By Emeka Uzoatu.
Ever since we achieved independence on a platter of gold, many Nigerians have been waiting on end for another bloodless revolution. Mostly on account of the many abortive ones of the sanguine kind that have come and gone to no avail. And, perhaps, because they were always masterminded by our uniformed pseudo-messiahs in countless coups d’etat, we have since hibernated into the cocoon of its electoral version.
A development well illustrated by the turnout at the last presidential polls. Viewed anyhow, it was with this latent hope that all anticipated the result of the election. This, also, is assumedly the reason why no one panicked when it was announced – INEC’s glaring inconsistencies notwithstanding. After all, everyone must have thought, the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) was there to see to any arising matters. And they still are!
It must be pointed out here that some of the bustle in that hope was dampened by the haste with which the PEPT stepped down the motion for their sittings to be broadcast live. Personally, overcome somewhat by the enveloping ennui in town on its count, intuition played a hard one – or two – on me. Doubly convinced it must have been triggered by something else, I couldn’t but return to the trenches of my mind in research.
Ultimately, I must admit that it forced a crop-up of a mishmash of speculative questions. Overtime, most pertinent in the elongating queue remained one about that guy – an American, I suppose – that sang about the impossibility of a televised revolution? O yes! Following in tandem, the latter served up the mnemonic of a writer friend of mine. Back in time, he proposed a theory bordering on the idleness of a television watcher.
That being as might , it has been proven over time that most of us tend to misunderstand the real meaning of the word revolution. Though you may demure, be it known to you henceforth that it’s far from blood, war and its perennial paraphernalia of pain, death and damnation. O yes! Nowadays, there appears to be more to it than imagined ab initio. What with the most effective of it being achieved without loss of limb, head or violence on October 1st, 1960.
Of course, with no fear of an equivocation challenge, every citizen of this beloved country is praying for a repeat of such grassroots change. Save you have a dual citizenship of some other nation, and contested in the last election and didn’t win a quarter of the votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Or, perhaps, you just gained a presidential sinecure on behalf of the latter.
Quite often, these changes in question are so dramatic and gargantuan that they are described as revolutionary. Countable in the number over the centuries are the helluva events that have taken place in big and small nations. Like during the war for independence in the United States of America (USA). As well as the Russian and French revolutions. Not forgetting the rise of Fidel Castro in little but mighty Cuba.
Mention must also be made of the wave of it that shook the Arab world much later-ly. Ignited by a self immolation in Tunisia, its roaringly flame soon spread abroad. And, if nothing else, ended up toppling most almighty rulers in that corner of the universe. Worthy of special mention being the Mubarak regime in Egypt. In Algeria, though it didn’t have Bouteflika singing his nunc dimittis, it, at least, had him doing an unpremeditated mea culpa. And so the story goes.
Well, the foregone kind of served as a harbinger to a ‘barefoot’ version a little lower down the continent. Yes, the one that sent one of the most obnoxious maximum rulers in the West African subregion Blaise Campore flying in Burkina Faso. Providing a very modest, for that matter, ending to a vile usurper of power. After eliminating the much loved Thomas Sankara, his people were continentally hailed for affording the brute so easy a passage rite.
Back to the thread, it’s well known that these enforced changes in these nations – big and small – assumed many forms in their achievement. In the USA, for instance, it was the prequel to an internal civil war that saw so many lives lost in internecine battles. A situation that was to raise its head again as lately as the recent January 6th uprising after Trump’s failed second-term bid. And now the self-confessed female gropper is back on the beat again!
France, on its part, saw so many decapitations that a machine – the guillotine – had to be called in to help. Not satisfied with just killing the monarchists, the revolutionaries soon descended on erstwhile fellows. Till things fell apart and, as anarchy set in, the powerful took over yet again. As always, those at the helm of war weapons the world over rode unperturbed to governance; lording themselves, as it were, over the rest.
But thanks to the Almighty – who else – how the times have changed ever since. Those events that were often bloodletting extravaganzas have been cast into the dustbin by history. Like Sanusi Lamido, the deposed (and deported) Emir of Kano had cause to explain. According to him, these changes that used to come in a hamburger of violence needn’t be so. By him, their aims are now achievable via civil methods like good governance.
Much like the Palestinians’ recourse to an ‘intifada of the soul’ as their troubles quadrupled, the banished king raised the issue of people resorting their brains for far-reaching changes to better their lots. Not unlike the Chinese achieved shortly after a failed Cultural Revolution that had seen them worse off. Top in the list of these palliatives Sanusi suggested remained education. A conclusion, no doubt, arrived with his peculiar former kingdom in mind.
With sincere apologies to Sanusi the ex-monarch, I think it’s time we queued into the philosophy of a quiet revolution. Just like we managed to achieve our independence with no firing of shots – save with the mouth and pen. An achievement so undervalued that it took us even less than its tenure to return to square one after another failed physical revolution.
Finally, making one digress as to what must have made those five Majors who struck way back then so optimistic. Yes, much as many still disagree, that strike of theirs in 1966 had no other plan than forge a stronger nation. But unable to scale the first hurdle in that obstacle-ridden endeavour, they ended up labelled tribalistic.
An accusation launched, arguably, by undercover feudalists who used the subterfuge to enthrone themselves instead. Still on the roil many decades on, their colossal failure ever since can only be a clarion call to national rejuvenation.