The issue is not about Buhari, but about a total systems overhaul. There are issues – such as the decadent civil service where almost every big man is taking as much as they can in fraudulent transactions and bribes – that have eluded Buhari or to which he has deliberately turned a blind eye. There is private sector decadence, collusion, cheating of the people. We need to press reset. The harassment and beating of Senator Ekweremadu is an indicator that something has broken in the system and things will get worse before they get better. As despicable as the senator’s harassment by his people in Germany is, what has become etched in my mind, and what every thinking person – especially those in power today – should never forget, is Senator Ike Ekweremadu running for his dear life like a schoolboy. In Germany, without the usual battalion of Nigerian policemen and DSS men fawning around him, he became another ordinary citizen, vulnerable to the elements, and the ‘misguided’ discipline of the mob! At the end, we are all human. We are all ordinary. But for a long time, those who rule Nigeria have forgotten. Now, the people are saying they need a new deal, a better deal, a humane deal… and the din is increasing. We are destined for a people’s revolution, no doubt. Aristocracies and elitism have their sell-by dates and they have certainly expired.
They say we should queue up and wait for the next political season and try again. They ignore all the reports on the elections – from IRI, to EUEOM, to NDI and lately the Situation Room, that the elections were fatally flawed – by vote buying, intimidation, fuzziness, information hoarding, use of incumbency power. Perhaps because most never strove to make that difference, they take for granted the efforts, tears and pains of those who did. They mock. They jeer. They are blind, even to their own misery, and long-term hopelessness. The call for a ‘revolution’ is all about saving this country from imminent implosion. It is all about getting the people to be part of the conversation to save their own country. It is about freedom, from corruption, and other pathological diseases that have held a great people down for too long while the world powers on supersonically.
I repeat; citizens engagement must continue for the survival of this country. We must heed the words of Martin Luther King Jr. This is what he said on this subject:
“One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change. Every society has its protectors of status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.”
We must remain awake and vigilant. Governance – especially in a country such as Nigeria – cannot be done by one person. No matter who is president, we must HELP him/her by putting him/her on his/her toes and helping him/her ward off the crazies; those people sold out to other countries or to themselves or to business interests whose ambition here is to keep this country in the doldrums. Yes we must. When I talk of revolution, it is not something targeted against Buhari, or removing his government, but it is something Buhari himself has always advised; that vigilance that sets our country right, that awareness that is the hallmark of responsibility on the part of every adult Nigerian. We must all have a revolutionary heart. What is ‘revolution’ in the literal sense of it? It means to revolve, to turn around, to do things in a different way. If any people need to turn around, change their ways, rethink their actions, stop the rot and madness, wake up and smell the coffee, that country is Nigeria. So the word ‘revolution’, as far as Nigeria is concerned, is far bigger than Buhari and his political ‘victory’, which is in contention in court.
We cannot run away from it, because this revolution is us. It has conjoined with Nigeria, first at the hips and later, maybe at the brains and heart, as a result of decades of mismanagement, oppression and mindless rape of a beautiful nation. It is the revolution spirit that will liberate us, and free us from global opprobrium; all that xenophobia in South Africa and elsewhere, the bans that we receive from every reasonable country, the lack of worth that we are accorded any and everywhere we turn, the manner in which droves of our best youth throng different embassies and trek across the Sahara to be free of this nation of opportunities. The call for a citizens’ revolution is what will free us and make us develop our own country. Indeed, the alternative is worse. The alternative is that we continue this way, with those who grab power stealing the country dead and stashing in different countries, arranging their own children, and waiting with bated breath, for the day it all comes crashing. For now, it totters. God forbid it soon comes crashing. Don’t mock Sowore – he has only planted a seed that will germinate spontaneously and sporadically in the most unlikely places. He reminds us of Beko, Fela, Gani, men who went to gaol so that we may enjoy today. We cannot expect to party into a glorious future. It sure won’t happen. Those great countries we run to – for education, healthcare, holidays, even investments, their people struggled, suffered, worked, and died to make them great. Your religion must not convince you that there is a shortcut. For your own good and that of your children, roll up your sleeves and save your country. Politicians can no longer save themselves. They are addicted to their ways. They are inured to the state of the people. They no longer see, or care. It is the normal people, with their wits around them, who will eventually save this country, if by any chance, she avails herself to be saved. A thousand years of bland, money-and-violence-driven politics, choreographed by robber-barons will never solve this country’s problems. Indeed it will just put the nation on an extinction list. What will help, is bold citizens engagement. We have a country to save… yes we must.