To Avert A Bloody Revolution

By Ikenga Chronicles October 26, 2020

To Avert A Bloody Revolution

— Basil Okoh

“Revolutions don’t happen on the terms dictated by the oppressor. Revolutions are carried out on the terms demanded by the oppressed”.

Everyone must be horrified by the assault on the senses as hack writers in the Nigerian Media and Government put out a false narrative on what the entire world saw happen at the Lekki Toll Gate on the 20th of October. So many of these spin doctors are writing that there were no actual killings at the Lekki Toll gate and if there were, “show us the bodies and give us the names of those killed”, that it was a made up story by the protesters to gain public sympathy and bring odium to the Nigerian Army and Government.

As we say in Nigeria, another man’s head is a coconut. Who feels it knows it. This is an odious blowback from paid writers by the establishment and we must not be deceived by the assumed credibility of the names and sources adorning the writings. No sir, our collective judgement was never impaired when we saw the pictures and video of the blood and Gore. The Massacre at the Lekki Toll gate happened and youth were killed. The world has evidence in videography, picture and satellite images of the sordid encounter. No rewriting or revision can change that.

Huge sums are moving around to change the narrative of what transpired but nothing will erase the documented evidence of the gruesome massacre. Irrefutable evidence are in the keeping of international watchdogs and include the ones with diplomatic missions, International News organizations and Human Rights and Charity Agencies. No new “Kill and Clean Up Operation” will remove all the evidence.

Government lies and wicked responses which lack the most basic empathy for lives lost will of course lead to the hardening of the course of revolution. The vanguard of the revolution now know better than to leave their cadre to the blazing guns of an implacable army that shuns all international rules of policing and engagement with a civil population.

All budding revolutions appear bizarre and uncoordinated at first but they all follow the same course. We have all just witnessed the first wave of a revolution that will be long drawn and has the potential to splinter the country.

Gun attacks was always the expected reaction from a Government stunned and challenged by a ferocious generational opposition to its misrule in a multi ethnic Nigeria. The list of disaffected groups are growing every day and their grievances are filling all communication channels.

Massive warehouses with hoarded food are forced open everyday to feed hungry crowd in different cities by activist youth to shame a generation that is defined now more by its kleptomania than by its contribution to nation building”

Eventually, all revolutions devolve into violence and this one will not be different. The Nigerian Government must be held responsible for the descent to violence with the killings by uniformed troops at the Lekki Toll Gate. The youth did not deploy violence in their peaceful protests until the massacre at Lekki. It will be malicious to blame the youth for the violence that are now redefining the protests because Government started it.

Because of the violence injected by Government into the peaceful protests, the second wave of revolution will come as ethnic militia, armed and with varying capacity to defend their ethnic enclaves. In due course many ethnic militia will turn into highway and robbery gangs.

The descent to anarchy can however be slowed by an overlay of strong political control at the ethnic level. Guns will become deciders of conflicts until an overriding political force takes full and forceful charge.

The second wave of the revolution will come with the arming of the revolutionaries. During the second wave of the French revolution, the guillotine came in handy to chop off the head of the aristocrats. The Russian revolution had many waves from 1850 until the Bolsheviks succeeded in October 1918. The American anti-colonial revolution came with guns and cannons rolling off the Mills of New England.

The Cuban revolution came with Fidel Castro and his men mopping up the guns across the island of Cuba that enabled them to defeat the American CIA led anti-revolutionary forces at the Bay of Pigs in 1959. The Syrian revolution came with a second wave that moved from protests to splintered and armed groups that has left Syrian cities in still rubble and ruins.

Future organizers of protests will be foolish to leave their followers to the mercy of mindless killers in uniform. They will be wiser and more vicious to defend their groups. Protest organizers have now been made to understand the viciousness of the Nigerian Government and it’s armed forces. The only way to earn the respect of Government and the armed forces it appears, is to acquire the capacity to fight back.

You do not stop revolutions by killing unarmed protesters. If such strategy works, there would have been no revolutions recorded in the history of the world. Bloodshed only make the protesters to take up arms and adopt violent tactics for survival as the Nigerian situation has shown.

You dissuade dissenters by calling for dialogue. If you do refuse to call for dialogue, you will be forced to deal on the basis of equality when the other side acquires the guns to face you in battle. The Nigerian Government is haughty now because it is the side with all the guns. If the youthful revolutionaries acquire guns and face up to Government in battles, the dynamics will change and the revolutionaries become difficult to placate.

The Nigerian experience has proven this truth. Government was forced to negotiate in the Niger Delta. It was also forced to talks with Boko Haram after the official murder of Mohammed Yusuf. It is on record therefore that the Nigerian Government has been forced in shame and embarrassment to negotiate with groups it initially refused to even acknowledge their existence. This Government should be advised to come down from it’s high horse and talk meaningfully with the revolutionaries.

It must be noted that Muhammadu Buhari’s broadcast to the nation displays exact same disconnect from prevailing Nigerian condition. He made exact same gaffe as Queen Antoinette of France before the storming of the Bastille. Buhari clearly proved in that broadcast that he was clearly alienated from the people of Nigeria and has no direct experience of the existential challenges confronting the masses.

His aloofness and lack of human empathy was defining of the callousness of the Government he leads. His refusal to share the grief of the Massacre of Nigerian youth at the Lekki Toll Gate goes beyond the blissful ignorance of Antoinette to describe a man living in denial of the known evil he ordered and is trying to cover up. It describes a Mephistophelian spirit steeped so deeply in the darkest fringes.

He did announce freebies, support for small businesses and other palliatives but everyone knew it was just talk to assuage hurt feelings for the moment and nothing would come out of the hot air. No one expects this broadcast speech to have any cooling effect on the deep seated anger of the youth of Nigeria or assuage their revolutionary fervor.

All the prancing, “kill and clean up” policy and the unceasing media spin will just buy time but not stop a revolution that is already on its way. You do not stop a moving train by throwing confetti on its track.

Government is trying to stop a revolution by expanding its own messaging channels to drown out the revolutionaries’. You inflame anger by such methods and drive the revolution to the more dangerous underground. You do not also respond to revolutionary movements with bribes, chicanery and deception. You are doing more of the same things that caused the revolution and will inflame it further.

Government must ask itself why it is so difficult to meet the Nigerian youth and negotiate with candor and good faith to end the present conundrum.

To save Nigeria, Government must meet with representatives of the youth and demand explicit policy proposals to change the narrative of failures in Government and to avert the violent change that presently loom over the nation. Above all else, Government should negotiate with respect for the views expressed by the youth who will own this country for far longer than the old guard.

The practice now of killing the youth, stealing the bodies and cleaning out the evidence will not assuage the deep anger in the youth of the land or stop them from the next fight. This is a generational fight and it is not possible for the old guard to win.

The danger in the Nigeria situation is the real possibility of this turning to ethnic fratricide as it did in the Central Africa Republic. And there will be no end to the “mutations” in the ensuing fight.

  • @basilokoh.
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