The revolution Nigerians fear

The events of the Arab Spring started in Tunisia on December 17, 2010. A twenty-six-year-old Tunisian, Mohamed Bouazizi, set himself on fire in front of a municipal building in Sidi Bouzid, a rural town two hundred miles south of Tunis, the capital. His action was best understood by many as a protest against the confiscation of his cart, which he used to sell fruits and vegetables, and the dismissal of his complaint. This is just one example of many revolutionists in the world that either killed themselves or mobilized people against injustice and bad governance.

Most of the countries that have experienced revolution, especially in the Arab world didn’t get to where they are expected to reach, instead of achieving their core mandate, they ended up in a more serious situation. Take the case of Libya for instance, where hundreds of thousands of lives were lost and millions were displaced from their homes. To make it worse, the country has two power centers—an internationally recognized government based in Tripoli and an internationally recognized parliament based in the eastern city of Tobruk. Sudan fought their own war, overthrew the three decades of Omar Al-Bashir regime but their sweat ended in the hand of the military that seems not to return the system to the people. This also left so many Sudanists killed through continuos protest in the country.

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Coming down to Nigeria, a country of diversity and with over 190 million people from the different geographical backgrounds, faiths, and beliefs, the revolution proposed by Omoyele Sowore and his supporters would not produce the desired result.  The country is not united by a common goal; people have different voices for different purposes.  Some people will endure and turn their faces against bad governance so long their kinsmen are in charge of the administration. Only a few Nigerians think otherwise or set aside their ethnic and religious differences.

You will agree with me that, if there is any country that needs a revolution now it Nigeria. The reasons are many; there is injustice, bad governance, massive corruption, unemployment, killing everywhere, abuse of public office and many more problems that require a radical approach to bring the desired change. However, the timing and mode to carry it out are wrong, especially now that the country is facing serious securtity challenges.

The behaviour of the Nigerian political elite made the country seems ungovernable because they have succeeded in dividing the country along the ethno-religious fault line. Since independence to date, the country has been battling with fragmenting unity and peaceful coexistence among the diverse ethnic compositions, corruption, abuse of power and impunity have become the order of the day. People are no longer interested in merit or integrity when it comes to election or appointment. They are more preoccupied with where one comes from and the religion he/she practices. This has also compounded the problems.

Sowore may come up with good intentions but as a partisan politician who contested and failed the last presidential election, his motive should be scrutinised.  By apprehending Sowore and charging him with treason, the Federal Government should urgently present him before the competent court of law; he should not be held as a political prisoner. The thwarted revolution should serve as a lesson to the government that all is not well in the country.

Idris Mohammed,