By Robinson Tombari Sibe
When in 2015, the Presidential election did not go in the direction of my vote, I knew we had a long walk ahead as a nation. The winner was not unknown; yet, we brought back the known constant to re-enact recession and clampdown on dissent.
I knew what was to come, so, my first challenge was to immunize and inoculate against the impending gloom. Fortunately, I had a short vacation thereafter to reflect on the things ahead, and strategize on how to stay healthy, focused, peaceful and prosperous, looming doom. From hindsight, I did not do a bad job. There’s no absurdity in the last four plus, that has surprised me. There’s nothing happening today, that was neither foretold nor forewarned. I read the headlines, shake my head, and guard my sanity. I became a cheap Prophet, with accurate predictions. Nothing surprising; they were easy predictions.
The only thing that has been surprising, is to actually think that Nigerians would embark on a revolution. No, my countrymen does not have a history of enduring struggle. We were procured easily by the Royal Niger; amalgamated easily without negotiation; governed easily; christened easily by a stranger. Our Independence was not as a result of our pumping our fists in the air or marching with arms locked in unity; we were simply beneficiaries of a global wave of decolonization.
We watched a free and fair election annulled and the winner ruthlessly incarcerated to death. Abacha was on cruise control to transform to a civilian President; youths earnestly asked for his life Presidency. There was no revolution then; there won’t be any now. Youths are dancing to the soundtrack of poverty, in the low levels of next level; and scrambling to get a piece of trader moni. Na this leg nama go take reach Umuahia?
We do not have a fully formed ideology that can sustain a “revolution” (in the peaceful sense); whatever sprints up in us, is isolated, inchoate and watery. Peaceful revolution is a team sport, requiring endurance. You can’t do an Usain Bolt to get your freedom.
Sorry, there’s no Mandela or Steve Biko here. We are a people that cannot give up a weekend of Owambe and jollof rice for a protest march. We are not prepared to give up Ugba, Nkwobi and Udekwu, to press on a demand. We are too fixated on Big Brother Naija and English Premier league, to bother ourselves with holding our leaders to account. We will need a reprogramming our genome, to expect Nigerians that will stand under the sun and in the rain, for months (and years) to press on for change. This revolution will be televised and we will watch it; but, it will not be the Nigerian revolution.
Truth is bitter, but it will help you maintain a healthy “blood sugar”.
Robinson Tombari Sibe is prolific writer and social commentator.