They all happened almost simultaneously, as if in a choreography. On February 9, 2011, a huge crowd of protesters had gathered at the Tahir Square in Cairo, Egypt. Unruly, eyes dilating like pellets of ice immersed in mug-full Campari liquor, it was obvious that this was a crowd determined to change the status quo.
They shouted anti-government slogans, calling for an end to oppression, economic adversities and collapse of the Arabian spirit in the Arab world.
A couple of weeks before then, specifically on January 14, 2001, at the Habib Bourguiba Boulevard in Tunis, Tunisia, it was the same huge crowd, mobilized to end the decadent order. Similarly on February 3, 2011, a mammoth crowd of dissidents gathered at the Sana’a in Yemen, calling for the resignation of President Ali Abdullahi Saleh. A couple of months after, specifically on a cold morning of April 29, 2011, hundreds of thousands of people at Baniyas, Syria, gathered to upturn the ruling order.
The overall goal of the protesters was similar: Bring down oppressive regimes that manifested in low standard of living in the Arab world. Dubbed Arab Spring, an allusion to the 1848 Revolution and the Prague Spring of 1968 by Political Scientist, Marc Lynch in an article he did for the American Foreign Policy magazine on January 6, 2011, the upheavals were a series of anti-government protests sparked off in early 2010s in Tunisia that eventually culminated in uprisings and armed rebellion that became widespread across the Arab World.
In a twinkle of an eye, they spread to five other Arab countries, namely Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain, leading to the deposition of the second President of Tunisia, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali; Egyptian Hosni Mubarak; Muammar Gaddafi and Yemeni first President, Ali Abdullah Saleh. In places where such upturns were not achieved, major social dislocations, riots, civil wars and insurgencies followed. In all of this social violence, the demonstrators’ catchphrase was, translated from Arab, “the people want to bring down the regime.”
So, did the #RevolutionNow conveners actually want to bring down the Muhammadu Buhari government last week and if yes, were they representative of the people of Nigeria? I asked this question because, if the Arab Spring upheavals were what they sought to clone, we must place it side by side the gloat of the Buhari presidency which likened their own version to a child’s tantrum and a poor imitation of the original. Femi Adesina, Buhari’s spokesman, articulated the Buhari government’s disdain for and scant belief in the possibility of a rehash of an Arab Spring-like revolution in Nigeria.
My reading of this mockery of the protests was that Buhari, like the ruling class elite now and before him, was persuaded that the internal contradictions in Nigeria can never allow for a people’s revolt against governmental oppressors.
“A revolution is always a mass thing, not a sprinkle of young boys and girls you saw yesterday in different parts of the country. I think it was just a funny thing to call it a revolution protest. In a country of 200 million people and if you see a sprinkle of people saying they are doing a revolution, it was a child’s play. Revolution is something that turns the normal order. What happened yesterday, would you call it a revolution? It was just an irritation, just an irritation and some people want to cause irritation in the country and what I will say is when things boil over, they boil over because you continue to heat them,” the Buhari publicist said.
I am persuaded that the social condition of the 200 million people Adesina literally venerated for staying aloof to the #RevolutionNow is far worse than those of the Arab countries’. Like them, a tiny clique too has held the jugular of power for decades, continuously riding roughshod over their suffering people and believing that a violent upturn was a mirage. This ruling elite’s lethargy, in Nigeria, has resulted in apathy to the worsening fates of society and breeding a teeming agonizing majority.
However, my reading of the presidency’s dismissive appraisal of the #RevolutionNow protests shows that that mockery is situated on a wonky pedestal. Buhari’s basis for dismissing the protest includes its scant attendance, absence of belligerence of the protesters and the fact that things have not yet “boiled over.” Of a truth, on the outward, Omoyele Sowore’s #RevolutionNow, which provoked that disdainful appraisal of the Nigerian presidency, may look too sparse to qualify for a people’s revolt. However, proclaiming it a failure may be a fatal mis-reading of the temperature of revolts.
Though Buhari must have been buoyed into lethargy by the many contradictions of the Nigerian state that might not have allowed Nigerians to troop out in their millions to convince government that Buhari is sitting on a keg of gunpowder, things are actually fast boiling over from within. It is apparent that government has failed to see the success of the protest as a symbolism for perforation of the veneer of governmental resistance. Since it could not see this implication, government then dangerously lapsed into a couple of false assumptions which show it as incapable to properly read what people don’t say.
In his weekly Facebook epistle, Adesina was further lionized to make further fatal fallacious blunders. Citing the viral call of a 4-year old boy who urged his mum to calm down, entitled Why We Need to Calm Down, the president’s spokesman made same ruling elite mistake of equating infrastructural projects with development and imagining that the people are happy. He regaled Nigerians with construction projects which he said were unprecedented in Nigeria’s history. Does he know that development is mental and not merely physical structures?
While Nigeria may indeed have witnessed a flurry of Chinese loan-funded, ostensibly corruption-ridden infrastructural projects, Nigerians’ joy level has sunk considerably under Buhari. Development is in the peace that has eluded Nigerians in the last five years, in the widespread belief that Nigeria is rudderless under Buhari and the fear that Boko Haram, ISWAP, ISIS and bandits are presiding over the Nigerian affairs, rather than the elected political elite.
By definition, a revolution is a fundamental, sudden change in political power and political organization. It is propelled when a people revolt against an oppressive government run by generally perceived incompetent people. In human history, there have been an array of revolutions which significantly changed the status quo. While notable revolutions are the American Revolutionary War of 1775-1783, the French Revolution of 1789 to 1799 and the Russian Revolution of 1917, Africa has had its own experiences, ranging from the Angolan Revolution of 1961 – 1974, the Egyptian Revolution of 1919 and the Zanzibar Revolution of 1964. The most recent in this league in Africa is the Arab Spring.
So, what gave #RevolutionNow conveners the impression that Nigeria is ready for a revolt?
Successful revolutions have been known to succumb to some indices. James DeFronzo’s Revolutions and Revolutionary Movements, which can be regarded as a handbook for revolution, provided some insights. Mass frustration resulting in local uprisings, dissident elites, powerful unifying motivations, a severe crisis paralyzing state administrative and coercive power and a permissive or tolerant world context are some of the indices DeFronzo suggested cannot but be present if a revolt against an existing order must sail through.
A critical look at the Nigerian situation reveals the following: Whereas there is mass frustration in the country, this has seldom resulted in local uprisings, except the June 12 riots. In the same vein, the Nigerian elites, being part and parcel of the maggots that lace the Nigerian decadence, are literally having a saturnalia inside the Nigerian sewage and are far from being dissident against the status quo. Again, whereas there are motivations for revolt in virtually all parts of Nigeria, the complexities in diversities of tribe, religion and culture have compelled divisive motivations.
The Nigerian ruling elites are coercive, reckless and feckless in their rule but the contradictory indices earlier provided have restrained massive and widespread paralysis of governments. Allied to these is the fact that while there is indeed a sidon look of the international system against the slide in the affairs of Nigeria, this has lionized the ruling elite into further tightening the screw of their misrule.
Only a surface analysis would conclude that Nigeria is not ripe for a revolution. A combination of an incompetent ruling class and a gale of hopelessness is oscillating in the Nigerian sky. A conservative estimate will show that, at least 90 per cent Nigerians, from all the geopolitical zones, are miserable, hopeless and perceiving life as worthless. At every point, those purportedly elected to provide succor daily advertise confounding helplessness.
Look at the Bauchi State governor who recently appointed a Special Assistant on Unmarried Women Affairs; or the systemic chaos that is the order of the day in Nigeria. Check out the symbolism of Edo State where the unrivalled lawlessness of Adams Oshiomhole is jamming the arrogance of power of Godwin Obaseki. And of course, the massive theft of Nigeria’s inheritance and full-blown wretchedness of Nigerians, both of which are tribal-blind and religion-jaundiced.
What are those contradictions that made the #RevolutionNow look like a failure and which have made Adesina and his ilk gloat at the possibility of an overturn of the system? One is the structural default that Nigeria sits upon. No successful revolt can happen, in the words of DeFronzo, without unifying motivations. Though there is mass frustration, the motivations for revolt are not unifying. This necessitated what happened recently in Katsina, Buhari’s home state. Tired of their massive killing by bandits with a corresponding incapability of their son, Buhari and his sidekick governor, Aminu Masari, Katsina people blocked the roads and asked for their twin resignation.
Also, persuaded that the unprecedented heists in government and Buhari’s cancerous cronyism are offshoots of a systemic imbalance, Southern Nigeria has consistently called for restructuring. In the ears of a feudal North used to kowtowing, however, that singsong is absolute bunkum. Again, while bandits who come from a seeming culture that justifies slaughtering have butchered more Southern Kaduna people than the number of rams they probably slaughtered in their lifetime, the rest of Nigeria’s consternation at this bloodletting sounds strange to the sons of perdition whose DNA is violence and bloodshed. So where can there be one voice against systemic disorder as to propel people to massively gather to upturn a decadent status-quo like Buhari’s?
The above are ills resulting from the calamitous dalliance of Flora Shaw and her British soldier liaison, Lord Lugard. Unfazed by the fact that Nigeria is not a nation but a concentration of nations, with different persuasions, worldviews, cultures, social foundations, human excitements and expectations, this duo soldered the nations into a fractious whole, with dangers for their forcefully welded existence. This resulted in last week’s “sprinkle of young boys and girls,” a la the presidency’s gloat, as against a mass uprising, even though the indices of revolution, the hopelessness, the frustrations, are present everywhere. The truth is, there is no difference between the widespread despondency in Katsina-Ala, the frustration in Nkalagu or the massive disdain with Nigerian ruling class in Igboho but motivations for dissent are not the same.
Femi Adesina and the ruling class as a whole may however not have too long to gloat. To gloat at the impracticability of a revolution is a fallacious appeal to authority. It can also pass as a fallacy of the straw man. This is because it is not unlikely that the Nigerian ruling class might have been holding on to weak, phony and ridiculous beliefs that have no basis in science. The collapse of current world order, especially in this world of Coronavirus, may have underscored this.
It is in the enlightened self interest of the Nigerian ruling class to flatten the curves of inequalities and gross lack and want, otherwise, its thinking that Nigerians are incapable of rising against it will collapse.
This was the thinking of the runners of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. The lyrics of Orwellian Beasts of England say this much and are a pointer to the fact that, if the oppression and frustration in Nigeria continue unabated, it may be a push for a surge of the adrenaline of the Nigerian oppressed.
Orwell had enjoined the suffering oppressed, the “Beasts of England, Beasts of Ireland” the corollary inside the Nigerian Animal Farm cage, the, “Beasts of every land and clime” not to be downcast as “Soon or late the day is coming,//Tyrant Man shall be o’erthrown//And the fruitful fields of England//Shall be trod by beasts alone.” Rejoicing in a future of conquest of the system, Orwell also enjoined that, “Rings shall vanish from our noses//And the harness from our back//Bit and spur shall rust forever//Cruel whips no more shall crack.”
Are the Nigerian ruling elite who believe that the decadent order would continue ad infinitum listening?
Why Is Ajimobi’s Mausoleum A Subject Hypocritical Outrage? | By Maroof Asudemade
Nigerians derive a kind of unexplainable pleasure in brazen hypocrisy. The latest in their display of mischiefs coated in feigned outrage is about the grand Mausoleum constructed by the family of the deceased former governor of Oyo state, Senator Abiola Ajimobi.
This writer must confess that he held initially that the resting place was vainly flamboyant when the video of the Mausoleum was sent to him. But after making some enquiries as to the intent and purpose of the tomb, he’s convinced that there was nothing vain about it and that it’s the best way the Ajimobi family thinks it fit to honour and keep memories of their illustrious patriarch.
Mausoleum is a phenomenon that has been embraced in all continents of the world. It was invented by Phythius and named after King Mausolus, a Persian satrap of Caria in Harlicarnassus near the modern Turkey, whose grieving widow had the Mausoleum done to immortalise him. The large Mausoleum housing the remains of King Mausolus was reputed to be one of the Seven Wonders of the world! Since its invention, mausolea have been regular features of burial and internment arrangements, cutting across continents and religions, especially among royal, political, military and economic leaders around the world.
Mausolea are monuments. Monuments represent the histories and the heritages of peoples of the world. Without monuments, histories and heritages are lost to generations who need them to develop a sense of history and to recognise past glories in which they must exude pride. But when a people choose to sneer at a monument because of flimsy consideration of vanity, then, it’s no curse that such people already have courted extinction.
The ‘vanity’ that mausolea are tagged to be began and spread from ‘saner’ climes after which the insanity of adopting them in Nigeria afflicted us. Almost all known deceased leaders in politics, economy, royalty and military and professional endeavours had mausolea constructed over their remains in their sprawling premises. Mausolea came into the consciousness of Nigerians when the ever sagely Obafemi Awolowo died in 1987 and a mausoleum was constructed over his embalmed remains which visitors and tourists continued to troop to see even after many years before his corpses was decaying and he had to be buried appropriately. Since then, mausolea are being constructed by families of deceased eminent Nigerians as an indication of how immensely they cherish the lives and the memories of their departed loved ones.
When Mike Adenuga lost his mother, he spent several millions of naira to construct a mausoleum to house his mother’s remain. In Nigeria today, deceased eminent Nigerians who had mausolea built over their remains included Abubakar Tafawa Balewa in Bauchi, Sani Abacha in Kano, Olusola Saraki in Ilorin, Oba Okunade Sijuwade in Ile-Ife, Tayo Aderinokun in Lagos and a host of others. Even Dino Melaye built a world class Mausoleum for his mother’s remains! We can all see how vanity drives our eminent men and women to have mausolea that hold no pleasure to them built on them! Don’t Yoruba elders say ‘he who isn’t entitled to a bonus calls it unlawful’? Only a poverty of acute proportion will make one attach vanity to every luxury in life.
If all these eminent men and women mentioned above embraced vanity for having mausolea built on their remains, let me regale you with a burial story of a sincerely altruistic and the only truly radical and activist lawyer Nigeria has ever produced, Chief Ganiyu Oyesola Fawehinmi. No one can associate an atom of corruption to the late fiery lawyer! He lived a good life despite that he was an excessively incorruptible man. Yet, he planned his burial immediately he was told of his terminal lung cancer. He instructed that he wanted to be buried in gold casket! And, yes, Gani Fawehinmi was buried in gleaming gold casket! So, Gani too was vain! If Gani did not elevate vanity while alive, why would he elevate vanity in death?
No one is justified at all to wail about the vanity of life to the families of late Senator Abiola Ajimobi. What could be more vain than having to lose a man larger than his existence, an illustrious colossus for that matter? If losing Ajimobi to the inevitable death does not define life as vanity, one wonders what else will? Senator Ajimobi lived a good life, worthy of emulation in all ramifications. Yoruba elders say, ‘a dowry paid on a bride depends on how cherished the bribe is’. Therefore, it’s also apt to conclude that ‘Ajimobi was befittingly buried based on how so much he was cherished, loved and adored by his families’.
Is the word bankrolling derogatory? | By Onike Rahaman
Given the harsh reactions and ill-mannered responses of Femi Fani Kayode to the question asked by The Daily Trust Correspondent during the interactive session held with the journalists in the Cross River State yesterday, the action of FFK which has been largely condemned, considered as social misconduct and irrational forced me to carry out further search of the extensive meanings of the word ‘bankroll’ .
Up till now, I have not got any hints, tips or information on the derogatory meaning of the word bankroll to have prompted FFK outbursts of anger.Even my dictionary of insulting words didn’t include such entry.
Chief Femi Fani Kayode in the past few days had been touring some states meeting the governors in those states.
He was in Calabar the capital of Cross Rivers state when he was asked by Eyo Charles the Daily Trust Correspondent in the state that who is bankrolling his tour.
Fani Kayode became livid with anger and said, ” What type of stupid question is that?
Bankrolling who? Do you know who you are talking to? I will not take any questions from this man. What type of insulting question is that? Which bankroll? To do what? Who can give me money for anything?
Who do you think you are talking to? Go and report yourself to your publisher… Don’t insult me here… I could see from your face before you got here how stupid you are. Don’t ever talk to me like that. Who do you think you are talking to?”
While some people have blamed the reporter for asking a denigrating question, others insist Fani Kayode displayed pride as it is the duty of journalists to promote accountability. Who do we blame?
A. Eyo Charles the reporter.
B. Chief Femi Fani Kayode.
Semantics of the word that ignited the anger of Femi Fani Kayode:
1.Cambridge English Dictionary: verb. informal.
‘To support a person or activity financially’
‘To bankroll a person, organization, or project means to provide the financial resources that they need’.
[mainly US, informal]
The company has bankrolled a couple of local movies.
3. Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English:
bankroll:Informal-to provide the money that someone needs for a business,a plan etc.
4. Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
bankrolled; bankrolling; bankrolls
Definition of bankroll (Entry 2 of 2)
: to supply money for (a business, project, or person.
5.Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners:
bankroll:to provide the money for something.
What then could have infuriated the former Minister and Lawyer with the question asked by the timid journalist for him to have acted oddly and reacted annoyingly in a way that has exposed him to public ridicule?
The whole scenario is a pointer to the fact that the man lacks emotional intelligence, maturity, decency and capacity to handle stressful situations.
Need for discipline in PMB’s cabinet to fight real corruption | By Abba Dukawa
With three cardinal programs of PMB’s campaigned promises, i. e Insecurity, Corruption and Economy, Nigerians expected effective and rebut fighting of Insecurity, Corruption and improved Economy in the country. It will be recalled that following the intense presidential campaign and the victory in the March 28 presidential poll in 2015 election. Let me start with corruption war. For long PMB had been pontificating about his desired to fight Corruption made Nigerians believed that he is capable to beat the previous administrations ‘efforts in anti-corruption war in the country and improved security and economy of the country.
To the extent that even the war waged by the administration against corruption proved to be toughest and it’s fighting back each passing day because there are several alleged corruptions within the administration.
The most disturbing point of war against corruption is becoming a subject of public scorn. There are several examples I can cite as proof of evidence but I will limit myself to a few. Nigerians may recalled less than two years of PMB’s administration , face its first litmus test in fighting corruption when a court fined MTN to pay billions of dollars to the government.
The most shocking of the administration error was the given approval of $25 billion contract awarded by NNPC without the input of the acting president at the time of the said approval PMB was lying in a sick bed in faraway London. This cast’s serious doubt in the mind of Nigerians.
In spite of highly celebrated profiled corrupt cases like ex petroleum minister, Diezeini Allison, Defencegate and PDP campaign funds, five years into the administration, there were no convictions of the alleged looters in this highly profiled corruption cases. The most worrying development is that the anti-graft war, which used to be his major feat, is now all over the place. Magu, the anti-graft Czar, has himself been accused of various infractions — some of them contained in reports submitted to PMB.
Did PMB heard Prof Pondei, NDDC acting MD, when he told a senate panel that he spent N1.5 billion as COVID-19 relief on the staff? Did you heard him brazenly told the committee that “we took care of ourselves”, he is still in office. That any of your appointees could make such a reckless statement on record shows how low they rate your anti-graft war.
There is extraordinary chaos going on between President’s power-drunk ministers and chief executive officers of the respective departments and agencies under their watch.
Did PMB knows that as a result of these infighting among the administration’s appointees are becoming a subject of public ridicule. Minister of labour who suspended the management of NSITF said he had PMB’s approval. Former MD of the Niger Delta Development Commission vs. Minster of Niger Delta, Dr Isa Ali Pantami Vs Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Minister of Power Vs MD of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company, Minster of power Vs MD of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA)
Another episode of indiscipline was when police officers were deployed to the house of Mrs Joi Nunieh, former MD of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), to intimidate her on a day she was supposed to testify about the massive corruption in the agency. Latest episode of indiscipline was when the minister of labour, Dr Chris Ngige Vs James Falaki on the screen of a national TV when he called him Mushin boy and that he is VI Guy.
It is seem the government is indisposed to instill discipline within the ranks of the administration. Many Nigerians are asking whether President Buhari is the man of dependability Nigerians saw in him some years back. This is not the same person Nigerians ostensible brought into office in 2015, Buhari’s fear factor has gone which the corrupt people and other had on him disappeared, the fright notion of If Buhari catches you, one would bear the consequence also gone and no longer scares anybody, as we all can see even there is apparent lack of coordination and infighting among different agencies of government as well as key functionaries serving in the administration came to the front in the wake of the confirmation of the suspended EFCC chairman DSS, wrote to the senate to counter your choice.
If indeed those allegations are true, it should be a major indictment on Mr President, that right under his nose, all these things were happening and you did not act swiftly but the way the whole thing has been handled is damaging to the anti-graft war, and infighting among the appointees are hurtful to the administration integrity. Nigerians never expected negative things to happen under PMB’s stewardship and voters never thought he would head a government bedeviled with boggling financial recklessness of public funds, chaos, in fighting among the administration appointees and endless things which are discrediting his administration’s goodwill and the nation at large.
Dukawa can be reached at[email protected]
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