Search This Blog

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Occupy Nigeria - Is the Movement over and crushed?

So is the roller-coaster over? Does anyone really believe the country will go back to business as usual? Can you push the Genie back into the bottle? When people learn to fight for their rights and peacefully take on civil authority, they are never truly docile again.

So what has appeared to derail Occupy Nigeria movement?- Nigerian's own version of the Arab Spring? Above all, Monday's end of the protests was due to a seemingly corrupt Labour leadership. The leadership of the Unions let the people down and called off the strike when people were poised to continue protesting. GEJ sent out the Military and Armed tanks and soldiers unto the streets of Lagos to intimidate unarmed citizens exercising their rights under a democrcy. He sank to the very lowest a Nigerian president has ever done by pulling a Mubarak and sending the Army unto peaceful streets. However, sadly, because Labour cravenly and corruptly called off the strikes in the face of protest from the people, we would never know if the average soldier of the Nigerian Army would have sided with his fellow citizens or if they would have begun firing indiscriminately. Lagos became honey-combed with Military checkpoints that tried to prevent demonstrators from getting to the centres of the demonstration.

Does Nigeria have a democracy or an autocracy? Where in the world does a democratic government send ARMED soldiers AND armoured trucks to take on peaceful protesters? China and Egypt spring to mind immediately. If GEJ's role models are a communist government that ruthlessly crushed a peaceful demonstration and killed and jailed thousands of peaceful demonstrators and a corrupt dictator who was prepared to kill his own people rather than hand over power after 40yrs of a corrupt dictatorship, then he should be prepared to also take his place in the history of leaders who are failures. The man who came into power probably as the most popularly elected president in the history of the Nation, has within a short 8 months managed to squander every iota of trust and love from the majority of his people. Outside the Delta and the South South and the South East, there is hardly any support left for GEJ. Frankly, it is a very sad thing to say but many Nigerians would welcome the Military if they came back today. However, that is not the answer either as our Military cannot be trusted.

What have Nigerians learnt from the past few days? United we stand, divided we fall. In unity is our strength. The protest movement took on the might of the government and succeeded because they were united. Passion matters! It was the passion and energy of the young men and women of the Occupy Nigeria movement that galvanised this movement. Labour did not begin the protest but joined in later. Unfortunately, the Occupy Movement and SNP were naive and allowed Labour to do all the negotiating with the government - there should have been a coalition of negotiators who had to go back to their respective movments before any agreement with government could be agreed. Most of us believe Labout were bribed - pure and simple. We might be wrong but their actions look & smell 'fishy'. The movement needs courageous leaders. Tunde Bakare, Femi Falana, Musa have distinguished themselves. Despite being insulted by the government and even their own people, they tirelessly and fearlessly tried to take on the establishment. Nigerians are highly religious so any movement in the future must try to build a coalition with fearless religious leaders. There are not many of them as might be expected but their are some. They need to be sat down and spoken with before another mass demonstration like this so they are on board from the word go. Imagine if a coalition of churches and mosques had been marching alongside the protesters? Would Nigerians really want GEJ firing upon their religious men and women? Any movement in the future has to work with student unions across our many universities. It would be stupid to disregard Labour in the future but next time, they come in simply as part of the coalition. Nigerians also need to understand what the role of the opposition parties are. They are there to OPPOSE the government. We should stop mouthing things like opposition politicians joined the movement to destabilise the government - when the government has an unpopular policy that the people do not want and are prepared to fight agains, well, the job of the opposition is to support the people and fight against the government! We need much better PR. There should be much better links with the Western Media so they send in Reporters to cover the story. The Egyptian spring would never have succeeded without the Media's 24hr coverage which shamed the Egyptian government and forced Western governments to take a stand they didn't want to as public opinion in their countries was with the protesters. Unlike Nigeria, no Western government can afford to ignore overwhelming public opinion and are often forced to be seen to be appeasing their voters even when they don't want to.

Finally Nigerians have laid to rest the old lie that they are apathetic cowards and will accept everything from their government without complaining. Over the last 13 days, we have seen ordinary Nigerians march even in the face of guns, protest even when threatened with the loss of their jobs, march even when they did not trust the Labour leadership, stand out for hours in the heat with little food and water to try to build a better Nigeria for themselves and the next generation. We have taken to the Net waves and Twittered, BBM'ed, FaceBooked, Emailed, YouTubed. Nigerians abroad have protested before embassies and have marched proudly supporting the protesters back home. Finally Nigeria has grown up. We can be proud of what we have achieved over the last few days. Not every battle is won in the first skirmish - there are many battles ahead - we need to educate ourselves and our people, we need to keep teaching, we need to keep blogging and writing, we need to keep exposing the corruption in out government, we cannot give up. We have fought too hard and too long, we have prayed too hard and talked too much, we have fled Nigeria, abused her, been ashamed of her actions but still we have always come home. She belongs to us and we belong to her. We believe in the Nigerian dream. Like Martin Luther King Jr, many of us have a dream. We dream that one day we will leave in a corruption-free Nigeria, where we have a govrnent that cares about the people and works for the people and is not just there to line its own pockets.

Let us keep fighting, keep dreaming, keep hoping, keep praying. We never thought the events of the last week would happen in our lifetimes - they have. Let us hold unto hope. Nigeria will truly be free someday.

Occupy-Nigeria-for-ourselves-our-children-the-future-generations-to-come. Occupy-Nigeria-she-belongs-to-us-all. 


No comments: