Abimbola Adelakun: Between Amaechi and Ceausescu

Published:11 Apr, 2013

Nicolae Ceausescu, the communist dictator of Romania — for the better part of two decades — got high on whiffs of his own importance like all dictators are wont to do. On December 24, 1989, he stood in a public square and, surrounded by a mammoth crowd, amidst the smouldering ruins of the country’s economic and social infrastructure, exhorted them about the good of his regime.

There was nothing unusual about the day. All listened. None moved. Suddenly, an unnamed woman shouted, “Liar!” It was shocking she dared because he wielded much power over Romanians. Ceausescu continued his speech but the woman shouted again, “Liar!” A few others took up the refrain and before long, many more joined. They not only shouted, they grew restless. Ceausescu realised that the crowd was going out of control. He fled.

It was the beginning of the revolution that consumed him and his wife.

When I heard a former US secretary of state, Condolezza Rice, tell this story, she described that encounter as: “The Ceausescu Moment.”

Revolt happens at that moment of encounter when the wall of invincibility that surrounds a leader falls and citizens see the banality of power. In that instant, they develop a if–I-perish-I-perish attitude and move to topple the statue with the feet of clay. I believe one of the reasons Nigerian leaders hide behind a retinue of aides and security men, bullet-proof vehicles, siren-blaring convoys, high fences, or prefer flying in acquired private jets is to prolong this Ceausescu Moment. They don’t for nothing create endless bureaucracies to sustain the veiled curtain that separates them from those they pretend to lead. Nobody needs the aura of power more than an inept leader. Distancing achieves this.

The irony of political office is that it needs a measure of mundane to forge its mystique. When President Barack Obama hangs out in pizzerias or children chase him around in the Oval Office, or the British Prime Minister and his wife take the tube while carrying their own bags, or an image of David Cameron opting to stand inside a train while other citizens sat down and close enough to him, it’s a demystification that re-mystifies them.

The Governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Amaechi, recently said there could be no revolution in Nigeria because people are too “timid”, and I am reminded of the “Ceausescu Moment”, how leaders in the past had been deceived about the elasticity of people’s patience. By the way, Nigerian people are not the only “timid” ones; if our leaders were not timorous, they would not hide behind the paraphernalia of office to shield themselves from we-the-people.

Amaechi, unfortunately, is not the typical politician whose tongue runs faster than his brain cells can catch up but in this instance, his mockery of Nigerians betrays his attitude. I have previously written to question the desirability of a Nigerian revolution, yet, I will not write it off entirely as impossibility. That the idea of a revolution has been banalised in Nigerian public discourses does not erode the fact that at least, a revolt –or maybe just the fear of one- is necessary for Nigeria to upset the status quo of blatant irresponsibility in leadership, break the jinx of directionlessness and, galvanise social change.

To, however, say it can never happen is taking the unassailability of leadership too far. The French Revolution, the cardinal theme of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, blind-sided the aristocracy when it berthed. Like Amaechi, the French royals were convinced that the people were timid and would live with whatever was handed out to them. But then, the masses proved them wrong. The slave revolution of Domingo was unthinkable to the slave masters until it hit them and from there, changed the course of history. The question, for me is, “How long will it take before peoples’ patience is exhausted? How much more can they take before they decide that everyone’s cup is full and it is time to start pouring them out?”

Violence, as Frantz Fanon tells us, is necessary as a social purifier. Without uprising of some sorts, the society can hardly witness serious social change. But then, because such acts of revolts hardly ever come without human and material costs, they must never be treated flippantly. The most spectacular regime change of the Arab Spring occurred, in my opinion, in Libya. Moammar Gaddafi was a leader who loomed large in the imagination of the citizens of Libya and other countries of the world but when his Ceausescu Moment came, it was youths who could go nowhere near him in his days of power who literally and practically poked a stick into his anus! That would have been unthinkable a year earlier. Like Saddam Hussein, he was caught hiding in a hole like a rat; like Benito Mussolini in Italy, Samuel Doe in Liberia and Adolf Hitler in Germany, he died like a dog.

Does Amaechi and, perhaps, others who have written off the possibility of an upsurge know how long Ceausescu took his people for granted and had got away with it? Do they know how long black people sat at the back of the bus before Rosa Parks decided she had had enough? People spend years collecting angst on their bodies until one day, they snap. When the woman who shouted “liar!” at Ceausescu left home that morning, maybe, the last thing on her mind was that she was going to galvanise a revolution. It “just” happened; sometimes it is planned ahead, and other times, it is spontaneous like the Tank Man of the Tiananmen Square massacre. There is always that moment when things slide out of control because someone shouted “liar!” or a frustrated youth sets himself on fire; a moment when a state agent refuses to obey orders, or someone just decides that his life is no longer worth living and he would die with as many people as possible. This Ceausescu Moment is a reason Amaechi should improve his attitude or, at least pray that when the walls come crashing, he is able to get behind the wheels of his bullet-proof jeeps quickly enough. With the way things are going in the country now, with youth unemployment and poverty at an explosive level side by side a sickening thieving and corrupt political elite, I will not bet with my kobo that “that moment” is not in the horizon in Nigeria. The thought, however, is gripping as it is disturbing.

 

Abimbola Adelakun (aa_adelakun@utexas.edu)

Article culled from Punch

  • jasanya Olumide

    “The Governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Amaechi, recently said there could be no revolution in Nigeria because people are too “timid” In as much as the elasticity of human patience can’t be determined hence the unpredictability of Nigeria’s own ceasescu moment,I fully concur with the quoted statement of Governor Amaechi. Even if such will ever happen I doubt its anytime soon. It’s evident in our recent past events where it was only ideological noise we could make& most of it were on social media and with veiled identity too, when it was time to now match our ideas with action as foot soldiers,it was only
    very few that came out.The days of the loudest critic leads the struggle front seems over in Nigeria as those who once did are either dead-dead or dead-alive.In Nigeria even if the fabric of our patience is being torn into rags & about to be burnt we will just do as we have been doing before Parents forcing their wards to stay indoors,media going diplomatic with the truth,religious heads giving a passive NO to the struggle,I can go on and on. So,if he says Nigerians are timid,he has lots of empirical evidence,any one who thinks we are not should give and evidence or he himself be an evidence

  • this is time for Nigerians to speak up!
    and fight for their rights!
    see also unec at the university of nigeria

  • Its always beneficial to learn ideas like you discuss for weblog posting. When i just started posting remarks for weblog and facing problem involving lots of returns. I think your own suggestion would be helpful for me personally. I will tell you if its work with me way too.

  • When some one searches for his essential thing, thus he/she needs to be available that in detail, thus that thing is maintained over here.

    Look into my web page; facchinaggio, Adam,

  • I know this web page offers quality based articles or reviews and extra
    data, is there any other web page which provides such information in quality?

  • I am really impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on
    your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself?
    Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a
    nice blog like this one today.

  • Great info. Lucky me I recently found your blog by accident (stumbleupon).
    I’ve book-marked it for later!

  • After looking at a handful of the blog articles on
    your website, I honestly like your technique of blogging.

    I book-marked it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back soon.
    Please check out my website as well and let me
    know what you think.

  • Hello everyone, it’s my first go to see at this
    site, and piece of writing is in fact fruitful in favor of me,
    keep up posting these posts.

  • Wonderful beat ! I wish to apprentice whilst
    you amend your site, how could i subscribe for a blog website?
    The account helped me a applicable deal. I were tiny bit familiar
    of this your broadcast offered shiny clear idea

  • Spot on with this write-up, I really feel this amazing site needs a lot more
    attention. I’ll probably be returning to see more, thanks for the advice!

  • Woah! I’m really loving the template/theme of this
    blog. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s difficult to get that “perfect balance”
    between superb usability and appearance. I must say that you’ve done a excellent job with
    this. Also, the blog loads extremely fast for me
    on Opera. Outstanding Blog!

  • Pretty section of content. I just stumbled upon your weblog and in accession capital to assert that I get in fact enjoyed account your blog posts.
    Any way I’ll be subscribing to your augment and even I
    achievement you access consistently quickly.

  • Good web site you have here.. It’s hard to find excellent writing like yours nowadays.
    I really appreciate people like you! Take care!!

  • Right here is the right website for anybody who really wants to understand this topic.

    You know a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally would want to…HaHa).
    You certainly put a fresh spin on a topic that has been written about
    for decades. Great stuff, just excellent!

  • I know this if off topic but I’m looking into
    starting my own weblog and was curious what all is needed to get setup?
    I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?

    I’m not very internet smart so I’m not 100% sure.
    Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks

  • Wonderful blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo
    News. Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News?
    I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there!
    Appreciate it

Related Posts

Recent Posts

#EdoDecides: Contrary To Reports El-Rufai Did Not Visit Edo State Today – Aide

Malam Nasir El-Rufai did not visit Edo State today, Wednesday, 28 September 2016. Contrary to the fiction peddled by one of the candidates who made the accusation on live television. Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole has kindly rubbished the lie and made clear that Malam Nasir El-Rufai is nowhere near the state. This clarification is made only to affirm a material fact. But it is important to stress...

BlackBerry To Stop Production Of Phones

Canadian company shifts focus to software having struggled to compete as mobile users opt for touchscreens  

Angry Brother Allegedly Beheads Man who Raped his Sister …and Takes the Head To the Police Station!

According to the Thai online user who posted the photos on September 25th, a man allegedly killed and beheaded his sister's alleged rapist...and went to report himself at the police station, carrying the murder victim's head. See the graphic photos below... jpg" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;">

Governor El-Rufai wants cut in cost of governance

Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai has kicked against the call by the National Council of State (NEC) as well as some senior government officials, including Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, for the disposal of national assets. El-Rufai, one-time Director-General of Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), spoke at World Pension Summit ‘Africa Special’ co- hosted by The Netherland-based World Pension Summit Organisation and the National Pension Commission (PenCom) in Abuja. He rather called for solutions from experts, just as he argued...

Hon. Jibrin Suspended From House of Reps

Whistle-blower lawmaker, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin, has been suspended by the House of Representatives.   The lawmaker from Kano at the centre of the unfolding budget padding scandal was on Wednesday suspended fron the house for 180 legislative days.   The House seats three days in a week and this consequently means that Mr. Jibrin’s suspension would last more than a year.   In a motion recommended by House Ethics Committee chairman, Nicholas Ossai, and adopted by the whole House, Jibrin will also not be...

Nigeria electricity challenge man-made – Fashola

Former governor of Lagos State and Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, said, yesterday, that Nigeria’s electricity problem is man-made. Fashola, who spoke at the maiden edition of Made in Nigeria Festival taking place at Eko Atlantic, Lagos, said his blueprint for the power sector is in three phases: power-generation, steady supply of power and uninterrupted power supply. He has also pledged to ensure the power sector works to the point where Nigeria has uninterrupted power supply. Speaking on...

Aero Airline Staff Protest at MMIA, Lagos

This is according to an eye witness account. Aero staffs were seen protesting over non payment of salaries for over 6 months and also they were been suspended by the company. The workers storm their premises and stopped any plane from taking off. See more pictures below..        

Waziri Adio: Recession as Opportunity for Reversing Resource Curse

And, sadly, it came to pass. It is well predicted that most countries blessed with natural resources, even in the best of times, perform worse economically than countries not so endowed; and that, when times are tough, countries that are dependent on natural resources come to an assured grief. There is a popular name for this strange but common condition: resource curse. It sounds metaphysical, it seems counter-intuitive even, but it is a position supported by enough...

Kwara State suspends plan to raise N20 billion for infrastructure

Following the launching of the Kwara State Infrastructure Development Fund IFK, the state government says it has suspended plans to raise a N20b bond from the capital market for infrastructure development. Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed disclosed this in a statement through his Senior Special Assistant, Media and Communications, Dr. Muyideen Akorede on Wednesday. The Governor noted that with the launch of the IF-K, which pools resources for funding infrastructure, the N20b naira bond has become unnecessary as all ongoing and new projects...

Kaduna Pursues Affordable Healthcare Through Contributory Scheme

A scheme to guarantee universal access to basic healthcare is to be introduced in Kaduna State. The state government is already providing free health services for pregnant women, children under five years and the elderly. The proposed scheme is designed to widen the net of coverage, and ensure that all residents of the state, including the poor and vulnerable, have access to healthcare without incurring out-of-pocket expenditure. The Kaduna State Executive Council on Monday, 26th September...

Video: Olamide – Owo Blow

Multi-talented artiste Olamide, whom become well known for his hit back to back since 2009 till date, Baddosneh turns up for all the dancers out there with the brand new compelling music video for his August-released single “Owo Blow. Olamide says “My music is different and it’s real. I don’t try to copy anyone, and I’m only going to spread a positive message while having fun doing it”. Check out the hitmaker’s new video below, Clarence Peters Shot It!” AUDIO DOWNLOAD Watch...

I did not ‘bomb’ Buhari – Tinubu

A National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has denied a media report that he “bombed” President Muhammadu Buhari. Some posts had on between Monday and Tuesday quoted Tinubu as having taken on Buhari following his face-off with the National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun. He was quoted to have made snide remarks about the President, including the fact that Buhari begged him to emerge president. But in a statement by the Tinubu Media Office, the...

Jose Mourinho reveals why he may be forced to drop Wayne Rooney again

Rooney could be left out of Manchester United’s Europa League starting lineup after Jose Mourinho claimed he needs to “protect” the striker. Rooney was dropped for last Saturday’s rout of Leicester and has not trained fully this week due to a back injury. The England captain returned to training today at Carrington and United manager Mourinho will discuss whether he should start against Ukraine side Zorya Luhansk or be on the substitutes’ bench. But Mourinho is mindful that the endless debate over...

Rivers rerun: Police must be apolitical – Wike tells AIG

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has advised the Police High Command to take urgent steps to weed out bad eggs from the force. Governor Wike made the call at the Government House in Port Harcourt during a courtesy call on him by the AIG, Abubakar Marafa of Zone Six. Governor Wike observed that the bad eggs in the police structure negatively affected the implementation of security measures. He assured the Zone 6 Police Command of the continued support of the Rivers State...

Education Reforms: How a Nigerian State is Blazing the Trail

Kaduna State is reputed as having the third oldest University in Nigeria and the only Aviation Technology Institute in West Africa. This is in addition to the fact that the state is home to at least 2 other Universities, 2 Polytechnics, 6 Colleges of Education and 4 Research Institutes that focus on diverse fields from water to leather and agriculture to health. The presence of these institutions has helped the State build a reputation as being...

Stop addressing Ize-Iyamu as Pastor, he’s a pathological liar – Oshiomole

The Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, has berated the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP candidate in the ongoing governorship election in the state, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, for claiming to be a pastor. Addressing reporters, the Governor described Ize-Iyamu, who is his former campaign director, as a “pathological liar”, who “lies effortlessly”. Oshiomhole stressed that the PDP flag bearer is not worthy of being addressed as a pastor for alleging that some All Progressives Congress, APC, governors, including Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos and...

Edo election: Female police officer arrested for collecting bribe from PDP chieftain

A female police officer who was caught by an agent of the APC while collecting money from a chieftain of the PDP at unit 28, ward 7 in Ikpoba Okhai LGA was arrested by APC supporters who handed her over to the police.   The female police officer was locked up at Ugbekun police station after her action caused a little tension in the polling booth.

Army denies Boko Haram hoisted flags near Chibok

The Nigerian Army has refuted the report that Boko Haram insurgents have hoisted flags in some communities near Chibok, Borno State. A statement by the army spokesman, Col. Sani Usman, said the troops of the Operations Lafiya Dole are maintaining a high level of vigilance in and around the area to forestall infiltration by the terrorists. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) had yesterday reported that the insurgents hoisted their flags in three villages in northern Borno, after over-running the area. The report...

Inconclusive elections: Senate to probe INEC’s performance

The Senate has resolved to investigate the performance of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the last one year, while calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately nominate suitably qualified persons to fill vacant positions in the commission. The decision followed the adoption of a motion on the matter co-sponsored by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and the Senate majority leader, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, against the backdrop of the spate of inconclusive elections conducted...

FG needs to spend less, earn more, borrow way out of recession – Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday made a number of recommendations to the federal government as the surest way of getting out of the current economic downturn, saying that the government needs to spend less, earn more, and borrow its way out of the recession. Obasanjo spoke in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, yesterday at the National Council on Finance and Economic Development (NACOFED) conference with the theme: “Enhancing Revenue Generation and Obtaining Best Value for Money in Expenditure”. The former...

Jibrin explains why he shunned Ethics Committee hearing

The former Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin has given reason for his absence at a hearing on his alleged breach of House Rules by the Committee on Ethics and Privileges. Jibrin told newsmen on Tuesday that he shunned the panel because the Chairman, Nicholas Ossai had demonstrated bias in words and action. His words: “Ahead of the resumption of the House I wrote a 17-page letter to all members and one of the issues I...