By Wale OLAYANJU
A week ago yesterday, Hiphop superstar, 2Baba Idibia announced his intention to lead the “First Massive Nationwide Protests” against the federal government. The protest scheduled for February 6, according to him, is aimed at demanding answers from the government over different issues in the country which include economic recession.
Several individuals have come out to blast the singer for this announcement. Some opined 2Baba had no right to demand “change” since he was a sympathizer of the former ruling party. Other described him as a fading musician on recognition drive, who was simply doing the bidding of his paymasters. Since his posh wedding was practically bankrolled by former Governor Godswill Akpabio and other PDP bigwigs, they reasoned, he is just a willing tool in the hands of opposition leaders to score cheap political points.
Speaking in an interview on Tuesday, Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said those who are calling for the protest are people who supported the last government and are still pained that they lost the last election.
Perhaps, the most caustic reaction was the one from a certain professor, Akindele Adetoye who wrote on his Facebook wall (he has since deleted it and apologized):
“You are a bloody illiterate. You had sex with all manners of girls without using condoms. You impregnated them and made babies all over the place. You now want to lead protest against the government because of lack of governance! Have you governed your own personal life? Charity, they say begins at home. Nonsense!”
Only a simpleton will write this in reaction to an individual who has decided to express himself in a civil way. With this imbecilic conjecture, this kofeso has just confirmed what the late dadakuada exponent, Odolaiye Aremu said in his “ogbon ori” album that “iwe yato, ogbon ori ma lo je baba”. Knowledge is good but wisdom is more valuable. Or how would one explain a professor who can not differentiate between one’s private life and his fundamental right?
2Baba might have made mistake. In fact, he made mistakes. No biggies, everyone makes mistakes. Unlike others however, he took responsibilities for his actions, refused abortions and he’s today taking care of the results of the “mistakes” as a responsible dad. We know how these accidental professors sleep with their students in the university and recant when they are caught!
But I digress!
The events leading to the 2015 general elections created a lot of animosity which threatened the peace and existence of a united Nigeria. One expected that immediately after inaugurations, the new government will put on a toga of “no victor, no vanquish” in an attempt to heal the nation. In place of this, what was presented to us was the propoundment of the infamous mathematical formula of “97%/5%”. According to the propounder, the political reality is to give lion’s shares of the government to those who laboured to install him in power.
Since then, suspicions have been the order of the day. Every appointment is vetted to see how many have gone to the North, to the South, to the Christians and to the Muslims. Nigeria has never been this divided. We are now divided along party, tribal and religious lines.
Besides, the performance of APC government has left us all highly underwhelmed especially when you juxtapose it with their campaign promises and high optimism and expectation from the people.
The Buhari’s government is predicated on a tripod: security, war against corruption, and economic progress. It was on this tripod they campaigned against PDP and won. However, almost two years after, Buhari and APC have become everything they accused Jonathan and PDP of.
Before, when foreign media talk about insecurity in Nigeria, they are possibly talking about Boko Haram. Today, Boko Haram now have as his relatives, Fulani herdsmen and Niger Delta militia. Election violence, kidnapping and restiveness have taken a dangerous dimension.
Their much-advertised war against corruption is now fought and won on the pages of newspapers. Where it is fought at all, it is against the opposition and “enemies” of the kitchen cabinet. The fight is not only selective, it is contradictory and lacks transparency.
The economy is the worst hit. Instead of economic progress, what they have given us is economic recession, job losses, high unemployment rate and hunger among others. The economy is today on auto-pilot while the currency is in free-fall. On Thursday, a dollar is exchanged for N503!
Few weeks ago, The ECOWAS mediation team led by our president was in Gambia to talk to the then President, His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Doctor Lt. Yahya Abdul-Aziz Awal Jemus Junkung Jammeh Naasiru Deen Babili Mansa, on the need to respect the constitution of the country and hand over power. I was telling my friends that what the ECOWAS leaders have done was nothing but a travesty of morality and common sense! I didn’t see them as mediators, I only see them as Jammeh’s chief boogeymen (AKA kukulaaja. AKA ojuju) who were taking advantage of the (small) size of the country to lord it over Jammeh. Can ECOWAS threaten Nigeria, if the reverse was the case?
Now, don’t get me wrong. What ECOWAS leaders have done in the Gambia was commendable but the fact remains that some of the so called “mediators” are pot calling the kettle black- hypocrites who suppose to first remove the beam out of their eyes, so they can see clearly to remove the speck out of Jammeh’s. For example, there have been several court orders(including that of ECOWAS court) regarding the release? of former NSA, Sambo Dasuki, the head of Nigeria’s Islamic Movement, Ibrahim El Zakzaky and IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu. Nigerian government has refused to obey these orders.
I laugh when people try to justify government’s action because of “the gravity of Dasuki’s offence”. This government swore to obey the constitution of the country. So, it has a need to respect the rule of law. It cannot choose which court order to obey. If they are not happy with the pronouncements, there is opportunity for them to go back to court.
These and many more have presented an opportunity for the opposition parties to stick the proverbial two fingers up at the ruling party. The main role of the opposition in a democracy is to question the government of the day and hold them accountable to the public. Any attempt to stop them is an attempt to deny them their legal rights. According to Brian Tracy, followers think and talk about their problems. Leaders think and talk about the solutions.
But then the Yorubas are right. Apani ki i je ka mu ida koja nipako oun. A murderer never permits the passage of a sword behind his skull. APC will challenge any form of opposition knowing fully well that they capitalized on mendacious propaganda and protests to get to power. The onus is on them to try to silence us. It is our duty to refuse to be tight-lipped. It is the right of citizens, in a democracy, to conduct peaceful processions, rallies or demonstrations. The man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny.
This is not the country they promised us. It is not about hating Buhari. It is about the love of the country. We just can’t continue like this. We have no other country. Every right-thinking Nigerians should support any activity that will make this government wake up from their slumber. It’s crystal clear now that they have run out of ideas. The time has come to force them to seek help. We call for the convening of all stakeholders to find the way forward.
The hairdryer treatments (apologies to Sir Alex Ferguson) in the closet by well-meaning Nigerians have refused to produce the desired effect. Now is the time to tell the government in the language they understand: protest.
Instead of vilifying 2face, he needs to be supported and encouraged. Since they took over, only the lives of politicians and their cronies have improved. Ecclesiastes admonished us “not to say: ‘Why were the old days better than these?’, for it is not wise to ask such questions.” Regrettably, that has been our lot- Yesterday was better than today! Let us come out enmasse and tell this government that enough is enough.