FORMER presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the last general election, Omoyele Sowore and hundreds of other Nigerian youths have sworn to lockdown 21 states come Monday in a protest popularised on the social media as ‘a day of rage’.
The protest, scheduled to commence on Monday 5th August, across various states, is expected to cause social change and promote a better justice system that would culminate into a better Nigeria, the organisers have said.
Some of their demands include placement of politicians on minimum wage salary, the release of Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) and provision of free and quality healthcare to all Nigerians.
“It is not a battle of wit that a democratic space will open for us to have a country where good people, good ideas can lead the country. As we chanted during our recent protest in Maryland, Lagos, a Nigeria where five people will be richer than over 200 million people cannot work,” Sowore stated in an online video on the social media.
“A Nigeria where your network bill (sic) is greater than your house rent cannot work. So the sceptics who say Nigerians are too hyperesthetic and divided to rise up to a revolution, I say this, hunger does not know ethnicity, and security does not know religion.”
He stated further in a-45 seconds video that, “…No matter where you are from, the time for revolution is now and they will not be televised.”
— Omoyele Sowore (@YeleSowore) August 1, 2019
The social media has been agog since the planned protest was announced by Sowore, publisher of the Sahara Reporters newspaper. #RevolutionNow has been trending ever since with over 17,000 tweets.
NBA provides legal backing
Almost a two-minute video shared on Sowore’s timeline also revealed anticipated support of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Lagos Chapter on the proposed protest. The association planned to provide legal ‘backup’ for the protesters with backings from the national leadership of the NBA.
“By so doing, we are not supporting what is unwholesome; we are supporting one of those things that will protect rule of law and the rights of every Nigerian to stage a peaceful protest if there is need for one.
“They are organising a peaceful protest to have good governance and accountability on the part of leadership in Nigeria. The NBA will be in support of them…if anybody is clamped down unjustifiably or illegally by the state operative.”
However, ahead of Monday 5th August, set date for the protest, prominent Nigerians have reacted differently on the development with arguments that revolution does not often lead to social progress and economic development especially for a nation as Nigeria with many divides.
Dr Joe Abah, former Director-General of Bureau of Public Service Reform (BPSR), said if revolution must happen in Nigeria, there should be ‘unifying’ factors such that could pull the interest of everyone but noted it lacks such quality.
He argued through his social media handle @DrJoeAbah, “There are too many dividing factors. That’s why I don’t think a revolution is possible or feasible in Nigeria here.”
“My academic research on the matter suggests that revolutions only happen in homogeneous societies, often with a unifying characteristic. I don’t believe we have that in Nigeria.”
According to him, freedom fighters often end up as tyrants or far worse, thus such a move should be reconsidered.
“Then there was the Arab Spring. Has that revolution made the Arab a more just place? I am not sure. Then there was Occupy Nigeria. I think most of the leaders of that ‘revolution’ are in government today. We are still paying fuel subsidies, the reason for Occupy Nigeria,” he tweeted.
Dele Momodu, Publisher of Ovation Magazine @DeleMomodu also indicated interest in the protest but only shared his thoughts via his timeline.
“…..Nigerians are demanding for a brand new country. Old antiquated leaders must ‘bow and go away.”
Momodu, who has over 949,000 followers on the social media platform, has garnered over 1,900 likes and more than 900 retweets.
Ade of Nigeria @Hammdriller warned it may result in an unpleasant outcome.
“Dr Joe has always been consistent about following the “Rule of Law”. And if the rule of law isn’t serving, call for the change in that law.
“Subscribing to the mob will always be a bad idea, leading to bad outcomes”
Most nations that have experienced revolutions across the world include Chines, Iran, Haiti, Cuba, France, Russia among others.
Meanwhile, a number of youths have been seen in Lagos adorning public spaces with graffiti, calling other Nigerians to join the revolution slated for Monday, August 5.