In a sane world, freedom of expression is for all. Here in Nigeria, to some, the cry for revolution is nonsense, to the tensed, a right movement at this precarious time. But what revolution? I shall come to this anon. However, for now, permit me to dive, a bit, into history. Nigeria and her nascent democracy were plunged into the river of intense grief on January 15, 1966. History has it that some young Nigerian soldiers, led by mutinous Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu and Emmanuel Ifeajuna ferociously claimed the lives of 22 people including the prime minister of Nigeria, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, premier of Western Nigeria, Samuel Ladoke Akintola and Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto and premier of Northern Nigeria.
However, as many a concerned Nigerian feel today, these so called young soldiers also felt the same, theirs was not hid at the corner of their hearts. They brought an abrupt end to the government of Nnandi Azikwe, the first president of Nigeria. These aggressive soldiers took the law into their own hands for they were overwhelmed by the corrupt ways of those that were at the helm of affairs. They were provoked by the then ministers’ flamboyant lifestyles and looting of public funds at the expense of ordinary citizens. So they revolutionized. Some bigwigs paid the prize, many were sent to early morning graves.
The question is what impact does that thought provoking incident brought to Nigeria? The answer is not far-fetched, an absolute downfall for the nation, the young republic shattered. The Military seized power, countercoup and civil war ensued. All these terrible moments in the history of Nigeria could only run streak of cold fear across the body of those who witnessed the terrible, Bloodshedding era.
But what have we learned from these bygone days? Absolutely nothing.
The giant of Africa, Nigeria is known for her superfluous natural resources, fertile soil that spread across the states of the nation, copious cerebral citizens, friendly clime yet we are failing, people are subservient even dying as servitudes on their own land. Religion extremists plague the land like cyclone. Our highways are robbing with exotic rifles. Our forests are silent yet they harbour the vermins and beasts. The houses of God are not safe, the streets house mobs, rogues and vagabonds. Kidnappers and ritualists are ending dreams and traumatising the nation. Everything is falling apart, the future of tomorrow are now fraudsters. Those that are yet to be recruited are drug addicts. Whores are increasing exponentially. University workers continue to strike like bizarre thunder. Election is not free and fair. Nigeria is an invalid. We have swerved out of the right direction.
According to the luminary musician, Bob marley, “Better to die fighting for freedom than to be a prisoner all the days of one’s life.” Omoleye Sowore, a Nigerian human rights activist and former presidential candidate also believes in this same idea. He believes staging a protest to correct, if not all, at least sizable number of social ills. He planned to take the agony of voiceless Nigerians to the streets which many saw as a necessity and began to chant the song of solidarity. Nigeria is haggard, things are exacerbating. The government is apathetic and halcyon. He believes Nigeria is yet to stop treading the path to Golgotha. He squared off not because he will have to himself the dividends. He did not see it that way Malcon X saw it when he said, “Sometimes you have to pick the gun up to put the gun down.” A peaceful protest he conceived.
However, it is no doubt that Omoleye Sowore subscribed to the ideology of John F. Kennedy, “if not us, who? If not now, when.” To him the revolution is now.
As a matter of fact, to make an omelette egg must been broken, I don’t so much believe that the revolution Nigeria need now must raise a dust. Nigerians must coalesce with a common goal to change the status quo. Firstly, we need ethical revolution, what is wrong is now right, common sense is now scarce. There have been cases of policemen extorting, politicians looting public funds, Alfa and pastor molesting; horrendous lifestyles here and there. But I am not convinced; Nigeria has not reached the dead end of hope, nor is the battle of Armageddon imminent. The way we think, choose leaders; run government affairs. All these need to be changed for goodness at this juncture.
Moreover, all those old soldiers and criminals in Agbada have run Nigeria aground, and they are still lingering around for the table to turn so as to shatter the nation completely. The country needs fresh breeze, intelligent leaders that know the right way to begin, from the ground up.
“In a situation like this, fighting does not solve anything. Pepper can never be one of the ingredients of a soothing balm.” Diali said to his people who were eager to wage war against Aliakoro, the poachers of the pond of wagaba in Elechi Amadi’s the great ponds. Peacefully we can change these aged challenges debilitating progress in this nation. Sowore’s plan has been forestalled, yet his idea lives. But if we keep on folding our arms, the change we really deserve is, no doubt, a pie in the sky.