A radical shift of paradigm

January 19, 2012
4 mins read

“Politics begin where the masses are, not where there are thousands, but where there are millions, that is where serious politics begin”- Lenin

THE past week will certainly go down as one of the most significant in recent Nigerian history. In a week of practical struggle, Nigerians learnt  lessons rapidly, in politics, political economy and organisation, than we probably would have, in decades of peaceful social intercourse.

It was Vladimir Lenin that once said that only struggle educates the oppressed classes; that played out on the streets of Nigeria last week. The haloed sanctuaries of the ruling classes have been laid bare on the streets of our country; their lies were exposed on mobile phones and television caught exciting moments of united action just as social media and alternative media websites and citizen journalism helped in the deepening of social consciousness.

Truly, when ideas grip the mass, they become a material force. Nigeria must have been the most exciting place in the world, last week.

Between the rulers and the ruled

President Goodluck Jonathan probably assumed that he would go scot free with the murder which his fuel subsidy regime literally became, never mind that by the end of the week, his security forces had become responsible for shedding the blood of about 25 innocent Nigerians whose only crime, was to have exercised the right of citizenship, to dissent.

It was instructive, that the IGP, Hafiz Ringim, had the temerity to state that those killed by the police were not protesters “but miscreants who tried to hijack the protest…” A police force that shoots-to-kill, even so-called ‘miscreants,’ has become a criminal institution, because the rights of citizenship have not been lifted from ‘miscreants’; urban lumpens, created by the social conditions of extreme impoverishment, that the ruling class fostered in the land.

But the brutalities of the Nigeria police are merely the extremity of the attitude exemplified by the character that is Jonathan’s labour minister, Emeka Nwogu. Nwogu said they the ‘rulers’, cannot bend t
o the demands of those they ‘ruled’.

It was equally significant, that the strike and mass action became a strategic defeat for the Jonathan regime’s penchant for manipulating the ethno-religious divide. Nigerian Muslims and Christians decided they were no longer going to accept manipulation and pictures of Muslims praying while surrounded by their Christian compatriots, in solidarity, became the most emblematic representation of the mood of the past week.

Within that context too, the Kano Muslim community also delivered a historic goodwill message to Christians in Kano. This contrasts with the irresponsible outburst of ‘elders’ from the Niger Delta and their thugs, about alleged plans by unnamed persons, to assassinate President Jonathan; the Chief of Army Staff; NSA, Andrew Azazi and David Mark, the Senate President.

The ‘elders’ who were privy to such a ‘plan’, nevertheless failed to inform the security forces but chose to place advertisements in newspapers and the same course of action was taken further by characters like Asari Dokubo, who threatened an end to Nigeria, if ‘anything happened’ to Jonathan.

They even described the Kaduna refinery illegal, threatening to blow up pipelines carrying crude oil to the refinery. It was not likely, that these Niger Delta groups acted independently. An alienated presidency forgot how Nigerians from all parts of the country actively campaigned for Jonathan’s accession to power during Late president Umaru Yar’adua’s terminal illness or how he was allegedly voted to power, all over the country.

To counter a nationwide rejection of an unpopular economic policy, the Jonathan camp retreated into a regional laager, and recruited Niger Delta thugs to threaten Nigeria!

The Paradigm shift

Unfortunately for them, the paradigm has shifted. Nigerians are no longer just resisting the removal of fuel subsidy. The national patriotic movement is interrogating the entire structure of governance and the remuneration system; Nigerians are asking fundamental questions about monumental corruption and the structure of the Nigerian State,to radically uproot its rottenness.

The genie has escaped the bottle!That explained why President Jonathan eventually beat a retreat from his initial position that he would confront a mass revolt head-on. It was also the reason why Diezani Allison Madueke, who together with NgoziOkonjoIweala, is arguably the most hated woman in Nigeria today, announced she had ‘invited’ the EFCC to carry out an audit of the subsidy regime; a classic case of closing the barn door after the horse has bolted!

Isn’t it true that the ‘subsidy’ sum hit over N1.3trillion, because of the election expenses in 2011? And beyond the cosmetic exercises being initiated, Nigerians want a drastic overhaul of the spoils system that the political system is.

If America’s president earns $400, 000 per annum and he feeds his family from his salary, why should the president of an underdeveloped Nigeria earn more?

Researching in the Presidency

Why should we feed Jonathan with N1billion in 2012? What are they researching in the presidency that they appropriated N25billion in 2012? Is it true that David Mark, as Senate President, earns N88million per month? Why should legislators or ministers earn more than a Federal Permanent Secretary?

Shouldn’t legislation be part time? Why must we host near-idle legislators year round, and continue to pay them huge sums of money? And the thieving emperors in the states, who endorsed fuel subsidy removal so they can get more money to steal, who reigns them in?

These are some of the issues which the Occupy Nigeria patriots have raised and which the ruling elite cannot bury under the propaganda onslaught they have let lose, including the issuance of treasonable threats by Niger Delta thugs!

I write these lines as the NLC/TUC called off the strike action, and a night after the decision was taken to suspend the mass action in Nigerian cities, against the backdrop of the shop-worn regime blackmail of  ‘security’ concerns.

The national broadcast by President Jonathan early on Monday, January 16th, 2012, underlined the victory scored by the Nigerian people. He climbed down from his horse of arrogant power by cutting fuel price and making pledges to slash recurrent expenditure; ensure a more transparent oil regime and a more rigorous anti-corruption stance.

In truth, I have never supported Jonathan nor trusted him; my stance is not about to change. However, there can be no gainsaying the fact that People Power is at the heart of democracy. Even the deployment of heavily armed soldiers, as if Nigeria was preparing to go to war to reclaim Bakassi Peninsula, cannot mask Jonathan’s defeat. If ever there was a hero of the moment, it must be the Nigerian youth! We have arrived at a critical conjuncture in Nigerian history.

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