Civil Protest: Mutiny to Blaze Trial Out of Constitutional Tyranny
By Comrade Ismail Abdulazeez Mantu
Democracy in Nigeria might still be at its nascent stage, but the brutal raped of democratic principles in Nigeria today, is a calamitous miscarriage speedily aborting the foetus that will birth a full fledged Democracy in Africa.
In a system where Civil Rights and obligations are derogatorily adjudged unconstitutional. In a system that give credence to political corruption and promotes the supremacy of the elites over the less privileged. In a system that offers the best welfare packages to captured terrorists, whom hitherto are hand soaked in bloodbaths terror attacks, while menial criminals like pocket pickers and chicken rustlers are thrown behind the bars in life sentence with hard labours. In a system where every election is another avenue to bring on board a crop of political monsters and saddle them with the constitutional responsibility of governance. In a system where there are moral and legal justifications for making life difficult and unbearable for ordinary citizenry.
The Nigeria Democracy of today is gradually been injected with draconian and stringent measures which are more common with autocratic military dictators. Civil and constitutional rights of citizens to register their displeasures towards actions and inactions of government is not permissible. A non-violent protest in accordance with constitutional provisions is today painted like an attempt to forcefully takeover government from current authority at the helm of affair. For how long can the citizens endure bad governance without legitimately voicing out in prostest against government incompetency?
The Nigeria state in 2012, witnessed one of the most organized nationwide protes in move to counter the policy for removal of fuel subsidy by the immediate past Goodluck Jonathan’s administration. A joint protest by a sociopolitical movement, ‘Occupy Nigeria’ and Nigeria Labour Congress, were more than enough to forced the Goodluck Jonathan’s government into succumbing to public pressures and partially reinstated the fuel subsidy. The government back then treated the protest with utmost respect and civility. Most of the personalities who worked from behind the scene to birth the 2012 fuel subsidy removal protest are today the strong pillars of current government.
In 2014, the same immediate past government of Goodluck Jonathan faced another massive protest and campaign in the wake of rising level of insecurity, especially in the Northeastern part of the country. The popular ‘Bring back our Girls’ movement was at the forefront. Series of protests were held, some even featuring the incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari and his APC associates.
The past administration of Goodluck Jonathan might have its shortcomings, however, posterity will be kind to a government that never play politics with yearnings of its citizenry. Indeed in seeking greater happiness, small pleasure may be lost. Nigerians never imagine that the same change they craved and fought for will one day silent a constitutional obligations of protesting against bad governance.
The situation of the country has only gone from bad to worse in all fronts in the last five years. The security, economy and anti-corruption which are the three cardinal driving forces of current administration, have been heavily defeated as no tangible progress has been made. The expectations of most Nigerians from government of the day are contrarily direct opposite of what is obtainable in terms of government inputs in governance. Those who are hell-bent staunch supporter of the government a gradually withdrawing their support as all hope of defending the government have been dashed out to bad governance.
There is no justifications not stage protest against the increasing level of insecurity ravaging residents in Katsina states, Southern Kaduna and other northern states, if there is enough justifications to protest similar thing in 2014. If removal of fuel subsidy in 2012 is worthy Nationwide demonstration, then increase in Value Added Task (VAT), uncompromisingly upsurge in the general prices of consumables goods and rendered services, and skyrocketing rise in pumping price of petroleum products are all more than worthy of taking to the streets to show displeasures towards government actions and inactions.
In a democratic setting where the legal framework empower citizens with mandates to question government performance, it is ridulous to subject peaceful protests to police brutality. Given that the eyes of the international community are casted on our polity, it is a stain on Nigeria’s global image to dry our dirty underwear of political intolerance publicly, making mockery of our nascent democracy.
The Coalition of different interest groups that took to the streets of Katsina in protest against incessant killings occasioned by bandits were mopped up and brutalized by the Police. The students groups that also protested similar thing were not spared. Residents of Southern Kaduna that took to the streets to register their dissatisfaction with lack of government commitment towards safeguarding lives and properties in the area, were equally victimized by the Nigeria Police force. The #RevolutinNow Protestants were notoriously the dominant subject of police brutality earlier last week.
Our Democracy is taking a new dimension. You don’t wipe a child with cane and yet stop him from weeping. The government of the day cannot unleash the wrath of bad governance on citizens and expected a silent. The government has lost it all in terms of popular support and acceptance. Many are keeping their peace because they are yet to figure out the right channel or platform to challenge the government of the day.
The Nigeria state is desperately in need of revolutionary force to take effect. The suitable revolution here won’t be the arm for arm forceful overthrow of state institutions. Not the kind of Marxist ideologically inclined social revolution. It must be a revolutionary force aimed at reorienting the entire nation to strengthen the ties of unity in diversity. A revolution that will bring forth a generation of Nigerians with National outlooks. A revolution where National interest will supersede tribal, regional or religion interest. A revolution that will birth a level playground where each and every individual will excel and freely contribute his or her quota to development of the country. A revolution that will automatically change the face of governance in Nigeria. A revolution that will guarantee a Nigeria that will work for all and sundry. A revolution that put the Nigeria state at a very advantageous position in the comity of Nations.
The citizens are desperately hungry for a better change but the right personality to champion such course is yet to be spotted. It must be a personality with strong commitment to a better Nigeria. An individual who can convincingly sell out political ideology across all regions. An individual capable of creating a pathway through which Nigeria can divorce her old method of in favour of elites governance. A personality with a clean slate.
#RevolutionNow Convener, Omolyele Sowore, in my opinion did not fall into the categories of individuals with such attributes. In the future it could be said that Omoyele Sowore started the rebellion accidentally. But I suspect he is only clearing the path for a more stronger personality greater than him.
Comrade Ismail Abdulazeez Mantu
Political and Human Right Activist