22 October 2020
Many people, especially older Nigerians, are guilty of applying “analogue” knowledge to a “digital” problem.
The protests engulfing Nigeria go beyond myopic ethnic, religious, regional or PDP/APC agendas. The ethnocentrists, the ethnic chauvinists, the ethnic supremacists, the exploiters of religion, etc want to shape the uprising to suit their narratives. They have refused to wake up and smell the coffee. Those youths on the streets are not listening to you or me or any of the usual suspects commenting on the “wahala” going on in many major cities.
Some want to sell the protests as motivated by Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the separatist group Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB). But Kanu is only playing catch up. It is actually senseless to separate the frustrations of the protesters from that of IPOB. Separatism rose out the fact that Nigeria is a failed state. The separatists think their lives would be better if everyone went their separate ways. The protesters are on the streets because Nigeria has failed. They may not share the same end game with IPOB, but the basis for venting is similar – a failure of governance.
There is no revolution that has everyone singing from the same hymn sheet. Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, despite fighting to liberate Cuba together, didn’t agree on many things. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X disagreed on the solution but agreed that the US was perpetrating evil. Nelson Mandela and Robert Sobukwe were divided in tactics but united in purpose to end apartheid in South Africa.
Right now, whether you want to secede from Nigeria or you like to keep its borders intact, we are all in agreement that governance at every level has failed. Make no mistake about it, we are witnessing an uprising in Nigeria and the first shots were literally fired by the criminals in uniform on Tuesday night, who opened fire at unarmed protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos.
Whether you agree with peaceful protest or whether you want the entire country burnt to the ground, we are all in agreement that the status quo is unsustainable. Whether you want to call those causing destruction “hoodlums” or want to extol the virtues of the clean-cut protesters you see on social media, the fact remains that the people that brought us to this situation are the Vagabonds In Power (VIPs), as Fela Kuti described them.
Dr King said: “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” The country, and I mean the long-suffering people and not criminals in government (they will never learn), either learns to swim these troubled waters or it will sink without trace.
President Muhammadu Buhari has already shown, with his belated address to the nation this evening, the patented incapacity to read the mood music.