By Abdullahi O Haruna Haruspice
Again, the #RevolutionNow gang has embarked on another voyage of what the conveners call ‘revolutionary protest’ across the length and breadth of the nation. The last time such a protest was staged, the overall leader, Omoyele Sowore, was arrested, alongside some other comrades of his. They are still being prosecuted in the court today by the Federal Government.
There is no doubt that a legitimate and peaceful protest is part and parcel of democracy whereby those who are not comfortable with the actions and inactions of government vent their misgivings by carrying placards bearing anti-government inscriptions, organize sit-outs, graffiti on public buildings, walks among other legitimate tools of showing disaffection with governemnt.
However, it needs to be stated that no governemnt anywhere in the world will fold its arms and look away when a group of persons says their intention is to bring down an elected governemnt by any means possible to them hiding under the guise of protests. Action and reaction are equal and opposite.
Moreover, it’s expected that a sensible governemnt will even be more concerned with a revolutionary protest that is coming at a time when the country is battling two formidable challenges: an unstable economy triggered by the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic and the insecurity in the northeast and northwest zones of the country.
I dare say that no genuine patriot will want to embark on any revolutionary protest now in the face of the existential threats posed by the novel coronavirus. As young persons, what should interest us most is good governance and not politics. We wake up every day talking about politics while the fundamentals suffer. It’s a looming tragedy when able-bodied youth take to the social media everyday dissecting political problems thus leaving their primary tasks to suffer.
In this clime, everyone is an expert in identifying problems while only very few are solution experts especially on the social media space where the youths form the biggest bulk of users. The drive for this is essentially for ephemeral social media hype and likes. Like a burning candle, your plenty likes and comments shall fizzle away while the reality stalks us in the face. There is so much noise by the youths that portends a dangerous disconnect between reality and illusion. No one is genuinely concerned about the bigger picture. Citizen activism should not be confused with political consciousness. If you are interested in politics, join political parties otherwise allow politicians to do their things. That is their creed and not yours. When all citizens take to political talks, we lose the fibre of governance.
For instance, calling for the resignation of the President is nothing but sheer social media braggadocio. It has nothing to do with citizens’ right but deliberate attempt to stir the hornet’s nest. The legislators exist to do the needful in the event of a lacuna, after all, we elected them to handle such occurrence. Dabbling into their turf is akin to territorial encroachment. Let everyone face his turf while we individually move the nation forward. Governance does not rest only with the elected or appointed but with all citizens who are stakeholders in the Nigerian project. All men to his tent, please!
Again, while we are yet to survive the COVID-19 plague that has grounded almost every aspect of life globally, we are now being confronted with another assemblage of protests by the Omoyele Sowore group. As Omenesa Mohammed succinctly put ‘Even with the fact that we all clamor for good governance, it’s also very important to note that those who are most critical come from the states that are worst governed. If you pay a visit to their Local Government where their fathers live, the LG Chairman is almost a gangster. Governance at that level is reduced to a one-man show and these vocal minorities are nowhere near the table of accountability – asking questions where necessary. The question then is this: why are the supposedly educated individuals so concerned about the Federal Government while their states and LGs are replicas of ruins of the past? What your LG Chairmen and State Governors do are more impactful in comparison to FG, be it good or bad. If they fail at that level, no matter what the FG does, it amounts to nothing. A thug is a leader of your father in your Local Govt and you are here on Facebook preaching what I don’t know”.
The real revolution should start from self where we query the real purpose of our agitations. Has the state failed in its obligations so much that the nation is in precipice? Is the government in shamble and rudderless? What is the state of the economy and how delicate are the indices? Does a badly governed state procure and deliver locomotive train couches even in the face of the corona pandemic? When you arrive at a plausible result using the sincere measuring tool, we can say you are revolutionizing and not by calling for street protests that have the tendency to be hijacked by hoodlums and urchins. No one can predict the end result of such an adventure, even with the best of intentions, from the beginning.