jonathan as dead.

 

It was not restricted to the country; Nigerians protesting in other countries also insulted and ridiculed the president. For instance, in South Africa, protesters under the aegis of Nigerian Union in Gauteng carried a placard, which read, ‘N1bn for food: Are you eating Louis Vuitton rice and Gucci beans?’

 

Similarly, Nigerians in New York, under the aegis of Nigeria Democratic Liberty Forum, during their three-day marches and rallies in front of the United Nations Headquarters, New York, carried a banner with the inscription ‘Badluck Jonathan must go.’

Perhaps one of the most remarkable was a banner hoisted at the Ojota rally which read, “The book of Masses Chapter 1 vs 1 says ‘What shall it profit Badluck Jonathan to gain this whole money and die like Sani Abacha,’ says the masses (sic).”

 

The Internet and the social media

 

Unlike the Arab Spring, where the social media exacerbated the protests which included some level of violence, Nigerians used the social media to make jokes out of the protest, which many believe minimised the chances of violence.

People extensively used online social networks like the Blackberry Messenger, Twitter and Facebook, to circulate information on the progress of the protest, facts on outrageous government spending and corruption, as well as phone numbers of the president, top government officials, former president and heads of states, governors, members of the National Assembly and oil magnates.

 

For instance, an on-air personality had tweeted, “My name is Frank Edoho… This is Who Wants To Be A Millionaire… The next question is for 50 litres of petrol…”

A widely circulated Facebook post also read, “Most dictators started like people who couldn’t even hurt a fly until their advisers turned them (in)to animals. That’s the same issue here.”

 

Protest venues get rebirths

 

The Jubilee Square in Kano City, Kano State was renamed Liberation Square by the protesters. Similarly, the Gani Fawehinmi Park, was also named Nigeria’s Tahrir Square.

The same happened in Ilorin, Kwara State, where the popular Post Office Junction was renamed Muyideen Mustapha Freedom Square, after the young graduate who was allegedly killed by police bullet on the second day of protest.

Comparison with Arab Spring

 

The unprecedented uprising of the Arab people, beginning in Tunisia, December 2010, throughout 2011, till date, resulting in the presidents of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya being toppled, emphasised the power of the people.

The success of the protests in these countries encouraged people to rise against oppressive governments in countries such as Syria, Yemen, and recently Russia.

 

In the wake of the protest against the removal of fuel subsidy, which led to the calls for the impeachment of the president, and the resignation of some of his cabinet ministers, some termed it the first ‘Black Spring.’

While the protests raged, a cleric, Rev. Francis Ajakaye, had urged Nigerians to “Emulate the Libyans, Egyptians and others who fought for justice until they chased out those who caused them hardship.”

 

Considering its spontaneity, the volume of people that took to the street across the country and abroad, and the use of the social media in recruiting protesters, sharing information and sustaining the protest, the Occupy Nigeria protest has been said to be similar to the Arab Spring, particularly the Egypt episode.

However, in terms of sustenance, violence, uniformity of the goal, organisation, intensity of anger and outcome, Occupy Nigeria seems to be different.

While the goal of the protesters in Egypt was to remove Hosni Mubarak as president, and that of the Libya National Transformation Council, was to overthrow the 42-year-old rule of late Muammar Gaddafi, the initial goal of the protest in Nigeria was to revert the fuel pump price to N65 per litre, then the probe of the petroleum industry and prosecution of those who defrauded the country through the misappropriation of funds meant for subsidising petroleum products, with other ancillary demands.

 

Has govt learnt a lesson or the people have been fooled(or appeared so).Are people wiser now? Time will tell

The Shocking Details Of How Labour Betrayed The Mass Protests.(Occupy Nigeria)

And They Killed #OccupyNigeria: An Insider Reveals The Shocking Details Of How Labour Betrayed The Mass Protests.

 

Ekekeee.com is vouching for the authenticity of the account below, but has chosen not to reveal the identity of the author to protect him from harm and victimization.

 

By Comrade X

 

I was uncomfortable the moment I received the Mail above. Who wouldn’t be? In the heat of the Occupy Nigeria protests along with the NLC strike, we were being summoned to Abuja for a meeting. Equally unnerving is the announcement that the Airspace would be temporarily opened to facilitate the meeting.

 

When a Viable Union meets a Recalcitrant Government, something’s got to give. Until the January 2012 watershed, Nigerians had become used to the Oshiomole-esque kind of strike, and the pattern had become predictable. The Government announces an increment, NLC demands a ‘status quo or nothing’ and all of a sudden, pulls a volte face and goes into negotiations.

 

The Obasanjo government had, between 1999-2007, hiked the pump price successively from N20 to N 30 (June 1, 2000), amidst mass action, came down to N 25, and eventually bent further to N 22, on June 13 the same year. On January 1, 2002, Obasanjo increased the petrol pump price from N 22 to N 26 , and on June 23, 2003, just after he was sworn-in for his second term as president, Obasanjo again increased the fuel price to N34 and then to N40.Obasanjo’s administration actually hiked the price of fuel seven times with the last one on May 27, 2007, two days to his exit from office, when he raised it from N65 to N70.

 

The Yar Adua administration was burdened with the unpleasant task of negotiating an ‘inherited’ decision with the Labour Union, and reversed the N70 pump price to N65. Intense negotiations however continued on the deregulation of the downstream sector.

 

The Oil and Gas Unions, PENGASSAN and NUPENG gave a conditional support for deregulation; that the ‘government must provide the necessary succour and palliative measures to assuage the impact of import-driven deregulation within the set timeframe’

 

PENGASSAN also provided a further condition, that the ‘Original PIB, as drafted by the Rilwanu Lukman Oil and Gas Sector Implementation Committee (OGIC) be implemented’. The Petroleum Industry Bill, as originally drafted, was to eventually end Government interference in the Oil and Gas Sector, and eventually provide a framework for the growth of the Oil Industry and end the inherent Corruption spawned from a Subsidized Market that was import driven.

 

The Goodluck Jonathan administration, amidst a façade of intense consultation, would spin a notorious surprise on January 1, 2012 with a 117% increment from N65 to N141.

 

For the first time in the history of pump price hike, protests sprang from a Rag-Tag team of Youths while Labour was still sprawling from lethargy. The Occupy Nigeria logo and T-Shirts sprang up and spates of peaceful demonstrations commenced.

 

Eventually, the NLC/TUC would announce an ‘Indefinite Strike Action’ commencing January 9, 2012.

 

Consequently, PENGASSAN issued the directive below to members:

 

January 8, 2012

 

To All Branches, Zones and CWC members

 

RE: STRIKE DIRECTIVE

 

This is to inform all members of the CWC, Zonal & Branch Executive Committee that the indefinite strike action scheduled from Monday January 9, 2012 in protest against Government approach to Subsidy Removal will go on as directed.

 

The strike Monitoring Teams at all levels shall ensure that essential services are maintained while all our members are strongly advised to stay at home.

 

The strike monitoring teams shall go round to assess compliance and give reports through the Team Leaders.

 

The National Secretariat shall give all information and directive on further development.

 

Aluta Continua!! Victoria Asserta!!

 

At this time, I had joined the ‘Rag-Tag Team’. Setting out to Ojota in the wee hours of January 9th 2012 did not come without apprehensions. Parents who saw the horrors of the June 12 agitations did not want their children involved in any struggle. Moreover, Nigerians had begun to see protests as ‘NLC declared Public Holidays’ at the end of each Strike, pump prices never get reverted to status quo ante. I went, anyway, and before my eyes, I saw the gathering grow to a record ground-breaking watershed that sent strong signals to the Jonathan administration. Not so many Nigerians would realise the level of fear the Ojota Rallies generated in the heart of government, and even Labour Leaders.

 

For the next five days, I’d set out to Ojota, and by evening, hold meetings and plot strategies for the next day.

 

NLC’s decision to go into negotiations with the Government in spite of the earlier stance of ‘Revert first, we discuss later’ sent the first distress signal for the heavy blow that would be dealt the Occupy Nigeria movement.

 

The Save Nigeria Group (SNG) switched the strategy and methodology of protests in Nigeria. Until January 9th, Nigerian protests had been limited to Tyre burnings, and long marches. No one had ever thought gathering in one spot could make such an impact. SNG was however, not alone. Loose coalitions emerged all over, with Ikoyi spinning a great surprise, Corporate Moguls, Celebrities, Medical Directors, amongst others joined the throng. No one would forget Ali Baba’s Truck in a hurry.

 

For me, the high-point was seeing Muhammed Fawehinmi, the Son of the late human-rights activist/legal luminary, Chief Gani Fawehinmi coming for the Rally in his Wheelchair.

 

There however, remained a grey-area/loop-hole the Government would cash into: The Convener of the Save Nigeria Group was the running mate of General Buhari in the 2011 elections. This normally would mean nothing in a sane society where freedom of speech/association is sacrosanct. Unfortunately, in a Winner-Takes-All society like ours, IT IS A CRIME TO BE IN THE OPPOSITION! The ballot is meant to be the bullet that kills your Freedom of Speech!

 

It is worthy of note, however, that when the Late Chief Gani Fawehinmi became silent shortly after running for Presidency under the flag of his National Conscience Party, the general populace appealed to him not to be quiet. But then, that’s another musing for another day.

 

Against this backdrop, I found the Abuja summons unnerving and initially resolved not to go. What if the meeting turned out to be a ‘Settlement Meeting’?

 

My good friend, Gbenga Sesan as well as others in the ‘Rag-Tag team’ asked me a question: ‘If you do not go, how would you know what happened?’ At that point, I made up my mind to go, and ensure I cover my Transportation expenses myself. That would be another obstacle, considering the Strike and the draining out of most ATM machines at that time. Gbenga facilitated my ticket fare to Abuja and I got some personal funds on standby for my return.

 

By Saturday, January 14th 2012, I had met with other PENGASSAN members and we headed for Abuja. We had arrived at the Hotel venue before it all became clear: All Labour Leaders from NLC/TUC had been summoned to Abuja! As a matter of fact, in a ‘We know where you live’ manner, we were lodged in the same hotel wing. This was coming on the heels of the directive issued by PENGASSAN to commence a Systematic Shutdown from midnight of that same Saturday the 14th January, 2012.

 

The Hotel was a hub of events, from Reporters nodding off on chairs clutching their Panasonic to Union leaders split into several camps, from those sympathetic to GEJ to those who had been part of the Ojota and Abuja rallies and wanted nothing but a total showdown. Apparently fed up with the NLC/TUC leadership insisting on the fact that they were accountable to various NEC (National Executive Council) members, they had been told to summon us all to Abuja. I would later discover upon checking out of the Hotel that all Hotel Bills (Lodging and Feeding) were on NLC/TUC account; that was huge, considering the number of Unions and Leaders.

 

A lot of Nigerians might not know this, but NUPENG and PENGASSAN were/are still licking the wounds sustained in the 1994 June 12 actualization struggle. Pascal Bafyau of the NLC had betrayed NUPENG/PENGASSAN when the Oil Workers’ Union went ahead with the Shutdown. Pascal Bafyau (NLC) walked free while Frank Kokori (NUPENG) and Milton Dabibi (PENGASSAN) went to jail and remained in Prison Custody without trial till June 16th 1998, a week after the death of General Abacha.

 

The likes of Asari Dokubo had been making personal calls to threaten the Leadership of the Oil Workers’ Union.

In spite of all these, PENGASSAN NEC meeting held that evening in the Hotel. Tribal/Political sentiments were rife at the onset, ‘nothing must happen to Jonathan’, ‘the day you kill a madman, na im you go know say e get family’ ‘we should not be used by these Politicians, is it Bakare that did not even win a Local government?’ In essence, those who went to negotiate directly with Government had claimed that the Lagos struggle had been ‘hijacked by Politicians’ .Comrade Peter Esele himself had said ‘We’ve lost Lagos (to Politicians), we’d have lost Abuja too, but we were there to make sure the Politicians did not hijack it’.

 

The PENGASSAN Chairman presided over the PENGASSAN meeting. Along the line, we were addressed by one of the 1994 PENGASSAN detainees, who reminded us that Posterity will judge whatever decision we made that night. He reminded us that although neither himself, Kokori nor others who went to jail in the heat of the struggle had anything physical to show for their struggle, they had a clear conscience about the decision they made. He, however, advised should we opt for the systematic shutdown; we should make sure we had all returned to the safety of our bases before a total shutdown.

 

Eventually, a unanimous decision was made to go ahead with the Systematic shutdown. Truth is, a total shutdown would invariably throw the Nation into darkness, among other things. For the Old Oil Wells, it would take a sizeable time span to get the Wells back to Optimum Production. In essence, a shutdown is an economic Coup d’etat; that was why Kokori and Dabibi back then were held for ‘treason’.

 

We sang our Solidarity Song, unsure what would befall us all with the decision, but with the calm assurance that Posterity would judge us for good….while the Communiqué was being edited for print, Comrade Peter Esele came to chat with us. He told us how scared the Government had become and how a Minister was even begging that the Union accepts even a marginal increase to N67 so that the President won’t be seen as weak.

 

Unknown to us all, the NLC Chairman had gone on Air to pull the greatest Coup on PENGASSAN. He had announced on our behalf that we were not shutting down. Funny how you are in a meeting and made a decision, only to hear a contrary thing on the Social Media who had access to TV that was to cover our Meeting!

 

The Ghost of 1994 had come calling; we left the Hotel in haste the following morning, my family and friends worrying about my safety. By Sunday, we were back at our bases without a clue how it all changed. I was still in a haze when Omar and Esele came on air. I’d have sworn I saw Omar dictating to Esele what they would tell Nigerians before Esele lowered the Mic from his mouth. Soldiers had been deployed to crush Ojota, and Labour was announcing to Nigerians that from a vantage point of victory, she preferred to Kiss Defeat (Kiss the Feet). That was a Mystery I could not understand, even as an eye witness.

 

I never recovered…I hope I do someday.

 

Comrade X is the Pen Name of the author

Is a Nigerian Revolution desirable?

Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.

—Denis Diderot

 

One year ago, Nigerians flirted with revolution. In an unexampled move, the citizens protested to resist an economic policy foisted on them by vampires in power. A state that had long neglected its mandate found itself caught on the brink of people-power. We know how the January 2012 protests went down. The peoples’ revolt was cut short but while it lasted, it lasted. The fact that it came in the wake of the Arab Spring created unease in executive quarters.

While Nigerian people-power might not have had the Arab Spring impact, it spurred the people. Questions were asked, answers questioned. A new direction was sought. And more importantly, it showed people possibilities existed. Its immediate and lingering effect, for good or bad, shaped Nigeria.

Since then, a lazy rehash of revolution has seized the minds of certain Nigerian elite. It has long been the fashion of the elite, divorced from local or international realities, to long for what neatly falls between rhetoric and silly posturing. A recumbent longing for a revolution in Nigeria seems the fad. Politicians, social commentators, youths and the marginalised seem to find the prospect of a revolution inevitable and, maybe as the final solution to our intractable problems. Hardly does a day pass that an overwhelmed Nigerian doesn’t sigh, “We need a revolution in this country.”

The question is, Is a revolution desirable for Nigeria?

A former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, has flogged the horse of revolution to coma until you wonder what else he would have to say if a revolution indeed does occur in Nigeria. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is not left out of the bandwagon of alarmists who rant endlessly about a revolution. In a recent interview, Methodist Prelate, Dr. Sunday Ola Makinde, joined the discourse on revolution. He not only gave the usual prediction of a looming revolution, he proceeded to describe Boko Haram and Niger Delta militants as revolutionaries!

There are several assertions in his interview that I disagree with but to describe Boko Haram as a “revolution” is, for me, unsettling. It is not only a deodorisation of stench, it is outright misleading. If Makinde’s thinking mirrors that of other Nigerians nostalgic for a revolution, is there not a big problem?

I mean, if people don’t even know what a revolution looks like, then how far will they travel, galloping on the horse of misrepresentation? Seriously speaking, can the idea of “revolution” be capacious enough to subsume every anarchist, insurgent, militant, nihilist, rebel and maybe even bandit?

I have been wondering on the desirability of a Nigerian revolution as the calls become more frequent and intense. Are those calling for a revolution aware of its far-reaching impact or they simply assume it’s another buzzword they can bandy about? Are they mere pessimists who have found a cliché to romance so they will not have to address critical issues? Are they perhaps overwhelmed by the troubles with Nigeria and resorted to calling for a revolution as a sort of pacifier? Is there an ideology driving these calls or it’s just a nostrum that gives them time to do nothing?

How many of them have engaged in strategic thinking in readiness for the fall of the present administration? In fact, has it occurred to them that a revolution would mean at least toppling the present system of government and replacing it with something else, radically different? Have they thought of how to avoid a power vacuum post-revolution so that while we chase out one demon, seven others do not replace it? Or is this a case of “Let the Empire fall first”? What if we start it and the military hijacks it? Are Nigerians prepared to start all over again under a military government? Can they resist the military? Weapons, anyone?

Of course, we can compare the famous examples of revolution: French, Russian, Nazi and American. The first three had revolutionaries turned autocrats, more evil than their predecessors; the last one was comparatively successful because the founding fathers worked assiduously to build a great nation from scraps they wrested from the Empire. Does Nigeria have such selfless forward-thinking fathers/mothers waiting in the wings, ready to rebuild?

Have those who think a revolution will solve anything taken cultural specificity into account? Do they imagine Nigerians have as much staying power as the Egyptians or Syrians to sustain a revolution? Or we would soon be eager to get back to the rituals of our daily grind while hoping some other people keep up the fight?

Have we reviewed our history enough to question whether revolution is for us? Africa is full of old men who were youth revolutionaries but became a bigger plague on their countries than HIV/AIDS. The 1966 coup in Nigeria is a revolution in and of itself; till today, Nigeria is still giddy from its after-effects.

Wishful thinking is not a bad thing but can revolution advocates state how their end desires differ from what is already stated in the Constitution and why we need a revolution to achieve them? What really fascinates them about a revolution? The spectacles of violence and bloodshed, or a genuine desire for change? If the latter, is a revolution really necessary? Won’t protest culture or even rebellion suffice? Won’t a more participatory citizenship be far more helpful? I have put out all these questions, not necessarily to seek answers but for us to interrogate our thoughts.

Very soon, we would be called upon to begin the process of electing a fresh set of leaders. Rather than expressing outrage the President plans to re-contest, it is up to us to act with circumspection. It is our duty not to be carried away when our leaders start crawling to religious grounds or kneeling before gods. They will cut a perfect picture of pathetic prayer projects when they assume a humble stance and announce they need divine wisdom. When that time comes, can Nigerians transcend all this vaudeville and reject directionless and clueless leadership? Can we transcend tribalism, ethnicity, regionalism, sexism and all those factors that have successfully held us down in the past and choose more worthwhile people to lead us? That might be a revolution to look forward to.

Revolution in Nigeria : A possibility or a dream ?! Part 12 ( Last Penultimate Part). A must Read

Thomas Sankara was an army captain that took over power through a coup in Upper Volta ( Burkina Faso) . Despite it being a coup, he was a student of marxism, loved the system of Marxism, Revolution and made friends with the Cuban revolutionaries. He’s popularly called The African Che Guevara. He initiated and made so many great reforms in his country,including renaming it Burkina Faso (Land of the Upright men). He tried to eradicate corruption that was endemic in the country and civil service. He’s one of the models of those who rather after seizing power through a military coup became a great revolutionary. He impacted the country positively,despite his short reign. One of his best quotations is an inspiration to many.

 

Thomas Sankara

Thomas Sankara

 

“You cannot carry out fundamental change without a certain amount of madness.In this case,it comes from nonconformity,the courage to turn your back on the old formulas,the courage to invent the future. it took the madmen of yesterday for us to be able to act with extreme clarity.” Capt Thomas Sankara

.

Read more about him here ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Sankara ) .He’ll have achieved much more,but he was assasinated

 

Jerry Rawlings. A flight lieutenant in Ghana who took power twice in two different coup plots,purged Ghana of all corruption,shot the former rulers – Archeampong, Akufor, Afrifa-Ankra and many other corrupt people and scumbags. Through the shedding of guilty and corrupt people’s blood,he brought Justice, eliminated corruption and was able to do a good massive restructuring and re orientation of Ghananians and he built of Ghana economy,developed strong institutions and made Ghana an envy of nations worldwide. He built an enduring,genuine and enviable democracy in Ghana to the extent that African American President Barak Obama shunned Nigeria and Kenya,to visit Ghana first,in his maiden african visit. This is an another example of a coupist that did great revolutionary reforms in his country and has now made a good democracy legacy.

 

Jerry Rawlings

Jerry Rawlings

 

The best thing that ever happened to Ghanaian democracy is former President Jerry J. Rawlings; yet, he did worse things than some ex military leaders in Nigeria ( for example Buhari) to put Ghana on the right democratic path; and Ghana and Ghanaians are today better for it. He is today referred to as the father of modern Ghana; one who laid a a rock solid foundation for a sound democracy through what I’d like to call a surgical removal of diseased organs of Ghana democracy; in order to save the country’s democracy.  General Muhammadu Buhari’s role in overthrowing the corrupt and wasteful governmentt of Shagari is akin to that of Rawlings. Much as I hate the incarceration of Ambrose Ali et al, I make bold to say he did all of that to restore sanity to the system; sad Ali was one of those were made a scapegoat. Anyone who is sincere to himself would agree that what Rawlings did what he did with the good intention of putting the country on the right democratic footing; as the country was headed destructively in the wrong direction in every sphere of our national life; a scenario akin to what we are experiencing in Nigeria today.

 

One of the military coupist – cum – revolutionary. This is yet another example of a revolutionist coup plot. He’s one of my heroes. Read more about him here ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Rawlings )

 

Hugo Charvez :He was the former revolutionary leader of Venezuela. A military officer with much socialist and marxist ideologies,he formed a secret movement and sought to overthrow the govt to implement socialist reforms.After a failed coup in 1992,he was jailed.After his release from prison 2 years later,he founded a socialist political party (Bolivarian Movement).He used to believe (after his failed coup plot, imprisonment and release) that a revolution could only be achieved by a violent struggle,the marxist style like the Lennin and Bolsheviks did in Russia. A debate soon developed in the Bolivarian movement as to whether it should try to take power in elections or whether it should instead continue to believe that military action was the only effective way of bringing about political change. Chávez was a keen proponent of the latter view, believing that the oligarchy would never allow him and his supporters to win an election, while Francisco Arias Cárdenas instead insisted that they take part in the representative democratic process. Cárdenas himself proved his point when, after joining the Radical Cause socialist party, he won the December 1995 election to become governor of the oil-rich Zulia State. Subsequently changing his opinion on the issue, Chávez and his supporters in the Bolivarian movement decided to found their own political party, the Fifth Republic Movement (MVR – Movimiento Quinta República) in July 1997 in order to support Chávez’s candidature in the Venezuelan presidential election, 1998.After he won the election, he focused on implementing socialist reforms in the country as a part of a social project known as the Bolivarian Revolution, the nationalization of several key industries, and increased government funding of health care and education and made significant reductions in poverty with oil revenues.

Hugo Chavez

Hugo Chavez

 

The Bolivarian Missions have entailed the construction of thousands of free medical clinics for the poor, the institution of educational campaigns that have reportedly made more than one million adult Venezuelans literate, and the enactment of food and housing subsidies.

Read more on Hugo Chavez < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugo_Chávez >

 

ErnestoCheGuevara: was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, medical doctor, author, guerrilla leader, diplomat, and military theorist. A major figure of the Cuban Revolution, his stylized visage has become a ubiquitous counter cultural symbol of rebellion and global insignia within popular culture.Guevara assisted Fidel and Raul Castro,and soon rose to prominence among the insurgents, was promoted to second-in-command, and played a pivotal role in the victorious two-year guerrilla campaign that deposed the Batista regime. Following the Cuban Revolution, Guevara performed a number of key roles in the new government. These included reviewing the appeals and firing squads for those convicted as war criminals during the revolutionary tribunals, instituting agrarian land reform as minister of industries, helping spearhead a successful nationwide literacy campaign, serving as both national bank president and instructional director for Cuba’s armed forces, and traversing the globe as a diplomat on behalf of Cuban socialism. Such positions also allowed him to play a central role in training the militia forces. Guevara left Cuba in 1965 to foment revolution abroad, first unsuccessfully in Congo-Kinshasa and later in Bolivia, where he was captured by CIA-assisted Bolivian forces and summarily executed,

 

Che Guevara

Che Guevara

 

Guevara remains both a revered and reviled historical figure, polarized in the collective imagination in a multitude of biographies, memoirs, essays, documentaries, songs, and films. As a result of his perceived martyrdom, poetic invocations for class struggle, and desire to create the consciousness of a “new man” driven by moral rather than material incentives, he has evolved into a quintessential icon of various leftist-inspired movements. Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

Read more about him here  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Che_Guevara

 

King Jehu: King Jehu was the king of (Northern) Israel (Remember a schism had occurred later King Solomon’s rule when Israel was divided into 2 kingdoms – (Northern) Israel and Judah (Southern Israel). William F. Albright has dated his reign to 842-815 BC, while E. R. Thiele offers the dates 841-814 BC. The principal source for the events of his reign comes from 2 Kings 9-10. He was one of the captains of the Israeli army. He had a good knowledge of things that had been happening in the country. God annointed him and made him king. In the process,he revolted against the King. A sort of coup plot.He killed the king, his 70 sons, other princes, the queen mother, the king of Judah and other 42 princes of Judah and had other activities,though bloody but was like cleaning the austean stable. He purged the country of many bad people and permanently stamped out baal idol worship from Israel. I consider him a revolutionary due to his modus operandi and overall effect of purging Israel and Judah and stamping out baal idol worship from Israel.

I wanna raise something from this. God can raise up anybody like He raised up Jehu to revolutionise any country. The person may be a politician that will achieve all what God wants him to achieve.

 

 

 

 

King Jehu of (Northern) Israel

King Jehu of (Northern) Israel

 

 

Paul Kagame. This is another revolutionary with a very interesting story.He is a rebel leader cum revolutionary.He co formed and led the RPF (Rwandan patriotic Front) to resist the oppresion and marginalization of his people,and to resist the ethnic jingoism occuring in the country.He successfully resisted this to an extent that after signing a UN backed peace deal with the government,some extremists hell bent on trouble assasinated the president and some government officials and started genocide,with the help of some militias they had earlier formed.About 800.000 Rwandans were slaughtered within a 3mth period during the genocide.

 

The OAU watched with utter confusion, the United Nations did nothing and, in fact, instructed the UN troops not to intervene and actually reduced its presence by evacuating 90% of its peacekeeping troops stationed in the country. The US, still smarting from its humiliation during the intervention in Somalia, kept away. It was during this period that Kagame’s RPF seized the initiative, seeing that the world was callously watching and doing nothing, to attack Kigali, the capital. He was able to defeat the government forces because they were already weakened by the ongoing genocide. After his forces took over the government he put a decisive stop to the genocide.The first thing Kagame did was to decline the presidency of the country, which at that point, had technically failed as a nation. This was probably the politically correct thing to do at the time. He appointed Pasteur Bizimungu, a Hutu who had been a civil servant under the previous president . Kagame became vice president and doubled as the minister of defence. Bizimungu and his cabinet had some control over domestic affairs, but Kagame was the commander-in-chief and, in essence, the de facto ruler. Six years later, in 2000, Kagame became president after President Bizimungu resigned. It was from that point that Rwanda started its current journey that has earned it the sobriquet of the “Singapore of Africa”.But Rwanda lacks all the advantages of Singapore. Unlike Singapore, Rwanda is thoroughly landlocked:it is surrounded by scattered and disorganised neighbours. It can’t be worse if your neighbours are DR Congo, Burundi and Uganda.

 

But Kagame has declared that his country would leave its horrific history behind and pursue a future of development, rapid growth and modernisation based on a united Rwanda. He has openly declared that he intends to make “Rwanda the best in Africa” and he is the only one that understands the material particulars of that ambition apparently. And it should not surprise anyone to see why he is already succeeding. No African country takes the rule of law nearly as seriously as Kagame’s Rwanda. There is zero tolerance for corruption as should be expected of any country that desires growth and development. No African country has done more to deal with the demon of corruption. Ministers have been jailed for corruption and unlike Nigeria this is not selective. Foreign businessmen and investors have consistently attested to the fact that they have never had to pay bribes for anything.

 

Paul Kagame - Rwandan President

Paul Kagame – Rwandan President

 

Deliberately and quite remarkably, too, he has never used the labels “Tutsi” and “Hutu”and has never self-identified himself as Tutsi. This is one lesson Nigerian leaders must learn from the Rwandan leader. He has boosted agriculture to the extent that the country is now food self-sufficient. Rwanda does not import food at all and, in fact, now exports food. Kagame knows that unemployment and poverty are the root causes of communal conflicts so he pays attention to those “at the bottom of the pyramid” to the extent that, in the first five years of his government, one million of the country’s 11 million people have been creatively raised out of poverty. Unlike what we have in Nigeria he has changed the land use laws to give peasants easy title to land. Because of his overriding desire to create jobs, Kagame is deliberately pro-business. It takes less than three days to register a business of any kind and it is very cheap to do so and there are no red tapes. According to the World Bank’s 2010 “Doing Business Survey”, Rwanda was the world’s best reformer. In 2010, Rwanda registered 6,000 companies, about the same total number registered in the previous five years. Rwanda is also looking to transform itself into a conferences’ destination, just like Singapore. It is currently constructing a $300 million (equivalent to N45 billion) conference centre. It is also building a modern airport and encouraging a privately-funded Marriot Hotel to boost the more than $100 million it currently earns every year through business tourism. Rwanda encourages immigration and there are no indigenes and settlers as long as you can contribute to their economy.

 

Experts have also dubbed Rwanda “the ultimate turnaround”. Rwanda is building a knowledge-based economy via emphasis on information technology. “When we looked to emerging economies around the world, Rwanda stood out as a clear choice for doing business,” an expert said.In Rwanda, education is free and compulsory up to age fifteen.  92% of children up to 12 years are in school. A German firm is speeding up vocational skills training for millions of the people especially women. Universal healthcare is also a matter of course in Rwanda: 90 % of all Rwandans have health insurance. Kagame is a determined, focused and purposeful leader and the cynics, especially in the West, who claim that he was setting his sights too high, are beginning to re-examine their positions. Kagame is probably the first and only national leader in history who has successfully changed his nation’s official language from French to English. Apart from the problem he has had with the French, as the French tacitly encouraged and kept past divisive Rwandan governments in power, he believes that the English language is the international language of business. Only a purposeful and determined leader who has the confidence of his people can achieve that in such a very short time.

 

But Kagame’s greatest achievement shall remain the unity and reconciliation of his people after the genocide that led to the slaughter of 1,000,000 people in 100 days. Within this period, 75 per cent of the Tutsis were slaughtered. Kagame is in his second and final term that ends in 2017. If he behaves like Nelson Mandela, then, he will likely step into the big man’s shoes.  Meanwhile, it remains heartening that someone has proved that governance is not nuclear science after all. And it is even more annoying that Rwanda doesn’t have anything close to all the advantages Nigeria has.

 

Read more on Kagame here ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Kagame )   .

Read more on the Rwandan Success story here ( http://www.rwandagateway.org/spip.php?article1760 )

 

Now we have seen the noble acts of the above revolutionaries. There are many more revolutionaries but these are given as examples to us. There are specific actions that made each of the aforementioned revolutionaries very unique. At a point we were under military rule and we all clamoured for a democratic rule. We got democracy,but is this truly democracy ? Like i wrote in the previous part,I will call it civil rule, not democracy. Civil rule we errorneosly call democracy. I pray we get there one day when we shall have true democracy.But the issue was not whether the government was military or civil. It was always the same people who ruled, they took their orders from the same source, only the faces and names changed. What we have isn’t democracy but civil rule or maybe our own form of “democracy”.

 

Nigerian form of democracy has not benefited Nigerians for whatever guise or manner. As a concept, idea and

philosophy, our form of democracy takes the following dimensions. Government of irresponsible, for the irresponsible and by the irresponsible, government of the ungodly people, by the ungodly people and for the ungodly people, goverment of the thieves, by the thieves and for the thieves. It is no longer the power of the majority, rather it is the tyrany of the minority, it is no longer a popular participation but its all about selective

engagement. The sooner we reform it the better for Nigerians and Nigeria.

 

The current “progressives” are not serious about any change in the polity. Infact all the political parties (ruling or opposition) are not ready about bringing any serious change,they are all politicians. Besides there is too much money in politics now,even those who will want to make a change will be trauncated by those who already see politics as fastest way to spin money. Our politicians simply love their skins and would not stake their present enjoyment for a future that had not arrived, even though that future be more promising and most desirable. Our political system is dangerously designed to suit individuals and not the people. That is why we have godfatherism. And godfatherism breeds and sustains corruption. And our so called labour leaders,youths, activists, civil societies are no better. Currently they are the agitative branch of the ruling class who cannot lead a real workers struggle let alone a popular movement even the Imodu- Wahab Dosumu type.

 

The opposition bigwigs, unfortunately, are mere business men hiding under ostensible agenda to ‘rescue the nation from PDP’. The real aim is nothing but personal profit. The market is the Nigerian masses, the product is deception, and the packaging is a golden container of patriotism. Which vices known with PDP have we not seen in ACN or other opposition parties for example: looting, nepotism, insensitivity, greed, deceit to mention a few. Politician is politician. I begin to seriously doubt if this democracy is not worse than military rule.

 

 

 

Presently,Nigerians merely waited out their lifetimes, consoling themselves from day to day as they trudged and scrounged, that ‘God dey, na poor man prayer’.The people were starving, they needed to work twenty-five hours a day to put food on their tables once a day. And we call ourselves the ‘giant of Africa’. What giant? A giant that cannot self sustain. A giant that cannot deal with the decay in education, poverty and unemployment? A giant that has retarded a nation of over 160million docile people. What giant? A giant that cannot utilize the all hazard approach to tackle some of natures problems. Nigeria is no giant, why do people call a nation trapped in perpetual bad governance the giant of Africa? I cannot afford to say I hate Nigerians and Nigeria, but l will credit my anger towards the Nigerian leaders who for over 50years since Nigeria’s Independence had ran a criminal enterprise, and general bad governance, which has precipitated acute hardship across the length and breath of the country. Some people have errorneously proffered secession an an answer to our problems.

If Nigeria disintegrates today, the endemic predicaments and burdens of our history will follow us to our enclaves as the case of Southern Sudan show. Secession or dismemberment will always breed new marginal/micro identities in fresh contests and conflicts. Moreover,it is this present crop of bad leaders that will lead the new micro enclaves. In the philosophy of dialectics, the original thesis is never finally settled and the contest continues in a repeated circle. Therefore, the best option for the present generation is to try to manage the burden of our national history and heritage in order to forge a new nation based on equality, freedom, rule of law and meritocracy”. Since 1960,since we got our independence,till date,successive governments have not cared about the poor,rather they have reversed the role of Robin Hood,this time stealing from the poor to service d rich.

 

 

 

“The longer we pretend that all is well…the more we would creep up on the Failed State Index,until we become a thoroughly failed state” – Prof Bolaji Akinyemi

 

Some people always tell me that the 1983 coup derailed our democracy, which they said would have taken us to greater heights. They said if there was no “interruptions”­ we would have been developed by now. I don’t think so.It was during his regime that people queued endlessly for essential commodities like rice,milk, sugar etc that was being distributed to people. These items were often unavailable and often if available,there was a lot of bigotry in its distribution to the masses. All these happen under President Shehu Shagari’s watch. It was the same time that a member of the Shagari administration said Nigerians should stop complaining about poverty, corruption and bad governance because “they are not picking food from the dustbin”. When the military came at that time, many people celebrated.

 

However, because I have no knowledge of what tomorrow might have been, I will assume that those who claim the coup took us back may be right. May be if Buhari and Idiagbon never came in, in 1983, Nigeria will be like Singapore, Luxembourg or Qatar. Even at that I surely missed something about Buhari and Idiagbon’s military regime. YES! I missed the “jumbo” jail time dished out to convicted corrupt politicians. from 20 to 25 to 60 years. One of them was even jailed for 102 years. Some said it is draconian. But in that case, and considering what we are witnessing today, I sure do love me some draconian rulings for thieves. I’m also imagining what life will be today, if some of the politicians of those days were not released by Gen IBB, mostly in 1986. Same crop of people later formed G77, which also transformed into PDP. Imagined if IBB never happened by, or if he’d let those goons served their jail terms, even half their time. Wouldn’t that have been a deterrent for today’s ruler? May be yes or not. BUT IMAGINE WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN!!!  I am sure you have read what I wrote about Rawlings. I rest my case. Maybe we have to re read it again.

 

Tam David West, that great patriot,who once said that corruption, rather than Boko Haram terrorists, would bring worse bloodshed in Nigeria. Everywhere,corruption,at the polls worse corruption, public money is theirs & people are dying from want!!!

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has again stated that a revolution akin to the Middle East’s Arab Spring will happen in Nigeria and other African countries if leaders failed to address corrosive corruption, high unemployment rate and increasing illiteracy.

On what will necessitate a revolution in countries like Nigeria, Obasanjo opined, “If we neglect education and make sure that all Nigerian children have quality education; if we don’t work against the present increasing rate of unemployment, and also fight corruption sincerely and truthfully in the right manner it is supposed to be. Then revolution will come and not only in Nigeria but in all the countries.

I have like most of you witnessed the Occupy Nigeria movement and participated in it. It was a rare moment in the history of Nigeria when Nigerians roared and those who think they own Nigeria because they control the resources of which they steal almost everything, panicked. I watched as Nigerians faced their problems and weren’t distracted by any differences. Are we even really different? Believe me we have more in common than our differences but why we emphasize all the time on our differences more still baffles me. Even among our brothers and sisters of the same father and the same mother, we have our differences but people see our similarities more. We are Nigerians and despite being Muslims or Christians, Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Kanuri, Idoma, Itsekiri, Nupe, Idoma, Tiv, Gwari……I have seen the stricken resemblance in mannerism that I wonder why we even think we are different.

 

We have watched Nigerian politicians, religious leaders and some people who have access to the press turn Nigerians against each other and many have been killed, injured or have their properties destroyed. This is simply unacceptable. We cannot sit here and watch very few uncreative people who have hijacked government destroy Nigeria and Nigerians. We will be judged by posterity as responsible because we did nothing about anything. Brothers and sisters, Muslims and Christian, traditionalists and athiests, whatever what you are, I am here to tell you this morning that our sole problem in Nigeria is CORRUPTION. Any administration that cannot fight corruption cannot change Nigeria. This is very simple. Believe me everyone suffers under that administration and it doesn’t matter what tribe, religion or whatever one is as long as one is a Nigerian. When I say corruption however, I am not referring to just looting and embezzlement. I am also talking about cronyism, nepotism, tribalism, and all. As long as we ignore corruption we must not complain about changing Nigeria and the only people that can change every are government and the institution of religion, the press and individuals. We must frown at corruption Believe me corruption is more deadly than Boko Haram or any terrorist organisation. If Nigeria disintegrates today it will not be Boko Haram, MEND or the Biafran agitation but absolute failure of politicians and those in power.

 

A reader on Facebook asked the a popular writer and opinion writer nicknamed ” The Oracle” to define in a simple word for corruption in Nigeria. The Oracle’s answer was “frustration” a frustrated society can only breed corruption, when all hopes are lost, when all opportunities to make it in a simple and organized way is blocked by fate or man made, corruption of minds and purposes becomes the other of the day.

 

– to be continued and concluded next part which will be the final part

 

Dr. Michael Adeyemi, a medical doctor, writer, columnist and an opinion analyst, writes from Lagos, Nigeria .

Occupy Nigeria Protest

Occupy Nigeria Protest

Revolution in Nigeria : A possibility or a dream ?! Part 11 ( First Penultimate Part). A must read

We have been talking about revolutions in the past 10 parts. I hope you have followed me so far. I’ve defined revolution, talked about various aspects of revolution, what it entails, etc. I’ve also talked about Nigeria’s attempts at a revolution – The June 12 Bouhaha and The Jan 2012 Occupy Nigeria anti fuel price increase Mass Protest and Pseudo Revolution. I mentioned some factors that didn’t make the protest a full fledged revolution,including alleged but possibly true sabotage by labour leaders.

 

I’ve mentioned May 1989 anti SAP riots. I’ve also talked about my experiences as a student and a student Union Leader / Executive. I talked about NANS and students’ and youth activism both in the past and present and how the present stage is a huge mockery of the glorious past. I’ve talked rather  comprehensively about The Arab Spring Revolution and talked about some other Revolutions like 1905 Russian Revolution, 1917 Russian Revolution, Chinese Revolution, Glorious Revolution, Mexican Revolution, Cuban ,French and Hugo Chavez Venezuelan, Simon Bolivar led Latin American Revolutions, Jerry Rawlings Revolution and some others.

 

 

I also talked much about the Arab Spring and Occupy Nigeria. I have like most of you witnessed the Occupy Nigeria movement and participated in it. It was a rear moment in the history of Nigeria when Nigerians roared and those who think they own Nigeria because they control the resources of which they steal almost everything, panicked. I watched as Nigerians faced their problems and weren’t distracted by any differences. Are we even really different? Believe me we have more in common than our differences but why we emphasize all the time on our differences more still baffles me. Even among our brothers and sisters of the same father and the same mother, we have our differences but people see our similarities more. We are Nigerians and despite being Muslims or Christians, Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Kanuri, Idoma, Itsekiri, Nupe, Idoma, Tiv, Gwari……I have seen the stricken resemblance in mannerism that I wonder why we even think we are different.

 

Now I started talking about some misconceptions about revolution even as this series approaches the final parts. In the last two parts, I debunked some misconceptions about Revolutions. I talked about what I called Revolutionary triggers which I said is the link between a revolutionary situation and an actual revolution. Now I talked about the fact that it is not all successful revolutions that must necessarily bring a change in government. I gave example of Russian Revolution of 1905 and The Arab Spring in many other countries apart from Tunisia, Libya ,Egypt, Yemen and Syria. I added that it is not all revolutions that must have a vanguard nor careful planning before hand. some successful revolutions were not carefully planned beforehand and were sort of improptu and that a revolution does not need too many people to start it. It is like a self sustaining bush fire. Once the materials are ready, even as a spark (trigger) starts the fire, It grows to magnificient proportions.

 

Coups are not Revolutions. Primarily almost all military coups are not revolutions but over time, some have become revolutions. It is not all revolutions that must be violent before it becomes successful. True that almost all successful revolutions have been violent but in history too,there are some examples of nonviolent peaceful but FORCEFUL revolutions. There have been very peaceful successful revolutions. Examples abound,even Hugo Chavez Revolution in Venezuela at a point took the form of,and ended as a peaceful Revolution with abounding success. Ghandi,Martin Luther King Jr and Mandela’s revolutions,were all peaceful but forceful and successful revolutions.

 

Revolutions may lead to civil wars but not always. Less than 5% of successful revolutions have led to civil wars. It is not compulsory for labour movements to play active roles in a revolution before it is successful. The people are the Labour and once the people are united,with or without any support of any labour union,it is bound to be successful under many conditions. The success of any revolution depends more on the people’s attitude,rather than any labour movement that can be compromised. Once the people (the masses, the real labour) are united in purpose of the mind,be it with or without a vanguard ,the revolution will be successful.

 

People wrongly think it is only when people are united by religion or a common ethnicity that a revolution will be successful. How wrong are they. Revolutions can only be done when there is a unity of the minds, a unity of purpose. There is no homogeneous country in the world. Even among the arabs, they have multiple ethnicities. Nigerians unfortunately have overrated their problems, heterogenicity and ethnic and religious diversities as if it isn’t a perculiarity in varying degrees in every country of the world.

 

 

There is no country in the world that carried out a successful revolution that didnt have ethnic or religious differences.These may partially affect the mind but once there is a unity of minds and purpose,a revolution can occur.The Russians,French,Americans,Egyptians,Chinese etc that carried out successful revolutions had multiple ethnicities (even if they were all causcasians speaking same language) and religion. The Jews,christians,atheists,animists,bhuddists,negroes,muslims,hindus etc combined together in unity of purpose to achieve this.The most important was unity of mind.Even in India under Ghandi

 

I say Nigerians overrate themselves, overrate the so-called peculiarity of their circumstances. I think what we should do is to positively build on our reality and urgently see the imperative of unity. I think the reasonable ones among us should keep coming together so that we can reason our ways out of our quagmire. I think we should start realising that having a country to call one’s own is really a privilege, that we sound like children who, given one toy in hand, keep asking for different other toys… I think people should read wide and open their minds, else we would enter rash situations based on half knowledge and myopia

 

Revolution isn’t  a one off thing .Of course, Revolutions need to be sustained.

Many people think revolution is a one off thing. That is an error because a revolution needs to be sustained. It is like a bush fire.It can only keep burning till it achieves the desired effects if it is consistently and tenaciously sustained. It is not a one off thing.It is not what you do once and go to sleep.

 

The ANC/Mandela anti- apartheid revolution was successful because even after apartheid was cancelled, they didn’t rest. General elections were held and ANC won, Mandela became president. Thereafter, it was sustained, monitored and ANC has been winning all elections afterwards in a very democratic way.

Institutions were built. After the American Revolution, a lot of reconstruction was done nationwide by the americans. The Constitution was properly drafted and written and has even undergone 28 ammendments till date,to update it to evolving trends and keep it up to modern realities .The nation was restructured and more territories were added (by fair and foul means). The democracy has grown very well.

 

The Syrians have not given up. They are continuing. At a point in time ,the Yemenis did not relax till Saleh abdicated power. Same with Egyptians and Libyans. Infact at a point the Egyptians relaxed. They forgot that post revolution election was part of sustaining revolution. The 3 main pro revolution progressive candidates (Amr Moussa, Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh and Hamdeen Sabahi ) contested against themselves, rather than consolidating to form a unified front. At the end of the day,they divided votes among themselves and the votes of the progressives thereby allowing the non progressives ( Mohammed Mursi of Muslim Brotherhood and Ahmed Shafik ,a former Mubarrak Prime Minister) to qualify for run off elections. In the main polls,Mursi had 24.78%, Shafik had 23.66% , Hamdeen had 20.72%, Abdel Aboul Fotouh 17.47 % and Amr Moussa 11.13%. The progressive candidates of Hamdeen,Fotouh and Moussa didn’t qualify for the run off as they came 3rd, 4th and 5th respectively,in the main elections. At the end of the day, Mursi of the Muslim brotherhood won the run off election. That was a very bitter pill for the Egyptians as he implemented some controversial policies. Now the Egyptians are rising to their responsibilities.

 

Same with the Russians. After the revolution, they went to sleep, thinking all was well. That made Josef Stalin to rise up and become a very great dicator, even sending many to exile and labour concentration camps. When people do not sustain revolution, there is a danger that a far worse dictator than the one they ousted may arise.

 

Like The Oracle always say ,those who can’t sustain a Revolution need not start it.A nation without the ability to sustain a revolution need not go for it, otherwise the end result will be worse than the begining. Oracle

The problem with Nigeria’s democracy is that after military vacated power,we all went to sleep thinking all was Uhuru. The students activists, youth activists, NANS ,human rights activists, socio cultural organisations, activist organisations, civil society and labour unions all went to sleep and we can see the effects now. Some were even enmeshed in power struggle and filthy lucre of political posts. We currently don’t  have a true democracy. What we have is merely a civil rule.

 

 

This has been a summary of the previous parts of this series so far from parts 1 to 10. Now I continue in the penultimate parts. Let me briefly talk about some revolutionaries

 

Simon Bolivar was a revolutionary that liberated South America from Spanish imperial rule. He successfully rallied people and used guns to chase out the spaniards. He ruled all the south american countries at one point or another (some even simultaneously). Read more about him here ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sim%C3%B3n_Bol%C3%ADvar )

 

Thomas Sankara was an army captain  that took over power through a coup in Upper Volta ( Burkina Faso) . Despite it being a coup, he was a student of marxism, loved the system of Marxism, Revolution and made friends with the Cuban revolutionaries. He’s popularly called The African Che Guevara. He initiated and made so many great reforms in his country,including renaming it Burkina Faso (Land of the Upright men). He tried to eradicate corruption that was endemic in the country and civil service. He’s one of the models of those who rather after seizing power through a military coup became a great revolutionary.  He impacted the country positively,despite his short reign. One of his best quotations is an inspiration to many.

 

“You cannot carry out fundamental change without a certain amount of madness.In this case,it comes from nonconformity,the courage to turn your back on the old formulas,the courage to invent the future. it took the madmen of yesterday for us to be able to act with extreme clarity.” Capt Thomas Sankara

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Read more about him here ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Sankara ) .He’ll have achieved much more,but he was assasinated

 

Jerry Rawlings. A flight lieutenant in Ghana who took power twice in two different coup plots,purged Ghana of all corruption,shot the former rulers – Archeampong, Akufor, Afrifa-Ankra and many other corrupt people and scumbags. Rawlings and the soldiers around him formed the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) and conducted what it termed “a housecleaning exercise”, whose aim was to purge Ghanaian society of all the corruption and social injustices that they perceived to be at the root of their coup d’état. Through the shedding of guilty and corrupt people’s blood,he brought Justice, eliminated corruption and was able to do a good massive restructuring and re orientation of Ghananians and he built of Ghana economy,developed strong institutions and made Ghana an envy of nations worldwide. He built an enduring,genuine and enviable democracy in Ghana to the extent that African American President Barak Obama shunned Nigeria and Kenya,to visit Ghana first,in his maiden african visit. This is an another example of a coupist that did great revolutionary reforms in his country and has now made a good democracy legacy.

 

The best thing that ever happened to Ghanaian democracy is former President Jerry J. Rawlings; yet, he did worse things than some ex military leaders in Nigeria ( for example Buhari) to put Ghana on the right democratic path; and Ghana and Ghanaians are today better for it. He is today referred to as the father of modern Ghana; one who laid a a rock solid foundation for a sound democracy through what I’d like to call a surgical removal of diseased organs of Ghana democracy; in order to save the country’s democracy.

 

One of the military coupist – cum – revolutionary. This is yet another example of a revolutionist coup plot. He’s one of my heroes. Read more about him here ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Rawlings )

 

 

– to be continued next part which will be the final penultimate part and the semi-final of the series where i will talk of more revolutionaries like Ernesto Che Guevara, Paul Kagame, Jehu, and Thomas Sankara, amongst many other things.

 

 

Dr. Michael Adeyemi, a medical doctor, writer, columnist and an opinion analyst, writes from Lagos, Nigeria .

 

Revolution in Nigeria : A possibility or a dream ?! Part 10

We have been talking about revolutions in the past 9 parts. I hope you havefollowed me so far. Now I started talking about some misconceptions aboutrevolution even as this note approaches the final parts of this series. In thelast part, I debunked some misconceptions.

 

I talked about what i called Revolutionary triggers which i said is the linkbetween a revolutionary situation and an actual revolution. Now I talked aboutthe fact that it is not all successful revolutions that must necessarily bringa change in government. I gave example of Russian revolution of 1905 and thearab spring in many other countries apart from Tunisia, Libya ,Egypt, Yemen andSyria. I talked about other arab countries even as i had talked comprehensivelyabout the arab Spring before. I added that it is not all revolutions that musthave a vanguard nor careful planning beforehand. some successful revolutionswere not carefully planned beforehand .and that a revolution does not need toomany people to start it.it is like a self sustaining bush fire. once thematerials are ready, even as a spark(trigger) starts the fire, It grows tomagnificient proportions.Now we have talked of four points ,lets move to thefifth one

 

5.Coups are not Revolutions. Says who? Yes, primarily almost all militarycoups are not revolutions but over time, some have become revolutions

While revolutions encompass events ranging from the relatively peacefulrevolutions that overthrew communist regimes to the violent Islamic revolutionin Afghanistan, they exclude coups d’états, civil wars, revolts and rebellionsthat make no effort to transform institutions or the justification forauthority (such as Józef Piłsudski’s May Coup of 1926 or the American CivilWar), as well as peaceful transitions to democracy through institutionalarrangements such as plebiscites and free elections, as in Spain after thedeath of Francisco Franco.

So, that means clearly that Coup d’etats that make efforts to transforminstitutions like that of the Hugo Charvez and Jerry Rawlings and ThomasSankara’s coups have become revolutions because of the impacts that were madeafter the coups

 

6.Revolutions must be violent. Of course not. It is not all revolutions thatmust be violent before it becomes successful. True that almost all successfulrevolutions have been violent but in history too,there are some examples of nonviolent peaceful but FORCEFUL revolutions. There have been very peacefulsuccessful revolutions. Examples include Nelson Mandela and African NationalCongress (ANC) struggle against apartheid rule and racism in South Africa, MartinLuther King jnr struggle against racism in US, fighting for equality of blackswith whites, Ghandi’s Revolution and struggle against British rule in India andsurprisingly Hugo Charvez Revolution in Venezuela. Yes,you will be surprised Iused Hugo Charvez revolution as a peaceful revolution which it truly is.

 

“…Violence is not only needed in a revolution, It is a vitalingredient of revolution…”

– Franz Fanon

 

What Franz Fanon said is very true. You usually need violence in revolutionto make it a success but it is not compulsory .Like the examples i have given, thesewere very successful revolutions without the use of violence.

ANC and Nelson Mandela ended apartheid rule and racism in South Africa withpeaceful means. So was Martin Luther King jnr able to achieve fight againstracism in US and Ghandi was able to achieve that in India, The British ran outof india with their tails in between their legs. But like i said earlier, PEACEFULBUT FORCEFUL MEANS. Yes ,it must be forceful to be effective.

 

It has to be forceful. Let me use an example in The Good Book, The Bible, toreinforce my points. Reading through Matthew 21 v 12,13 : Mark 11 v 15-17 :Luke 19 v 45,46 : John 2 v 13-17. That was Jesus example. Jesus is not arevolutionary and wont be. Infact, He resisted all attempts to make Him one orto fight for any worldly government. I use His actions in The temple chasingaway traders, dove sellers, sheep sellers and money changers out of the temple .Heforcefully chased them out. The temple is a place of prayer which these peoplehad changed to trading places ( compare that to societal anarchy anddisorganisation and insecurity and disorder ).The temple (compare with society)was in a disorder and had lost focus. Jesus needed to bring proper order to thetemple. He didn’t just talk to the traders and money changers, He applied FORCEon them (no blood was shed nor did anybody die).He needed to physically chasethe traders out of the temple, flog the traders, overturn the money changerstables. That connotes more than mere talk but a forceful action. It was asuccess as the traders left the temple and order brought back to the temple.

 

So ,in using peaceful means be it an SNC or whatever, it must be a forcefulpeaceful means, if it won’t need to be violent. Remember that ANC and Mandelastruggle too was very forceful. Ghandi’s India movement was so forceful thatthe British ran with their tails in between their legs. So too was Luther’sstruggle. Infact far back ,a woman Rosa Parks had to physically resist beingmade to leave her bus seat for a white. Blacks had to demonstrate and at apoint ,President.JF Keneddy had to send troops (National Guard) to ensure ablack student was admitted. That is a form of force. Peaceful revolutions needforce

 

Hugo Charvez revolution too was peaceful but very forceful. He used tobelieve (after his failed coup plot, imprisonment and release) that arevolution could only be achieved by a violent struggle like the Lennin andBolsheviks did in Russia. A debate soon developed in the Bolivarian movement asto whether it should try to take power in elections or whether it shouldinstead continue to believe that military action was the only effective way ofbringing about political change. Chávez was a keen proponent of the latterview, believing that the oligarchy would never allow him and his supporters towin an election, while Francisco Arias Cárdenas instead insisted that they takepart in the representative democratic process. Cárdenas himself proved hispoint when, after joining the Radical Cause socialist party, he won theDecember 1995 election to become governor of the oil-rich Zulia State. Subsequentlychanging his opinion on the issue, Chávez and his supporters in the Bolivarianmovement decided to found their own political party, the Fifth RepublicMovement (MVR – Movimiento Quinta República) in July 1997 in order tosupport Chávez’s candidature in the Venezuelan presidential election, 1998.Read more on chavez < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugo_Ch%C3%A1vez >

 

However, if peaceful means fails, violence can be used. Remember that afterpeaceful protests failed in Libya and syria, with stiff necked dictators likeGhadaffi and al-Bashir,the protests turned violent. When Lincoln’s persuasionto make the southern states free slaves failed, he had no option than to usemilitary action which later succeeded.

 

7.Revolutions always lead to civil wars. No.

That is very wrong. Revolution may lead to civil wars but not always. Lessthan 5% of successful revolutions have led to civil wars .You may want to givesome examples. Yes. The Russian revolution of 1917 led to 5 years of civil warthereafter. The chinese Mao Tzeung and Spanish Revolution, even the Mexicanrevolutions led to civil war in the respective countries. Even Frenchrevolution brought about french civil war. yes,the civl war were triggered bycertain events which led to the revolutions. But even if there had been norevolutions ,there would still have been civil wars which may have been delayedbut the civil war would have been bloodier. Events that led to the revolutionsled to the civil war.It is not in every case revolutions lead to civil war. Theamerican revolution was not the cause of the civil war between the north Unionistsand the Confederate South. The Rwandan Revolution ended the Rwandan Civil warand genocide. Hugo Charvez Revolution did not lead to any civil war. imagine ifthe tzar and other royalties had not been killed in the Russian revolution, anycivil war thereafter would have been bloodier and longer.The people were simplyfed up.

 

The arab spring occurred in about 20 arab countries and just 4 led to civilwar. In fact ,the civil wars in Yemen and Bahrain were generally “mild’and lasted less than a year.  The Libyanand Syrian civil wars were tougher and appeared inevitable even if there was norevolution. So,revolutions don’t always lead to revolutions and where they did,there would have been civil wars eventually, even if appeared delayed. Theevents that caused the civil wars triggered the revolution itself

 

8.Revolution is a one off thing .Of course not, Revolutions need to besustained.

Many people think revolution is a one off thing. That is an error because a revolutionneeds to be sustained. It is like a bush fire.It can only keep burning till itachieves the desired effects if it is consistently and tenaciously sustained. Itis not a one off thing.It is not what you do once and go to sleep.

The ANC/Mandela anti apartheid revolution was successful because even afterapartheid was cancelled, they didn’t rest. General elections were held and ANCwon and mandela became president. After that, it was sustained and monitoredand ANC has been winning all elections therafter in a very democratic way. Institutionswere built. After the american revolution, a lot of reconstruction was donenationwide by the americans.The Constitution was written and has even undergone28 ammendments till date.The nation was restructured and more territories wereadded (by fair and foul means). The democracy has grown very well.

 

The syrians have not given up. They are still continuing. Likewise the Tunisians,algerians. Even the egyptians and yemenis. At a point in time ,the yemenis didnot relax till Saleh abdicated power. same with the egyptians and libyans. Infact at a point the egyptians relaxed. They did forget that post revolutionelection was part of sustaining revolution. The 3 main pro revolutioncandidates (Amr Moussa, Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh and Hamdeen Sabahi ) contestedagainst themselves, rather than consolidating to form a unified front. At theend of the day,t hey divided votes among themselves and the votes of theprogressives thereby allowing the non progressives (Mohammed Mursi of Muslimbrotherhood and Ahmed Shafi) to qualify for run off elections. In the end ofthe day, Mursi of the Muslim brotherhood won the election. That was a bitterpill for the egyptians as he implemented some controversial policies. Now theegyptians are rising to their responsibilities.

 

Same with the russians. After the revolution, they went to sleepthinking all was well. That made Josef Stalin to rise up and become a verygreat dicator, even sending many to exile and labour concentration camps. Whenpeople do not sustain revolution,t here is a danger that a far worse dictatorthan the one they ousted may arise.

Like The Oracle always say ,those who can’t sustain a Revolution neednot start it.

 

The problem with Nigeria’s democracy is that after military vacatedpower,we all went to sleep thinking all was uhuru. The students activists, youthactivists, NANS ,human rights activists, socio cultural organisations, activistorganisations, civil society and labour unions all went to sleep and we can seethe effects now. Some were even enmeshed in power struggle and filthy lucre ofpolitical posts. We currently dont have a true democracy. What we have ismerely a civil rule.

 

9. Labour must be actively involved in Revolution before it becomessuccessful. Well it depends on which view you look at it from.Labour as themasses, those that arent the boiguoises must be very involved in revolution forit to be very successful .Yes,labour are the masses .But as for a labourmovement. it is not compulsory for the labour movement to be made a focal pointof a revolution. If you do, it makes the revolution succeptible to theweaknesses of the labour leaders and makes the leaders vulnerable to be soldout.  There was no labour movement thatactively supported the Arab Spring,yet it was a success. whether or not thereis a support vanguard or not, the masses will join and fight.T hat is the reallabour. Then the labour movement will be forced to join the people and fight. Therewill be a very low possiblity of a sell out because all the people are wellinvolved. Labour leaders will be afraid to sell out. Even if they do,t heirsell out efforts will be useless because of the unity of the people. So ,alabour movement may or may not successfully support a revolution. Once thepeople (the masses, the real labour) are united in purpose of the mind,be it withor without a vanguard ,the revolution will be successful

 

10.Ethnic/Religious diversity. Yes i want to correct an impression here.

People wrongly think it is only when people are united by religion or acommon ethnicity that a revolution will be successful. How wrong are they. Revolutioncan only be done when there is a unity of the minds, a unity of purpose. Thereis no homogeneous country in the world. Even among the arabs, they havemultiple ethnicities. Let me give you an example – In Libya we have the Bengazipeople,Misrata people,Waldi people,tripoli people etc all radically separatedby ethnicities.It is just like you assuming because the yoruba are one,all iswell.There are sub ethnicities in Yoruba land-theoyos,egbas,ibadans,ekitis,akures,ondos,ijeshas,ekos,ijebus,yewas,offas,igbominasetc. Even if you think the arabs are united by religion (that isnt too true. thereare significant christian population),even in Islam, there are subdivisions -the sunnis ,shiites, ahmadiyyas etc

 

There is no country in the world that carried out a successful revolutionthat didnt have ethnic or religious differences. These may partially affect themind but once there is a unity of minds and purpose,a revolution can occur. TheRussians,French,Americans,Egyptians,Chinese etc that carried out successfulrevolutions had multiple ethnicities (even if they were all causcasiansspeaking same language) and religion. TheJews,christians,atheists,animists,bhuddists,negroes,muslims,hindus etc combinedtogether in unity of purpose to achieve this. The most important was unity ofmind. Even in India under Ghandi

 

I say Nigerians overrate themselves, overrate the so-called peculiarity oftheir circumstances. I think what we should do is to positively build on ourreality and urgently see the imperative of unity. I think the reasonable onesamong us should keep coming together so that we can reason our ways out of ourquagmire. I think we should start realising that having a country to call one’sown is really a privilege, that we sound like children who, given one toy inhand, keep asking for different other toys… I think people should read wideand open their minds, else we would enter rash situations based on halfknowledge and myopia.

 

– to be continued next part which will be the penultimate part. For thosefollowing me actively ,the series will end in the next 2 parts .For thosebored, I am ending soon.

 

Michael Adeyemi,a medical doctor, writer and opinion analyst, writes fromLagos, Nigeria.

Revolution in Nigeria : A possibility or a dream ?! Part 9

1.Revolutionary “triggers”:.Revolutionary triggers may not always be directly related to the revolution.Many times,it may not even bear a close relation directly to the revolution (like the Arab Spring that was triggered by Tunisia’s Mohammed Boazizi self matyrdom in burning himself to death (https://www.facebook.com/notes/michael-drbiggie-adeyemi-i/the-middle-east-crisis-1-its-origin-the-arab-spring-crisis/275584955831621.and

 

but had profound effects in 20 Arab countries.It also occurred in France during the French Revolution that started with the invasion and burning of Bastille (The French Royal Prison). Like also in the 2 aforementioned examples. Let me ask,what does the committing of suicide by an unknown man,or the burning of a prison have to do with revolution that made great impacts? Or in the examples I gave,what does the taking off of electricity before a football match or not quickly restoring power supply have to do with violent students protests of mega proportions? They don’t bear a direct relation to the cause,do they? They don’t directly,but indirectly they do,because many circumstances and situations have already prepared the way for it.Many bad circumstances have made d people angry and are ready to vent out that anger. It is like bush fires.The dry season has prepared the shrub to be very dry and winds too are a catalyst,so anything that sparks fire,be it an attempt to capture a bush rat,or a mistaken fire,or a piece of left over broken mirror that reflects so much sunlight to a leaf and the leaf catches fire,or whatever,once the fire is started,d dry shrub acts as fuel and d winds act like petrol.The fire is dispersed and bush fire starts.

 

So it is with a revolution.In France the raise in taxes and increase in food prices and shortage of food led to that revolution. The burning of Bastille was just a trigger. Gbam and A revolution started. Bottled up anger. Like the Arab spring too,anger against many govts and long term dictatorships had fuelled people’s anger. Gbam! When Mohammed Boazizi committed suicide,that’s d tonic needed for protests and before u can say anything,the govt of 23 yrs was overthrown and it spread to other countries.

 

Like the protest examples I gave. The students anger had been bottled up for a long time. All that was needed was the cutting off of electricity or water supply. Even when d water was supplied,it never deterred the students. The trigger was a form of gate channel that was openned. Some Revolutions may have direct trigger like the mobilization by Mao Tzeung in the Chinese Revolution, or Marxist philosophy and mobilization by Bolsheviks and Melsheviks in the 1917 Russian Revolution or the oppression by King James II and James VII,in the Glorious Revolution in England or clash between State and Church in the Mexican Revolution or clash between Imperialist Britain and Americans in the American Revolution. Those are direct triggers but most revolutions have indirect triggers. It may even be a totally (seemingly) unrelated event. Gbam !!! And the Revolution is triggerred. Usually there’ll have been causes and unexpressed but bottled up anger in the people previously.

 

Vladimir Lenin, who helped fulfill Marx’s prediction even though Marx expected it elsewhere, said: “A revolution is impossible without a revolutionary situation; furthermore, not every revolutionary situation leads to revolution.”

Now,revolution trigger is the link between a revolutionary situation and a Revolution.Not all revolutionary situations lead to a revolution because of mainly the lack of a trigger.And if there is a trigger,and no revolutionary situation,the revolution will fail,like The Hungarian Revolution of October 1956.So a revolutionary trigger is the link between a revolutionary situation and a revolution.

 

2. All Revolutions Must lead to a change in government/leader. It is a fact that most successful revolutions lead to a change in government /leader,but it is not ALL successful Revolutions that must lead to a change in government/ power.Revolutions usually lead to a change in power/leader but it is not a measure of success. There have been successful Revolutions in the past that have not led to any change in leader/ government but rather made the respective leaders and government to make far changing reforms that ordinarily they won’t have done before.

 

Jeff Goodwin gives two definitions of a revolution. A broad one, where revolution is

“ any and all instances in which a state or a political regime is overthrown and thereby transformed by a popular movement in an irregular, extraconstitutional and/or violent fashion ”

and a narrow one, in which

“ revolutions entail not only mass mobilization and regime change, but also more or less rapid and fundamental social, economic and/or cultural change, during or soon after the struggle for state power.

Jack Goldstone defines them as

“ an effort to transform the political institutions and the justifications for political authority in society, accompanied by formal or informal mass mobilization and noninstitutionalized actions that undermine authorities

 

So,if we follow Jeff Goodwin’s narrow definition of a revolution,or we follow that of Jack Goldstone,we will see clearly that it may not be compulsory for a regime change to follow every successful revolution.

 

Let me 1st of all,correct a misimpression by people.It is not all successful revolutions that must lead to a change in govt ie the govt is overthrown.Not all successful revolutions must necessarily lead to a change of govt.The Russian Revolution of 1905 was very successful despite the fact that there was no change in govt.The Tzar still continued as the leader,but the Revolution led to many far reaching radical reforms including the creation of the Duma.It was a success.However,some other factors like continued oppression led to the necessity for another Revolution- the Russia Revolution of 1917 in which the Tzar was overthrown.

 

A very good example is the 1905 Russian Revolution. It never led to a change of the Tzar but it led him to make far great reforms including the creation of Duma and granting the parliaments more powers.

The Arab Spring was another example. It affected about 20 countries but led to a change in govt in just 4. Over 15 had serious reforms in government that normally wouldn’t have been,to appease the protesters. A 20th country- Syria is still undergoing a revolution.

Just 4 govts were overthrown- Tunisia,Libya,Yemen,Egypt(with the 5th-Syria about to be overthrown) in about 20 countries,but I count it a huge success in all the countries.

 

Now in many other arab countries,the revolution led to a very serious radical reformation of very many things,including the system of government.Monarchial countries like Jordan,Morrocco,Bahrain,Oman,United Arab Emirates etc were forced to make great reforms including election reforms and giving more powers to the paliaments and Prime Minister.Others like Algeria,Sudan,Djoubti,Lebanon,Iran,Iraq,Oman,Bahrain,Qatar,etc were forced to make very serious reforms to their systems of government and make other far reaching reforms in order to appease the protesters in order for d govts not to be overthrown(rmr Russia too did that in 1905 after the Revolution of 1905).This now appeased the protesters.Ultraconservative Saudi Arabia even allowed women to vote in municipal elections as from 2015 and allowed greater reforms in local elections. That shows in summary the Arab Spring was a huge success.I’m sure in a shortwhile,the Syria govt of Al Assad will be overthrown.He had earlier reformed the cabinet and changed the prime minister in order to appease protesters,but the protesters wanted more.

 

Sometimes,there may be a change within a government like the one that occured in Yemen when the longtrime leader of 33 years,Ali Abdullaqh Saleh,abdicated the throne for his deputy.

 

 

3. A Revolution must only be successful if there’s a Revolutionary Vanguard / Rally point / Individual. Yes this is necessary in most cases but it is not in all cases that successful Revolution must have a vanguard/rally point/ individual. Infact,it is not all revolutions that were well organised.

“A time will come when the masses will come out en-mass and protest against the bourgeoisies as if they have been informed.” -Karl Marx.

 

Vladimir Lenin, who helped fulfill Marx’s prediction even though Marx expected it elsewhere, said: “A revolution is impossible without a revolutionary situation; furthermore, not every revolutionary situation leads to revolution.”

 

A revolution in the very near future is,therefore not only inevitable,but also imminient! The revolution may have no leader ( but will be led by a movement). It will be the product of a spontenous reaction of people frustrated by dictatorial (and often selfish) leadership that does not reflect their best interests —- Gore Vidal

 

From even d examples I’ve given so far,it showed that not all are organised.Not all have a revolutionary vanguard,nor a rally point/individual. Now don’t get me wrong! Oftentimes,Revolutions need to be carefully planned.A revolutionary vanguard(s) usually helps in this and most times,it revolves round an individual or individuals.

The Russian Revolutions of 1905 and 1917 were well planned and revolved around Marxist Philosophy.The Bolsheviks and Melsheviks were involved.Some individuals helped it cause.Individuals like Leon Trotsky,Josef Stalin and mainly Lennin,helped to achieve its actualization.

 

Mao Tzeung and his communist party helped to mobilize,organise and actualize the Chinese Revolution.Fidel Castro,Raul Castro and Che Guevara helped mobilize,organise and galvanise the Cuban Revolution. Hugo Charvez is the main person and rallying point in the Venezuelan Revolution and George Washington,Benjamin Franklin and many others helped give life and organisational success to the American Revolution.Simon Bolivar was d rallying point in the south american revolution against spanish rule and Jerry Rawlings was the main man in the Ghananian revolution.And many other examples.

 

Revolutions need to be organised properly for them to be successful.They need a rallying point and individual(s) and philosophy.Many unorganised attempts at revolution have failed because of the lack of all these.The Hungarian Revolution was an example.It failed because it wasn’t well organised.

However,not all successful revolutions are organised/ have a rallying point. Some occured as a result of raw anger of the people.At some point,few uknown individuals helped organise and galvanise it

 

A revolution in the very near future is,therefore not only inevitable,but also imminient! The revolution may have no leader ( but will be led by a movement). It will be the product of a spontenous reaction of people frustrated by dictatorial (and often selfish) leadership that does not reflect their best interests —- Gore Vidal

“A time will come when the masses will come out en-mass and protest against the bourgeoisies as if they have been informed.” -Karl Marx.

The Arab Spring is a good example of an unorganised successful revolution.

These Arab Spring protests were successful not because of a labour union,nor a vanguard nor some ideological thots! It as a result of the raw anger of the people.

 

Which revolution is carefully planned? The one in Tunisia that swept Ben Ali from power was well planned? Or Gaddafi in Libya? Or Mubarak in Eqypt? Or Ali Ben Salah in Yemen? The American Revolution or French Revolution? Was it a planned event that led to the collapse of the Berlin wall or the Soviet Union?

 

Revolutions occur when the oppression of a people reach a critical mass. When Nigeria achieves that mass there will be no plan, roadmap or curriculum but a mob of lynchers who will be baying for blood!

Revolutions don’t begin as a result of planning.it begins largely as a result of anger and frustration.chaos looms and then planning is required at the latter stages

 

4. A revolution does not need many people to start it.

 

Fidel Castro said he started the Cuban Revolution with less than 50 men.

 

Many successful revolutions started with a few people. Over time,many more who believed in d cause joined and it swells and a large no continue. The Arab spring protesters started from a few protesters and rapidly grew.Over time,the revolution increases as more people that believe in it ,join the cause,

 

5.Coups are not Revolutions. Says who? Yes,primarily almost all military coups are not revolutions but over time,some have become revolutions

While revolutions encompass events ranging from the relatively peaceful revolutions that overthrew communist regimes to the violent Islamic revolution in Afghanistan, they exclude coups d’états, civil wars, revolts and rebellions that make no effort to transform institutions or the justification for authority (such as Józef Piłsudski’s May Coup of 1926 or the American Civil War), as well as peaceful transitions to democracy through institutional arrangements such as plebiscites and free elections, as in Spain after the death of Francisco Franco.

So,that means clearly taht Coup d’etats that make efforts to transform institutions like that of the Hugo Charvez and Jerry Rawlings and Thomas Sankara’s coups have become revolutions because of the impacts that were made after the coups

 

– to be continued next part as this note reaches its final parts/phase

 

Michael Adeyemi,a medical doctor,writer and an opinion analyst,writes from Lagos ,Nigeria

Revolution in Nigeria : A possibility or a dream ?! Part 8

The second example is that violent Students’ protest that occurred immediately after my tenure in the Students’ Union Executive.By the way,I joined students’ politics primarily to enhance d welfare of students,both at my departmental level and at d university level and make a lasting positive impact and to leave a GOOD LEGACY for students and make GOOD Constitutional changes that’ll impact not only in d immediate,but also subsequent generations.When I say a GOOD LEGACY,I mean a GOOD ONE that’ll impact the students positively,and reorient them on positive values,not a legacy of looting,stealing and failed unionism.and not to give them unrealistic and unrealisable,unfulfilled or hopeless HOPES nor give another unnecessary CHALLENGE.That I was able to do as I entered departmental politics thru my dept association.All my impacts as a senator,departmental exco and other positions I held in d association,are still there in d archives for people to see till date.One thing about school politics is that it isn’t a bed of roses.You win some and you lose some.in my various attempts,I lost some and won many others.

Bouyed by my success in the departmental level,my contributions especially after being co-opted into the Students Parliament(SRC),what I’ve learned about students politics,the neglect of students welfarism by both the students leaders and school authorities and the traitorship of students by the leaders who are supposed to cater for them and my ornate (unselfish) ambition,I decided to contest a students’ Union Government(SUG) executive post.After considering many factors,including my future ambition of becoming an SUG president later on,d demands I presently(then) faced in medical school,my desire for maximum academic success while impacting students positively,and a sort of bargaining/”horse trading”,I settled for the post of Financial Secretary.After an ardous and very successful electioneering,I won (with an unprecidented number of votes,far higher than any other candidate,irrespective of position contested for).

Now the impact.I introduced many measures to diversify&make easier d payment of school fees by students( before then(2003),over 25,000 students used to line up to just 2 points- One each on the main and mini campuses of the University to pay school fees to the campus branch of the now defunct Trade Bank,all within 2 weeks.This was not only ineffective,but a waste of time and energy and great inconvienience to students.I made sure those points were increased from two to over twenty) ,among many other measures including printing of copies of SUG constitution for students(that’s a form of reorientation.Before then,I doubted if over 25,000 students ever had more than 20copies of Union constitution.This is usually evident during Students’ congresses and Parliamentary meetings where u hardly see more than 3 copies of d students’ constitution during such meetings). I’ll have impacted more if not that I was unlucky to have a very grossly incompetent person as my SUG president.( Compare with present day Nigeria).So incompetent.He ended up dividing d excos.We had a factionalised exco – G4 and G5.I placed myself under G5 so that we’ll always have superior intellectual arguments (and sometimes greater votes) to always defeat the G4.Not that the president isn’t a wonderful guy.He is in all respects and a gentleman but he’s totally grossly incompetent,visionless,wisdomless and gutless and liverless when it comes to handling students’ affairs.( Compare this to Nigeria’s present state of affairs).We were a divided house which can’t stand.I had my own disagreements with the president,often on ideological principles.Individually,we had great abilities but since we were divided,we couldn’t impact much on the students.The Students were not happy despite the initial impact and enthusiasm especially in the early part of the regime.Towards the end,I decided to realise my pre school dream(having discarded d idea of NANS president bcos it was very unrealisable,unrealistic and an Eldorado Utopian dream) of becoming the SUG president.

Pronto,I started campaign.Lots of “horse-trading” occurred during the electioneering and even though I knew I had 3 more chances of contesting in the SUG elections,I knew I would gallantly lose this one but my chances were very bright in d subsequent ones.I just wanted to use d present campaign as a launchpad,having known my subsequent bring chances in d ones to take place in subsequent years,having been negatively smeared by this outgoing inglorious regime.I knew I’ll lose.However,having studied the students over years and having looked at their present state,I knew the students were sitting on a keg of gunpowder.I knew there were lots of bottled up anger and unexpressed aggression that was just looking for an opportunity to be expressed. I looked and took a retrospective view of the 1905 Russian Revolution,the French Revolution and the 1917 Russian Revolution.Situations could be juxtaposed to be similar.And now,much later,retrospectively the Arab Spring and Occupy Nigeria.

All the students needed was a “trigger” and this protest’ll be worse than that of 1998 or any other in the history of the school.All that however could be prevented if the school could be more proactive(I doubted that) or we had a more welfare oriented students Union(that’s possible).I looked at all the presidential contestants and took a deeper,intuitive view& xrayed them and knew their capabilities.I saw just a few(apart from myself) would be able to prevent the looming(and almost inevitable) disaster.I talked to the “kingmakers” of campus politics,religious leaders,opinion holders,student activists and other stakeholders,telling them my fears and predicting and forecasting how some events will be ,except if certain actions weren’t taken.Specifically the choice of the SUG president.If not me,but I trusted 2 other candidates to do exactly what could prevent it. All noted what I said but Few accepted.Some sneered.I know what I was saying.

A night to the election,having known I’ll lose,I was undeterred but went round all the major lecture theatres and hostels,addressing students all my fears.I knew what’ll happen.I wanted my warning to be a witness to them.
Whenever Nostra II warns,always take note. Disregard Nostra II to your peril.
God rules in the affairs of men.

I lost the election.I wasn’t surprised.I was afraid even more about the person that was chosen and the future of the students and students’ movement,thereafter.A wonderful guy though and my friend(we were co-opted into the SRC same day),but my main fears for him were triple.

1.My prediction of a looming disaster and I knew he won’t be able to fully handle the matter in the best to prevent that disaster.
2.The fact that he’s double-minded and speaks with 2 mouths on an issue (Mitt Romney ally)
3.His company of “bad” advisers that can negatively influence his decision.

He started his regime and all what I feared came to pass exactly.(trust Nostra II)
On March 17,2004,there was a minor students protest over disruption of water supply.Even though water supply was restored when it was realised they’ll be a protest (in fact,3 hrs before the start of the protest),it led to a great protest of malignant proportion,never experienced in the school history.The students were hell bent on protesting.It happened simultaneously on both campuses. Lots of property was destroyed.Many people were injured and hospitalised.Many students were brutalised and detained by the police and the school library was almost burnt.Infact,the mobile riot police had to be called to stop the violent protest. Nostra II wasn’t surprised but watched from afar off,like a watchman. All these events were inevitable. Now many of the “kingmakers”, students’ activists,opinion stakeholders,religious leaders and other students realised what Nostra II warned them earlier. It was too late

Juxtaposing it with what’s happening in Nigeria,Nigerians are sitting on a keg of gun powder.There’s so much unexpressed and bottled up anger in d minds of people.This protest wasn’t directed by any students activist vanguard,as at that period,there were very few students’ activists and vanguard left,but by the raw anger of the people in action. This can be triggered into a very violent and uncontrollable revolution. May God help Nigeria. Amen. Arab Spring was an example of a revoulution that came out of people’s bottled up anger. Occupy Nigeria protest too was another example

“Over the years,nigerian governments have not cared about the plight of the poor,but have played d reverse role of Robin Hood,this time taking from the poor to subsidise the rich”
– Ben Murray Bruce

Such revolutions can be triggered.Now,if things continue like this in Nigeria,I see one of four possiblities happening

1. A failed nation.(God forbid). But the truth itself is that the nation is failing.Only recently was it named #14 in the list of failed countries index

2.Military coup (God forbid)

3.A seccession or break up of the country(which won’t solve the major problems). Moreover,every town/village wants to be an individual country

4. A Revolution. Yes a Revolution and almost certain to be a violent one.” Those who make peaceful change impossible,make violent one inevitable” – Franz Fanon

Now having talked much ad is still talking about revolution,let me talk about some common misconceptions and a few things more about revolution

1.Revolutionary “triggers”:.Revolutionary triggers may not always be directly related to the revolution.Many times,it may not even bear a close relation directly to the revolution (like the Arab Spring that was triggered by Tunisia’s Mohammed Boazizi self matyrdom in burning himself to death (https://www.facebook.com/notes/michael-drbiggie-adeyemi-i/the-middle-east-crisis-1-its-origin-the-arab-spring-crisis/275584955831621.and

but had profound effects in 20 Arab countries.It also occurred in France during the French Revolution that started with the invasion and burning of Bastille (The French Royal Prison). Like also in the 2 aforementioned examples. Let me ask,what does the committing of suicide by an unknown man,or the burning of a prison have to do with revolution that made great impacts? Or in the examples I gave,what does the taking off of electricity before a football match or not quickly restoring power supply have to do with violent students protests of mega proportions? They don’t bear a direct relation to the cause,do they? They don’t directly,but indirectly they do,because many circumstances and situations have already prepared the way for it.Many bad circumstances have made d people angry and are ready to vent out that anger. It is like bush fires.The dry season has prepared the shrub to be very dry and winds too are a catalyst,so anything that sparks fire,be it an attempt to capture a bush rat,or a mistaken fire,or a piece of left over broken mirror that reflects so much sunlight to a leaf and the leaf catches fire,or whatever,once the fire is started,d dry shrub acts as fuel and d winds act like petrol.The fire is dispersed and bush fire starts.

So it is with a revolution.In France the raise in taxes and increase in food prices and shortage of food led to that revolution. The burning of Bastille was just a trigger. Gbam and A revolution started. Bottled up anger. Like the Arab spring too,anger against many govts and long term dictatorships had fuelled people’s anger. Gbam! When Mohammed Boazizi committed suicide,that’s d tonic needed for protests and before u can say anything,the govt of 23 yrs was overthrown and it spread to other countries.

Like the protest examples I gave. The students anger had been bottled up for a long time. All that was needed was the cutting off of electricity or water supply. Even when d water was supplied,it never deterred the students. The trigger was a form of gate channel that was openned. Some Revolutions may have direct trigger like the mobilization by Mao Tzeung in the Chinese Revolution, or Marxist philosophy and mobilization by Bolsheviks and Melsheviks in the 1917 Russian Revolution or the oppression by King James II and James VII,in the Glorious Revolution in England or clash between State and Church in the Mexican Revolution or clash between Imperialist Britain and Americans in the American Revolution. Those are direct triggers but most revolutions have indirect triggers. It may even be a totally (seemingly) unrelated event. Gbam !!! And the Revolution is triggerred. Usually there’ll have been causes and unexpressed but bottled up anger in the people previously.

Vladimir Lenin, who helped fulfill Marx’s prediction even though Marx expected it elsewhere, said: “A revolution is impossible without a revolutionary situation; furthermore, not every revolutionary situation leads to revolution.”
Now,revolution trigger is the link between a revolutionary situation and a Revolution.Not all revolutionary situations lead to a revolution because of mainly the lack of a trigger.And if there is a trigger,and no revolutionary situation,the revolution will fail,like The Hungarian Revolution of October 1956.So a revolutionary trigger is the link between a revolutionary situation and a revolution.

– to be continued next part

Michael Adeyemi,a medical doctor,writer and an opinion analyst,writes from Lagos,Nigeria

Revolution in Nigeria : A possibility or a dream ?! Part 7

Now in many other arab countries,the revolution led to a very serious radical reformation of very many things,including the system of government.Monarchial countries like Jordan,Morrocco,Bahrain,Oman,United Arab Emirates etc were forced to make great reforms including election reforms and giving more powers to the paliaments and Prime Minister.Others like Algeria,Sudan,Djoubti,Lebanon,Iran,Iraq,Oman,Bahrain,Qatar,etc were forced to make very serious reforms to their systems of government and make other far reaching reforms in order to appease the protesters in order for d govts not to be overthrown(rmr Russia too did that in 1905 after the Revolution of 1905).This now appeased the protesters.Ultraconservative Saudi Arabia even allowed women to vote in municipal elections as from 2015 and allowed greater reforms in local elections. That shows in summary the Arab Spring was a huge success.I’m sure in a shortwhile,the Syria govt of Al Assad will be overthrown.He had earlier reformed the cabinet and changed the prime minister in order to appease protesters,but the protesters wanted more.

 

These Arab Spring protests were successful not because of a labour union,nor a vanguard nor some ideological thots! It as a result of the raw anger of the people

 

“A time will come when the masses will come out en-mass and protest against the bourgeoisies as if they have been informed.” -Karl Marx.

 

Vladimir Lenin, who helped fulfill Marx’s prediction even though Marx expected it elsewhere, said: “A revolution is impossible without a revolutionary situation; furthermore, not every revolutionary situation leads to revolution.”

A revolution in the very near future is,therefore not only inevitable,but also imminient! The revolution may have no leader ( but will be led by a movement). It will be the product of a spontenous reaction of people frustrated by dictatorial (and often selfish) leadership that does not reflect their best interests —- Gore Vidal

 

 

Now my experience.When I got admission into the University of Ilorin to study Medicine&Surgery,I set certain objectives for myself : Godly (Religious), Academic and “Political”. I wanted to be closer to God and be more christianly,devoted and pious in my walk with God.I wanted to be a better christian and to be less religious.I thank God I was able to achieve that during my stay in the University by God’s Grace. However,University isn’t secondary school.It is more than scoring ultra-high points in JAMB.It isn’t being among d best 10 students in Nigeria&West Africa in ur school cert exams.It is more than having more than 8A1s in sch,nor havin over 1,300 in SAT nor over 740(280) in TOEFL,it is university which is a very serious business.My academic objective was to finish with a 1st class.I worked towards that in my 1st year and by God’s Grace,my 100Level result was a 1st class.How sad was I when I was told the medical certificate was an ungraded certificate.it only meant I’ll work for a pass and try to specialise thereafter.That changed my approach later towards the medical school(I thank God I passed all my exams thereafter in flying colours to the Glory of God).I now concentrated more on my 3rd ambition.The Political ambition was to be the Students’ Union President of my University and the President of NANS thereafter.As soon as I entered the University,I did all I could to learn about the politics of students’ union.I contested dept/faculty elections and helped many people campaign in d Students’ Union Elections.In fact,I became a “kingmaker” because all the candidates I campaigned for won elections.That made me to know more about the structure of Students Union and the national students’ body NANS.It didn’t take long before I realised my dream of becoming the NANS president was a exercise in futility-an eldorado dream.I dropped it.Then I thot of becoming the SU pres.Though difficult but it was realisable.I was 1st co-opted into the Students’ Unio parliament and later contested and won election as the SU Finance Secretary with such a very huge no of votes.After my successful regime,after d 1st SU pres election I lost,all hands were on deck to make sure I win d next election but as ill fate will have it,the Students Union was disbanded as a result of a violent students’ protest that shook the very foundations of the University and made the University officials to run into hiding for a while.Unfortunately,the Union was never unbanned before I left the University. What a missed chance.

 

Now,during my research,I made great discoveries about NANS.The Students’ body used to be a great pressure group (like the labour) and was very instrumental in many protests in the past against oppressive govts and oppresive policies of govt.They were active in many protests like Ali-must-go,May 1989 SAP riots,June 12 riots,amongst many others.Such a body would have been helpful in a revolution.In times past,the students body was very vocal.Not now anymore.Infact,it is now sadly a toothless pet dog.It was not even noticed during the last Occupy Nigeria.If it was,the labour leaders may have been more afraid of selling out,like they did during Occupy Nigeria.NANS was formed in 1980.The name has been changed many times.It used to be a good training ground for youths,future leaders,future labour leaders etc.It has a functional state sector -JCC/NANS (Joint Campus Comittee/NANS) at every state.They were to take care of issues at the state level.

 

NANS is the umbrella body of all students’ unions in Nigeria. Nigerian students converged at the Yaba College of Technology, Lagos to establish NANS in 1980 after the then government had proscribed the National Union of Nigerian Students, (NUNS) whose last leader was Olusegun Okeowo.

NANS served as an active resistance group during the era of military regimes in Nigeria. It was part of the movement that fought for a return to civil rule in the country. By 1990, NANS was at the peak of its glory, having played a significant role in rousing Nigerians to protest the Structural Adjustment Program imposed by the Ibrahim Babangida regime at the urging of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

1990 also marked the beginning of what would be a split within the organization five years later. NANS annual convention was fixed to hold on November 30, 1990 at Auchi Polytechnic. Eventually, after much intrigue and disputations, the convention opened a day later and at a different venue: the University of Benin, (UNIBEN).

After that convention, NANS witnessed a purported split along ethno-religious lines when one Wushishi from Usman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto (UDUSOK), announced a “Northern NANS” which was immediately rebuffed by the generality of students. However, that split fostered deeper ideological conflicts and schisms between different interest groups and weakened the broad platform of NANS.

 

For some veterans of student union activism, the current state of the students’ movement gives great cause for concern. “Student unionism has been infiltrated by dirty money politics as well as brigandage by members of some confraternities and cult groups,” said one former student union leader. “We now see ideological hollowness as well as haste by some student union leaders to fraternize with any government in power,” said another critic.

But some activists of the past also strike more sympathetic notes. They see the new developments as not simply evidence of student leaders’ “degeneration,” but as a symptom of broader problems in the larger society.

 

NANS has 4 zones- Zone A(consisting of many north central states,all north west &some north east states).Zone B (consisting of all South Eastern&South South states).Zone C consisting of almost all northcentral states(including Kwara,Kogi,FCT) and most north east states,and “powerful” Zone D,comprising of only the south west states.Each state and Each Zone had coordinators and a set of executives.The national NANS practices a rotational president among d zones and 3 VPs from each of the other 3 zones for effective coverage.and so that no zone is maginalised.

 

Once upon a time,only true student activists (usually)belonging to true ideological associations like DSM Democratic Socialist Movement,CWA (Commitee for Workers Alliance),CDHR (Commitee for Defence of Human Rights) and many other ideological organisations) usually contested for NANS elections.The use of guns,cutlasses and other weapons and thuggery was not common.Elections were usually free and fair.That was in those days.But now,that’s no more the case.Politicians and businessmen have infilterated the movement.Elections are no more free and fair.Thuggery and the use of assault weapons are now the order of the day during conventions and senate meetings and factionalisation is the order of the day.You now see the various states,zones and the national body has been factionalised,and have several  factional executives loyal to different (usually rival) politicias,each being recognsed by different schools/people with selfish motives.It is not uncommon to have 4 or 5 factional national NANS executives,with even 2 factional executives from the same school,being recognised by different people.U now see many conflicting press statements issued by different factions.U will now see about 6 or more people all claming to be NANS president.

 

U now see NANS giving many bogus horcus porcus awards to many controversial politicians,including those jailed for fraud.No longer will u see true students activists contesting for positions,u see different candidates being sponsored by different politicians.Even during conventions,u see the use of money politics,much money being shared and different people bragging about being sponsored by one politician or another or a state governor or federal minister or one “godfather” and boasting about it openly.Such is the order of the day and u have many factional conventions(usually inconclusive) producing many leaders and d govt being forced to recognise such.(It is eve to the advantage of government because it knows the more u are divided,the better since u won’t be able to find a common voice to fight anti govt policies.U see many politicians giving d factional executives money to campaign for them in elections,even using them as political thugs.Many have been pocketed by politicians.

 

I stand by what I say here that the last true NANS president is Comrade.Wole Badmus of the University of Ilorin,who led NANS btw 1999 and 2001.An attempt to factionalise d body was resisted by majority of the students’ body.After he left office,Comrade.Segun Olaleye(Radical Brother) too started well but was soon “pocketed” by politicians. Since then,NANS has been a charade. A farce of a body,not fit to be in the revolutionary vanguard

 

Now,I talk more about my experiences.I took time to find out about all the Students’ Union Presidents since inception,their strenghts and weaknesses.I also took time to find out more about d alutas”students protests” that had taken place.I learned a lot from them. For d purpose of this note,I’ll discuss two protests and relate the protests to the subject of Revolution which we are talking about.

 

From what I was reliably told my many sources,which I confirmed by myself,around the late 1990s,the university authorities had paid little attention to the welfare of the students(compare this to the attitude of nigerian govts).Even the students’ Union officials were compromised and weren’t ready to uphold the fight to uplift the standards of living conditions of students(compare this to our compromised labour union officials who compromise during negotiations for better quality of work for workers,even in minimum wage demands,even compromising genuine protests).The students were fed up with the situation and were just enduring.However,there is a limit to human endurance.However,the school at that point in time was blessed with many student activists and ideological organisations like DSM,CWA,CDHR etc.(Compare now that we have few revolutionary journalists but really,we don’t have a kinda vanguard).The school was sitting on a keg of gunpowder.On one fateful day,the students were to watch one of our friendly matches in the build up to the France’98 world cup.it was a friendly match many people looked up to watch.Then few mins before the match was to start,there was power failure.Students expected the school to put on the generator which was d alternative power source.it wasn’t put on(probably due to poor maintenance).That was d trigger for the revolution.

 

Revolutionary triggers may not always be directly related to the revolution.Many times,it may not even bear a close relation directly to the revolution (like the Arab Spring that was triggered by Tunisia’s Mohammed Boazizi but had profound effects in 20 Arab countries.In subsequent parts of this series,I’ll talk about Revolutionary triggers).So,in this case,the trigger was the power outage before a football match.Remember they’re many “revolutionary” student vanguards.Within a few minutes,the students were mobilized and ready for action.The students’ Union executives were forcefully mobilized.The SUG president was flogged in public gare and forced to lead the protest.The protest led to a lot of unforseen great carnage and destruction and vandalisation.Much property was burnt including the Vice Chancellor’s lodge and the administrative block.The rest is history! It was a very successful protest,inspite of the carnage.

That’s an example of how a revolution may be.

“Those who make peaceful change impossible,make violent change inevitable” – Franz Fanon

.It can be triggered by anything.

 

That was the trigger for the revolution.Revolutionary triggers may not always be directly related to the revolution.Many times,it may not even bear a close relation directly to the revolution (like the Arab Spring that was triggered by Tunisia’s Mohammed Boazizi but had profound effects in 20 Arab countries.In subsequent parts of this series,I’ll talk about Revolutionary triggers).So,in this case,the trigger was the power outage before a football match.Remember they’re many “revolutionary” student vanguards.

 

The second example is that violent Students’ protest that occurred immediately after my tenure in the Students’ Union Executive.By the way,I joined students’ politics primarily to enhance d welfare of students,both at my departmental level and at d university level and make a lasting positive impact and to leave a GOOD LEGACY for students and make GOOD Constitutional changes that’ll impact not only in d immediate,but also subsequent generations.When I say a GOOD LEGACY,I mean a GOOD ONE that’ll impact the students positively,and reorient them on positive values,not a legacy of looting,stealing and failed unionism. and not to give them unrealistic and unrealisable,unfulfilled or hopeless HOPES nor give another unnecessary CHALLENGE

 

– to be continued next part

 

Michael Adeyemi,a medical doctor,writer and opinion analyst,writes from Lagos,Nigeria