If you have ever wondered why our so called leaders treat us with so much disdain and neglect, the statement credited to Governor Rotimi Amaechi of River state at a public function recently should give you an idea of what is behind it.
At a symposium organised by The Future Awards, TFA to brainstorm on how to find solutions to some of Nigeria’s problems, the governor was quoted to have said that there could be no revolution in Nigeria because we are too timid. Whatever reasons he has for making that statement can simply be described as the cause of irresponsible leadership we have had to contend with for years now. The situation has become so bad that a U.S. Based Nigerian writer and teacher described the scenario saying “one of the greatest crimes of which the Nigerian state is guilty of is a failure to take the Nigerian state seriously.” True to that word, when the people you empowered to administer on your behalf do not take you serious, how can anything good come from them?
Governor Amaechi said we are too timid, but despite our timidity, it didn’t deter him and his likes who are occupying public offices at various levels across the country to go about with battalions of security men, ride in bullet proof vehicles, live in houses with high walls and employ a retinue of aides who stand between them and the people they claim to represent, all in the name of seeking protection; protection from the same people who placed them in such positions.
Amaechi’s thinking and by extension the thinking of people in his class is that they can and will always get away with their actions in office no matter how unfavourable it is to the populace. What they failed to realise is that patience is exhaustible and when it happens, reaction that are never expected occur.
Amaechi should be reminded that it is the timidity he associated Nigerians with that the people of Romania had when they revolted and ousted their communist dictator, Nicholae Ceasuscus who had the people of Romania under his whims and caprices for years. All that was needed is for an unknown woman to shout “liar”, “liar” in an apparent and unsolicited response to a statement made by Ceasuscus while delivering a speech at a public square in Romania on December 24, 1989. That famous “liar” was what gave the people courage to stage a revolt that later consumed Ceasuscus, his government and family.
If 1989 is too far for governor Amaechi to remember, I will cast his mind back to what transpired a few years ago in Libya. Libya under maummar Gaddafi was a country that had only him calling the shot. Nobody could go near him or challenge whatever decision he makes, but the very people whom a huge wall of separation existed between them and Gaddafi were those who revolted against him. If most Libyans were to be asked a few years to 2011 when the Libyan revolution began, many of them would have sworn it will never happen, but it did eventually and all that was required is the bravery of a few men who gathered and organised a protest that soon spiraled into a bloody revolution.
If governor Amaechi has forgotten so soon, let him be reminded that we were still timid in January, 2011 when Nigerians poured into the streets of Lagos, Abuja, Ibadan, Ilorin amongst many others to protest government’s arbitrary and unjustified hike in petroleum price. The protest may not have achieved much of what was envisaged, but the mere fact that a protest of such magnitude never happened in the history of this country is enough to tell “Doubting Thomases” that the status quo cannot always be the same. It may only not come at a time that many expect, but conditions call for a revolution, it is only a matter of time before it happens.
Governor Amaechi must be told that the length of years it takes to oppress the people and take them for granted does not determine whether or not a revolution is possible. All it takes is for the elastic limits of the people’s patience to be stretched to the end. Nicholae Ceasuscus ruled Romania for about two decades, Maummar Gaddafi held sway in Libya for forty two years, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak was in power for thirty years, exiled Tunisian leader, Zine El-Abidin ruled Tunisia for 24 years. These people were dictators during their reign in power. They could have sworn that remaining in power till death is a guarantee, but when the patience of the people got exhausted, they were consumed by the revolts organised by the people they considered to be timid. They were not just removed from power by force; some of them got killed in circumstances that are unbefitting even for animals.
Rather than governor Amaechi basking in the euphoria of our timidity with the false believe that a revolution is far from happening in Nigeria, himself and other public officials saddled with positions of authority should concentrate their efforts, energy and time in providing the dividends of good governance for the people. Nigerians are hungry, they want to eat; Nigerians are dying every day, they want security for their lives and properties; Nigerians want good schools, hospitals, good roads and jobs for the teeming youths. It is with the availability of such needs that a revolution can be expressly dismissed.
The Nigerian people must not be cowed and intimidated by governor Rotimi’s false believe that Nigerians cannot revolt because they are timid. We shall continue to engage our leaders with utmost civility and within the tenets of democracy in matters that concern us; because an act of revolution leaves grave consequences in material and human lives, our leaders must however not be deceived that it is the only option available to the Nigerian people. If we are pushed to the wall, we shall revolt and that revolution shall consume them all.
Abubakar Sidiq Usman is an Urban Planning Consultant; Blogger and an Active Citizen working towards a better Nigeria. He blogs HERE and can be engaged directly on twitter @Abusidiqu