Revolution, Change & A Complicit Leader ~ By Frank Ijege
In all the years that President Buhari sought to be president, he was engaged in one form of protest or the other. As a matter of fact, his running mate in the 2003 elections, Senator Dr. Chuba Okadigbo, allegedly lost his life after one of the rallies organised by the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) where they were said to have been tear gassed by the Nigerian Police. The party went to court and it was held that Nigerians have the right to protest and that police permission is not required. In 2014, Buhari alongside other prominent members of the All Progressive Congress, protested against the security situation in the country. Nobody harassed or arrested them.
Aside from participating in protests, the president is notorious for what his government has today termed “hate speeches”. He it was, who called for violence during the 2011 presidential elections and his supporters carried out this order by maiming and killing people including corps members in different parts of the country. Recently, during campaigns for the 2019 elections, he also called for violence in Zamfara when he said may God bring good rainy season, because he wants the people to be well fed. Even it if is violence, they can create it. Despite all these reckless comments, nobody arrested or prosecuted him. There were also occasions, where he clearly called for overthrow of government and nobody arrested him.
Since his emergence as president, things have gone from bad to worse. Nigerians have had to endure the worse form of hardship under his watchful eyes. For a man who sought to be president three times, before clinching it at the fourth attempt, it is disheartening to see things go bad the way they are under his administration; considering that he rode on the back of change. Today, many of those who supported him to emerge as president, are either his worse critic or have chosen to be indifferent.
During his inauguration in 2015, the president said he belonged to nobody and to everybody. Nigerians celebrated. They were however, soon to know the import of that statement; that the president no send anybody or anything like they say in pidgin language. Despite the lamentations of the people, things refused to change. The promised change that brought the government seemed illusive. Change is either positive or negative. The change that Nigerians are a getting under Buhari is a negative change; one of stagnation or retrogression.
Months after being sworn in for a second term, there are signs that the next level would not be different from the change mantra. As a matter of fact, the next level may actually birth a worse form of hardship. Some Nigerians, tired with the state of affairs, called for protest, although tagged a revolution. What did government do? It sent officers of the SSS in the dead of the night to go and arrest their leader, Omoleye Sowere in the most cowardly manner. Will a government that has kept faith with the people and delivered on its campaign promises be jittery of any protest? Their argument is that he called for a revolution and thus, his action was treasonable. Funny.
President Buhari himself was a chief protagonist of a revolution. As recently reported, during the Arab Spring in Egypt, General Buhari through his spokesperson Yinka Odumakin, had in 2011, praised the Egyptian revolutionaries and called them “the forces of change”. He equally praised the Egyptian army for not allowing themselves to be used to duly thwart the forces of change. He then went on to say “the time has come for our own security forces to demonstrate similar valour by putting national interest above that of individuals when there is a clash between the two”.
The way he unleashes police on protesters and the manner in which the SSS picked the leader of the #RevolutionNow, one cannot help but question if the president ever means what he says?
That people were willing to come out and protest against his government after four years, should make the president carry out a deep introspection, considering that many would have gladly laid down their lives for him four years earlier. Sadly, from the body language of the president speaks loud and dashes any hope for change. No lesson learned.
Frank Ijege; email@example.com