One of the most frightening things about this administration is the prospect of reversing what one considered the democratic gains Nigeria has made in the past 15 years.
From 2007 when late President Umaru Yar’Adua, in an unprecedented move owned up to the unfairness of the elections that brought him to power, till 2015 when former President Goodluck Jonathan handed over to President Muhamadu Buhari, we saw a determination to bequeath enduring democratic values to Nigeria.
Elections were mostly free, fair and devoid of violence while personal and civil liberties were to a large extent guaranteed. I, of course, remember occasions where state security agencies unleashed mayhem on opposition figures in untoward ways, but citizens had a general sense of citizenship.
But starting with the conduct of elections, we seem to be walking backwards like overburdened ants. Elections have been conducted and won with strong fists, political parties have been driven to their deaths, as citizenship has become increasingly shy and beaten, agencies of the state have continued to lend themselves to the manipulation of executive authority in that deceptive voice of Jacob, hand of Esau manner. And this last point is understandable. Without the adoption of this subterfuge, Nigerians would have screamed at the irony that a group of people, who attained office on the wings of protests and protestations, would dare deny them the opportunity for uninhibited expression.
So while the Nigeria Police is speaking from both sides of the mouth, allowing and disallowing the decision of one of Africa’s frontline musical talents, (Tuface) to lead a protest in demand of good governance and amelioration of the hardship in the country, the federal government is playing the innocent child who knows nothing other than fondling his mother’s breast. These are ominous signs of the dimming chances of true democracy in which citizens would have a total sense of freedom anytime in the future.
But whether this Tuface protest, which he called to register the discontent of Nigerians with the level of poverty, inequality and disillusionment in the country holds or not, it can be safely said that the Benue State born artiste has made his point.
Most important for me is the reawakening of Nigerians to the reality that, as former French Leader Charles De Gaulle once said, politics is too serious a business to be left in the hands of politicians. Unless the Nigerian citizen rises up to defend his rights to life and fair treatment in the hands of those he elected, politicians will take advantage of the people forever. It is indeed what politicians are called to do and only an alert citizenry can save itself from the shenanigans of politicians.
Tuface has, with this planned protest stirred up the spirit of nationalism and I bet there will be no end to this even if traditional leaders of such protests are now too reluctant to stand against the government that they brought into power.
But here, again is where we miss it. Genuine love for the emancipation of a people is loyalty to national interest and not loyalty to transient administrations. The excitement of the last few days should also have an impact on the administration. It is a signal that Nigerians will no longer be taken for granted. If those who should speak on behalf of the people are too cozy in bed with government, help will come from most unexpected places and voices will rise in protest against every form of mis-governance.
Even without the actual protest, government has been put on notice that the people of Nigeria will not be docile for much longer and that time has come for it to put its act together and live up to the expectation of the people.
So whatever happens on Monday, Tuface has raised the bar of citizenship in Nigeria and as far as I am concerned, things can only get better for the people.