How Occupy Nigeria birth the Illuminators ~ Japheth J Omojuwa’s paper at Free University Berlin
Published:14 Feb, 2013
How Occupy Nigeria birth the Illuminators
The moonish critics are who they are because the Illuminators of Nigeria’s new order thrive. The moonish critics exist because these Illuminators came into being. There would be no moon without the sun and that explains why these lots are called moonish critics.
I want to tell you about the Illuminators of Nigeria’s new order. They are the force of change, sometimes loud, other times silent, but at all times actively pursuing Nigeria’s desired path to active citizenship participation in Governance. Until their ceremonial coming of age at the #OccupyNigeria protests, they were called many names.
They were deemed irrelevant offline, they were regarded as a bunch of young people with phones and computers in their hands who had no better use for their time but to tweet and facebook their lives away. When they said they’d occupy Nigeria, they were laughed at. When they said they’d make enough noise the world would be forced to pay attention, they were called deluded. Then they did. They went on the streets across the federation. They birth new everlasting possibilities across new ad-hoc Freedom Parks. Bagura an otherwise unknown or at least forgotten part of the world came to the party when a tweet went “#Bagura has been occupied #OccupyNigeria.” Adamawa, Kano, Kaduna, Benin, Ibadan, Abuja, Lagos, Ilorin etc were all duly occupied. Some 32 cities across the world were occupied in a protest started by the erstwhile you-can-do-nothings. Washington, New York City, London, Dublin, Belgium, Finland, Ghana, South Africa were amongst the cities and countries where the #OccupyNigeria demonstrations took place. Nigerians were united in their quest to say they’d had enough of the nonsense and bullshit of their government. I began to truly believe Nigeria’s President Jonathan must could suffering from at least doses of self delusion when he opined people were paid to protest. It was a classic statement from a man who has learned to make a mess of the best opportunities by doing his best to utter the most nonsensical statements .
They could have done things better by avoiding the alliance with the recognized Labour movement but how were they to know that the Labour leaders would sell out for small chops and handshakes? Organised Labour failed them but they never failed themselves, they were betrayed but remained undeterred. Some lost their lives to this struggle. May their souls rest in peace. It is our desire that for as long as we can we will continue to defend what they fought for; their right to be heard, to matter and to count in the construction of the Nigerian agenda. I cannot make the same wish for the souls of those who killed them, I cannot wish that those who gave the order to have these protesters killed would ever have to rest in peace whether here now or here after. That is not my call to make, it is the call of universal justice and even as Nigeria’s law has refused to successfully convict these murderers, justice will find its way to their homes. Those alive are still thriving and their togetherness has found expression in other causes. These causes may not have had the attention of the world like the much more camera friendly protest grounds but they indeed are insignificant to the reality of my argument that the trend that sent Nigerians out to protest remains active. The core remains and a lot more people have joined the body. I’d dedicate the next chapter to the various efforts of these mostly young Nigerians who are defying the old order of nonchalance and leading the new agenda for a better-governed Nigeria. That our part of the world does not directly experience the light of the sun does not mean the sun has stopped to shine. The sun still shines, it will always shine and if we are patient enough to look beyond our nose, to break out of our mental contraptions, we’d indeed see that the shining lights of #OccupyNigeria are still shining. May be not as bright as the concentration of their force on one surface, say petrol taxes, but they still shine. Let me tell you about Nigeria’s illuminating force of change. The Illuminators.
Part of the speech titled; #OccupyNigeria: Fueling the Nigerian Awakening for Active Citizenship, presented by Japheth Omojuwa at the Free University, Henry Ford Bau ,Hörsaal C, Gary Str. 35, 14195 Berlin, Germany on February 12, 2013