Buba Galadima, a high-ranking member of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) recently called for a violent revolution in Nigeria that would use the Jerry Rawlings Solution to purge the nation and create political change. The Jerry Rawlings Solution (JRS) refers to the execution of many powerful military officers and other military/political elite by Jerry Rawlings shortly after he took over Ghana in a violent 1981 coup. Galadima is not the first Nigerian to speak of such as a solution to Nigeria's problem and most likely he will not be the last. However, such calls for violence are not the solution Nigeria needs and in fact would likely create more problems for the country.
THE JERRY RAWLINGS SUGGESTION IS IRRESPONSIBLE
For years, Nigeria witnessed a series of military coups that deposed of one regime or democratically elected government or another. However, since 1999, the country has experienced continuous democratic rule with little concern of a return to the uncertain days of military dictatorships. Unfortunately, a lot of the promises made to Nigerians about the benefits of democracy are yet to materialize thus creating a level of impatience. This disillusion and the fact that Nigeria faces many hurdles, makes the prospect of a new, yet violent, start, tempting.
But the reality is that anyone who would call for violence as a means of political change in Nigeria does the people a certain disservice. Currently, Nigeria has just bought relative peace in the Niger Delta by paying off militants and the states in the region a hefty sum. Not too long ago, the nation was rocked by Boko Haram attacks in the north and as happens far too often, tensions in the north can sometimes develop into fighting between Christians and Muslims. Furthermore, constant kidnappings of men women and children create a perfect storm of insecurity and uncertainty. The nation has enough problems on its plate, as such, suggesting that violence is the only answer to creating a better Nigeria is irresponsible. And in fact, Galadima, who is a close associate of former dictator-turned Presidential aspirant Gen. Buhari (rtd.) should be disqualified from public service based on his assertions alone. It is unconscionable for any politician or person related to a political party to publicly or privately encourage or support violence and it is a shame that Galadima would take this approach.
CONSEQUENCES OF GALADIMA'S STATEMENT
By ratcheting up the rhetoric, Galadima's statements have consequences for many. Traditionally, the President's party has taken every possible opportunity to accuse opposition parties such as the ANPP of seeking to disrupt Yar'Adua's administration, even going so far to accuse American President Barack Obama of working against Yar'Adua. Already, the PDP has started with its accusation that Galadima seeks to overthrow Yar'Adua. The party has now stated,
"In this context of Galadima's interview, he is not only calling for the overthrow of this Government, he is also calling for the elimination of all former Nigerian leaders to pave way for his weird political agenda."That being the case, Galadima's statement will only fuel further accusations and give the PDP and this administration more public leverage with its supporters as they will simply point to Galadima's words. Galadima's statements will also give the overzealous SSS and others more fuel to round up, arrest and harrass those considered 'threats' (wisely or not) as was the case when Yar'Adua had bloggers locked up, journalists arrested and even shut down a television station in 2008. Galadima's statements will give this administration further cause to push for a tighter clampdown on information as is already the case with the Anti-Terrorism Bill, which presents a grave danger to the human and civil rights of Nigerians, and the Freedom of Information Bill which will likely never see the light at this rate.
THE MILITARY FACTOR
As noted above, Nigerians are no strangers to coups. Typically, when a coup occurs, radio stations play band style music and television stations are forced to show announcements from the coup plotters. For many, this is a tense time and breeds uncertainty. Galadima's fascination with a Jerry Rawlings Solution might require military intervention and that is something Nigerians definitely do not need. After the likes of Babangida and Abacha who treated the Central bank as if it was their personal account, stealing millions and possibly billions of the people's money, to even suggest that military officers, who have the power of their guns, should control Nigeria or play any role in Nigerian politics is despicable.
REVOLUTION NEED NOT BE VIOLENT
Personally, I have stated that Nigeria needs a revolution, and I have always held that such a revolution need not be violent but must be a change in the way we Nigerians see our country and our relationship to the nation. Once that mind shift occurs, once a majority of Nigerians take ownership of their country, they will work together using peaceful means to effect the positive change Nigeria needs for the benefit of the nation and future generations. Nigerians, should therefore, not call for the very violence that could prevent a potential bright future. Besides if there is one verifiable truth, it is that non-violent revolutions, though slow, have managed to change the world as the life and work of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King have proven.
YES, NIGERIA NEEDS CHANGE...
There is no question that Nigerian democracy is a problem. The recent Ekiti elections only reinforced what is commonly known - elections are too often stolen in Nigeria and the courts are required to remedy the situation after the fact. Nigerians are becoming increasingly impatient with this political modus operandi and the fact that stolen elections means politicians that cannot be held accountable. Despite this, Nigerians should be encouraged to reject payments for their votes and encouraged to guard and protect their vote as a means of creating progressive political change. Nigerians have seen the consequence of violence countless times, one such time being during the Biafran War. When it started, no one thought the war would last as long as it did and result in as much catastrophe. To therefore call for violence and the fact that violence could spurn out of control and create a repeat of that national tragedy is highly unnecessary.
Violence is a tool that has been wielded by the mighty by centuries, allowing the unsuspecting to succumb to the scathe while their 'leaders' live to potentially fight another day. But, the reality is the violence is a significant tool which when unleashed is hard to reign in and as such is inefficient for national change. That inefficiency coupled with the human consequences of violence, make it a non-solution for a nation like Nigeria which has enough problems with violence and insecurity and does not need political agents advocating violence as a tool for political change. So, while the Jerry Rawlings Solution might seem like a tempting option, it really is a non-option for Nigeria.
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