That got your attention didn't it? I bet it did. You saw the words 'Nigeria' and 'Revolution' in the same sentence and you couldn't resist. I don't blame you. Considering the uncertainty and the frustration many feel, I wouldn't be surprised if some part of your consciousness lit up at the possibility of such a thing happening in Nigeria.
DON'T EXPECT ANY VIOLENCE IN PROTEST...
But, let's get one thing straight. It won't happen. That's right, there will be no rioting on the streets, no attacks on government motorcades, no mothers stripping themselves naked in protest. Nothing will happen in Nigeria. You know why? Because Nigerians know how effective violence is and they don't want to use it as a tool of change. If you are asking how, why or when, then the answer to your pop quiz is Biafra and considering the dangerous brimstone that 'BIAFRA' and 'BIAFRA CONTINUED..." generated, I warn you to educate yourself about Nigeria's Civil War with an open mind and remember that we still are ALL Nigerians.
Back to the issue under consideration, if Biafra did not cull the use of violence, then I daresay that the recent unnecessary deaths and tribal killings in Kenya have acted as a dampner on the Nigerian psyche, by reinforcing the possibility of such chaos but probably on a larger scale if such were ever to happen.
A LA "GANDHI, MARTIN LUTHER KING AND OTHER GREAT MINDS."
For disclosure's sake, let it be known that I subscribe to the philosophy of non-violent protest as prescribed by Gandhi, Martin Luther King and other great minds. Nonetheless, I still think Nigeria needs a revolution. The issue becomes what sort of revolution does the nation need. I can emphatically say that Nigeria does not need a violent revolution. I don't even think people should riot. My reason for this is that I believe that while protests can degenerate very quickly into uncontrolled violence. Once violence loses it's focus, as it is wont to do, it loses its potency. The result is an uncontrolled rage that causes intelligent people to forget their initial motivation and turns neighbor against neighbor. If violence could be used with laser guided precision to effect change, I would be all for it. But, unfortunately, I am no longer dreaming of the utopia I frequently revisit in my sleep.
So, all that being said, I am still left with determining the form of protest that best qualifies my kind of revolution. I won't lie, I have been thinking about this for a while and believe that in this day and age, there are better ways to get one's point across to the 'powers that be'. However, all the suggestions I have would likely cause additional chaos in Nigeria and in my scenario, would lead to bloodshed - the one thing I want to avoid at all costs. Thus, I am back to 'square one'. What would a bloodless, Nigerian revolution look like?
A NIGERIAN REVOLUTION
A bloodless Nigerian revolution would be one that takes advantage of the people's strengths without resorting to violence. It would include schemes as simple as people leaving their trash at the residences of public officials. It would also employ more complex internet campaigns that rally Nigerians and non-Nigerians into forcing public officials to address citizen's concerns. Acts of 'rebellion', such as strikes by teachers, oil workers, taxi drivers, government employees and maybe even members of the armed forces would also be necessary.
Most importantly, the success of any revolution in Nigeria would hinge on the committed collaboration of all Nigerians regardless of their income, tribe or race. For too long, adverse interests have exploited the divisions that exist along tribal and religious lines. As a people we have always turned first to our tribe and religion than to our fellow Nigerians for protection. Although the differences between Nigeria's more than 250 tribes and various religious groups are clear, the fact remains that all Nigerians suffer from delayed development, corruption, lack of security and the other issues Nigerians confront daily. As such, only cooperation between all Nigerians will enable a chance to create change by forcing leaders to take account of the public interest and not their own personal pursuits.
Encouraging Nigerians that are doing good work would also be crucial. Leaders that have proven their worth to a majority of their constituents must be applauded and challenged to maintain their performance. By supporting such individuals or the organizations they work for, we, as a community, will be working hand in hand to produce a better country. Consequently, those elements that work against the common good must, over time, be deliberately isolated (without violence) from any positions that would give them unjust influence and the power to worsen the lives of Nigerians.
A bloodless Nigerian revolution would combine various strategic actions that weaken public officials and highlight the clear failures of government bureaucracy, while empowering citizens who can then reinforce their stance by voting at the ballot boxes in fraudulent free elections. Nigerians must begin to take non-violent steps to require that our leaders become servants of the people. By no means is this article supposed to represent the only way Nigerians can effect change. Instead, they are shared with the hope that others will raise their suggestions and ideas on how to achieve the change all well-intended Nigerians seek. So, let's get thinking and talking about how to effectuate a bloodless Nigerian revolution.
For additional reading, check out the recent post at The Afro Beat and read the very poignant comments.
There's a new Meme on blogville - 'My Nigerian Revolution' meme.
Read Omodudu's meme.
I have posted a rejoinder to this post and the ensuing discussion it generated in Putting the Nigerian 'Revolution' in Context.
- BIAFRA CONTINUED...
- WALLOWING IN IGNORANCE by Chxta