By Bayo Oluwasami
Today, August 5, marks the first anniversary of #RevolutionNow led by Omoyele Sowore, Publisher of SaharaReporters and former presidential candidate of African Action Congress.
Few days before the peaceful protest took place, the State Security Service of General Muhammadu Buhari’s despotic regime, abducted Sowore from his Lagos hotel room in the middle of the night. Sowore was charged among other things with treason, insulting Buhari, and money laundering. He was detained for months before he was released on restrictive bail that confined him to Abuja till now.
The #RevolutionNow called for good governance, transparency and accountability, job creation, provision of infrastructure, hospitals, electricity, and general improvement in all areas of life. As we mark the first anniversary, are Nigerians better off today than they were five years ago when General Buhari took over? No! Not at all!
Popular uprisings are as old as history. A revolution is often a response to heightened repression or other despotic demands from the government against its citizens. The #RevolutionNow is an obvious example of this. Nigerians have been told for years to be patient, to fasten their belts for more hardship. We are told “Rome was not built in a day,” that it will take more time to make things right.
It has been five years of promises and lying by General Buhari. Today, poor oppressed Nigerians will take to the streets. These unhappy, unsatisfied, and frustrated Nigerians will resort to peaceful protests. They have been deprived of decent, basic necessities of life.
Among the litany of complaints is a frustration with General Buhari, the political class – state governors, federal ministers, legislators, and resentment against social and economic disparities pursued by the federal and state governments. Nothing has changed since the #RevolutionNow took place a year ago. Indeed, today, Nigerians are worse off. There is a general feeling of apathy, exclusion, and alienation. There is a sense of political, economic, and social stagnation all over the country. When the deprivation is intense, anger, frustration, and even violence will follow.
Old dictators never die, they only re-invent themselves as “born again Democrats.” This is true about General Buhari. He detests peaceful protests as guaranteed by the Constitution. He is a sworn enemy of the Constitution. He is allergic to the rule of law. He has no respect for court orders. No one should be surprised if General Buhari uses lethal force against the protesters. The lethal force will provide the spark for #RevolutionNow because the revolution is only getting started. The use of deadly force against protesters will strip General Buhari’s regime of its last shreds of legitimacy.
The use of force and other gestapo treatment on defenceless and unarmed Nigerians will provoke divisions among remnants of Buharidindinrins and the other Akindanidanis still hanging on to the dictator. With the worsening of the Nigerian situation, some of the SSS/DSS, police, and even soldiers will refuse to obey orders to attack peaceful demonstrators.
If the security forces shot into the demonstrators, they are not killing #RevolutionNow, but their own brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters. If General Buhari continues repression and oppression of the poor, there will come a time when security forces will refuse to oversee a bloodbath to protect dictator Buhari. General Buhari cannot afford to massacre innocent and non-violent Nigerians while the world is watching. Buhari’s regime will lose the last justification for its existence.
General Buhari ain’t seen nothing yet, the revolution is only getting started!