Omoyele Sowore came as the fugleman to challenge the eccentricities of our national quietism that have, honestly, turned us into cowards. He believes that electoral democracy with its egalitarian posturing will never bring that seismic change to Nigerians. The newly elected governor of my state – Oyo State – Seyi Makinde, announced happily to his captive audience that he has made an asset declaration of N48 billon. That is enough ammunition for me to conclude that we practiced a monumentally monetized form of democratic, electoral and political farce in Nigeria. Sowore, smart, enlightened, realist knows that ballot box pretenses will not bring Nigerians those dividend of democracy as seen in other progressive nations of the world.
Ancient sagas and fairy tales all have their superhuman heroes and heroines. Activism is one route to die a hero or a heroine. However, activism is a hazardous job that requires you to live a fearless life. It is a vocation, especially in this part of our world, which demands that you court danger every waking moment. Gani Fawehinmi fought the status quo till death. Fela Anikulapo-Kuti took activism scars to the grave. Beko-Ransome Kuti had his own baptismal fire as fighter for justice. The aim of Sowore and #Revolution Now is sociological. There is no clear violent objectives in their struggle.
It is hugely redemptive. But that redemptive revolutionary process is trivialized as constituting “subversion”, “treason”, “insurrection” and forceful “overthrow” of elected government. In a spin of breathtaking stupidity, revolution is corrupted by this administration to mean an arm struggle. Let me answer to this stupid charge by quoting Wole Soyinka’s enlightened response to Sowore’s charge of treason.
“Deployment of alarmist expressions such as ‘treason’, ‘anarchist’, ‘public incitement’ etc. by Security forces have become so predictable and banal that they have become meaningless. Beyond the word ‘revolution, another much misused and misunderstood the word, nothing that Sowore has uttered, written, or advocated suggests that he is embarking on, or urging the public to engage in a forceful overthrow of the government. Nothing that he said to me in private engagement ever remotely approached an intent to destabilize governance or bypass the normal democratic means of changing a government. I, therefore, find the reasons given by the Inspector-General, for the arrest and detention of this young ex-presidential candidate contrived and untenable, unsupported by any shred of evidence. His arrest is a travesty and violation of the fundamental rights of citizens to congregate and make public their concerns. This is all so sadly déjà vu. How often must we go through this wearisome cycle? We underwent identical cynical contrivances under the late, unlamented Sani Abacha when he sent storm-troopers to disrupt a planning session for a similar across-nation march at Tai Solarin School, Ikenne. This was followed up by a personalized letter that was hand-delivered by the State Security Services to me under their summons, at their Abeokuta so-called ‘Annexe’ with near-identical wording to the threats contained in today’s release from the desk of the Chief of Police. At least, I was summoned, not subjected to a terrorist midnight arrest.”
What Soyinka’s righteous and reflective condemnation suggests is that Buhari has taken the needle of tyranny past the red zone. His paranoia and return to autocracy at the sound of opposition is nothing but a thoughtless disdain of liberal freedoms that come with democratic values. Buhari is fast inhabiting the archipelago of stubborn position: crush all oppositions at all cost. We now know, with Sowore’s arrest, that Buhari is not the ‘Baba go slow’ we imagined. When the circumstances suit him, he moves fast. Sowore’s self-sacrificing sense of patriotism and his urgency of NOW must be welcomed by all positive, change-driven and progressive Nigerians. Buhari should smell the coffee and release this courageous, prisoner of conscience. Today!!! Prof. Wole Soyinka said so! Femi Falana said so! Aare Gani Adams said so! Right thinking Nigerians said so! The #Revolution Now is asking a pointed question.
How can Nigerians remain suppliant in the face of mass insecurity, poverty, the demonization of popular protests, starvation, stupidity, incompetent leadership, tyranny, herdsmen genocide and police impunity? This is their struggle – Nigerian struggle. And in any struggle for change there must be a defining moment. Yes, in any push for radical change, something big must snap inside the sleepy citizens who have been subdued by tyrannical use of state instruments of coercion. #Revolution Now is an intellectual intervention to galvanize and an act as the catalyzing agent to accelerate a new order. A movement meant to wake up Nigerians from national amnesia that tends to turn cowardice into a virtue.
However, going by the voices of the combatants, revolution is narrativised as the harbinger of chaos, confusion and violence. Really? If revolution will bring in chaos and violence, has twenty years of unbroken democracy not delivered Nigeria into the deeper end of chaotic charade and violence never seen in our peacetime? Are we not paying dearly with our blood for Buhari’s incompetence? Should we, as a nation, continue to hibernate perpetually in the daily darkness of death, confusion, decay, death and stagnation?
As you read this, we are ranked as the poverty capital of the world. In the face of this failure and shame, are we to be cautious in our criticism or be louder in our outrage? Is this thunderous fall from the top to the bottom of the global hierarchical pole of prosperity ranking not enough to call out thousands of revolutions? Rather, Buhari is playing a high-octane, high-risk politics of fear that has led to the total collapse of faith in his competency to deepen our democracy. He is showcasing the ripping muscles of a militarized presidency that intends always to act from a position of demonic strength against southern agitators.
It would be a stretch to conclude that Buhari’s response recipe to all the chaotic killings across Nigeria is anywhere near fully cooked to reflect the revolution awakenings engulfing Nigerians. If President Muhammadu Buhari is blindsided by the fact that he is a lame duck president presiding over a failed state, he should understand that the revolution that would end Fulani’s generational oppression, tyranny, misrule, incompetency, despotism and autocracy is here. He should prepare his second tenure for more democratic street fights. Long live the revolution!!!
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