TRULY, the present administration daily fights against corruption, yet nobody wants to listen to the news of it again on empty stomach. Bread is now awfully costly and the price of rice has vastly spiraled. We have forgotten that the Russian revolution started with a bread riot in the capital, Petrograd (now Saint Petersburg). Then, both the Bourbons and the Romanovs lost their thrones. If we think it cannot happen here, we need to reminisce that when people are hungry, they will not care about constitutional niceties and minutiae. If they cannot make both ends meet, they will become violent and begin to attack those with food and money.
We must not forget the economic rule of inequality by which we can accurately predict the likelihood of civil disturbance and revolution. We must not forget that the greater the gap between the rich and the poor, the more likely revolution becomes in a society. The rich, including the stakeholders, should know that if there is a revolution, the affluent will lose everything.
Being extremely concerned about the abnormal gap between the rich and the poor, a 19th century Conservative leader of Great Britain, Benjamin Disraeli, foresaw this clearly and then wrote the novel, “Sybil or the Two Nations,” in 1845. He lamented the increasing gap between the haves and the have-nots. Do we have leaders in our nation who show great concern for the deplorable plights of the have-nots?
China was once frightened at the prospect of revolution as the affluent rather provokingly displayed their wealth in front of the peasants. The country rose to the challenge and things changed. Instead of the Nigerian government to alleviate poverty or rectify the imbalance, there is increase in the provocative display of wealth among the stakeholders and abnormal passion for more wealth. They further impoverish the masses by refusing to pay the salaries of workers for months.
Programmes like Food for Women, (Infants and Children), Medicare for the elderly and Medicaid for the really poor should be introduced as it is run in the developed nations. Let something be done to the escalating prices of essential commodities like rice and bread to avert the forestalled revolution. Neglecting this may soon trigger off revolution and we will all suffer the untold consequences of it. That was how the world’s worst revolution started in Russia in February, 1917. We must know that without redistribution for the welfare of the masses, taxation is theft.
- Oyewole Jeremiah,