I followed the unfolding events of the fuel subsidy strike this past 10 days mostly on TV. I watched aghast as a protester was manhandled then shot in front of other protesters in broad daylight (RIP). I listened to pro subsidy debates on the government sponsored media NTA and I wondered if the debaters were aliens from some neighbouring WA country.
I saw my respected friends doctors, bankers, take off their suits, don Tee shirts and walk on the streets protesting our corrupt government, Nigerians became mathematicians again challenging GEJ’s fuel prices/subsidy calculations in a manner which would have impressed Chike Obi, I saw courage which I thought had almost died, I heard young promising youth tell the nation that they were willing to die. I watched protesters cry, moan, pray, dance, laugh in unity for the first time in a long while. And it was beautiful.
Nigerians are finally waking up.
I was hopeful that we would get ‘satisfactory results’. Then NLC happened and the rug was swept from under our feet.
The Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress said they acted to save lives, after receiving information that the security forces had been ordered to use all means to end protests.
Really? They got a reduction to N97 per litre and a pat on the back and they sold the future of 160m Nigerians. I’m pained.The unions also told journalists in Nigeria's capital Abuja that they applauded the government's recent promise to EXPLORE CORRUPTION in the country's oil sector. They described the six-day strike as "a success".
"We are sure that no government or institution will take Nigerians for granted again," said Abdulwaheed Omar, the NLC president.
Rightfully said but with all due respect Mr. Omar, you missed the point. ‘Explore corruption’ is the government’s polite euphemism for "Shut up retard" and you did….shut up I mean.
Occupy Nigeria is not just about the fuel hike as President Goodluck would like to believe. It is about lying thieving politicians blatantly stealing Nigeria blind.
Occupy Nigeria was not inspired by the rallying call of NLC but by young Nigerians who were fed up of same old, same old. Nigerians who would normally wait out a strike watching movies in the comfort of their homes. The NLC had the crème of workers and youth ON THE STREETS for the first time. Don’t the understand what power they had? How can they blow such an opportunity?!
But it’s not over.
Seeing Gbenga Sesan, Omohyele Sowore of Sahara reporters interviewed on Al Jazeera etc has shown me that in this social media age, where governments try to control news emerging from their Countries, media houses in search of truth now seek for credibility from bloggers and activists. Our senators salaries, GEJ’s home maintenance budget would probably never have seen the light of day in our dailies if bloggers/twitter users hadn’t made it trend. That information was the tipping point for many who joined the protest. (And of course the new reality of sweating in a ride through Lagos traffic - Sorry @tilola - because car air conditioning is now a luxury).
In this year 2012, we owe it to ourselves and our children to make Nigeria the country we want it to be. Yes, our blogs are personal spaces themed on fun things like fashion, food, relationships etc. but I think it is high time we see our blogs to be much much more. For the sake of Nigeria, let us be more concerned about what goes on in our country. Let us not be scared of making our collective voices heard.
A shoutout to Adura Ojo of Naijalines for her rallying call to Nigerian bloggers during the protest. And to Prism who kept up with almost daily updates.
I applaud all those who stepped out of their blog comfort zones to blog about Nigeria and engage on other social media sites but most especially to those who walked the talk.
Protests may have been silenced for now but it is not over yet. I leave you with Fela Durotoye’s words “The dream of a New Nigeria as a most desirable society remains firm in our hearts. We are stronger than this. We will not be broken. We are the New Nigeria and we will not stop until we Deliver the Future.
Protests: What was done well and what could have been done better?