Saturday, October 27, 2012

A sluggish Revolution

January 2012 started on a sour note with the sudden increase in pump price from N65 to N141 Nigeria. That act gave birth of the Occupy Nigeria movement, a name coined up in 2011 on the streets of New York as the "99%" moved against the "1%" by "occupying" the financial centre of the United States, Wall Street. The energy generated from the Occupy Nigeria movement morphed in the social media activism mentality that has taken over the minds of middle class Nigerians. The platform to share and articulate our inability as a nation to rise up to what is expected of us. Every week we are prompted with stories of misfortunes and tales of woes. Everyone is commenting, topics are trending on Twitter/facebook. Intellectuals are debating and condemning the acts, our celebrities and Nigerians in the diaspora are organising walks and marches against "all that is bad", tee-shirts are getting printed saying "NO", but the question remains to what ends?
Just after the subsidy protests failed, the movement changed focus to the mess made of the subsidy probe. In the same breath, the Lawan and Otedola bribery scandal became the burning issue of that moment.

The bombings by Boko Haram's in the Northern cities that resulted in the death of over a thousand people (and counting) "trended" at some point in time. GEJ's response (or lack of one) failed to inspire the right vote of confidence from the movement that an appropriate course of action will be taken by the executive to this unfamiliar behaviour.

Then there was the Pension Fund scandals, Oteh and S.E.C. showdown, Nigeria Vs South African over deportation of Nigerians with "fake" yellow fever card (that raised questions on how Nigerians are treated all over the world). Our compliance with fundamental human rights was brought under scrutiny as citizens of Makoko were forcefully evicted from their homes to make way for what is most likely (at least according to twittersphere)a new housing project.

The bickering shifted to other sectors. Poor state of the planes and absence of adequate emergency planning crashed a Dana Air flight from Abuja to Lagos. Lokoja got flooded (despite warning from weather agencies) raising concerns about our government's disaster response strategy. There was the ABSU rape, the Mubi and Aluu killings raising concerns safety of people in higher institutions and also the quality churned out of university.

None of these event are new in our national space. What is new is the social media and its ability to consume the interest of Nigeria's middle class. Our combined sensationalization through un-edited comment/assessment and analysis of each event has turned these overlooked aspect of our reality into shocking and very disturbing episodes. But the question remains, after all the media activism and awareness, after performing our civic duty by highlighting flaws in the way we organize ourselves, beyond the fire-fighting template adopted by our successive government (setup committees, panels and invite foreign experts), what concrete step has been taken to address ANY of the issues raised?
In the absence of any credible response by the government, is there a brewing plan rumbling within us to disrupt the status quo and change the state of things? I am talking about a revolution.

If this "collective anger" does not eventually ignite the audacity to demand and change all that is wrong with our society, then all social media might have achieved is to provide us with a platform for sharing our opinions, entertaining one another and escaping the reality of our miserable way of living. #Nothing_is_as_powerful_as_an_idea_that_its_time_has_come.

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